Experience importing 2007 Subaru Forester into BC.

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 3rd, 2007 9:08 pm
Jun 29, 2007
2 posts

Experience importing 2007 Subaru Forester into BC.

I just got through with importing a new 2007 Subaru Forester into Canada and I was really happy with the results so I thought I would share my experience. Granted, I think I got somewhat lucky and hit it at the right time (the 2008 Forester's are being sold in the US now so they are clearing out 2007's plus I hit on a $2000 factory rebate).

In the end, after every last expense I had to pay to get the car imported, inspected and insured, I saved literally 25% (everything converted to Cdn) off the price of buying the same new vehicle from a dealership here in Vancouver. Ridiculous but true. Of course, this percentage hinges a lot on the current strength of the Cdn dollar so keep that in mind.

I was quite skeptical going in but ended up very happy with the result. My starting point was a website I found at, which has an entire section on how to import to Canada that is quite up-to-date and accurate. The site is run by a guy named Joe Spitz, who works at Carter Subaru in Seattle. He's the guy I dealt with directly.

Joe was quite a breath of fresh air to deal with. If you look around on the website he has a ton of detailed information about all Subaru vehicles including the invoice prices that the dealer themselves pay. I called him up on the phone, he told me which 2007 Forester's he had available and gave me a price that, having looked around, was lower than anything else I'd seen. And that was it. No negotiating or back and forth or "let me talk to my manager" or anything like that. It was just "here's what I have and here's what it costs", period. The way it should be.

Joe's website has a lot of details but it doesn't talk about things like insurance and the specifics of the taxes. Here is a line by line break down of every expense I incurred during this process:
  • Price of vehicle plus a 3 day test-drive permit for about $23 provided by dealership all converted from US to Cdn at the going rate.
  • Cost of wiring the money from my account to Carter Subaru was about $20 but this depends on your bank.
  • Duty of 6.1% on the total price (including cost of permit) in Cdn dollars. With Subaru this is on the Impreza and Forester as they are manufactured in Japan. Other Subarus are built in NA and are not subject to this duty.
  • $100 Cdn for air-conditioner excise tax
  • GST of 6% calculated on the final number *after* the duty and the A/C excise tax.
  • PST of 7% (in British Columbia) when you insure the car. This is on the import amount only (the amount you paid duty on above, but not including duty like with GST).
  • Registrar fee of $206.70 to RIV at Cdn border for the paperwork and forms and such.
  • In addition to the driving permit you also need an "insurance binder" which is expensive ($77 for 10 days even though you only probably need 1 day) because you are insuring a vehicle not registered in BC. This gets you home from the dealership and that's it.
  • You need separate insurance to get to the inspection centre (I used Canadian Tire). If you buy a day permit before your insurance binder runs out you can save some money as it will only cost you $12 for the basic coverage.
  • Inspection centre takes a cool $120 for doing who-knows-what on your brand new vehicle and giving you the stamp of approval.
And, yes, after all of that I still ended up saving 25% over the best price I could find in Canada (even having talked to an auto-broker who did a search for me).

Joe was great. I highly recommend dealing directly with him if you're in Western Canada. He even picked me up from the bus station in Everett himself. I was super-skeptical buying something I'd never seen but the car is perfect -- brand new and even came with some extras I would have had to pay for in Canada. Everything Joe told me was 100% accurate and true. There were no surprises or hidden costs or anything like that.

As for what you need to do, the RIV website itself is pretty good. It covers all of the instructions except for the insurance you need (which I describe above). When you talk to Joe he also faxes a package to you telling you exactly what you need to do to import that car. You need to give 72 hours notice to the US border that you're coming, for example. The whole process from my first phone call until the time I picked up the car took me exactly 7 days (although technically it could have been done in less).

You'll need to talk to Subaru of America for a "recall clearance letter" and you can confirm for yourself that the warranty is transferable to Canada. When I talked to them they assured me that it was. Subaru is one of the very few that is this flexible with their warranty across the border. So that's a big advantage also.

All in all the only downside I can see is that I'm left with a speedometer that has km/h as a secondary reading and an odometer in mi/h. But for a 25% savings on a purchase of this size, I think I can learn to love converting. :razz:

Good luck and hope you have as good an experience as I did.

3 replies
User avatar
Jun 21, 2006
276 posts
thanks for sharing your experience
and congratulation on your purchase

good luck on converting the speedometer =)
Deal Addict
Jul 10, 2001
1148 posts
Great first post. I've been in contact with Joe as well. Glad to hear it went well.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 4, 2005
7843 posts
Nice only if it was so easy with other dealerships. Any other websites you used?


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