So A Trump Win Means You're Moving To Canada? Here's What You Need To Know, Automotively

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
so a trump win means you re moving to canada here s what you need to know

Threatening to move isn’t new.

16 years ago, legions of American citizens promised to leave the United States if Republican George W. Bush beat Democrat Al Gore. While there’s evidence that suggests emigration from the United States to Canada occurred at an accelerated rate during Bush’s two terms in the White House, it was more likely tied to the state of the economy overall than differences in personal politics.

But that didn’t stop Americans — not just celebrities, but Americans en masse — from shutting down Citizen And Immigration Canada’s website with excessive traffic on the night of 2016’s Trump electoral victory earlier this week.

Had the website operated normally, you would have discovered that moving to Canada isn’t easy. Yet your desire to relocate will not be sated by a move to sunny SoCal or the Florida Keys. You’re determined to live in Cape Breton, or Portage la Prairie, or Trois-Rivières. And in the automotive sphere, there are some things you really need to know.


You’ve heard that Canadians pay more for cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans. That’s typically true, though not always. We discussed September Ford F-150 incentives that produced prices much lower in Canada than in the United States. Regardless, you anticipate higher prices. You’re prepared for that.

You may be less prepared to swallow the absurd freight/delivery/destination fees automakers charge in Canada. Take, for instance, Canada’s best-selling car, the Canadian-built Honda Civic. American Honda charges $835 for destination and handling. Honda Canada demands $1,595. (A $100 federal air conditioner fee is often included in destination charges.) Even accounting for the currency conundrum, that’s still USD $1,184, a 42-percent increase compared with American Honda’s fee.

It can be a lot worse. The Mercedes-Benz E300 4Matic I tested a couple of weeks ago was allegedly a $61,200 car, but with destination included, the base price shot up to $63,895.


Sales taxes differ greatly across the country. Heeding the call of the popular Cape Breton If Donald Trump Wins website mentioned above would land you in Nova Scotia, where the $63,995 (with a/c fee) Mercedes-Benz E300 becomes $73,594 because of a highest-in-the-nation 15-percent harmonized sales tax.

Alberta, which collects the federal government’s 5-percent goods and services tax but has no provincial sales tax of its own, is the least-heavily-taxed new car environment.


Many parts of the Canada experience colder, snowier winters than many parts of the U.S. Pair Canada’s generally piercing winters with pragmatic buying habits, however, and the prevalence of steel wheels is undeniable.

Even on expensive cars, and often from October to April, Canadians love to throw a nice set alloys with Michelin Pilots into the back of the shed and fit a set of downsized, poverty-spec, steelies with Bridgestone Blizzaks instead.

Sitting in traffic with the sun rising at 8:45, the seat heaters on full blast, and the cars around you clouded by exhaust in -20°C weather, all of these steel wheels have an effect on your psyche. It’s like living on a street with nice homes where nobody mows the lawn; like sitting in your high-priced lawyer’s fancy office only to see his filthy keyboard.

Or maybe it’s just the timing. We alloy loyalists think it’s the steelies that get us down. But then again, the steel wheel onslaught is linked to the cold, the darkness, the scraping of windshields, and the snowplow once again clogging your driveway just after you’ve cleared it a second time.


Americans like pickup trucks. But Americans don’t like pickup trucks as much as Americans liked pickup trucks a decade ago. In 2006, 17.5 percent of the new vehicles sold in America were pickup trucks. Americans were buying 240,000 per month.

Today, pickup trucks account for 15.2 percent of the market; Americans are buying 220,000 per month.

Moving to Canada? Prepare to see new pickup trucks forming a measurably larger portion of the new vehicle market. Canadians are buying more pickup trucks than ever. 19.1 percent of the Canadian auto industry’s sales are now produced by pickups, up from 15.8 percent in 2006.

Canadians are also far more likely to choose a minivan as their next family hauler. Nearly 5 percent of Canadian auto buyers opt for a minivan, compared with little more than 3 percent in the U.S.


Canadians buy different stuff. More long underwear, more double-doubles at Tim Hortons, more curling brooms.

Also, more Kia Rondos, Mazda 5s, Nissan Micras, and Toyota Venzas. Americans can’t buy those vehicles at all, but they account for 1 out of every 100 new vehicles sold in Canada. But besides the specific vehicles that distinguish the two markets, there are broader themes.

Consider the whole Mazda brand as a prime example. Though Mazda Canada’s market share is consistently declining, the brand still owns 3.5 percent of the Canadian market, more than double its U.S. share. Credit the Mazda 3, which, while struggling of late in Canada, is still the country’s fourth-best-selling car. ( It ranks 20th in the U.S.)

Volkswagen almost doubles its U.S. share in Canada. Hyundai’s hold on the Canadian market is 64-percent stronger than it is in the U.S.

Chevrolet, on the other hand, owns just 7.5 percent of the Canadian market, way down from the Bowtie brand’s 11.8-percent share in the U.S.


Those who’ve driven across the border before determining that a Trump presidency was cause for a northerly move will already be prepared for much higher fuel costs. For the rest of you, the facts may be frightening.

The U.S. average fuel cost hasn’t topped $3.00/gallon in the last two years and currently sits at $2.19/gallon.

In Canada, our average per gallon cost jumped to USD $4.55/gallon as recently as the spring of last year and now sits just below USD $4.00/gallon.

Sure y’all are ready for this?

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

[Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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2 of 146 comments
  • Mikey Mikey on Nov 10, 2016

    The OPP won't bother you on the 400 series hi ways , as long as you stay under 130 kph.

  • CincyDavid CincyDavid on Nov 13, 2016

    I haven't been to Canada since the 70s, when we were in Detroit and my dad wanted to run us over to Windsor just to say we had done it... I was however, in Riviera Maya Mexico this past week and met a bunch of Canadians who were escaping the cold weather. My personal observation is that they French-speaking women tend to be a hell of a lot better looking than the others. I have no interest in moving north, and while I enjoyed our week in the sun at an all-inclusive guzzling Johnny Walker Red and club soda all week, I couldn't wait to get out of Mexico...lots of abject poverty once you leave the resort, and a sea of weird little cars. I did get to ride in several minivans I'd never seen before..a Ford Transit of some sort and a VW Transport, both diesels with 6 sp manuals.

  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...