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If you live in Canada and want to get a pre-owned US spec Subaru, this site should help with the process.
This unofficial site is by Joe Spitz and not authorized, sponsored, or supported in by Subaru of America or any dealership.
Outback, Legacy, Forester, Impreza, Tribeca available from Joe Spitz, 206.769.7821
Buying a lightly used Subaru? I have a selection of late model, low mile, pre-owned Subarus - a variety of Outback, Tribeca, Forester, Impreza. Contact Joe Spitz, internet sales manager at a major Seattle, Washington area Subaru dealer. Contact and price information is below.
all text, photos © Joe
Spitz, unauthorized reproduction prohibited. you are here http://www.cars101.com/canada.html.
Yes, I sell used (not
new) Subarus into Canada.
If you are interested in one in the Seattle area, please call me (Joe Spitz) at 206 769-7821
VIN plate - all US and Canadian cars have a VIN plate with build date on either the driver door or door jam.
EIS - Electronic Immobilizer
System. An Immobilizer Key is required in Canada.
Effective September 1, 2007, every Canadian passenger vehicle, multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck and 3 wheeled vehicle manufactured after September 1, 2007 and with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) less than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs), except an emergency vehicle or a walk-in van, must be equipped with an immobilization system (EIS) as per the requirements of CMVSS 114.
Admmissable vehicles to
import into Canada
updated June, 2011
1997 to 2007- All models
built before September 1, 2007
2007 and 2008 Impreza. If built after September 1, 2007 [EIS ]
2007 and 2008 Impreza STI. If built after September 1, 2007 [EIS]
2009 All models
2010 all models [EIS]
2011 all models [EIS}
2012 all models [EIS}
2013 all models [EIS}
2014 all models [EIS}
2015 all models [EIS}
EIS - electronic immobilizer system.
All cars brought into Canada built after Sept 1, 2007 are required to have an EIS.
All US spec cars built after 2007 do have an EIS but it may not meet Canadian standard CMVSS 114
Vehicles with an EIS that
doesn't meets CMVSS 114 will require confirmation of the presence of an
immobilizer at the time of the RIV inspection.
Demonstration of the presence of an electronic immobilizer can be done through one of the following means:
- Presentation of the completed vehicle purchase agreement showing the vehicle identification number and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer
- Presentation of the vehicle window sticker (Monroney label) showing the vehicle identification number and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer
- A letter from the manufacturer showing the vehicle identification number and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer.
- Other type of information present on the vehicle or on the ignition key or fob allowing the positive identification of such a system.
Jan 3, 2008 The deadline arrives. SoA stops all rebates for Canadian customers and all dealer incentives or bonuses on cross border sales but some (very few) dealers continue selling cross border."
Dec 19, 2007: "The Government of Canada has amended the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations to make it easier for Canadians to import vehicles from the United States built on or after September 1, 2007, that are already equipped with an electronic immobilization system or that can be fitted with one.... Final notice of adoption will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on December 26, 2007, at www.canadagazette.gc.ca."
Dec 4, 2007: Effective
January 3, 2008, there will be no US rebates for Canadian buyers, or
bonuses or any incentives paid to dealers or salespeople on cross border
The statement says '..vehicle sales made by US dealers outside of the continental US, are discouraged. This includes exports or sales to Canada... (these) will no longer be eligible for any SoA incentive payment programs such as vehicle incentives (rebates), dealer sales volume bonuses, salesperson payouts..'.
STATEMENT, June 21, 2007
this is still current in 2014
The US warranty on new US spec cars is NOT honored by Subaru of Canada. It is honored and backed by Subaru of America.
Warranty work on 2008 and
newer US cars has to be done either at a US dealer or if at a Canadian
Subaru dealer, paid for by the customer and then reimbursement comes to
the customer from SoA. I
This is not retroactive and
2007s and previous years may be billed by the Canadian dealer and the customer
may not pay, but some dealers may request payment even on 07 or earlier
Subaru of America warranty reimbursement comes in US dollars and
for the amount normally paid to a US dealer for the warranty work if done
at a US dealership. You Ca dealer may charge retail and the reimbursement
amount you receive will be less. Of course you can always bring your US
spec car to any US dealer for warranty work.
the official statement
June 21, 1007
1. return the car to the US for all warranty repairs at an authorized Subaru dealer at no charge, or
2. Have the car repaired at an authorized Canadian Subaru dealer, pay for the repairs, then submit a copy of the repair order marked "Paid" for reimbursement to SoA through the CDS (customer dealer services), address Subaru of America, Inc, Subaru Plaza, PO Box 6000, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 08034-6000, USA, phone 800 SUBARU3.
In the interest of full disclosure to the Canadian purchaser, please ensure that all sales personnel and aware of this warranty limitation and the requirement to notify the customer.
please read - warranty
work on any US spec Subaru temporarily driven or permanently imported into
Canada will have to be paid by the owner with reimbursement from SoA.
your used Subaru into Canada from the US
How to import a used car into Canada
all info subject to change, correction
Q: Do US spec models
meet Canadian standards?
A: Yes, they meet most specs and it's easy to show the US cars have an EIS (electronic immobilizer system)
Q Daytime Running lights?
A: Yes, all recent US models have daytime running lights.
Q: Is the Subaru of
America warranty good in Canada (warranty
A: YES the US warranty is honored and backed by Subaru of America (SoA). It is NOT honored by Canadian dealers.
On 2008 and newer Subarus the Canadian buyer will have to pay for the warranty work done at a Canadian Subaru dealer and then submit the paid bill to SoA for reimbursement, or have the warranty work done at a US dealer. This is effective June 21, 2007 and applies to all Canadian owned and registered 2008 and newer US spec Subarus regardless of purchase date that were immediately registered in Canada.
1. The warranty reimbursement check from SoA will the sent to the owner and address of record with SoA regardless of whose name is on the repair bill according to my sources. This means updating current owner name and address is crucial. Owners should update records at my.subaru.com, or by calling 1-800 SUBARU-3.
2. US resident Canadian citizens living in the US and registering their US spec Subaru at their legal US address at time of purchase will receive warranty repair work without having to pay. SCI will bill SoA.
Q: What fees and taxes do I pay?
A: No sales tax in Washington State for out of state buyers with ID and proof of out of state residency.
There is a $39 three day Wa State Trip Permit and a $150 doc fee.
Other states might charge sales taxes and other license and doc fees, always ask the seller.
Q: How do I get the car?
A: Come pick it and enjoy a road trip. Yes, it's fine to drive a car home. Or pay a shipper to come get it. I have a small list of shippers who will pick the car up at the dealership and take it into Canada. Either the owner or a Canadian customs broker is usually required to be at the border to sign the documents and pay the fees. Shipping costs varies with fuel and etc, but to BC is app $5-600 Ca, to Calgary app $900-1300 Ca. You pay the shipper directly.
Q: Do I pay duties
or fees at the Canadian border?
A: You'll pay your normal GST. The Canadian Border Services says, "You will have to pay import assessments which may include duty, excise tax, and the 6% Goods and Services Tax. Provincial or territorial sales tax may apply when you license your vehicle.... Generally, you do not have to pay duty on an imported vehicle that was manufactured in the United States, Canada or Mexico;" from pg 9 on http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/E/pub/cp/rc4140/rc4140-05e.pdf
So there are no duties
under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) on US built Legacy, Outback,
Tribeca and Baja because they are built in Lafayette, Indiana. (Baja discontinued
after the 06 model)
There are Duties on Impreza and Forester because they are built in Japan (6.1%- suject to change). This and other fees can vary by province.
Paperwork to cross
the US and Canadian borders
all info subject to update, change, correction
What you need at the dealer-
vary by state
> current driver license
> current proof of insurance (on any car)
> current proof of residency- a current utility, rent, or mortgage bill with name and address, voter registration card etc. For Washington State this proves you live out of state and don't pay sales tax
For US Customs you'll need
1. Title with
your name filled in. Not a copy of the title, you'll need the real one.
A new car's title is also known as the MSO (Manufacturer's Statement of
Origin) or COO (Certificate of Origin).
2. Purchase Order (PO) from with your name and VIN on it. Price and any other fees should be clearly marked.
3. US Border Worksheet that you Fax to the US border at the same time as the Title and PO.
4. These 3 documents above
need to be faxed for pre-approval to the applicable US border where
you will cross at least 3 working days prior to crossing.
Fax the front and back of the title, the PO, and the Worksheet to the US Border you want to cross at least 72 weekday hours in advance.
After faxing the information to the border, please contact them to confirm it was received.
If your paperwork was correctly sent in advance and is in order, the US customs process and any vehicle inspection should be pretty quick.
Note: not all US customs offices are open nights and/or weekends for vehicle export.
US Customs export to Canada through Blaine, Washington Fax (360) 332-2639, Monday-Friday 8-3:30
For Canadian Border Services
Summary: You get Form
1 from Canadian Border Services when you cross after paying your fees (see
You Fax or mail Form 1 along with your Recall Clearance letter to RIV.
RIV then sends you Form 2, which you take Canadian Tire for the required inspection. When Form 2 has been stamped by Canadian Tire, RIV will issue registration. This process can take a few weeks depending on demand.
When you cross the Canadian
all info subject to change, correction, updating. all info from riv.ca
The car has to be on the authorized list
1. check the VIN plate on the car. All Subarus have a driver's door VIN plate stating the model year, build date, VIN and that it was built to US specifications see image below.
2. You'll want to have
with you the Title and Purchase order when you cross the Canadian border.
Canada Border Services Agency will collect a nonrefundable RIV fee of $204.75 + applicable Canadian taxes. Ways to pay: Online payment at www.riv.ca may be fastest, or mail a check and your Form 1 to Registrar of Imported Vehicles, 405 The West Mall, Ste 500, Toronto, On, M9C 5K7. Checks held for ten business days. Debit or cash may be used at the RIV office. There may be a $100 air conditioning fee.
3. You'll get a Form 1
from the Border services. After payment, Form 1 and the Recall
Clearance letter have been received by the RIV, an Inspection
Form (Form 2) will be mailed. RIV has contracted with Canadian Tire to perform federal inspections. There are 430 locations.
4. When you pass
the inspection, the inspection center will stamp your Form 1 that you
will have to present to the provincial or territorial licensing authority.
Within approximately one week of passing the federal inspection, you should recieve a Canadian Certification label with instructions on where to affix it to your vehicle.
'How to do it' from RIV
(Canada Registar of Imported Vehicles)
RIV Phones 888-848-8240, Fax 888-346-8235; Hours Mon to Fri: 7:00am - 12:00 midnight (EST), Sat, Sun: 7:00am to 5:00pm (EST)
Canadian Customs and Fees from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/E/pub/cp/rc4140/rc4140-05e.pdf, 800-461-9999
Q: How do I get the the Certificate of Recall Clearance letter from Subaru?
A: The letter comes from Subaru of America (SoA). SoA will require proof the car is in your name, usually a Faxed copy of the title (front and back) and/or purchase order. It can take from 1-5 days to get the recall letter. Call 1-800-SUBARU-3 (800-782-2783), the same folks you call to warranty reimbursement.
RIV Recall Clearance
RIV says "... we are unable to release the Inspection Form until such time as we receive a confirmation that there are no Outstanding recalls for your vehicle...
A recall clearance letter is a document issued by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of your vehicle that states whether or not there are any outstanding recalls on your vehicle...
The letter must come from the OEM's head office and be written on official company letterhead, duly signed with the name and position of the official at the OEM clearly visible. If the manufacturer's logo is not on the letter it will not be accepted....
In some cases, we will also accept a printout from an authorized American dealer"
To get this letter, please
contact SoA at 800 782-2783 (800 SUBARU3) once the vehicle has been reported
sold in your name which your dealer will do. SoA will mail, fax or email
these documents to your house, this can take 1-4 days. BC residents will
need an inspection, AB residents don't.
FAX the recall clearance letter to 888-642-9899.
> Note. RIV
says "To facilitate the timely release of your vehicle's RIV inspection
form and to avoid any unforeseen delays or additional expenses, we recommend
that you obtain your recall clearance documentation and submit it to RIV
before you import, as soon as you purchase the vehicle.
Recall clearance documentation can be submitted to RIV: fax 1-888-642-9899, e-mail email@example.com, or in person or by mail to an RIV office location."
Border Crossing Wait Times
Washington State Traffic Camera (Blaine)
US Crossing Times
March 2011 "Took it in for
the inspection at 3 pm today, and had it all legal with the license plates
on it by 5 pm. Surprised me, as I thought it would take a couple of days
for RIV to ok the licensing. Anyway, I'm a happy camper. Thanks
again, Alan" March 2011
Just wanted to send a note to say thanks for all the help in procuring our new Tribeca. Through the use of your extensive web site and personal instructions things have gone very smoothly and our vehicle is registered, licensed and driving us around. At the border and insurance agent I met a couple of people who were not as fortunate in receiving accurate and detailed instructions from their vendors and who were having troubles or delays with the rigmarole of importing. I was able to offer a friendly hint based on your advice to us.
Love the vehicle and look forward to many years of care free driving. Love comments like ‘it’s gorgeous! I want one’ – referred to you of course.
Have a great Christmas! Chuck and Jennifer B, BC, Ca (Dec. 4, 07)
Just to let you know that I have my car and it looks really good. I drove back from Toronto yesterday. It is a comfortable car to drive and it is the right size: it corners very well and has lots of pick up and go. In short a happy customer. The shipping and customs stuff went without a hitch and was relatively inexpensive.
Regards, Tom H., Forester X (Oct 2007)
"I just got through with importing a new 2007 Subaru Forester into Canada and I was really happy with the results so I thought I would share my experience. Granted, I think I got somewhat lucky and hit it at the right time (the 2008 Forester's are being sold in the US now so they are clearing out 2007's plus I hit on a $2000 factory rebate).
In the end, after every last expense I had to pay to get the car imported, inspected and insured, I saved literally 25% (everything converted to Cdn) off the price of buying the same new vehicle from a dealership here in Vancouver. Ridiculous but true. Of course, this percentage hinges a lot on the current strength of the Cdn dollar so keep that in mind.
I was quite skeptical going in but ended up very happy with the result. My starting point was a website I found at http://www.cars101.com/, which has an entire section on how to import to Canada that is quite up-to-date and accurate. The site is run by a guy named Joe Spitz, who works at Carter Subaru in Seattle. He's the guy I dealt with directly.
Joe was quite a breath of fresh air to deal with. If you look around on the website he has a ton of detailed information about all Subaru vehicles including the invoice prices that the dealer themselves pay. I called him up on the phone, he told me which 2007 Forester's he had available and gave me a price that, having looked around, was lower than anything else I'd seen. And that was it. No negotiating or back and forth or "let me talk to my manager" or anything like that. It was just "here's what I have and here's what it costs", period. The way it should be.
Joe's website has a lot of details but it doesn't talk about things like insurance and the specifics of the taxes. Here is a line by line break down of every expense I incurred during this process:
Price of vehicle plus a 3
day test-drive permit for about $23 provided by dealership all converted
from US to Cdn at the going rate.
And, yes, after all of that I still ended up saving 25% over the best price I could find in Canada (even having talked to an auto-broker who did a search for me).
Joe was great. I highly recommend dealing directly with him if you're in Western Canada. He even picked me up from the bus station in Everett himself. I was super-skeptical buying something I'd never seen but the car is perfect -- brand new and even came with some extras I would have had to pay for in Canada. Everything Joe told me was 100% accurate and true. There were no surprises or hidden costs or anything like that.
As for what you need to do, the RIV website itself is pretty good. It covers all of the instructions except for the insurance you need (which I describe above). When you talk to Joe he also faxes a package to you telling you exactly what you need to do to import that car. You need to give 72 hours notice to the US border that you're coming, for example. The whole process from my first phone call until the time I picked up the car took me exactly 7 days (although technically it could have been done in less).
You'll need to talk to Subaru of America for a "recall clearance letter" and you can confirm for yourself that the warranty is transferable to Canada. When I talked to them they assured me that it was. Subaru is one of the very few that is this flexible with their warranty across the border. So that's a big advantage also.
All in all the only downside I can see is that I'm left with a speedometer that has km/h as a secondary reading and an odometer in mi/h. But for a 25% savings on a purchase of this size, I think I can learn to love converting.
Good luck and hope you have
as good an experience as I did.
read the original posting on redflagdeals
"I've got a lot of Private Messages regarding where I bought my new 2007 Outback, so I'm going to post here to help all those considering a Subaru that are living in Alberta and BC.
I bought my car from Carter Subaru in Seattle. I dealt with the internet sales manager Joe Spitz, he has a website that is the most comprehensive Subaru information website that I know... www.cars101.com Here he provides all invoice prices, rebates etc... and all features and changes of each model, if you are considering a Subaru, definitely check that site out. Joe evens gives you a step by step guide on importing a vehicle to Canada. Joe was super easy to deal with and he is a straight shooter, you do not get any BS from him. Carter Subaru also have a one price no haggle policy. But believe me, their price is more than fair. When I call Joe to get a quote on my car, the price that I got beat my expectation by more than $700, this was without any negotiation or haggling. I did all my pricing research on www.edmunds.com and www.kbb.com. Joe Spitz and Carter Subaru definitely has lots of experiences in selling to Canadians so it was a zero hassle experience for me. It was definitely the easiest new car purchase I've ever made. The importation process is super easy as long as you follow the instructions and have all your paperwork ready when crossing the border....." read the full posting on redflagdeals.com, message #2196
One person's experience importing to Canada
I would like to thank Joe Spitz from Carter Subaru in Seattle (see http://www.cars101.com) for his assistance. Joe made this experience enjoyable -- no playing games -- it was pure business.
We have decided to import our new 2006 OB VDC because the BC dealers did not really want to negotiate much -- it was mostly take it or leave it option. We have sensed that the US dealers are more flexible and we could save some major $$$.
The first step was to contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (http://www.riv.ca). They have a web page with a step by step process what you have to do. The 2006 models are NOT listed as importable, however after several phone calls we have received a letter from the RIV which we were to present on the border and they certified the 2006 Outbacks as importable. An interesting note: don't get discouraged if you speak with the first rep at RIV and they tell you a car is not importable. I learned by experience that there are some better and worse reps there. If you can't get anywhere, ask to leave a voicemail to Natasha (I can't remember her last name) or Gary Moriarty.
Make sure you phone Canada Customs and verify the import duty you will have to pay for the car. If the car is made in the US and it contains at least 50% of US/Canadian parts, then there is NO duty. It must also have a sticker MADE IN US and it must comply with all applicable US federal standards. THIS IS THE MOST CRUCIAL STEP in the whole process. DO YOUR DUE DILLIGENCE ON THIS (sorry for screaming, but you must do it). Based on my experience there's no duty on legacy/outbacks. It might be on other subaru cars if they don't fall under NAFTA.
With the RIV letter in hand I emailed a request for a quote to 4 or 5 dealerships in Washington state. We knew the exact model, colour, etc. we wanted. They all responded with quotes. After some haggling back and forth for about a week we have chosen to deal with Joe from Carter Subaru. He prepared all paperwork and faxed it over for us to check it. I acknowledged the order by email.
Our car was a factory order and the car arrived on time as promised by Joe. Joe is a straight shooter and he never over-promised anything. Again, the paperwork was faxed to us, we wired the money after it was delivered to the dealership.
US Customs: the US Vehicle Export Team requires the title and invoice to be faxed at least 3 business days before the car is exported. Phone them and they will fax you an information package that has all instructions. You have to phone them after you faxed the documents again to make sure all paperwork is legible and OK before you show up on the border. They responded in precisely 74 hours (3 days and 2 hours ) after we faxed the papers.
Car pickup: The car was ready for us when we showed up at the dealership. Also, all paperwork was ready. If we didn't have kids with us, it would take us about an hour to go through the car and papers and we'd be gone. No hassle whatsoever cudos to Joe who also made sure that one minor thing got fixed on the spot.
US Border: once we showed up on the border, it was a 2 min process to rubber stamp the title with the border stamp in order to mark it as legally exported.
Canadian Border and Customs: the customs agent knew exactly what to do and what forms to fill out. He also phoned the RIV and arranged for the payment of our RIV fee so we didn't have to do it VIP treatment all the way -- nothing to complain about. We paid the GST and the AC tax, no customs duty because the Outbacks are made in Indiana. We received the Form 1 (which describes the vehicle).
After that we drove home and parked our car. Now the waiting happens -- you have to receive FORM 2 from the RIV. Phone the RIV a couple of days after you import the car and verify that they have received a copy of the FORM 1. Our form 1 was not legible when it came through the fax from the customs. The RIV is going to ask you for a case number -- this is the red number on the right top corner of your form 1. This process can take 10 days so be patient
I had to phone the SoA as
well to get the "recall clearance letter" which is required for the federal
The last step was to get the insurance and license plates. Find a knowledgeable insurance broker and ask him/her if he's registered imported cars before. They get a copy of almost every paper you have, you pay the insurance and the PST, license plate fee, etc. And you are DONE.
OK, how much did all cost:
Did it make sense? Yes in our case -- just be patient. The only minus are the odometer in miles (speedometer has both miles/hr and km/hr) and the paperwork / lengthy process"
|Joe, For your information
I've got inspection notice ( Form 2) yesterday via e-mail, only three days
after border crossing, and I sent my wife to Canadian tire today
for inspection. My insurance agent came to my house to do the paper work. All done and I've completed the process. Thanks, DK, September 07
Import into the US
all info subject to change, correction
US govt rules about importing a car from overseas
Q. How do you price your cars if I want to get one from you?
A: While this is a fully independent non-sponsored information website, I am Internet-Fleet Sales Manager at Carter Subaru Shoreline and sell lighty used cars cross border.
You need to know the
US spec model you want..
Not sure what you want? This site should help you.
Everything is fully disclosed. It's easy and completely upfront.
Contact me and please do not involve anyone else at the dealership if you want my special pricing.
Once you decide to proceed,
I fax a complete package including Purchase Order with price details
and VIN, the Title with your name filled in, information on US borders
with hours and contact info, information on the Recall Clearance letter,
warranty, and finally the dealership's bank and account information.
References from previous buyers are available. Contact me for prices at 206 769-7821.If you really want to email, check my contact page.
You can either pick
the car up at the dealership or use a shipper.
If you pick up at the dealership I can help with transportation to the dealership once you're in the Seattle area.
I also have alist of shippers
Contact Joe Spitz
at Carter Subaru Shoreline to purchase a lightly used Subaru 206 769-7821.
Please know the US model you want and we'll go over the colors available and price and do not involve anyone else at the dealership if you want my special pricing.
I have everything set up
for Canadians, all the paperwork.
If you pick up at the dealership I can help with local transportation to the dealership once you're in the Seattle area. Or help arrange shipping the car shipping to you.