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Why aren't Americans trying to sell goods to Canadians?
Old 12-26-2007, 11:26 PM   #1
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Why aren't Americans trying to sell goods to Canadians?

Our dollars are now at par and we Canadians are very accustomed to paying more than Americans, lots more for almost everything.

I was looking at a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Here in Canada $42000, in the states new with no dickering, $31000. Would cost about $3500 to bring here but hey, for $7500 savings I'd cross just like lots of my fellow Canucks are doing every day.

I have 3 friends all in their 40's who have bought 2nd homes in Arizona recently because they look like absolute bargains to us here. An average home here in Alberta is about $350000. Alberta is where the oil sands are, the economy is still hot, real estate has stabilized a bit for now, but it certainly hasn't caused much hardship and there are plenty of "instant millionaires" everywhere you look.

Why is nobody in the states marketing to us here? Are there legal issues? We are forced to figure out the buying/customs/delivery process on our own. Realtors, car dealers, modular home sellers, boat and RV dealers, we're here, we have money, and if you can make the sale and delivery of product convenient it will be appreciated and I promise we'll buy in droves.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:07 AM   #2
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"Are there legal issues?"


I would guess that is the issue. I would imagine your government wouldn't want Americans coming over with cheap things. When I was a child we would smuggle over Canadian Whiskey and American cigarettes for friends up in Ontario because we could bring it up alot cheaper than what you would pay for it in Canada. Just a guess since I dont actively try to sell to Canadians.
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There are a lot of issues
Old 12-27-2007, 12:49 AM   #3
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There are a lot of issues

Credit information may be unavailable or non-existent. Lack of SSNs/Tax IDs mean most can't even process the paperwork. Large down payments are commonly required due to exchange risk. Often, only paying cash works. Manufacturers often limit the distribution rights of their franchisees. Warranties may be geographically limited. What may be legal in some jurisdictions may not be in others.
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Old 12-27-2007, 01:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Grizz View Post
Our dollars are now at par and we Canadians are very accustomed to paying more than Americans, lots more for almost everything.

I was looking at a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Here in Canada $42000, in the states new with no dickering, $31000. Would cost about $3500 to bring here but hey, for $7500 savings I'd cross just like lots of my fellow Canucks are doing every day.

I have 3 friends all in their 40's who have bought 2nd homes in Arizona recently because they look like absolute bargains to us here. An average home here in Alberta is about $350000. Alberta is where the oil sands are, the economy is still hot, real estate has stabilized a bit for now, but it certainly hasn't caused much hardship and there are plenty of "instant millionaires" everywhere you look.

Why is nobody in the states marketing to us here? Are there legal issues? We are forced to figure out the buying/customs/delivery process on our own. Realtors, car dealers, modular home sellers, boat and RV dealers, we're here, we have money, and if you can make the sale and delivery of product convenient it will be appreciated and I promise we'll buy in droves.
A fair question. Perhaps we're too fat and complacent? When i've sold stuff on Ebay or a couple times on some BMW boards the shipping to Canada was more effort, more paperwork - and that was used, sub $100 stuff. Marketing new goods and dealing with warranty issues would surely be more complex - but as we get hungrier i am sure there will be companies competing for the Canadian loonies. Interest you in some rental property? Delivery up north would be an issue....
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Old 12-27-2007, 06:45 AM   #5
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I would guess it is because - population wise - it is small and dispursed - costly to market and distribute your product.
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Old 12-27-2007, 07:44 AM   #6
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On a small scale, my town (Duluth, Minnesota) markets to Canadians (primarily Thunder Bay, Ontario). The town itself advertises in Canada to come shopping here. Also, hotels and some other local businesses from my town advertise in Canada. Similarly, when the exchange rate worked out the other way, we got a lot of local Canada advertising to come and visit and stay at their hotels and visit their attractions. Lots of Canadian license plates around here lately. Probably this sort of advertising is more common in border towns.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:59 AM   #7
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Credit information may be unavailable or non-existent. Lack of SSNs/Tax IDs mean most can't even process the paperwork. Large down payments are commonly required due to exchange risk. Often, only paying cash works. Manufacturers often limit the distribution rights of their franchisees. Warranties may be geographically limited. What may be legal in some jurisdictions may not be in others.
You are right, everyone I know that has bought cars and houses in the states has paid cash in full. The warranties on the cars disappeared, and one of my friends who brought a Corvette out of Texas needed to get some foam piece installed behind the front bumper in order to pass our crash regulations. Most will buy a 3rd party warranties and the savings are still huge. There are brokers that specialize in bringing cars across the border but I don't see or hear them advertising. Mostly it's a "my friend knows this guy..." kind of network.

I expect that once both countries get accustomed to the new dollar valuations, we'll either see our own dealers cut back on what must be huge mark-ups in order to compete with the new competition south of the border, or American dealers will notice us with our wallets outstretched and find less cumbersome ways to provide sales AND service to us.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:15 AM   #8
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Why is nobody in the states marketing to us here?
Your business, while greatly appreciated, is no more profitable than selling to Americans hassle free. Remember, the current exchange rate which makes our goods and services look attractive to you, means fewer loonies to us. So, to an American dealer, it's no more attractive to sell in Canada today than it was at the old exchange rates.

You crave American goods because, thanks to the exchange rate, they look cheap. But to the American dealer, the number of USD they get from you, after exchange, is about the same as before. The only thing that's changed is that Canadians are now more interested in American goods, and that's what a floating exchange rate is supposed to do!

I understand that USA tourism in Canada is down, another predictable event.
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:26 AM   #9
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Most of the franchisees (e.g., auto dealers) are probably not allowed to advertise outside of their territory per their franchise agreement, since it ticks off the locals.
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:47 AM   #10
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One other thing could be the tax nightmare. That could be the reason for the 10k difference in the price of your cars. Taxes are the invisible nightmare.

While I was in Turkey I could buy good quality scuba equipment on the local economy a lot cheaper than I could here. They were real items, but the shipping was a lot cheaper and no taxes. The business owner listed our p.o. boxes as the selling address and had the items shipped to him. As far as Turkey was concerned he sold the items to a foreign country and since it never entered Turkey they did not collect any of the typical taxes. As far as the U.S. was concerned the sale occurred in Turkey so they didn't collect any taxes.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:22 PM   #11
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I thought Canada was our biggest trading partner??
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Old 12-27-2007, 01:38 PM   #12
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I thought Canada was our biggest trading partner??
Yes it is. Most people think it is China (nope!)...

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Old 12-28-2007, 04:13 AM   #13
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Yes it is. Most people think it is China (nope!)...

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When you say that Canada is the biggest trading partner, does that mean that you import more from Canada than anyplace else, or export more, or a combo of both? If Canada is your biggest export customer, then I'd suggest that you folks start working harder on your exports since we only number about 10% of your population.
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:25 AM   #14
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When you say that Canada is the biggest trading partner, does that mean that you import more from Canada than anyplace else, or export more, or a combo of both? If Canada is your biggest export customer, then I'd suggest that you folks start working harder on your exports since we only number about 10% of your population.
Has nothing to do with population. Don't forget transfer of materials and production rather than just cross-border sales to indivudials.

For reference:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...elds/2061.html

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Old 12-28-2007, 07:39 AM   #15
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Tacoma pickup? 41000 cn? I think you might be talking the Tundra Pick up.
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:43 AM   #16
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We live in the US by the border and I work in Alberta. Believe me, Canadians already know about buying stuff in the US. I know of two large malls on the US side of the border, one here in Washington (said to have been built with Canadian money originally), one in New York state, built to cater to Canadians.

I always wondered about this. Now I know.
  • First, gasoline is cheaper here (always, where I live).
  • Second, we have better shopping here--more selection from groceries to wedding dresses--and cheaper in general. Even today, I can buy a bottle of Concha y Toro cab in Bellingham that will cost me $12 in Calgary. Then we have Two Buck Chuck ($3 today) because we now have Trader Joe's. Nothing like that in Canada. Why we should have better selection in little ol' pop 65,000 B'ham than in pop 1,000,000 Vancouver is a mystery, but that is the way it looks.
  • Also fewer strikes that affect consumer goods. (It must be difficult to live in BC.)
  • Our restaurants are better, too (although that has leveled out in the past 30 years). 30 years ago we traveled across Canada and found the restaurant food barely edible. Still, we can eat out in Bellingham for half the price of Calgary. (Expected for a boomtown.)
On the other hand, I can usually get cheaper flights to Mexico out of Vancouver than Seattle, though internal flights in the US are generally far cheaper than internal flights in Canada. Competition, I suppose.

Even when it was $0.65 CND/ $1 USD, there were plenty of BC license plates in town. There have been articles in the Calgary Herald about buying cars in the US. A lot of Canadian retailers have been stuck with Canadian pricing on goods imported from the US (eg, magazines and books that give one USD price and another, higher price in CND). This extends beyond printed stuff and in the last week or two Calgary retailers have dropped their prices to keep customers happy. I don't know if the retailers are getting squeezed by their wholesalers or parent companies or the government or if they just don't want to drop prices.

It costs more to deliver stuff into Canada, too. A friend asked me to let him have some Legos mailed to my address and have me bring them up when I flew back. He save hundreds of dollars in shipping this way. It wasn't import duties--they were small.

Interesting.
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:48 AM   #17
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Tacoma pickup? 41000 cn? I think you might be talking the Tundra Pick up.
Nope, it's the Tacoma. I already have a quad cab Chev 3/4 ton truck with the cumbersome size and thirst of a Tundra and wanted something that was still comfortable for the family, could do some work, be able to maneuver in a parking lot, and not use so much gas. The model that I was looking at was loaded with 4x4 and 4 doors.
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:50 AM   #18
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When you say that Canada is the biggest trading partner, does that mean that you import more from Canada than anyplace else, or export more, or a combo of both? If Canada is your biggest export customer, then I'd suggest that you folks start working harder on your exports since we only number about 10% of your population.
Both. Partly because places like Wal*Mart & BestBuy bring their stuff in from the US rather than direct. All the autos we assemble bring in sub-assemblies from the US.
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:59 AM   #19
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Has nothing to do with population. Don't forget transfer of materials and production rather than just cross-border sales to indivudials.

For reference:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...elds/2061.html

- Ron
Interesting #'s. I checked Canada's trading partners and US is 54.9%. Do me a favor and don't let your country go into a recession.
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Old 12-28-2007, 12:14 PM   #20
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I remember when Paul Martin (Prime Minister of Canada at the time for all you Yankee Dogs out there) said Canada should stop selling oil to the US (in contravention of NAFTA among other things).

What a train wreck that would have been! Ah, the lost opportunities.
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