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Benefits of Buying a Car in the United States

Considerations for outsiders buying vehicles in US. Most vehicles are cheaper to buy in US and there are a number benefits in doing so. Find out how to save when buying a vehicle and how to get the best exchange rate. 

Canadians may consider buying a vehicle in the United States for a number of different reasons.  A student may be attending school in the U.S., and need a vehicle to get around.  Canadian snowbirds may need to have a vehicle for their second home in a sunny and warm destination.  They may be also looking to save money.  Prior to 2014, Canadians could save significant amounts by buying in the U.S. and importing the car back to Canada.  However, the recent slide of the Canadian Dollar may have impacted the relative value of listing prices for new vehicles.  Still, estimates indicate that Canadians import around 180,000 new and used vehicles into the U.S. a year. 


Reasons for Cheaper Prices


For twenty-three different types of vehicles made in Canada in 2012, there were only five that had listing prices lower in Canada than in the U.S.  As the price of the vehicle got more expensive, the price gap increased as well.  There may be several reasons for this price gap for new vehicles, including non-harmonized tariffs, non-harmonized safety standards, and an expected exchange rate differences.


Additional Considerations when Buying in the U.S.


There are some additional matters Canadians must consider when purchasing a vehicle in the U.S., especially if they plan on importing the car back into Canada.  There could be a 6.1% duty if the vehicle was not manufactured in North America.  There could be additional costs to conform the vehicle to Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as well as additional fees for Transport Canada’s Registrar of Imported Vehicles.  Canadians should also be aware that the warranty on the vehicle may not be transferable.  Further, the car will not be registered for recall notices. One major consideration is financing.  Those Canadians needing financing will likely need to obtain a loan in Canada, and then pay cash for the vehicle in the U.S.  This process will require the conversion of Canadian Dollars to U.S. Dollars.  


Getting the Best Exchange Rate

Canadians will need to use U.S. Dollars when buying a vehicle in the U.S. When making a large purchase such as a vehicle, it makes sense to plan ahead in order to get the best exchange rates, as well as minimize any additional fees for a transaction.  Many Canadians will go to large Canadian financing institutions in order to convert their Canadian Dollars into U.S. Dollars.  However, those who do so are likely not getting the best exchange rates.  Canadians may be able to save over 2.5% by using a non-bank exchange provider.  Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange, Inc.,, is a trusted exchange provider that will help Canadians convert their money.  Knightsbridge offers competitive exchange rates.  For example, as of March 2015, someone converting $10,000 CAD can save $254 using Knightsbridge versus using the RBC Royal Bank, and up to $300 over using Scotia Bank.  Knightsbridge can provide Canadians with updated exchange quotes, as well as accommodate same-day transactions.   Knightsbridge offers no fee wire transfers, and provides excellent customer service.  When exchanging currency for the purchase of a large ticket item such as a vehicle, Knightsbridge offers a competitive alternative to large banks.    

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Alex is a finance blogger and writer, loves all things related to business, entrepreneurship and making money by saving money. 

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