The True Cost of Buying A Car Across the Border

February 23, 2018

Aside from purchasing a home, buying a vehicle is one of the biggest spending decisions a person can make.

It can also be incredibly time-consuming.

Traveling from place to place checking out vehicles as you search for the best deal takes a lot of time out of a busy person’s life.

That’s why more and more people are turning to online car shopping – the Internet gives buyers access to thousands of vehicles without having to leave the comfort of your home.

Online Car Shopping on the Rise

Buying over the internet can resolve two of the biggest issues for buyers –

  1. Finding the best price and
  2. Reducing stress

Doing things online is particularly effective when you’re looking to save money by buying in the US. Whether it’s purchasing from an auction or a new or used dealership, the internet gives you instant access to a fountain of information to process without having to leave home.

Many dealerships actually have separate online sales departments that operate with a different mindset than lot salespeople because they are supplied with alternative incentives by their manager.

  • In-person salespeople are often told to maintain the sticker price, with the negotiations starting there.
  • Online sales departments start with a lower “e-price” because they’re usually motivated by high-volume sales incentives. They know that online buyers aren’t typically ready to buy on the spot, so negotiations can often be done over the course of a few emails as you search for the best deal.

US car prices – both new and used – are usually well below Canadian prices to start with, so saving hundreds more off the sticker price makes buying across the border even more attractive.

But hold on a second.

Sure, you’ve saved a chunk of money by finding that lower price. But the true cost of buying a car across the border isn’t just about the price you paid.

Factors to consider before buying your vehicle in the US

There are a few other factors to consider before making a cross-border vehicle purchase.

  • What’s the current Canadian exchange rate? A sagging loonie can turn your bargain into a big sticker item.
  • What are the import duties and taxes on the vehicle? They vary depending on the make and model.
  • Will the vehicle meet Canada’s much stricter safety standards? Or will you have to fork over even more money for modifications?


Thinking about purchasing a car online from the US?

Talk to BorderBuddy. We’re fast, efficient and dedicated to taking the stress out of the import process. Our team of experts will assess the vehicle you’re looking at and we’ll calculate the true cost of bringing it back into Canada for you. Let’s make sure your deal is really a deal – before you buy.