Canadians: 54/40 or Shop!

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

It's been a long time since Canadians harbored thoughts of crossing the border to buy a new car. Since the beginning of the year, the “loonie” is up more then 10 percent against the dollar. Now that the Canadian dollar is nearly equal in value with the American greenback (for the first time in 30 years), our neighbors to the north are doing some major cross-border shopping. The Chronicle Herald (of Halifax, Nova Scotia) reports that more than 64K American vehicles have found their way north so far this year; that's up 26 percent over year ago. One Toronto resident hankering after a new Mercedes S63 AMG found one selling for C$171K in Canada. When he threatened to cross into the U.S. and buy the car for US$127K, the price suddenly dropped to C$149.5K. Canadian car dealers claim sales are down by 25 percent across the board; they're “begging carmakers to cut their list prices.” NAFTA that.

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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4 of 25 comments
  • Ryan Ryan on Aug 22, 2007

    @omnivore - it depends on what you buy, some cars allow you to toggle the speedometer between metric and imperial (that's just about the only entertaining thing about the current Malibu, watching that needle swing back and forth).

  • Borderinsane Borderinsane on Aug 22, 2007

    You can also buy speedometer conversion kits or speedometer labels to overlay on US IPs.

  • Humourless Humourless on Aug 23, 2007

    Despite all this talk of arbitrage, a base 2007 Honda Civic retailing for $16k and change is priced about where it should be vis-a-vis an inflation adjusted $13,000 Civic of 1996 (I should know; I bought both generations). You can try it yourself here: Of course, the new one also comes standard with a CD player, aux input, more than one airbag and a whole plethora of other bits that the 1996 models didn't offer at any price.

  • Browner Browner on Aug 27, 2007

    I was shopping for a VW GTI earlier in the year. Even with all the taxes and fees, buying it in NY would have saved about CAD 3,000 over buying it in Ontario—well worth the longer drive and the cross-border hassle. When I first called the dealers in Buffalo, the first told me that he couldn't sell to me, but the second said that they sell to Canadians fairly frequently. All good. When I called VWOA to confirm that the warranty would be honoured in Canada, they were pretty coy about it, but eventually conceded that the warranty would be valid. They wouldn't, however, put it in writing! Nonetheless, the local dealer told me that as long as the odometer was within the limit, they'd weren't fussed as to where it'd been bought, so that was also all good. Anyhow, I put off a new car for a few months. When I called back to the Buffalo dealer he told me that word had come from VWOA that selling to Canadians was now verboten—too many Canucks were crossing the border and the Canadian dealers were upset. Anyhow, I bought a used A3 instead and haven't looked back since!