Canada is opening its used car market to vehicles from Mexico to fulfill the obligations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While vehicles 15 years old or older can already be imported to Canada, this move concerns late-model used vehicles. The only other country Canada accepts used vehicles under 15 years old from is the United States, and NAFTA stipulates that Canada should have already completed this bit of border opening by the end of 2010.

According to Canada's Sympatico Autos, there's not likely to be an immediate flood of Mexi-cars into the Great White North, however. Brian Osler, president of the North American Automobile Trade Association (NAATA) notes that when cars from the United States became available, "it took a long time for people to become aware that there was more than one buying channel." Not only that, but vehicles will still need to meet Canadian emissions and safety standards, and the program is being phased in, starting with vehicles 10 or more years old. Every two years, newer vehicles will be allowed until the restrictions sunset in 2019 for all NAFTA signatories.

Global pressure on the economy and tight used-car values are likely to keep a damper on a buying bonanaza, at least in the short term. U.S. vehicles are also cushier and long-established in Canada's used-car marketplace, though some Canadian dealers are already establishing supplier channels in Mexico, and some already buy vehicles from Mexico to send to Europe. One peek at the ravages of road salt on a vehicle, and the allure of a vehicle that's lived closer to the equator becomes clear, and that's likely to be one factor that spurs Canadian buyers to consider used vehicles originally from Mexico. Us? We'd be interested in some of the Mexican market's forbidden fruit.


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  • 43 Comments
      patrialuvien
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hell, there's more opportunity than just euro hot-hatches. Say it with me now: Toyota. Hilux. Diesel.
      JHG
      • 3 Years Ago
      Some Facts: -The opportunity here is to purchase cars not sold in Canada. -There are even some BMW's sold in Mexico you can't find in the US nor Canada. -There are many aircooled beetles "Last Edition" 1994 in pristine condition. -Other great models include: Seat Leon Cupra-R Renault Clio 2Dr. Sport Renault Megane RS II Turbo Ford Ka (cheapo Fiat 500) Peugeot Pininfarina 406 MG TF ... and many more
        paqza
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JHG
        Reply is to dukeisduke: Mexican standards are "unified" in that they accept both Euro and US standards. As a result, many European cars that meet only Euro standards are available in Mexico (and now Canada?) but not the US. Also, I'd love me a Chevy Tornado or a VW Saveiro - small, fuel-efficient 'utes are awesome.
        carguy61
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JHG
        Pristine condition bug? Mexico does not have a surplus of used vehicles. back when NAFTA was first implemented, ADT auto auctions was looking into opening an auction in Mexico, they found out quickly there was no market for an auction, there is no excess of vehicles and the majority of the vehicles that are available are pure junk, so good luck Canada!
          JHG
          • 3 Years Ago
          @carguy61
          Dude, I lived in Mexico for over 10 years, you just have to know where to look. There is a lot of misconception about the country, the truth is that there is a lot of poverty, but, there are a lot of wealthy places to live in (Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico City). So THERE ARE REALLY A LOT OF PRISTINE CONDITION BUGS OUT THERE, BELIEVE ME!!!!
      oodavo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can anyone say Focus RS or ST
      belcan11
      • 3 Years Ago
      Audi RS4, RS6, S3 from what I can recall can be acquired from Mexico. Also a few compact exotic Ford species.
      Tanooki2003
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe I might finally have a better way of getting a Mitsubishi L200 for myself instead of trying to import one from Europe and arguing with the EPA about not being able to enjoy the benefit of a 2.5L common rail 4 cylinder turbodiesel engine.
      jecoca1
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is quite good.. I mean is not the same to import one of this european cars sold in Mexico brand new that a used one.... there are many brands... Alfa romeo, Renault, Peugeot, Seat, Fiat and many others... even GM and Ford offer very good european options that we will never find here en Canada....in my point of view safety standards are basically the same... what differences???. ... just day lights and traction control for canada.. thats not a big deal!!. Many mex-cars have them.... I´ll look up for a Peugeot RCZ is amazing!!
      Martin Leclerc
      • 3 Years Ago
      Forbidden fruit? That's be a Peugot 206CC for me! Seen it in Cancun and it's such a lovely litte car! There are many European cars available down there that aren't on the market in US or Canada.
      th0mb0ne
      • 3 Years Ago
      A Nissan Tsuru would be a great cheapo car for those of us who love reminiscing about the under-styled era of Japanese cars......ie, me.
      Basil Exposition
      • 3 Years Ago
      Which is worse, the ravages of Canadian salt or the ravages of Mexican roads?
        RudyH
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        I was going to say - as a Canadian who the heck would buy a car from Mexico anyway?? I would look at Cali, Arizona, Texas, or Florida and already there you are getting a great deal based on the simple fact vehicles are bought new for cheaper in the US, depreciate just like a Canadian vehicle and never see salt.
        paqza
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        Yeah, **** Mexican roads. Some of them are incredibly beautiful and fun to drive but the majority are absolutely saturated with poorly-engineered speed bumps (topes) that cause a metric (they use the metric system) ****-ton of premature wear on suspension, brakes, underbody, motor, and transmission. It's a constant cycle of braking, praying your car will clear the speed bump, and then accelerating. It's worse if you have passengers since that speed bump you may be used to crossing without problem unladen may actually eat your oil pan. Repairs are another story; they are much cheaper but arguably "improperly" done. Plasticero (steel epoxy) is seen as a long-term fix on major critical components for example whereas the actual part would be replaced in the US or Canada. 50,000 miles on a car from Central México is probably about the equivalent of 115,000 miles driven on American roads due to conditions and constant start/stop/thud traffic flow. That said, much of the Canadian road system is unpaved so certain Mexican cars such as the Nissan Tsuru or the Chevrolet Monza/Corsa B/Chevy (yes, there's a Chevy Chevy) may actually do very well in Canada. note: on average, I drive 1000km-1500km a week on Central Mexican roads and most of the time, I'm praying I won't encounter a "surprise" unmarked speed bump on a long, empty country road.
      autablog
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is it possible to build a used car entirely out of heroine and ship it to canada on a car carrier? Someone is about to find out. What a terrible idea.
        Synthono
        • 3 Years Ago
        @autablog
        A heroine is a female hero. Heroin is a drug. Learn the difference.
          natron3030
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          If you made the car out of wonder woman would it be invisible?
        You guy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @autablog
        Heroin comes from Afghanistan and Pakistan, silly. Cocaine comes from Mexico and Colombia. Didn't you learn anything in DARE?
          paqza
          • 3 Years Ago
          @You guy
          https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/additional-publications/heroin-movement-worldwide/latin-america.html Latin America is a significant source of heroin smuggled into the United States.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      reattadudes
      • 3 Years Ago
      this is all much talk about nothing. many of these Mexican vehicles will not even meet Canadian and US emission or safety standards. heck, there are cars that were sold in the US that are banned for sale in Canada, including the 2002-2005 2 seat Thunderbird, and the 2004-2006 Ponitac GTO. a good friend went thru a GM factory in Mexico a few years ago, and was shocked to see Suburbans that were being built for sale in Mexico didn't even have safety glass, with the exception of the windshield.
        Synthono
        • 3 Years Ago
        @reattadudes
        The T-Bird wasn't banned for sale - they were sold new, and are on the used market - and while the GTO was not able to be sold new, there have been many imported and sold in the country. I could find you an '06 in Calgary right now if you wanted it.
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