Import Car Market in Canada

Import Car Market in Canada


Navigating the import car market in Canada can be a complex process, with a myriad of factors to consider. This guide will explore the ins and outs of the import car market in Canada, from understanding whether it’s worth importing a car from the U.S to understanding the complexities of the gray market.

Is Importing a Car from the U.S to Canada Worthwhile?

In the import car market in Canada, the allure of importing a car from the U.S is often a tempting prospect due to the lower prices and wider selection of used vehicles. However, several key factors must be taken into account:

  • Exchange Rate: The current Canadian exchange rate can significantly impact the final cost of your vehicle. A weak Canadian dollar can transform a bargain into a substantial investment.
  • Import Duties and Taxes: Import duties and taxes vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. It’s crucial to factor in these additional costs.
  • Safety Standards: Canadian safety standards are notably stricter than those in the U.S. Modifications might be required to meet these standards, which can add to the overall cost.

Costs Associated with Importing a Car from the U.S to Canada

The cost of importing a car from the U.S into Canada can vary significantly depending on the speed of delivery and the vehicle’s specifications. Here’s a rough breakdown of the potential costs:

  • ITN Number: A fee of $200 is applicable on all vehicles.
  • Import Duty: A 6.1% tax is levied on non-NAFTA vehicles.
  • Goods & Service Tax (GST): A tax of 5% of the total vehicle value.
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST): A 7% tax in applicable provinces.
  • Air Conditioning Tax: A $100 fee is applied if the vehicle has air conditioning.
  • Excess Weight Tax: Additional taxes apply if the vehicle weighs over 2,000 kilograms or 4,425 pounds.
  • Gas Guzzler Tax: This tax, ranging from $1,000 – $4,000, applies to vehicles with a weighted average fuel consumption rating of 13 or more litres per 100 kilometres or lower.
  • Customs Clearance: A $355 fee is applied to any car imports.

For a more precise quote on your specific vehicle, consider using an import duty calculator, such asthis one.

The Role of a Vehicle’s Year in Importing

The year of the car you’re importing is a significant consideration, particularly for vehicles under 15 years old. These require federal inspection to ensure they meet Canada’s safety and legal requirements.

Temporary Importation of a Vehicle

Visitors, tourists, and temporary residents can import vehicles temporarily into Canada. This also applies to Canadians who rented a U.S vehicle and brought it across the border. Vehicles that don’t satisfy Canada’s safety measures can be temporarily imported by completing a special import Declaration. Vehicles imported temporarily are also exempt from needing RIV registration, as long as they’re used by temporary residents, diplomats, or Canadian or U.S armed forces.

Considerations When Importing Cars

Importing a car to Canada involves satisfying several government agencies, ensuring your vehicle is admissible, having the correct documentation, passing inspection, and paying the RIV registration fee. It’s a process that requires careful planning and execution.

Self-Importing a Vehicle Into Canada

If you’ve found a great deal on a vehicle over the border and decide to self-import, there are several steps to follow:

  1. Confirm Vehicle Admissibility: Ensure your vehicle is admissible to Canada by contacting the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV).
  2. Register with RIV: Complete the E-form and obtain an International Transaction Number (ITN) through a customs broker.

Once you have your ITN and RIV registration, you can proceed with self-import. This involves presenting the necessary documents at U.S and Canadian customs, undergoing any necessary inspections, and finally registering and insuring your vehicle in Canada.

How Can Shipping Companies Help?

Companies like Cargoux Shipping Inc can offer invaluable help in importing a car to Canada, particularly during times like the COVID-19 pandemic when self-importing isn’t an option. They handle all the details of the transaction from start to finish, offering a seamless import experience.

Selling a U.S Vehicle in Canada

Once you’ve successfully imported a vehicle into Canada, you’re free to use or sell it as you wish. Whether you’re looking to start a car importing and selling business or simply want to enjoy a vehicle not available in the Canadian market, understanding the complexities of the import car market in Canada is crucial.

The Gray Market in Canada

The term “gray market” refers to vehicles imported into a country where they weren’t originally intended to be sold. This includes vehicles from countries like Japan or the United States imported into Canada. While some Canadian vehicles are identical to U.S ones, others may have significant differences in technology, emissions standards, and warranties.


Whether you’re considering importing a vehicle from the U.S for personal use or business purposes, it’s essential to understand the complexities and costs associated with the process. From navigating exchange rates and import duties to understanding the differences in safety standards and emissions regulations, the import car market in Canada is a complex landscape that requires thorough research and careful planning. However, with the right knowledge and resources, it can also present unique opportunities and advantages.

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Cargoux Shipping Inc.

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Cargoux Shipping Inc.

Tel. 905-829-4224
Fax 905-829-5112

Mailing Address:
2916 South Sheridian Way unit #200
Oakville, Ontario
L6J 7J8, Canada

"We will make your car shipping experience easy, convenient and hassle free. There are NO HIDDEN FEES. Our own dispatch department can arrange pick up from any city in the USA or Canada, either from an auction, a dealership, or even private residence."
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