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SFX Group 08-01-2012 09:15 PM

Want import a BMW? READ THIS, i just did it
If you arnt going to save more than $3000 on the sticker price, its not worth it!

This PDF view is way better than reading below, esp the pricing section....

Import BMW 750iL 2000 to Canada from USA

This it to assist anyone who is thinking of importing a BMW from USA to Canada, there are 4 main rules

BUDGET / Exchange rate / Research / Communicate

Expenses (based on a 1000km drive) you need to save more than $3000 for you to save any money!

As an overview is what you will need (paperwork and money) at each step then below I have outlined in detail (with costs) how much it actually cost me and what I actually did. Remember exchange rate, on US$10000 your going to pay about CAN $300 in exchange rate and fees for banking to move that money to USA

I have listed below the main steps, then I also listed what I paid over the top of what I would have done should I have got a car from Canada (so you can compare).

Bringing car back (USA side)
Paperwork in
Confirmation of loan clearance (normally on the title)

Paperwork out
Title stamped by Customs as exporting.

Must notify the USA boarder 72 hours before hand, fax (or email now at some boarders) a copy of the title, if it had a lean on it, must be signed to say its been paid or a letter on corporate headed paper from the loan bank with VIN number confirming its been paid.

This title must be identical to the one you bring over, so that means with your new owner address on the back (if you alter it or its different from your fax 72 hours ago USA boarder will not allow it through).

Make sure you have 30 days of temporary plates on the car from the state you purchased it from (very important to drive in Canada from the boarder.

Bringing car back (Canada side)
Paperwork in
Title (stamped by USA boarder)
Original bill of sale (what you paid for it with the VIN on it)
Insurance in Canada
Drivers licence

Paperwork out
FORM1 completed by customs
Receipt for duty and GST paid

You pay total of car, less allowance (your duty free part for 2 days in USA that’s $400 of the total)
Duty (on BMW is 6.1%)

Declare the car at port of entry (they will already know, as will have a temporary plate from a state), your go in to customs with your insurance, USA Title, drivers licence and receipt (which must have the VIN number on it) you will be asked to pay GST on the sales price (less your duty allowance).

Your have to pay 6.1% import duty (its not made in USA, some are though ive been told, not many though). They will complete FORM1 for you.

Recall letter
Go to a BMW dealer (I did this as soon as I got back, actually drove straight there from the port), they will charge you $500 for older than 2001, NOTE:cars with iDrive are about $1500 and MAY need a new dashboard (about $3000)

Ask them to do the Safety and Emissions test as well as your need them below. For BMW make sure the Daytime running lights are on, I did mine in USA, was cheaper).

Go online, you can track cases, pay RIV (online is about $220 with taxes) super easy to do, need the FORM 1 number and last 6 digits of your VIN, they tell you what there waiting for (like payment or recall letter)

I didn’t need to send my recall letter, BMW sent it to RIV for me, once I paid you can then download ” (assuming they have the recall letter) “FORM 2”, also called the “inspection form”

RIV Inspection (FORM 2 at Canadian Tire)
Make sure all items on FORM 2 are complete (like Daytime Running Lights, and child restraints), then take the car, FORM1 and FORM2 (which you downloaded above) to Canadian Tire, they mill around it for a bit, have a bit of a joke about the airbag French sticker and check the tires, VIN, mileage (make sure this is right, if its wrong you have some problems later (when you service the car, it will show up as clocked on any history report, one of my motorbikes was almost done wrong like this by Canadian Tire).

They will stamp FORM1 for you and FORM2, they will fax FORM2 to RIV for you, then give them all back to you.

Register car (MTO)
Go to MTO with the completed FORM1, insurance, TAX receipt (done at the boarder), title, original bill of sale, safety paperwork (with emissions), they will then take the PST (this is from the amount of the Customs bill NOT the higher original amount you paid, remember you got a deduction) from you and register the car.

Job done

The reason for this is, I paid so much money I didn’t think I was going to have to, mainly as I didn’t plan ahead and budget. Below is listed an example of money you will pay, you will see how this works out as extra on what looked like a cheap car (my 750iL wasn’t available in Canada so I didn’t mind).

I based the distance of about 1000km from Canada to USA (I did mine from Cambridge to Chicago), the Canada side for comparison is 200km in Canada (quiet a distance to find a car you might want inside canada)

Original sticker price CAN $14000 US $10000
Compensation for currency +$300 (CAN 1.00 to US 0.98)
Fuel / travel to see car $40 $170
Food to see car (9 hour drive) $30
Fees to pay car (bank transfer etc..) $100
Fuel / travel to collect car $40 $340 (twice the amount as driving 2 cars
Hotels to compensate for Customs $150
GST (%5) $700 $495 (on $10300 - $400 allowance
= $9900)
Duty (%6.1 for BMW) $603.90
RIV $220
BMW Recall letter (Canada) $500
BMW DRL change $70 (done in USA)
Safety / emissions $230 $230
PST (%8) $1120 $792

TOTAL $16130 $14000.90

Saving of $2129.10, nothing like the $4000 it appears to be! And the risk of not knowing the “dealer” or private person you are buying the car from.

If you managed to get a recall letter from a USA BMW dealer this might work with RIV, however they have been told to only take BMW Canada recalls. The $500 BMW Canada charge is cheap if you have anything with an iDrive in it, then it will be more like $1500 and they want you to replace the Dashboard ($3000 or more), this is the Communication part, ask the dealer before you buy the car and import it. I had DRL turn on my key in USA, however BMW Canada says the whole car should be told to be “Canada” this is way more money than $70, but I had DRL so I was ok (claimed ignorance about it).

There’s LOADS of running around, I was pulled in twice by the police for having a USA temporary plate on the car (only had on it for 9 days till I got the temporary plates from MTO, I had a 30 day plate from USA with insurance), I was almost booked once, MTO says I was in the right, Police says I was in the wrong, I don’t win as I would get the fine

A LOT of driving, 9 hours there, 9 hours back, first time we drove from 1am, arrived at 8am (timezone difference), then arrived back in Canada 1am the next day. Check the boarders most will only allow car Exports between 8-5pm and half day Friday, we didn’t know this so had to get the car Saturday then wait till Monday before driving it back. 1000km drive on a car you don’t know is a lot of stress as well (remember this)

Overall I would do it again, but would need to be a substantial saving and be something I really need to get from USA, so an X5 might not be worth it, however my BMW 750iL (2000) I could not even find in Canada and when i I did it was a super high price.

Don’t forget Tires! I had to put a set on the front of my car, that was $650 more I didn’t budget for which I didn’t include above.

bmwm5lover 08-01-2012 10:31 PM

Thanks for the updated and well detailed post.
I've imported 3 cars, 1 BMW and 2 Range Rovers.
They were all "rare" in their ways so it made it "worth it" overall though, I don't think it really is worth it.

I also had some hook ups so the Canadian tire process was just a matter of me showing up.
You can also get the letters of compliance from the dealers in the states to save some $$$



SFX Group 08-01-2012 11:55 PM

Always find someone who has a car after you buy one lol

that one on Kijiji, rebuilt gearbox, no way i would go near that.... (selling now after paying 10k on the rebuild, looks like has more wrong with it) and no massage seats in the front (i didnt look the VIN up but i bet thats over priced for the toys it doesnt have). However the car i wanted HAD to be black / black :) (the black one in the sig in the one i imported, getting safety / emmissions tomorrow

I know what you mean, if theres a car you want, its worth it as long as you know what your getting in to (which was the point of the write up). :)

SFX Group 08-04-2012 11:23 AM

Ive now included an EXCEL spreadsheet to help work out costings on a live bases... (link is inside the PDF file)

Direct link :

PinkieMoscow 08-10-2012 05:14 PM

nice write up, thank you.

SFX Group 08-12-2012 11:28 PM

Major spreadsheet update, well worth a look at the link, now you can compare a Canada car to a USA import car with real costings.

slemmer 08-14-2012 03:17 PM

Nice write up. It would be ideal if the exchange rate offset the 6.1% duty import so the attraction to import would be so much better.

SiR 08-15-2012 12:16 AM

thats a loss given the time imho.

and damn thats crazy pricey for that car...but if its what you want thats all that matters I guess.

what kind of gas mileage does that v12 get?

SFX Group 08-15-2012 12:57 AM

The prices above are not for my car, they are an idea....

I get up to 32MPG on highway, its around town it eats fuel, small trips (10km) will get an average of 17MPG, however long trips (10km all highway) will average out at 22MPG.

Its actually not that bad, however it really depends as you HAVE to use 91 octane fuel to not do the CATS in, (there something like 3k each new, V12 has 2 of them).

SiR 08-15-2012 09:30 AM

thats pretty darn reasonable mileage. seems quite a bit better than its rated for?

SFX Group 08-15-2012 08:44 PM

Put the cruise on, the needle is always above 30mpg, however its when you touch the gas, it drinks it, once you learn how to drive it, its not that bad. So that means FLOOR it from the lights to get up to speed and put the cruise on, the engine management really is intelligent, it will burn less fuel on the cruise control.

I always laugh as you hear the "new ford focus is up to 32mpg on highways", well my 5.4 v12 is up to 32MPG on highways as well lol although remember i have to use 91 or higher octane gas though (that adds cost). Although i am sure thats why the millage is good.

granted, around town is nasty, i had to find a longer route to work, but has no lights on it so i can cruise at 50kph (live in Canada).

mkgino 08-16-2012 01:26 AM

The best type of car to save as much money on is a car that is ~1 year used, with very low mileage. I figure overall I saved $10-15000 on my M3 fully loaded with only 6000 miles.

richmak 08-25-2012 02:40 PM

I have done it too, but in 2008 on my '03 E39 wagon. Great savings and strongly recommended for the fellow maxbimmers here.

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