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Purchasing a used Nissan Leaf in the USA
May 8, 2015
8:42 pm
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Rumrunner
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Hello fellow members!

I recently went through the process of purchasing my used Leaf from a Nissan dealership in the USA. There were lots of benefits to this purchase including a better selection of vehicles, colours, options and of course price. The savings exceeded $7000 and that included the taxes, duties and fees to import the car back into Canada.

If there is anyone out there in the VLC land thinking of taking this avenue to purchase your next Leaf please post your questions or concerns and I will do my best to answer them.

I am not trying to take away anything from the local car dealerships trying to provide you with a used Leaf but hoping to provide you with the insight that lead me to make my decision to purchase south of the border.

Cheers Rumrunner

May 11, 2015
1:31 pm
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ve7tbc
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Good move on your part, obviously; just what time frame was involved; and did you actually go down to the dealership, etc...

May 12, 2015
8:29 am
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Rumrunner
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Great questions.

I actually shopped on line mostly to start using Craigslist and Dealer websites. The biggest time zapper was the process of going down to view cars and test drive the ones I liked. I planned for a couple Saturdays to go down and see a few cars at a time. I saw eight cars in the Seattle/Bellevue to Bellingham area. Once I narrowed it down to three cars then it was all about negotiating for the price I wanted to pay. I would have done this in Canada also but there was probably 4-6 hours extra added because the cars were south of the border.

I did then go down to purchase the car and get the title so I could start the paperwork process back into Canada. Once I had the title I started the process with a US customs broker and within three days I was able to just drive the car back into Canada. Many dealerships will do this export process for free. This step took 2 hours which you have to do personally. Once you have your title you could pay a US Customs Broker to deliver your car to you home for a fee. I chose to do it myself which added another 2 hours. Then I drove the car to a repair shop in the US to get daytime running lights added as it is needed for your RIV inspection. I could have taken the car to any Nissan Dealership to get the daytime running lights added for $250-300 but I got it done in the US for $125.

Make sure you come back via the Truck Crossing and that you visit the vehicle export window on the USA customs side between 8 am and 3:30 pm to get the much needed US Customs stamp on your title.

Once at the Canadian border it took 30 minutes to pay my GST tax and air conditioning levee. And lastly I took the car to Canadian Tire to get my final RIV inspection and that was it. That took about 1.5 hours.

You pay the final PST taxes when you go to insure the car and you are done.

All in all the car buying experience took an additional 8-12 hours. A savings of about $500 an hour.

I hope this answers your questions.  

May 12, 2015
10:31 pm
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ve7tbc
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Detailed and useful information. Thank you.

July 5, 2015
5:27 pm
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england66
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Rumrunner said
Hello fellow members!

I recently went through the process of purchasing my used Leaf from a Nissan dealership in the USA. There were lots of benefits to this purchase including a better selection of vehicles, colours, options and of course price. The savings exceeded $7000 and that included the taxes, duties and fees to import the car back into Canada.

If there is anyone out there in the VLC land thinking of taking this avenue to purchase your next Leaf please post your questions or concerns and I will do my best to answer them.

I am not trying to take away anything from the local car dealerships trying to provide you with a used Leaf but hoping to provide you with the insight that lead me to make my decision to purchase south of the border.

Cheers Rumrunner

Great post...Did you try looking here in Victoria/Vancouver ?? before you purchased in the US. ???  Im looking to buy a Leaf, the prices here in Victoria seem to all be around the same. I did find a place by the airport that sells used Leafs imported from the US.  thanks

July 6, 2015
4:38 pm
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Rumrunner
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England66

Thanks for your comment on my post. I did look all over BC and Alberta for a used Leaf. I travel for work so I had some flexibility to shop around. I used the usual methods like Craigslist, Autoway, Odeasa Car auctions and even dealer lease returns through a friend that works at a Canadian Nissan dealership.

Nothing compares to the availability in the USA especially in Washington state. Washington is the third/fourth highest purchasers of leases and with a state government that gives almost $7500 back in cash incentives for leased Leafs there are many 2013 and newer cars coming back on the market as resales. Just looking at Craigslist Vancouver and there is maybe 30 used Leafs for sale. On Craigslist Seattle there is more than 75. 

I am from Victoria originally and did stop by Motorize to check them out. Good cars at fair prices for Canada. You can beat their prices in the USA with zero risk to you. It will take you 5-10 hours of your time but you will save $5-8000. The $400 document fee they charge is a joke.

Let's talk off line if you want some more details.

You can reach me at townley2041@hotmail.com

Cheers!

July 7, 2015
6:01 pm
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periwinklefran
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Thank you for the info Rumrunner. I was curious what year Leaf you purchased in the U.S. ?

July 12, 2015
10:46 am
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england66
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Rumrunner said
England66

Thanks for your comment on my post. I did look all over BC and Alberta for a used Leaf. I travel for work so I had some flexibility to shop around. I used the usual methods like Craigslist, Autoway, Odeasa Car auctions and even dealer lease returns through a friend that works at a Canadian Nissan dealership.

Nothing compares to the availability in the USA especially in Washington state. Washington is the third/fourth highest purchasers of leases and with a state government that gives almost $7500 back in cash incentives for leased Leafs there are many 2013 and newer cars coming back on the market as resales. Just looking at Craigslist Vancouver and there is maybe 30 used Leafs for sale. On Craigslist Seattle there is more than 75. 

I am from Victoria originally and did stop by Motorize to check them out. Good cars at fair prices for Canada. You can beat their prices in the USA with zero risk to you. It will take you 5-10 hours of your time but you will save $5-8000. The $400 document fee they charge is a joke.

Let's talk off line if you want some more details.

You can reach me at townley2041@hotmail.com

Cheers!

Im hoping to buy one in Sept/Oct. I have noticed that a 20K car here in Canada is 12K in USA. Huge difference!!!. One more quick question, did you buy privately? or from a dealer?? 

thanks again for all the info and your email address. 

July 12, 2015
10:24 pm
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Rumrunner
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England66 and Periwinklefran

I bought a Grey 2013 Leaf with black interior and quick charge. I couldn't find a Grey 2013 Leaf with black interior in Canada. The Leaf I bought was a lease return and had 38 000 kilometers on it. If you compared it to one in Canada like at Motorize in Sydney I might be able to get it there for $24500 plus $400 document fee plus 12% taxes and it costs you $28000. I got mine all in and back into Canada for under $20000 Canadian.

Used Leafs of the model year 2013 or newer can come back into Canada without any duty. These model year Leafs are made in the USA (Tennessee) and therefore qualify as duty free under NAFTA laws. The 2011 and 2012 Leafs will incur a 6.1% duty because they are made in Japan. For these earlier model years at current prices it will add another $1000 or more of costs to your purchase. Remember the duty is calculated on the Canadian value of the car on the day you bring it back into Canada at the exchange rate set by the Federal Canadian Border Services Office.

I had a deal to buy privately but couldn't agree on a price. I ended up buying from the Nissan Dealership in Bellingham. Contact Marcy for help at that location. I would also recommend Paramount Auto Dealer in Seattle. These guys provide a Leaf Spy read out of the battery life on all used Leafs they sell. I did this myself but you need an app, an android phone and a car reader to do it. Buying a used Leaf you need to do a full charge and run a Leaf Spy check to assess the battery pack. 

Some people are scared to buy privately in the USA because of crazy stories about faked title documents. There is information on the Washington Bureau of Licensing website about how to buy a used car in Washington State. I even called the Bellevue Police department to have them run the VIN number to ensure the car I wanted wasn't stolen. You can also check CarFax. I liked the first car that was going to be a private sale but the seller would not meet the price I wanted to pay. When buying from a dealership you don't have any of these worries but you may pay a little more in price.

When I got back to Canada I used my US postal box to contact Nissan North America to register the car in my name for any recalls or warranty issues.

Having bought a Leaf and having already driven it for over 7000 kms in three months I would say jump in and get it. I have saved over $1000 on gas and my employer pays to charge my car five days a week when I am at work with a Level 2 charger. On the weekends the Leaf is the only car we use to drive the kids to and from sporting events. 

July 13, 2015
4:27 pm
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ve7tbc
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"I am not trying to take away anything from the local car dealerships trying to provide you with a used Leaf but hoping to provide you with the insight that lead me to make my decision to purchase south of the border."

 

No, I think the local dealers will do well enough; Thank you for providing your information.

July 15, 2015
7:34 pm
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england66
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Rumrunner said
England66 and Periwinklefran

I bought a Grey 2013 Leaf with black interior and quick charge. I couldn't find a Grey 2013 Leaf with black interior in Canada. The Leaf I bought was a lease return and had 38 000 kilometers on it. If you compared it to one in Canada like at Motorize in Sydney I might be able to get it there for $24500 plus $400 document fee plus 12% taxes and it costs you $28000. I got mine all in and back into Canada for under $20000 Canadian.

Used Leafs of the model year 2013 or newer can come back into Canada without any duty. These model year Leafs are made in the USA (Tennessee) and therefore qualify as duty free under NAFTA laws. The 2011 and 2012 Leafs will incur a 6.1% duty because they are made in Japan. For these earlier model years at current prices it will add another $1000 or more of costs to your purchase. Remember the duty is calculated on the Canadian value of the car on the day you bring it back into Canada at the exchange rate set by the Federal Canadian Border Services Office.

I had a deal to buy privately but couldn't agree on a price. I ended up buying from the Nissan Dealership in Bellingham. Contact Marcy for help at that location. I would also recommend Paramount Auto Dealer in Seattle. These guys provide a Leaf Spy read out of the battery life on all used Leafs they sell. I did this myself but you need an app, an android phone and a car reader to do it. Buying a used Leaf you need to do a full charge and run a Leaf Spy check to assess the battery pack. 

Some people are scared to buy privately in the USA because of crazy stories about faked title documents. There is information on the Washington Bureau of Licensing website about how to buy a used car in Washington State. I even called the Bellevue Police department to have them run the VIN number to ensure the car I wanted wasn't stolen. You can also check CarFax. I liked the first car that was going to be a private sale but the seller would not meet the price I wanted to pay. When buying from a dealership you don't have any of these worries but you may pay a little more in price.

When I got back to Canada I used my US postal box to contact Nissan North America to register the car in my name for any recalls or warranty issues.

Having bought a Leaf and having already driven it for over 7000 kms in three months I would say jump in and get it. I have saved over $1000 on gas and my employer pays to charge my car five days a week when I am at work with a Level 2 charger. On the weekends the Leaf is the only car we use to drive the kids to and from sporting events. 

Thanks again for all the great information. Really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. I know you mentioned you had to get the daytime running lights activated in the US. Did you do that at the dealership or at a garage??? 

July 17, 2015
10:07 pm
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Rumrunner
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England66

You don't have to get the daytime running lights done in the USA. You just have to get them done before you do your RIV Form 2 inspection at Canadian Tire. The Richmond Nissan Dealership in the Auto Mall will do the daytime running light conversion for $250-300. I got it done in Bellingham at Music Express for $125 US. The Nissan Dealership on the North Shore Auto Mall would not do the conversion so I guess some dealers will and some will not.

July 20, 2015
9:20 am
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england66
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Rumrunner said
England66

You don't have to get the daytime running lights done in the USA. You just have to get them done before you do your RIV Form 2 inspection at Canadian Tire. The Richmond Nissan Dealership in the Auto Mall will do the daytime running light conversion for $250-300. I got it done in Bellingham at Music Express for $125 US. The Nissan Dealership on the North Shore Auto Mall would not do the conversion so I guess some dealers will and some will not.

Rumrunner..Thanks for all your valuable information and knowledge. Really appreciate it.

August 10, 2015
7:36 pm
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uptownleaf
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RumRunner, I send you a email. Let's hope I can find myself a good deal in Seattle as well. 2 leaf dealers in Victoria are overpriced.

August 11, 2015
12:45 pm
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periwinklefran
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Rumrunner, were you able to get the warranty with your vehicle ? When we were looking in the U.S. The dealer told us we were not able to transfer the warranty. That issue and the declining Canadian dollar decided it for us. We ended up buying from Campus Nissan and were happy. I don't think there was much in it for us as far as savings and taking into account the warranty and "hassle" involved buying from the U.S.  Just my 2c :)

August 11, 2015
11:13 pm
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Rumrunner
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periwinklefan

I had no problem transferring my warranty to Canada. I called Nissan North America and was connected to EV customer support department and once I showed the bill of sale and title documents everything was done no problem. I was even able to activate my Carwings account for when I go to the USA thanks to some blog posts on this site. (Search Carwings info) By the way if you are buying a 2013 Leaf in the USA you only have 1 year of warranty left on it anyways. Would it not be worth it to drive down to the USA to the dealer you bought it from and get your free warranty repair.

I agree the low dollar has made the purchase of a Leaf in the USA a little more expensive but not by more than $750 - 1000 Canadian. So you only save $4000-7000 now versus buying in the Canada. Some people just like the piece of mind aspect of buying in Canada. So be it that is their choice.

What did you get at Campus Nissan and what did you pay? If you think you got a good deal at Campus share some numbers so we can all benefit.

August 12, 2015
6:43 am
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periwinklefran
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Sorry, I misunderstood, I thought you said you had to use a U.S. Address for the warranty. We got the carwings hooked up, bit of a hassle but works fine. We ended up with a black 2013 SL, leather, Bose, quick charge etc, 33,000 km for $22,000. We found it wasn't it easy to find exactly what we wanted, but we are thrilled with our Leaf. Thanks for sharing all your info, Rumrunner.

August 12, 2015
2:57 pm
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uptownleaf
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U getting robbed! o wait it is a SL. SV models are listed in huge price difference.

http://www.campusnissan.com/en.....0/6691395/ $22,990 with more km

http://www.paramountmotorsnw.c.....nly=Nissan only 15k in CAD.

RIV has whole page tells you how to import a car from Seattle. All those dealers have 10~30 choices. I called Paramount motors today, they had quite a few people coming from Canada. Peter from PM said just make sure you make to the border before 3:30 pm.

I also checked with Vancity Clear Air Loan. They offer 3.7% rate if ever need to borrow. They dont care if you get it from US or Canada. 

Here is how I planned:

1) Install home charging station ( http://www.homedepot.ca/produc.....del/989931) $1500 total including installtion. However, homedepot let you pay it off in 6 months for zero interest. so You only need to pay $500 upfront. It is my dream to have "gas station" at home!

2) Get a 17k cad loan from Vancity. Vancity will wire the money directly to dealer. 

3) Pick a car from US for 15k ~17K cad. I would think you can get 1k addition off the listed price. 

4) Sell my current car to pay it off loan. (around 10k). I would be end up with tiny interest to pay as I am planing to pay it off early next year. 

It would be great if Nissan can start to sell 500km model Leaf in NA in 2017. 

August 12, 2015
8:59 pm
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Rumrunner
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periwinklefan

Thank you for sharing your details as this will benefit other prospective Leaf buyers looking to make a decision between purchasing in Canada or the USA.

I struggled with the decision to buy a SV versus the SL in the 2013 Leaf myself. I really liked the SL but in the end my decision came down to this.The extra features and amenities on the SL were things I wasn't going to get the bang for my buck on. By buying in the USA I saved enough money to buy a new battery pack at a cost of $6000. Therefore I really have insured that I can drive my SV Leaf 320 000 kms on the same body and using two batteries. I know I will do this because I just retired by 1997 CRV with 400 000 kms on it. If I get lucky and drive the car longer on either of those batteries than everything is gravy for me. I drive about 35000 kms a year so my car is paid off in 3.5 years and then it starts paying me. Thank you Nissan for making the Leaf!

In the end we both drive great cars that we are happy about.  

August 12, 2015
11:02 pm
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ve7tbc
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I Like hearing these positive rationalizations.  Yours make perfect sense.

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