On Your Side: Why American cars are cheaper
Published Thursday, March 29, 2012 3:13PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 7, 2012 2:36PM EDT
MONTREAL- As Canadians know, automotive sticker shock starts where the Welcome to Canada signs begin.
Whether kicking tires on a Kia compact or a souped-up BMW, car buyers do a slow burn when they realize they would score a lower price for the same vehicle in the United States.
Canada's automotive prices are explained by higher Canadian taxes and regulatory fees, a smaller market and the fact that car prices don't dip when the loonie soars.
Last year Canadians saw some bargains when car retailers slashed prices to combat a sales slump.
But even with those sales, we're still falling short, as one expert acknowledges.
"Canadians have it good now but even with our dollar being so much stronger, it's just not as good as what the Americans are seeing," said George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association.
Leasing a vehicle in the States is not a realistic option because one is required to live in the country where one signs such a contract.
And assorted vehicle importation fees will nullify any savings from a purchase. Also, American warranties are not honoured in Canada.
However, importing a used luxury vehicle might be the exception, according to one car dealer.
"In the States the roads are better, the weather is better and there's more cars available," said "Ricky Haroon of Auto Direct Montreal. "As well, most U.S. vehicles are fully loaded."
The APA says if the car is in good shape and has a balance of warranty, you can still save anywhere from three to eight thousand on a used luxury vehicle.
Experts stress that a buyer should go through a recognized broker to find the best deal, have the car checked and do the paperwork.
"When a good broker buys a vehicle in the States, he gets it checked out. He knows what to look for," said Haroon.