In the first half of 2008, 151,169 vehicles were
imported into Canada from the United States. Import volume has more than doubled from the same period last year and Canadians are on pace to smash the 2007 record for buying American vehicles.
Much of the import volume is driven by consumer demand.
With the Canadian and American currencies still close to par, vehicles are generally less
expensive in the United States.
Consumers in Canada have become acutely aware
of the savings associated with U.S. imports and are now actively shopping for American vehicles.
“It seems the only thing stopping more Canadians from importing American vehicles is confusion about the import process,” says Mark Sandelin, chief executive officer of ImportTrader, a company that helps Canadian consumers and
Canadian auto dealers import cars from the United States.
“With a little help, anyone can do it.”
Import volumes from the United States went up more than 55 per cent in each of the past two years.
The numbers have continued to rise in 2008.
In each month, from January through June of this year, import volumes more than doubled from the same month in 2007.
“Consumer awareness is certainly a major reason for the increase in import volume,” says Brian Osler, president & CEO of the North American
Automobile Trade Association (NAATA), the Ontario based association of dealers specializing in cross-border sales.
“Canadians are tuned in to the price
differences and know that they can get a great deal by buying an American import. The numbers show people are buying.”
Some Canadians purchase American vehicles from local dealers who stock imports in inventory. Some people buy directly from U.S. dealers and other consumers simply import on their own, typically with the assistance of a
company that specializes in importing.
“The bottom line is that there is money to be saved, no matter how you buy your American car,” notes Mr. Sandelin.
“Canadians have the right to pay fair market value for their vehicles.”
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