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Thread: Importing a car from Canada to the US

  1. #1

    Importing a car from Canada to the US


    I'm thinking of importing a car from Canada to Michigan. Anyone know of any issues to be aware of? Do I have to pay GST and US tax? What about 2.5% duty?

    The kit car is a Fiero rebody. Do the bumpers have to hold to DOT standards? The Fiero fram is intact, but the original GT bumpers have been changed.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Upstate NY

    Re: Importing a car from Canada to the US

    I had requested similar info for a possible purchase I was interested a while back...The deal fell through although some info is posted in the OFF-TOPIC section of the Forum.

    Life is too short to be driving Hondas!

  3. #3

    Re: Importing a car from Canada to the US

    Well, I finally did it. I guess in completing the act, I also answered my own questions. In the event there is anyone else out there who is considering on importing a turnkey from Canada, here's my experience. The transaction went off smoothly and surprisingly quickly. Oh, one'll have to decide how many common denominators you have with my experience in order to compare "apples to apples" so to say. The key was having all of the necessary paperwork in order before approaching the US border.

    My story was importing a 1985 Fiero GT based rebody (Stinger 308) from Quebec to Michigan - bought from a private individual.
    1. Obtain the VIN. Probably the most important "first step"
    2. Run a CARFAX report using the VIN for $19.99. This'll tip you off if the donor frame was ever damaged in an accident
    3. Contact Vintage Vehicle Services @ GM Canada 905-440-7697. Provide the VIN and Frank Agueci will issue you two letters on official GM stationary for $75.00+tax CDN. The first will state that the vehicle meets all US Federal Safety Standards and Emission Control requirements (provided that it is only a rebody and still runs on a Fiero engine). The second letter will state that there are no outstanding recalls on the vehicle. This is the most important paperwork. US Customs needs this information
    4. If you're sure this is going to be a deal, obtain the insurance. I went through, and in 48 hours I had my policy and insurance cards via the internet.
    5. Once in Canada, you'll have to register the car at their DMV in order to obtain a "temp tag" to be able to drive it home. This is where you and the seller will transfer ownership and title. Present your insurance card and driver's license.'ll have to pay the 7.5% GST. All Fieros are old enough to be "value exempt", which means there's no predetermined value for the car. That's great news because the seller of my car was gracious enough to claim that I bought the car for $100. That meant I only spent $7.50 CDN on the tax and $20. CDN for the temp tag.
    6. Now you're on the road and heading for the border...remember to place your temp tag in the front windshield of the passenger's side in Ontario (rear window, driver's side in Quebec). The highway police will stop you if they see an exotic car with no plates...believe me!
    7. At the border, inform the officer that you need to import the car. Present your letters from GM, the temp tag, a hand written "Bill of Sale" and your driver's license. You'll also have to disclose a "value". Don't fudge here, these numbers will help in determining resale or insurance value. While in the station they will issue you Completed Customs Form 7501, EPA Form 3520-1 and Declaration Import Form HS-7. Basically, they clear you with the proper paperwork stating the car "Meets US EPA and DOT per letter of conformity". You will not be charged duty on Fieros.
    8. Now you're across the border and the car's coming home...but wait, you're not done yet. At your local DMV, present your new title, insurance card, driver's license and Customs paperwork to the clerk. He/she will transfer your title to a US version, charge the applicable sales tax and issue your plates

    That's it! Simple. Like I said...the key is being prepared with all the necessary paperwork.

    e-mail me with questions.

  4. #4

    Re: Importing a car from Canada to the US

    Thank you for posting this information..I suspose a v8 car would have to be smog tested and then certified.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Importing a car from Canada to the US

    now that's good to know.

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