Can a Canadian vehicle be sold in the US?

When you think of car-producing countries, Canada won’t be the first name on your mind. But the famous snowy country is one of the biggest producers of light vehicles globally. So, can a Canadian vehicle be sold in the US?

Whether new or preowned, Canadian vehicles can be sold in the US. For the seller, there are two options for selling in the US. Either you use a dealership or find a buyer directly. Finding a direct buyer means the buyer will have to import the car into the US, or you’ll deliver the car to the buyer.

Importation into the US can be a bit complex, but the whole cost is similar to buying the car from a dealership in the US. Here, we discuss how to sell a Canadian car and the process of importing it.

How to sell a Canadian Car in the US

As a Canadian resident planning to sell a car, there are two ways the car can get into the hands of a US buyer. They include:

1.   Sell through a Dealership

This is the most convenient way to sell your Canadian vehicles. You simply need to find a Dealership in the US or Canada that’ll handle the sale process. With many Americans now buying used cars, Canadian dealerships import several cars to US dealerships. As a result, dealerships have more experience bringing a Canadian vehicle into the US and the importation process.

2.   Sell it yourself

Since you’re in Canada, selling your Canadian vehicle in the US will require finding a US buyer. You can find one using ads and listing your car for sale on the right online platforms. This also means more work for you. You’ll have to provide the buyer with accurate information, show them the car, answer questions, bargain with them, and help them with the importation process if there’s an agreement. There’s surely a lot of work for you in this. But if you find the right buyer, it might be worth the hassle.

The other option would be to drive your car into the US and sell it. You don’t need to live in the US to do this. But you need to have a driver’s license, registration, and insurance. You also need to make sure you don’t sell too many cars during the period as this might amount to work. In this case, your intention for bringing the car into the US must not be to deliver it to a buyer, or you’ll need a business visa.

How to import a Canadian Vehicle Into the US

Once you’ve found a buyer for your car in the US, the next step is for the buyer to import the car. Importing a Canadian car can be very complex. But knowing the steps to follow can simplify the process. Here are the steps:

1.   Research to see if it’s eligible for import

Before you even start the whole process, you need to make some findings to know whether you can import the car into the United States. If the. If the car model was sold in the US, then that’s a good sign you can import it. For example, car manufacturers such as GM,  Ford, and Chrysler have plants in Canada. They produce some of their cars here and import them to the US.

But the fact that an American carmaker has a plant in Canada doesn’t mean the car they produce is up to American standards or will conform with the US market. You need first to make sure of this. You can check the car for a label saying it’s okay for US distribution. This label can be near the edge of the door, by the hinge pillar, or the door latch.

2.   Federalize the car to meet US standards

Not all Canadian cars meet US standards regarding safety and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act stipulate these rules. Fortunately, the standards aren’t hard to meet for Canadian cars in most cases. The process for meeting the standards is federalization.

Normally, the safety in Canada is similar to that of the US. But there are times when there’ll be discrepancies. There may be an update to the rules. All you need to do is modify your vehicle to meet the standards. Just as you’re adjusting the car to meet safety standards, make sure you meet the environmental standards.

3.   Get the necessary documents.

You’ll need several documents when importing a car from Canada into the US. First, as the importer, you need to prove ownership of the car. You can easily do that with the Bill of sale, which contains the Vehicle Identification Number and your name as the car buyer. It’s not necessary to come to Canada before importing the car. Instead, you can work with the seller to prepare all the necessary documents for you.

4.   Get Temporary License Plate and Insurance

You’ll need a temporary license plate from the province where you buy the car to import it. It’s also essential to get temporary insurance or extend your US insurance to cover the car till you import it.

5.   Wash the Vehicle

Whether the buyer plans to drive or ship the car into the US, it’s important to clean it. Spray steam the car to get rid of all the dirt, soil particles, and stains they might have. Pay special attention to the undercarriage. Only clean cars will get through customs.

6.   Complete Custom Checks and Import the Car

The border or port is where all the efforts you’ve made on the car come to matter. Make sure you have all the necessary documents with you. This will speed up the clearing process. Even with all paperwork in order, you might still spend over 30 minutes at the customs clearing the car.

7.   Pay the Necessary Fees

You have to pay associated fees on importing a car from Canada. Again, these will depend on the model. Likely costs include import duties, gas guzzler tax, GST/HST in Canada, air conditioning tax, etc.

In Conclusion

Selling a Canadian car in the US can be stressful for buyers and sellers. The best way to simplify and speed up the sale is using a dealership. But if you choose to do it alone, make sure you work with experts.

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