Odd Car Dealership Story


macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 24, 2006
calgary, alberta
I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day about a car that he wanted to purchase. We live in Alberta, Canada and he's looking at purchasing a Lexus.

It's a well known fact that cars (as well as pretty much everything else) is less expensive in the US. Since we live relatively close to the border, he was planning to drive to Washingon to pick up his car which he was planning to purchase from a Lexus dealer there. (The lower price in combination with the strong Canadian Dollar made it a very worth while venture... he would save upwards of $12,000CDN on his vehicle).

To make a long story short, he called the dealership and they told him that they weren't able to sell a car to him because he's a Canadian citizen. Apparently this is standard amongst dealerships who have both North and South of the border dealerships.

It really makes you wonder... how free are we afterall?

Any comments?


macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
well it doesn't surprise me.
you'd have to get the loan from an american bank/dealership and they don't have to deal with someone from another country if they don't want to.
plus there are different regulations on cars in both countries.


macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
Location Location Location
Of course you can buy a car in America. You can buy a car in all the countries I can think of. However, you'd have better luck by not buying your car via a financing. Your friend would have even better luck buying a used car.

PS: I'm Canadian. I bought a new car in a foreign country. ;)


macrumors G3
Mar 9, 2002
We had a similar thing in the EU, because of the difference in costs between a car here in the UK and the exact same model in another EU country, it was often cheaper to fly to that country on holiday, buy the car and drive it back, and still save yourself several grand in the process.

It had gotten to the point where dealerships were refusing to sell cars to UK citizens because of this (such refusal was in fact illegal) though I cannot remember the circumstances that surrounded the change, but now it's much easier to buy a car in another EU country, though with the advent of the Euro, and a more uniform pricing structure, the saving's are not quite as substantial as before.


macrumors G5
It really makes you wonder... how free are we afterall?
Has nada to do with freedom.

Purchasing whatever you want, wherever you want is not a right. Freedom is not defined by having someone else do for you whatever it is you want.

The dealership has the freedom to accept or reject offers to purchase. And in this case, like in many authorized dealer contractual agreements (including Apple's, Nikon's, Canon's, etc.) the dealer cannot sell for export out of their territory. If they persist in doing that, they could lose their dealership.

It's a market based economy -- contracts defining restricted sales areas are a part of the marketplace. If the dealer doesn't like it, they are free to sell Kias or Hyundais or whatever instead.