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Old 01-06-2016, 07:48 PM   #1
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Default Buying Canadian-made Class B in Canada, then Importing to U.S.

We are interested in buying our first-ever RV, and if we do buy one it will be a Class B.

Some of the nicest units we've seen (we visited the Hershey show in 2015) are by Leisure (Manitoba) and Pleasureway (Saskatchewan). These units are priced in Canadian dollars for purchases in Canada and in US dollars for purchases in the US. The pricing is NOT equivalent, however -- it assumes the Canadian dollar is worth about US$0.95, when in fact it is worth much less these days. As a result, buying a new unit in Canada can save upwards of $20,000 compared with buying an identical unit in the U.S.

At Hershey I asked the factory reps about buying in Canada and importing back into the US. Of course (the factory reps must protect their dealer networks) they said this wasn't possible. They said Mercedes would not respect the warranty (but a bit of research has led me to seriously doubt this claim). They said the units are different (but one factory rep. admitted that the only difference is in the label inside each unit -- mechanically and esthetically they are identical). Thus, mechanically, all emissions requirements, etc. of both countries are met. By the way, that one honest rep ultimately admitted to me that U.S. buyers are in effect currently subsidizing Canadian buyers, and that the manufacturers were exploiting the cheap Canadian dollar to earn great profits in the U.S.

My question is: has anyone actually bought a new unit in Canada and immediately tried to register it back here? I've done a Google search on this topic and have found only 7-8 year old postings, and those were done when the Loonie was overvalued and the importation was in the opposite direction.

Thanks to all, in advance, for responding if you do have any experience here.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:53 PM   #2
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Look down the General Discussions topics a bit (should be on first page) to "Take advantage of strengthening US Dollar?" thread. Some discussion of the issues with buying Canadian vehicles and bringing back to US.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:58 PM   #3
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Ah yes, many thanks, the header is a bit vague (doesn't mention import) but the discussion is quite good. http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...llar-4057.html
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:04 PM   #4
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I must say, having read those postings, the main obstacle seems to be the warranty issue, and (if I might speak as the attorney that I am for a second) the refusal to warrant a Canadian made vehicle registered in the US (while warranting a Canadian-made vehicle on a six-month tour of the US) seems to be possibly both an antitrust violation (anti-competitive) and possibly problematic from the perspective of the North American Free Trade Agreement. I'm wondering if anyone ever challenged the refusal to honor a warranty.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:12 PM   #5
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Let me mention, finally, that a Canadian who moves to the USA with his or her Mercedes can obtain warranty coverage -- that I know to a certainty. So it's not clear how or why Mercedes would distinguish someone like me.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:01 AM   #6
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Read over this web site from US Customs to see if you really want to do this. I don't think warranty is the biggest issue.
Importing a Motor Vehicle | U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:37 AM   #7
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Yes, I think you have made a lot of erroneous assumptions. Importing a vehicle is dependant on many things, and not every vehicle is as easy or as difficult as the next. I suspect your 'honest rep' may not have been very well informed... keep us posted should you consider a legal challenge.
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:51 AM   #8
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Hey NorthPotomac,

As a lawyer, you probably know that several things supersede statutes. First is the fact that for any amount that is "not worth prosecuting" it is effectively lawsuit-proof by pragmatism. To put it another way, very few people will go after $1000 if it is going to cost them $2000 in legal fees and court costs. And as a lawyer you know that sometimes you can also get your legal fees back, but usually not.

I'm a "try to squeeze out an extra nickle by using loopholes and grey-area's" type of guy, and even I wouldn't try buying something in Canada in hopes that they would warranty it in the U.S.. I do remember the days of being able to fly over to Europe, buy a Mercedes, drive it around for a couple months while touring Europe, and then having it shipped back to the U.S., avoiding tariffs because it was now a "used" vehicle, and making out better than the guy who just bought his at a dealership here, but I think those days are gone.

Over the years I've checked into a number of deals like this, a VW Panel Van, the little Mitsubishi 4-wheel-driver diesel vans (Delica), and Smart Cars, before they were imported to the U.S. I was swayed all those times by the problems I would face if I did it. Reality and pragmatism reared their ugly heads.

Businesses & government agencies don't like people loopholing things, so they tend to try to close those loopholes.

If you can make it work, I will tip my hat to you.

.............Rok
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:01 AM   #9
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Rok,

With respect, the vehicles you list are not sold in the USA; they are not homologated by the EPA as meeting our emissions standards, etc.

But the Sprinter Vans of which I speak are absolutely identical, in every respect save the label, to those sold in the USA.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:22 PM   #10
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I was surprised by your comment about the small price differential between the US and Canada. We always feel we are overpaying up here!
I have a Roadtrek and know more about Roadtrek models and dealers than any other manufacturer. I checked the MSRP of a Zion 2016. On the Roadtrek site they quote about $88K USD MSRP while a Canadian dealer quotes nearly $106K CDN. That certainly doesn't look like US sales subsidizing Canadian sales.

In spite of the weaker Canadian dollar, the models sold in the US can't be reduced by the full difference between the two currencies. Remember that except for labour, much of what goes into these MH is paid at a higher price by the upfitter when the CDN dollar is weak. If the CDN dollar looses 25%, the cost of the chassis and appliances made outside Canada increase by 25%. We see that here every day by looking at the prices on store shelves. The US border is 30 minutes or so from here and I hardly ever see a US licence plate at our local shopping center, in spite of the weak CDN dollar.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:33 PM   #11
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WJones, thanks for your posting. It is interesting that Roadtrek uses more neutral pricing (though Americans still pay significantly more than Canadians) than do Leisure and Pleasureway.

Your point about the US content of these vehicles is not relevant, with respect. For the vehicles sold in Canada have exactly the same US content as the vehicles sold in the US. So the price differential remains.

On a totally different note, we moved to Maryland in 1987 from Sherbrooke (actually, we worked in Sherbrooke and lived in North Hatley, QC)!
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Old 01-07-2016, 02:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthPotomac View Post
WJones, thanks for your posting. It is interesting that Roadtrek uses more neutral pricing (though Americans still pay significantly more than Canadians) than do Leisure and Pleasureway.

Your point about the US content of these vehicles is not relevant, with respect. For the vehicles sold in Canada have exactly the same US content as the vehicles sold in the US. So the price differential remains.

On a totally different note, we moved to Maryland in 1987 from Sherbrooke (actually, we worked in Sherbrooke and lived in North Hatley, QC)!
North Hatley ... is that right? Wow, really lovely spot!

Perhaps I wasn't clear as to my comment concerning the price vs US content. I meant that an American seeing the Canadian dollar weaken by 25% cannot expect a motorhome built in Canada to be 25% cheaper in the US than it was before. This is the reduction in price I was referring to (before and after devaluation), not the differential with Canadian prices.
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Old 01-07-2016, 02:51 PM   #13
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I went back to the Roadtrek site and found that you can choose either USD or CDN. The price differential becomes much smaller than what I mentioned in a previous post when looking at dealer pricing ... certainly not the over 25% between the two currencies. Strange!
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Old 01-07-2016, 03:20 PM   #14
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For more info see:

Importing a Motor Vehicle into the U.S.

and the EPA has a site, too:

http://www.epa.gov/importing-vehicle...adian-vehicles

NorthPotomac: You do seem very interested in making this work. So, please go and buy your van or RV in Canada, save some $, and then "import" it to the U.S. I think many on this forum would be very interested in how you do and would love to do the same, if you are successful.
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Read over this web site from US Customs to see if you really want to do this. I don't think warranty is the biggest issue.
Importing a Motor Vehicle | U.S. Customs and Border Protection
I posted this link to Customs & Border Protection's web site on importing vehicles. Since your situation doesn't qualify for a duty free entry you should consider these numbers after your $800 exemption.

"After the exemption has been applied, a flat duty rate of 3% is applied toward the next $1,000 of the vehicle's value. The remaining amount is dutiable at the regular duty rate."

I'm fairly sure a van would be considered a truck so the regular duty is 25%. So for example you buy the van for $106,000CND, about $100,000USD. Duty on first $1,000 at 3% is $30. Then the duty on balance of $98,200 at 25% is $24,675. Total duty on import is $24,705.
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:37 PM   #16
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I'd think going that way, you'd not have to pay VAT in Canada, then apply the duty.

But that text referenced is quite confusing.
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Old 01-08-2016, 12:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
I'd think going that way, you'd not have to pay VAT in Canada, then apply the duty.

But that text referenced is quite confusing.
So add in the cost for an accountant and/or attorney, who are experienced in importing from Canada, to help figure all this out to the total cost of this endeavor. Or should I say "endeavour"?
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Old 01-08-2016, 12:40 AM   #18
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The only thing I thought Americans figured out was going to Canada to get their prescription drugs.
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:38 AM   #19
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I don't know a whole lot about Canadian units vs. their "identical" units in the US, but I've been told by an outfitter of Sprinter vans for both markets that the ones made for Canada are non identical to U.S. units. There are different standards in the U.S. than Canada. This might have been BS, but I accepted it as fact.

I was also told that when outfitting the rigs that there were things that could be done to the Canadian Rigs that couldn't be done to the U.S. Rigs and visa versa. I ran into some of that when I was getting some custom work done on my unit (destined for Seattle) while it was on the upfitting line in Canada. I was told that certain upgrades could be made in Canada for shipping to the US, but couldn't be made to a Canadian unit. I was also told that some upgrades that were allowed in the U.S. weren't allowed to be made in Canada even if the unit was to be sold in the U.S. Again, that could have been BS, but I took it as fact.

Do you have any evidence that corroborates your claim that the units are absolutely identical? Before and After outfitting?

I do agree that the vehicles I listed were not being sold in the U.S. at the time (although the VW panel van was being used as a component part of the Westfalia camper units).

For a while, even the cars sold in California were different than those in other states. (I read recently that our state, WA, has now adopted the CA standards.)

Anyway, I'm not just being argumentative here, I really want to know if the Canadian units are different that the U.S. ones. i.e. I want to know if what I was told is untrue.

.........Rocky

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthPotomac View Post
Rok,

With respect, the vehicles you list are not sold in the USA; they are not homologated by the EPA as meeting our emissions standards, etc.

But the Sprinter Vans of which I speak are absolutely identical, in every respect save the label, to those sold in the USA.
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Old 01-08-2016, 03:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
I posted this link to Customs & Border Protection's web site on importing vehicles. Since your situation doesn't qualify for a duty free entry you should consider these numbers after your $800 exemption.

"After the exemption has been applied, a flat duty rate of 3% is applied toward the next $1,000 of the vehicle's value. The remaining amount is dutiable at the regular duty rate."

I'm fairly sure a van would be considered a truck so the regular duty is 25%. So for example you buy the van for $106,000CND, about $100,000USD. Duty on first $1,000 at 3% is $30. Then the duty on balance of $98,200 at 25% is $24,675. Total duty on import is $24,705.
Boxster, you seem to have omitted a phrase I find on the US Customs site: "Duty rates are based on price paid or payable. Most Canadian-made vehicles are duty-free." [My emphasis]
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