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Being forced to sell our two Teslas- Moving from Michigan to Ontario- PLEA FOR HELP!

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Simbalwa, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. Simbalwa

    Simbalwa Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
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    Location:
    Bloomfield Township, Michigan
    After many failed attempts of getting through to someone at Tesla, we're taking to the "interweb". This is our, now somewhat desperate, plea for help. After YEARS of standing by and supporting Tesla in Michigan...through thick and thin (relatively early supporters), we're being left out in the cold, and forced to sell our two cars (Model S 2014, and Model X 2016) and take a huge financial hit. So much so, that we may not be able to drive completely electric after this happens. Below is a letter that has gone to many people within Tesla, including Elon Musk himself. No one can do anything for us. We find that hard to believe. If anyone has any suggestions, advice, experience or thoughts, we welcome them all. It's a long read, but...here's our story.

    "In 2014 I happened across a Model S driving in front of me on the road. It piqued my interest. As soon as I arrived home I scoured the internet trying to figure out what vehicle I had seen and why the license plate had read, “oil free.” I would spend the next month learning everything that I could about Tesla Motors and Elon Musk. I read every article and saw every interview that I came across. Needless to say, I fell in love. Although a thing of beauty, it was not the design of the Model S that I became enamored with. It was the company; the mission statement, the goals and the integrity with which this company was being run. It appeared to me to be a complete shift from the status quo that we have come to loathe. It was the promise of a future for our planet; a future for my four-year old daughter.


    It didn’t take long for my wife and me to place our order. We were not in the market for a car, and we couldn’t really afford it. In fact, we essentially emptied our savings account in order to buy a Model S. Mind you, this was a very difficult decision on our part, but we knew that the power of the mighty dollar had a far reach. We have known for some time that a break from fossil fuels has to be the direction transportation takes in order for humankind to survive on this planet, and we knew almost instantly that Tesla Motors was the company that would light that flame forward. Although it made no financial sense for us to do so, we couldn’t withhold our support from the company that would give hope to humanity. So, without even test driving the car, we took a leap of faith. We had to put our money where are mouths were, and we were giddy with excitement to do so. In fact, the day we placed our order, I vowed on social media to never again purchase a car that runs on gasoline. You inspired a change in our lives that will reap benefits for generations to come.


    One and a half years later, when the lease on our gasoline-powered car was about to expire, the only question in our minds was; do we get another Model S or do we venture further out of our comfort zone and try the Model X? The latter won the debate. We decided that we would put vacations and other luxuries on hold, and we again emptied our bank accounts.


    Needless to say, we have been happy and loyal customers. My wife and I decided that we would always avail ourselves for “Tesla Time,” answering other people’s questions about Tesla to the best of our ability. It didn’t matter if we were at the grocery store, the playground or the doctor’s office. Many times, we were late for appointments because people would stop and ask questions about our vehicles. My wife and I have been some of your biggest and most outspoken advocates in Michigan, and we have gotten to know the Midwest regional managers and sales teams on a personal level. Many of our friends have ordered a Model 3 or are considering other Tesla vehicles because of our enthusiasm for this wonderful company and mission. Being a part of the “Telsa family” has been a privilege.


    For better or for worse, life is never static for more than brief moments, and I soon found myself looking for employment in Canada. Fortunately for me and my family, I was able to secure a good job in Ontario. We are currently in the throes of coordinating our relocation, a daunting task in and of itself. So, imagine my shock and dismay at discovering that both the Model S and Model X are on Canada’s list of “inadmissible” vehicles. The website for the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles states,


    “Note-2: Tesla Motors has informed Transport Canada that Tesla service centers are currently not in a position to support the substantial modifications required to bring U.S. Model S and Model X vehicles into compliance with Canadian requirements. Contact the manufacturer for further details.”


    I was shocked when I read this. So I am writing to you now to plead my case. I completely understand why you would not want Canadians crossing the border to purchase your vehicles and import them back into Canada. However, there must be a provision for people, like myself, who purchased their vehicles while living in America and then move to Canada at a later time. When we purchased both of our cars, I did not expect to become an immigrant in a foreign land, but it happened. To lose both of our cars in one fell swoop would be devastating to us, not just on a financial level but on an emotional level as well. Our faith in Tesla allowed us to take financial risks that we have never been prepared to do with any other company. To lose the only cars we own would represent a financial setback which will even effect our ability to buy a home. The resale value wouldn’t come close to what we have put into our vehicles, and certainly would not allow us to replace both cars in Canada.


    So I implore you to reconsider your stance on this issue. Please allow us to make the necessary modifications on our vehicles, and please give the Canadian government permission to allow us to import our vehicles. It is reasonable to allow U.S. Tesla owners to keep their vehicles as they relocate to Canada. We clearly have no intention of trying to sell our cars in Canada or hurt the Tesla brand in any way. Myself, my wife and my daughter constitute a Tesla family, we were always in it for the long haul. Since we first learned about your company we decided to make sacrifices in order to support your mission statement. We have never abandoned you, so please do not abandon us in our time of need."


    If you made it this far, thanks for reading!
     
  2. kev1n

    kev1n Member

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    Bay Area
    just a thought, why not sell both and pick up used ones in similar spec/price in Canada?
     
    • Like x 4
  3. richrootes

    richrootes Member

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    Have you tried asking what the modifications would be? If it's just a matter of a few seat belt buttons and daylight running lights, that should be no problem

    However, I suspect it's a lot more sinister than that - and imports are being deliberately blocked for other reasons....
     
    • Like x 1
  4. Simbalwa

    Simbalwa Member

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    So, NOT EVEN our dear friends in service (we have an AMAZING service team) can get a full list or answers!! It's just sad that a legitimate and loyal owner/supporter can't get any answers. We're not the type to insult the company and "angry tweet", but many are saying it's the only way things get done. We honestly don't want it to come down to that :/
     
  5. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Your timing is really bad - all hands on deck right now and the foreseeable future for the Model 3. What you're asking for is a team of people (that they need right now) to be redirected towards this issue. I don't know what it would take to get an exception in Canada, but the fact that you don't have a 'full list' yet sounds like you have multiple items already - and undoubtedly it would require some legal support to handle the paperwork.

    I wish they had taken the time to respond, even with the negative. They should have. But I agree with posts above suggesting you sell your vehicles here and rebuy used in Canada, thereby sidestepping the whole issue.
     
    • Like x 4
  6. dc_h

    dc_h Member

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    Besides metric speedometer, what is/are the differences? The speedometer seems like it could be a software issue. There are different bumper standards in Canada, but i don't think they make a different bumper today. You also have to convert your car to French Canadian. The language change also seems like software.

    French language, metric speeds and bumper protection.
     
    • Disagree x 2
  7. Simbalwa

    Simbalwa Member

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    Unfortunately, there's a pretty hefty price difference. We've been looking into this. We're looking at more than a $30k difference if we did it for both. After buying 2 Teslas in a 3 year span, we don't have that kind of cash to blow. We could do it for one, but not both. We take really good care of our cars...paint protection, clear film, handwashing the S and touchless or handwashing the X. The thought of paying more for a lesser maintained vehicle than what we'd get for ours is heartbreaking. This is going to sound dramatic (hopefully this is a "safe place" to say this), but going back to an ICE is giving me heartburn!
     
  8. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    You might look into finding a crashed Canadian Model S and swapping VIN plates. Same for the X. Screw the money grubbing bureaucrats.
     
    • Like x 1
  9. harry

    harry Member

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    The "substantial modification" is wholly BS. I have been given to understand (from two different techs speaking confidentially) the changes are quite minor. Tesla just refuses to allow imports from the U.S. to Canada. They maintained early on that the pricing would be compatible between the two markets, but that is not quite true. Canadian prices are higher than the currency adjustment would justify.

    Interestingly, Tesla opened up the importation window for Model S for about a month a couple of year ago. During that time they refused to give me a recall clearance letter and then closed the window. I'm convinced that some well connected person wanted to import, and Tesla's management changed the rules for that car while blocking imports for the peons.

    We were in the same position as the OP, immigrating after receiving our Signature. We explored selling, but obviously couldn't buy a new Signature at that point. We finally found a used one in Montreal, but paid more than we could get for our U.S. car, and had to accept a somewhat lesser car.
     
    • Informative x 1
    • Like x 1
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Differences:

    Key fob system used in Canada is much more secure, due to regulations. This is a hardware difference.

    Daytime running lights have to be locked on. This is a software switch.

    Units have to be in metric. You can flip that switch yourself.

    Placards in the car have to be billingual.

    They used to require that the buttons on the seat belts be red, but this appears to have gone away recently.

    Unless I forgot something, that's the whole list.
     
    • Like x 5
    • Informative x 4
  11. richrootes

    richrootes Member

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    It'd almost be a worthwhile endeavour to set up an online 'exchange plus a bit of cash' program - there have got to be people in a similar but reversed situation
     
    • Like x 1
  12. jgillispie

    jgillispie Member

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    I don't know the legalize but can you use an address in the US(such as a relative) and keep the cars registered there? To Canada it would be like you're a tourist across the border?
     
    • Like x 2
  13. cgiGuy

    cgiGuy Active Member

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    Or transfer the cars into a family member's name who resides in the US and have them "loan" you the cars for a couple years while you're in Canada. Then they just send you the registration papers/stickers each year.
     
    • Like x 4
    • Disagree x 1
  14. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    I believe there is no reverse situation, and that you can bring Canadian Teslas into the US without problem.

    I feel for the OP, but I honestly think your best option is going to just take the depreciation hit, and/or drive ICE until you can rebuy some Teslas up there.
     
    • Like x 1
  15. Struja

    Struja Member

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    This is NOT Tesla's fault. This is the fault of Canadian bureaucracy.

    I am a Canadian and I lived in NYC for 14 years. While living in the USA I purchased two ICE vehicles, a Lexus IS350 and a RX350. My wife and I drove both cars for 3 years before we moved back to Canada.

    We assumed it was just a matter of getting Ontario plates. Boy were we wrong. It has nothing to do with bilingual requirements or mph vs kph. Canadian cars have certain mandatory requirements that aren't needed in the USA (daytime running lights is the one most people are familiar with) but it goes way beyond that...

    There were emissions requirements, bumper impact requirements, interior lighting requirements, crumple zone requirements etc...

    When we were importing our cars I remember being told that Audi had a few cars on the blocked list along with a few high end sports cars. Even though our cars were permitted we ended up paying about 3k to make them Canadian compliant (most on nonsensical administrative fees). I am doubtful Tesla can do much for you.

    Absent a bonafide safety reason, there should be no restrictions for people who have been living in the USA and import back to Canada. It's just bad policy.

    Why can't you just keep your MI plates?
     
    • Informative x 2
  16. skrenes

    skrenes Member

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    I just wanted to chime in that I did an import of a US car in 2007. What was missing in my case was daytime running lights, bilingual stickers in metric, an extra seatbelt latch, and some paperwork that declared the vehicle had no recalls. I managed to source the parts from a junkyard and then found a cheap looking shop (I was in Vancouver at the time) who did the inspections to certify it was within compliance.

    This last part is key. I went to a few ma and pa shops, schmoozing the mechanics with my case until I found a guy that would pass the test if all that was out of compliance was the couple benign issues (e.g. non-legal window tint and aftermarket D.O.T. approved head/tail lights). He'd fail the test if there were any safety issues that needed to be addressed. Afterward, the guy made me sign a paper that stated those things and a few other things were stock and compliant AT THE TIME OF INSPECTION (meaning, if they weren't afterwards, he wouldn't be held responsible). It was a bit shady, but I got it done and my vehicle was licensed. The bonus for the inspector is it takes a fraction of the time to inspect these electric vehicles compared to ICE vehicles.

    In your case, you could probably get away without putting on the bilingual & metric stickers on the visor and door sill and simply switch your units to metric for the insurance walk-around. I would try to see if the Tesla SC can remove the daytime running light option and force them on.

    I wouldn't ordinarily recommend someone to go down this route because it was a bit of work, but given the fact that you're talking not one, but two very much loved and cared for first-hand, and expensive vehicles, all because of some political non-sense spurred by a turf war, I'd say try it if you can.

    For anyone who'd say "safety this or that", there is no appreciable safety difference between the two cars. And you can't tell me that a US Model S/X is more of a danger to our roads than the junkers out there.

    As a note, I remember one of the forms I needed was required at the border. I don't know if that has changed, but if you decide to try this, make sure you get that import form. I think this is honestly worth a try and there wouldn't be much up front cost. I'd start with getting a form from your local SC that states there are no recalls on your vehicles.
     
    • Informative x 1
  17. Drone Flyer

    Drone Flyer Member

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    Not one to criticize but why is it that Americans, or as we Canadians say, people south of the border, think that Canada is all French?
    It isn't. It's like saying that people in Chicago, where you are from, have to have their Teslas converted to Spanish!
    In case you don't know, none of the Teslas slated for Canada are French. They are all English, just like the States. The French speaking people in Quebec only get it in English but most speak and understand the language anyway.
    Until the 18 year old IT programmers at Tesla get out into the real world, this total ignorance about Canada will continue.
    The metric/ imperial debacle on all North American cars is also a very serious issue. Unfortunately, it's going to take a fatality before Elon gets off his butt to fix it!
     
  18. mrElbe

    mrElbe Active Member

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    OK folks, I have imported quite a few cars into Canada and learned the ropes.
    There are two categories - cars 15 years old or older and those younger than 15 years.

    15 Years and older
    Can be imported without a problem. Just pay the 5% GST and duties, if any, at the border. In Ontario then get the car certified and and then pay 8% Provincial tax + licensing fee at the licensing office.

    Less than 15 years old
    The car must be listed on the RIV ( Registrar of Imported Vehicles ) web site as admissible to Canada. If not listed, there is no way you can get it into the country.
    If admissible, then you will pay the 5% GST and duties, if any, at the border and get Form 1 and pay the RIV fee. The RIV will then mail you Form 2 which will spell out what exact modifications must be made in order to comply. Once that is satisfied you take the car to the authorized RIV inspection station ( Canadian Tire ) and they will then stamp your Form 1 and fax it to the RIV. No cost, because your RIV fee paid for that. The RIV will then send you a compliance sticker for your car and you are good to go to the license office and pay 8% Provincial tax + licensing fee.

    What makes a car inadmissible?
    The RIV or the Government knows nothing about cars. They rely on data supplied by the manufacturer. Now some manufacturers do not want cars for the US market to come to Canada. So they put roadblocks in the way. Either outright non admissibility or artificial things like:
    - refusing or charging a large sum for a letter to state that all recalls are serviced.
    - letter that scares you about service and warranty. Any charges to transfer warranty are legitimate because each country has a money pot for warranty.
    Sadly, Tesla took the non admissibility route. In my estimation, bilingual stickers and a switch to Canadian software would all be needed.
    And maybe key fobs. Bumper laws have been harmonized recently.
     
    • Informative x 5
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  19. abasile

    abasile Working on EVBuySell

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    Unless you're darned sure that you'll be staying in Canada for the long haul, it would seem prudent to me to find a way to keep the cars registered in the US provided you can avoid risking serious legal consequences. Could you accomplish this by maintaining legal residency in both countries? (I have zero experience living/moving outside the US, but those are the questions I'd ask.)

    It would be a real shame to have to sell the cars, only to find yourselves returning to the US after a short time. You never know - what if the job(s) in Canada don't work out for you, etc.?
     
  20. Brando

    Brando Member

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    An owner can't bring his used car into Canada???
    Are you sure?? I'd suspect you pay some fee and allowed an exception.

    The regs are for NEW cars, not used ones. AND for car importers such as TESLAP85.

    Did they make them crush all pre-canada regulation cars??

    I'd talk with Canada officials and ask for it in writing, get a letter.

    They let tourists drive US cars in Canada ALL THE TIME. Come on, this is absurd.
     

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