As of July 2008 BMW and Mercedes very quietly dropped requirements that made importers pay for and procure admissibility letters from these manufacturers at a cost of $350 per letter. Furthermore, the manufacturers have also indicated to the RIV that recall and final compliance letters do not need to come from the Canadian head office of these manufacturers at a cost of $500 per letter. It seems manufacturers have dropped their requirements and allow for federally regulated compliance inspectors to review the cars, as has always been the requirement in the past. This means that we can install km/h speedometers and day time running lights at whatever cost and supplier we so choose.
BMW Canada began charging $500 per vehicle for supplying recall clearance letters for imported vehicles coming from the USA, as of June 2007. Previously there was no charge for this service.
BMW Canada began charging an additional $350 per vehicle for supplying letters of admissibility for imported vehicles coming from the USA, as of November 26, 2007. This is over and above the cost of a recall clearance letter. Previously nearly all BMWs were admissible for import from the USA, and no such letters were ever required. BMW has also convinced Transport Canada and the Registrar of Imported Vehicles that day time running lights (DRLs) found on US spec. BMWs do not meet Canadian DRL requirements. As such BMW Canada has mandated that only a Canadian BMW dealer can reprogram US BMWs to meet Canadian specs. In most cases late model BMWs will also require the installation of a Canadian instrument cluster and in some cases will require an HVAC control unit (e60 5 series and e63 6 series) to meet these Canadian DRL requirements. Expect to pay your local BMW dealer ~$400 to program, ~$1400 for a cluster, and ~$1000 for an HVAC control unit.
As of July 9, 2008 the June 2, 2007 and November 26, 2007 costs and requirements of compliance by BMW have been dropped. DRL software changes can be programmed at a cost of about an hour's worth of labour using the GT1 computer at BMW. It looks like the $3000-$4000 import cash grab has been quietly repealed. How this may effect any warranty claim on an previously unregistered US car in BMW Canada's system is anybody's guess. Certainly one can expect at least some level of resistance.
Last edited by damameke; 05-14-2010 at 10:22 PM.