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      02-24-2017, 10:37 PM   #1
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Don't Fear the Canadians!

I found this online where Agent00R gave up on his search for a 1M and he goes on to mention that he came across a Canadian 1M with KM speedo, just like mine and was skeptical that all the documents were in order, so he passed.

http://www.autospies.com/news/00R-St...-1M-For-91815/

It's his loss if it was a good deal and a nice car. It just strikes me as sad he missed out solely because of unfounded fear.

So I wanted to explain to those that are looking for 1Ms, about Canadian 1Ms in the US.

Around the spring and summer of 2015 US and Canadian 1Ms were selling for about the same asking price... $55,000 to $60,000. Around this time, the Canadian dollar dropped to unprecedented lows due to the drop in oil and other economic issues. Canadians were asking the same prices in Canada but their dollar was now $.75 to us.
This made for an opportunity to get 1M at a lower price.

The United States has rules about importing cars from all countries outside the US except for Canada. They have a special rule for them and it's much simpler.

Even better, Canadian 1Ms and US ones are basically identical and even have a US EPA and California CARB compliance decal under the hood! They not only meet US EPA standards, they even meet California's and have the decal to prove it.

As a US Citizen you can import a car for personal use from Canada. If you import it yourself, you do not have to change the speedometer! If the car meets all US EPA and DOT rules, you import it as a "Conforming to all US EPA and DOT regulations except for minor markings." The minor marking are the KM Speedo and Celsius oil temp gauge....you know the one that's missing on the M2, eh. You have to get a letter from BMW that states the car is conforming to US EPA and DOT standards except for minor labeling or customs won't let you import it as a conforming car. The onboard digital display CAN be quickly switched to Farenheit and Miles, so it's not even a big issue to keep the KM speedo. Everything else is identical and the VINS show up on US parts systems with no problem.

Now, if a dealer imports it to sell or you use a shipping company to cross the border, then they require that you change the speedo because they can't call it a "personal" import. If a dealer changes the speedometer it can only be done by a BMW Authorized dealer and documentation has to be presented or the DMV will mark it a unverified mileage.

I imported mine myself and kept the KM only speed for several reasons....

1. It's cool, it's the same one in the German Cars.
2.There is no extra documentation, question or doubts that come when a speedo is changed. It has the exact speedo it came with. I still might change it one day, but I didn't want any issues having to prove that the speedometer was changed correctly by a BMW dealer.

Ironically, in the case of 00R, having the original speedo in KM would be more reassuring to me than one that was changed.

Regardless, the DMVs requires proof that it was changed by a factory dealer. On top of that, they take 2-3 months to register the car because they do a US and Canada search for liens, theft, etc.

In my case, there was additional work because I live in the great state of California, soon to be Republic of California?

Anyway, my car was physically inspected by California DMV, passed California Smog certification and was on hold for 3 months while CA DMV contacted Canadian DMV to make sure everything was clear.

So I hope that helps someone understand what people go through to bring a 1M to the US from Canada as well as what they could ask to see. This stuff is no longer necessary once registered legally in the US, but its reassuring that it was done correctly:

1. BMW Letter of Compliance from BMW
2. US Customs Receipt of Importation
3. Proof that Speedo was changed by BMW Dealer in US or Canada (if changed)
4. Valid Registration in State where the car is for sale.

The only downside to Canadian cars in the US is that there is a quirk with BMWs notification system and I don't get the recall notices because BMW of Canada handles those and they can't take a US address. The US Recall by VIN website, doesn't show cars if Canadian and Canada doesn't have a Canadian version. However, once you register the car her with BMW USA, there are no issues whatsoever with warranty work or recalls. I just tell them it might not show up on their system and the dealer contacts BMW USA and they take care of it all.

I had my front brake rotors and pads replaced under warranty for vibration, my drivers seat frame was a little loose and a headlight gave out. All replaced in San Diego under warranty as well as the drivers airbag and wheel liners.

I hope this helps someone out there!

Last edited by nachob; 02-24-2017 at 11:05 PM.
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      02-25-2017, 08:49 PM   #2
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Excellent post. Should be stickied.
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      02-25-2017, 10:02 PM   #3
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Good to Know...Thanks Nachob!
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      02-26-2017, 12:14 PM   #4
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More and more in Canada, collectibles cars are advertised in USD, the window is closing and low mileage cars are close to 80$CAD now
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      02-26-2017, 12:18 PM   #5
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Whats the best way to search for the used Canadian cars? Just forums?
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      02-26-2017, 12:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shroom View Post
Whats the best way to search for the used Canadian cars? Just forums?
Be excessively polite, and complete each sentence with, "eh?" and they will come to you :-)
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      02-26-2017, 01:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shroom View Post
Whats the best way to search for the used Canadian cars? Just forums?
I found mine here: http://www.autotrader.ca/


Yes, sadly most Canadians are now advertising in dollars for almost the same price as US 1Ms. While the import process is not super difficult, there are still costs that our Canadian friends need to take into account when pricing their 1Ms for US sale.

- You have to pay 2.5% duty to import.

- It can take up to three months for you to finally receive real plates. (Usually US DMVs withhold plates until Canadian DMV confirms that there are no liens or theft reports on the car.

- When you do international wire transfer, the banks fudge the exchange rate so they get more money and you get a lower exchange rate. For example the exchange rate was 1 USD = 1.25 CAD but the bank used a rate where 1 USD dollar was 1.23 CAD. Plus $35 wire fee. So a $60K CAD 1M, the $.02 difference is about $780 USD plus $35 USD wire fee = $805 USD.

So using the $60K CAD 1M price. You would pay approximately $1500 in Customs fees, $805 in extra bank wire costs. Approximately $2300 USD.

I have seen a few Canadians recently posted on here for the same US price but didn't want to poop on anyone's ad. But our friends should understand that in order to make sense, there needs to be some savings! If you price in US dollars, they should be about at minimum 10% lower than a US car to make sense. The current exchange rate is 24% difference. 1 USD = .76 CAD

I guess the fairest is to split the difference to 12% because the Canadian owner will also have a little more work. They will need to request the letter of Compliance from BMW USA and have to wait for international wire transfer.

So if a 1M would be listed for $50K USD in the US, the same Canadian 1M probably should be listed for $44K USD to make sense to a US buyer. The US buyer would then pay about $2K USD in Customs Duties and bank wire costs. Net price would be $46K for the US person and our Canadian friends would also get more CAD than if he sold in Canada.

Finally, I have been asked this question about import duties. I have been asked if you can report a bogus amount. The answer is a strong emphatic NO! I repeat, don't freakin' do it! It's not worth it at 2.5%

The Customs guys are wearing flak jackets with ceramic plates and carrying M16s. They believe that everyone is lying to them and they are itching to find anyone to lie to them. I'm sure things are even worse with whats happening politically and any veneer of civility has be scraped off.

Simply provide the actual sales price and be ready with any supporting documentation like a wire transfer. If you buy it from a Canadian dealer, they are supposed to use the Canadian dealers sales invoice to base the 2.5% import duty. If you buy from a private party, they will use kelley blue book values in the US and disregard what you put down as a sale price so not worth lying to them. It would make their day to catch you and you might end up in a black site in Bahrain! : )

Finally, if you buy from a Canadian dealer, they will make you pay the 12% sales Canadian tax. It is very difficult to get around that though some smaller dealers might be willing to work around it if the car is picked up and moved to border, not driven off the lot and you export the same day and provide them proof of export. So you are still usually better of working with private party.

Last edited by nachob; 02-26-2017 at 02:14 PM.
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      02-26-2017, 03:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for posting this. I will be putting mine up for sale soon.
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      02-26-2017, 04:43 PM   #9
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In all honesty, I think the train has already left the station.

How many Canadian 1Ms were sold into that market in the first place? Was it 220 or 260, I forget.

Of that number, at least a few have been wrecked, and quite a few would no longer be considered "collectible," due to mileage or condition. Many of the original owners have no interest in selling, to anyone, on either side of the border.

Bottom line is that there are probably no more than a handful that might be available for cross border sales, and once the car crosses the border from N. to South it is not going back and is no longer available.

Nacho and I were lucky, perhaps myself moreso because I did not have to deal with the cross border hassles being as the car was delivered to me in my own state with a US title, albeit from another state. Maybe a few others will have one of these Canadian cars drop into their laps, but there will not be very many more.
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      02-26-2017, 06:43 PM   #10
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220 sold here
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      02-27-2017, 12:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thibs View Post
220 sold here
There are 5-10 more, tops, that will cross the border in the next 10 years.
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      02-27-2017, 08:57 AM   #12
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About the sales tax, it is 5% and then you add the provincial tax that can range from 0-9.75%. You only pay the later when registering the car in the specific province it will be driven. If you deal with a private and export, no taxes apply. For a dealer transaction, if you are not a Canadian resident, you should not pay any taxes.
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      02-27-2017, 09:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shroom View Post
Whats the best way to search for the used Canadian cars? Just forums?
Like nachob said, www.autotrader.ca.

Also check www.kijiji.ca, like the Canadian version of Craigslist, but run by EBay.
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      02-27-2017, 10:18 AM   #14
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just to temper all this back slapping, as well founded as it is.

It is never a bad idea to to walk away from a car sale, if you are the slightest bit suspicious about the car. There are PLENTY of fish out there and you are gambling your hard earned dollars.

Now if you do not know what your looking for, inexperienced or just plain don't have the know how, get somone you trust has a track record and some kinda recourse to.

Even after buying cars for the past 20 some years, I missed some stuff when I was buying my 1'er. It had no alarm and I totally missed that there was no spare tire and RFT's
where new to me,

It's no shame to walk away, it's your money after all.
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      02-27-2017, 11:47 AM   #15
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It's no shame and you can do what you want with your money but in the case of the 1M there are not plenty of other fish. Also I said if the car was perfect for him except for the speedo which he mentions as a concern then it's a bummer that he rather settle for something based on not really knowing how some end up in US with KM speedo while still being fully compliant and legal. So I set out in educating people as best as I can in order to help others. Maybe in the future someone could find the perfect car and this could tip the scale. So I totally agree with what you say in general but the 1M is not a dime a dozen fish.
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      02-27-2017, 02:49 PM   #16
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+1 for a Canadian spec'd 1M and to nacho who helped alleviate my concerns when I was investigating the process.

The fact that it's in KM is a cool little easter egg. And as a lighter 'stripper car' (no nav+no power seats) probably makes it more rare in US, and a future unicorn.
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      02-27-2017, 04:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunterl41 View Post
+1 for a Canadian spec'd 1M and to nacho who helped alleviate my concerns when I was investigating the process.

The fact that it's in KM is a cool little easter egg. And as a lighter 'stripper car' (no nav+no power seats) probably makes it more rare in US, and a future unicorn.
For the record, my Canadian 1M has no nav, but does have power seats and the HK upgraded stereo. My 2013 135i Coupe has nav, and I think it is terrible, but since it is there, I upgraded the data file in it for $50 from a forum participant who sells those upgrades.

I don't think that any serious collector going forward is going to really care whether a 1M has Nav, electric seats, or whatever similar option. There is not going to be a lot of choice in the 2nd hand market, and condition plus mileage will trump all other concerns. Someone who really cared and who had the bucks could probably buy a new dash without the Nav cutout and replace the dash and get rid of the nav, if they felt motivated to pay for that and to do so.
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      03-01-2017, 11:17 PM   #18
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Keep taking our Canadian 1M's...just makes mine worth more up here
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      03-02-2017, 01:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Keep taking our Canadian 1M's...just makes mine worth more up here
I actually feel bad sometimes...I feel like I took a rare animal from its home to somewhere else? Sorry I poached one of your 1Ms!
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      03-15-2017, 10:22 PM   #20
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I have a little bit of an update on my own 1M and its airbag recall that might interest other owners of BMWs that started out as Canadian cars and are now in the USA. I have had a bit more difficulty getting my car into the US system than Nacho has had.

My car was a German delivery car picked up by its owner from Toronto, while on a European trip in late 2011. Perhaps this European delivery has some relationship to the problems I've had. The car was sold by a 2nd hand dealer located in Montreal, through ebay, and ultimately delivered to me in Idaho with a title from Indiana and the import taxes already having been paid. The cluster was converted to miles prior to export, by a BMW dealer in Montreal.

I did not have any issues with registering the car related to liens or anything similar to that, likely because the car was already titled to a US State when I received it. It did take about 2 months to get Idaho to register the vehicle, because they were extremely anal about the odometer reading given that the cluster had been changed. I now think that this was a total non issue in reality, because the car can go back and forth between miles and kms using the car's setup menu, and all that was really changed was the analog indicator showing mph and kmh, as opposed to just kmh in the Canadian version.

Since registering the vehicle, I have received about 3 certificates of compliance from BMW of the USA, plus have more recently done the warranty guarantee form with them. Still, the car doesn't really show up on the BMW of the USA systems, although somehow my dealer has at least some information on the car showing on their internal systems.

After Nacho successfully got his airbag replaced, I started working again on BMW of the USA, first with the guarantee of warranty form, and later with repeated phone calls. About 2 weeks ago the person I dealt with suggested that we "escalate" this request within the BMW of USA system, which I agreed to. About 10 days ago I received a very nice call while I was driving my 135i coupe en route to Boise for work, and the woman I spoke with told me that there was no recall on my car! She said she had checked with BMW of Canada, and also in their own system, and my airbag was not recalled.

To that I said, "that's very interesting, but then I must have the only 1-Series car made that does not have the offending, defective, airbag in it! Could you please tell me what type of airbag is in my car? After all, if you know that a Takata airbag is in the cars being recalled, and my car does not have that but instead has an XYZ airbag in it, you might need to contact me later if the XYZ airbags are recalled!" She had no answer for that but could see the obvious point I was making. She said she would research further and call me back.

She did call me back a few days later and said they were still researching my car and that she would call me again in a few days, which she did today. On today's call she said that my airbag definitely DID need to be replaced, that it was in fact being recalled, and that she would work on a solution and get back to me in another few days.

I have no doubt that they will ultimately work this out and get me a new airbag.

The reason I am posting this is that others who have imported BMWs into the USA from Canada may have similar problems with recalls, for airbags or whatever else comes down the pike. You need to be persistent, because BMW obviously does not have very good or very comprehensive systems for following these cars as they cross international boundaries.
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      03-15-2017, 11:57 PM   #21
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As a Canadian who went through the experience of importing a CDN car to the state of California during the late 90's, I've told my friends NEVER to f'n do it again. So not worth the hassle but this is for Cali - a nanny state, not sure how other states deal with out of country imports. It was for my Integra Type-R at the time. After all said and done, I wouldn't do it again.... so as a 1M owner now, as I read this thread... I have doubts if it's worth it (including falling in love with a 1M)... it's about patience I guess to find "the one" but even in my case the chase for 1M is a big part of an owners story.

Yes it's relatively ok to import a car from Canada but it's "work"
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      03-16-2017, 12:20 AM   #22
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Quote:
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As a Canadian who went through the experience of importing a CDN car to the state of California during the late 90's, I've told my friends NEVER to f'n do it again. So not worth the hassle but this is for Cali - a nanny state, not sure how other states deal with out of country imports. It was for my Integra Type-R at the time. After all said and done, I wouldn't do it again.... so as a 1M owner now, as I read this thread... I have doubts if it's worth it (including falling in love with a 1M)... it's about patience I guess to find "the one" but even in my case the chase for 1M is a big part of an owners story.

Yes it's relatively ok to import a car from Canada but it's "work"
I would certainly not just randomly import a Canadian car into the USA without a really good reason. If I was Canadian or had lived in Canada and was moving to the US and really loved my car, I would do it. If it was a rare car and I found one in Canada but could not find one in the USA, I very likely would do it. If I had an opportunity to save some small amount of money on a car that I could just as easily buy in the USA, I would definitely NOT do it.
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