High dollar driving U.S. used car imports
Figures released Tuesday by the Canada Border Services Agency show that 560 used vehicles of U.S. origin were brought across the border by Manitobans in the last three weeks, more than double the amount from the same period in the previous year.
It was a similar picture in March: this year, 414 used U.S. vehicles were imported into Manitoba. In March 2009, only 172 were brought in.
"[With] the Canadian dollar at par right now, we do see more people going into the United States to make these significant purchases," Andrew Klatt of the CBSA said.
Used car dealers in the province suggest people are just catching up to a profitable strategy they've been using for many years now.
At Nott AutoCorp in Winnipeg — a proponent of sourcing out and importing U.S. cars — a used Audi Q7 purchased down south costs about $10,000 less at retail than it would if the sports car was originally from Canada.
"If you search it and retail it in Canada, it's somewhere around $50,000," said Barry Swain, the dealership's general sales manager.
"But we can do that for about $40,000, so you're saving about 10 grand," Swain said.
But there are some potential potholes on the road to savings, including fees and taxes that must be paid at the border.
As well, the validity of vehicle warranties comes into question depending on a car's manufacturer.
Audi and Volkswagen will honour the warranty of cars imported from the U.S. into Canada, but Honda will not.
It is also recommended potential purchasers obtain an inspection report on a vehicle's condition prior to purchase, but that also comes at a cost.