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Old 01-08-2016, 03:31 PM   #21
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Do you have any evidence that corroborates your claim that the units are absolutely identical? Before and After outfitting?



.........Rocky
Rocky, my only evidence is statements from a rep. from one of the two Canadian upfitters I named earlier, during our visit to the Hershey show last year. This person is pretty famous (he's a VP, I think, and demonstrates many of that shop's models on YouTube). I asked him if the units sold in Canada were identical to the ones sold in the US. He said the only differences were odometers and speedometers predominantly in metric units, and the various labels used. He also told me that the vehicles were imported duty-free into the US pursuant to the US-Canada Auto Pact (about which I do have independent confirmation).

I was not trying to be argumentative either, really. I was really only trying to get further information. $20,000 is a lot of money, at least it is to me.
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:03 PM   #22
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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!
This may be a the dumb question, but is this a result of the 'chicken tax' on European built trucks?

US Sprinter cargo vans are reassembled in South Carolina to avoid the tax and Sprinter passenger vans aren't subject to it.

What about Sprinter based RVs made in Canada? Did they start as cargo vans or passenger cans? Did they come from South Carolina or directly from Europe?

Will pricing change if North American Sprinters are manufactured in South Carolina?
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:08 PM   #23
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This may be a the dumb question, but is this a result of the 'chicken tax' on European built trucks?

US Sprinter cargo vans are reassembled in South Carolina to avoid the tax and Sprinter passenger vans aren't subject to it.

What about Sprinter based RVs made in Canada? Did they start as cargo vans or passenger cans? Did they come from South Carolina or directly from Europe?

Will pricing change if North American Sprinters are manufactured in South Carolina?
Not a stupid question at all. The South Carolina assembly is brand new, I believe. When it is operational all Sprinters sold in North America will have been reassembled in South Carolina. At least that's my understanding -- I'm happy as always to be corrected.
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:31 PM   #24
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Sprinters converted in Canada come through South Carolina and are reassembled in South Carolina and then shipped to Canada for conversion and then back to the United States for sale. Sprinters converted in Canada for Canadians are shipped fully assembled directly to Canada. How all that plays out in cost is anybodies guess and maybe complicated. That also may play into how you can buy a Canadian conversion for Canadian dealers and bring it across to the United States.

Mercedes Benz is building a new plant in South Carolina for manufacturing and assembling Sprinters completely in the United States but that won't happen before 2018 I believe and I suspect not until the next model iteration.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:52 PM   #25
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Oh my my! "Reassemble"? I can just imagine that they ship a completed Sprinter from Germany to the US, take it apart and reassemble it? Tell me I'm wrong!
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:56 PM   #26
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Oh my my! "Reassemble"? I can just imagine that they ship a completed Sprinter from Germany to the US, take it apart and reassemble it? Tell me I'm wrong!
You are wrong, but not very wrong. What actually happens is that they take complete Sprinters in Germany, separate the body from the drivetrain. Ship them tp the US on separate ships, and reassemble them here.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:20 PM   #27
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Sprinters converted in Canada for Canadians are shipped fully assembled directly to Canada. How all that plays out in cost is anybodies guess and maybe complicated. That also may play into how you can buy a Canadian conversion for Canadian dealers and bring it across to the United States.
My "guess" is that if the Sprinter was a cargo van and not a passenger van before conversion and anybody bothered to check, the "chicken tax" of 25% of the base vehicle cost would have to be paid.

I don't have a "guess" about whether it can be done or not.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:46 PM   #28
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Most all conversions I am aware of start out as cargo vans. Yes, it is all on account of the chicken tax they ship the way they do. Winnebago is an exception in getting fully assembled Sprinters directly from Germany but oddly I read a lot more about problems with the actual Sprinter portion of a conversion with Winnebago than I do with other converters. That reassembly step might be an unintended or intended consequence quality assurance advantage going on with the Sprinters. Either that, or Winnebago just doesn't do complete due diligence prep in checking out the Sprinter portion in their build process before shipping.
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:06 PM   #29
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it may be just anecdotal Davydd. Most of the Sprinter issues I hear of are on Roadtreks. I hardly ever hear of issues with Eras. Could be just the numbers. Think WGO is putting out many more Travatos than Eras. Roadtrek may still be #1 in Sprinters.
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:38 PM   #30
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Could be anecdotal. I don't deny that. Maybe these companies just pass through those kinds of issues to the dealers. We know not all dealers are uniformly equal.
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Old 01-09-2016, 01:07 AM   #31
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I wasn't going to mention the "chicken tax", but since you did, I will chime in by saying that when I was trying to import a VW panel van that issue was explained to me as why the panel vans weren't sold in the U.S. It was also explained that they could be used in the production of Westfalia Campers because the panel van was a "component part" of a finished product, and that allowed the upfitter to avoid the "chicken tax" import duty.

For some reason, this type of stuff is of interest to me.

........Rok

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Originally Posted by tgregg View Post
This may be a the dumb question, but is this a result of the 'chicken tax' on European built trucks?

US Sprinter cargo vans are reassembled in South Carolina to avoid the tax and Sprinter passenger vans aren't subject to it.

What about Sprinter based RVs made in Canada? Did they start as cargo vans or passenger cans? Did they come from South Carolina or directly from Europe?

Will pricing change if North American Sprinters are manufactured in South Carolina?
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Old 01-09-2016, 01:33 AM   #32
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Ford is even worse:

Ford's Run Around on Chicken TaxĚ Riles Customs Officials - News Car and Driver | Car and Driver Blog

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Even though most of its customers order the two-seat, stripped-out commercial model, Ford ships every Transit Connect to the Port of Baltimore in five-passenger Wagon trim. As soon as customs agents approve the vans, Ford whisks them offsite where a shipping contractor rips out backseats, flooring and rear windows. The brand-new parts then get sent to Ohio for recycling, and a new floor and metal stampings to cover the window openings go in place. Customs officials say it takes Ford less than 11 minutes to convert a Transit Connect from a people mover to a cargo van
I think I remember reading elsewhere that the seats they use are barely-functional dummies.
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Old 01-09-2016, 02:42 AM   #33
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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]
A Sprinter van is hardly made in Canada. That phrase is for the many Ford and GM vehicles made in Canada.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:28 PM   #34
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Ford is even worse:

Ford's Run Around on Chicken TaxĚ Riles Customs Officials - News Car and Driver | Car and Driver Blog



I think I remember reading elsewhere that the seats they use are barely-functional dummies.
Not sure why Ford is any worse than Mercedes or any other company in terms of how they deal with these types of duty tax issues. They just figure out how minimize the cost of getting the product to market in another country. If there is a crazy rule that they need to follow to avoid a duty and can figure out how to legally avoid the duty, they just do it. They don't make the rules but they have to live with the consequences. Not sure why Ford was getting bad press on this any more than Mercedes should get for their method to avoid the tax. At this point it is all just adding to the final cost to go through the shenanigans and the customer will pay for it. Hopefully the duty will be removed in the latest round of negotiations.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:50 PM   #35
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Only "worse" in the waste of physical resources. I didn't mean to be critical of Ford. I totally agree that the OEMs are victims of crazy legislation and are just responding rationally.
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Old 01-09-2016, 11:10 PM   #36
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I have no idea how the chicken tax works exactly, how long it has been in force or who its initial proponents for it were. All I knew was it made the Mercedes Benz Sprinter deal rather weird and I don't know of any other examples of its application. Was cajoling Mercedes Benz to build a plant in the USA one of its incentives? If so, it is evidently working.
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:01 AM   #37
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I have no idea how the chicken tax works exactly, how long it has been in force or who its initial proponents for it were. All I knew was it made the Mercedes Benz Sprinter deal rather weird and I don't know of any other examples of its application. Was cajoling Mercedes Benz to build a plant in the USA one of its incentives? If so, it is evidently working.
It has been around for 52 years so had nothing to do with anything very relevant any more. It was in response to a duty on US chicken by France and Germany...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tax
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:24 AM   #38
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It has been around for 52 years so had nothing to do with anything very relevant any more.
"Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right."
--Thomas Jefferson
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Old 01-10-2016, 01:43 AM   #39
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The duty on light trucks likely stayed around because the Big 3 liked it even if they had to work around it themselves on occasion. Seems it will likely end soon and people are predicting which vehicles will be coming over.

http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/str...icle-1.2385565

7 Trucks We Might Get if The Chicken Tax is Repealed

Ford is planning to resume Ranger production in the US in a couple years but they could import it before that.
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Old 01-10-2016, 02:25 PM   #40
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Some observations and opinions from some recent experience.
- I believe that most warranties are provided by the manufacturer, not the dealer. The dealers simply do the work on their behalf. So, I would say that if there are any questions about warranty, you have to ask the manufacturer how it works. They are the final decision makers on that. Now, if a dealer won't honor their warranty, that's an issue between the manufacturer and the dealer, and for them to resolve (remember Roadtrek/Daimler Chrysler when they parted ways?). I think it's prudent to ask before you start the import process, if that's the choice you've made. There are lots of dealers, but only one manufacturer. If one won't do the work, another probably will, if the warranty pays them to do it.
- In my opinion, dealers (and some converters?) are like used (or in this case, new) car salesmen when it comes to tactics to make a sale. They will stop at nothing and tell you all sorts of horror stories about warranties not honored across borders to get you to buy from them locally, to avoid these tragic issues. When their lips are moving, politicians, lawyers, car salesmen, not necessarily in that order, are to be avoided at all costs.
- This example isn't specifically about importing/exporting a motorhome, so admittedly YMMV. I guess motorhome chassis manufacturers can be a little quirky, based on some of the answers they've given to people on here based on what I've read so far. Or, don't be a sucker and take what an individual might say as gospel, when the truth may be something entirely different. It's a high stakes game considering these B van prices, and we all have dogs in the fight, so to speak.
- 3 years ago, when our loonie was at par with the greenback, I bought a trailer in Michigan, because the price was about $10,000 lower than the identical trailer up here, and brought it back to Ontario. The MI dealer I used was very helpful, and wasn't too worried about who I was as long as my money was good, and it was. I checked with my government's relevant agencies beforehand to make sure the trailer would be legal in Canada, and it was. More importantly, I checked with the manufacturer about warranty coverage and they told me THEY warranted the product, not the dealers. I paid no tax in Michigan because the trailer was purchased specifically for export. I only paid the taxes in Canada when registering it. It passed all applicable safety, equipment, and performance standards, as expected because US/Canada standards for most vehicles are the same. I found that the process was easy, once I actually started the project, and the rewards were (when our dollar was in better shape) large financially. The other take away was what the Canadian dealers told me when I mentioned the cross border shopping project, and that was all the same nonsense about warranty coverage and so on. Scare tactics, plain and simple. In the first month after registration, I had a warranty recall on it, and dealt with the manufacturer, and the point of sale dealer, and got it resolved here in Canada by a Canadian warranty service provider without any problems. At no charge.
- The moral of this story is, if you don't ask the questions, and do the homework, things may not work out for you. I admit YMMV on a motorhome chassis, but other than an unspoken protectionist manufacturer corporate sales/service policy, I can't see why it should be much different for a class B van. Importing from Canada to the US, same general opinion, shouldn't be much difference, I would think. It also appears that when dealers get involved, the answers really depend on who you ask, and what the motivation behind their answers might be. If you can save $20,000 by buying up here, I'd be looking into it, and starting the homework to see if it's possible. That's a good chunk of change and it might even be worth ignoring the warranty issues, if any, simply on the accounting side.
After thought: You might casually mention your cross border shopping plan to a local dealer to see if you can leverage a better price? I'm sure they'd do the same to you....
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