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August 19, 2021

How to check cross-border car prices

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

In most cases new cars in the U.S. are still less expensive than they are in Canada, but the gap has narrowed significantly.

Now that the Canadian dollar is quickly catching up to its U.S. counterpart and struggling car companies have either lowered their prices or boosted their incentives, it's a toss up as to whether they are any bargains to be had south of the border. In fact, cross-border comparison shopping has always been a bit awkward – until now.

One way to make sure you’re getting a good price on a new car is to unearth the best deals other buyers are negotiating. That information has been available only sporadically, primarily from car-crazy user groups

But a new site, TrueCar, now offers you a straightforward snapshot of what others are paying for particular models, in their area, regionally, and nationally. Unfortunately, the site only deals with the U.S. side of the equation at the moment. But Toronto residents, for instance, can easily get a quick baseline for the car they want by looking at prices in nearby Buffalo.

After you enter a zip code and details about the exact vehicle you’re considering, including optional equipment, TrueCar presents “good” and “great” prices, after factoring in rebates, factory-to-dealer fees, and other variables. It will also tell you whether prices are trending up or down.

Here's a sample report on the top-selling sedan, a 2009 Toyota Camry. A quick glance can tell you if the price for your vehicle is on par with the price others have paid in the past. And then you can see how this compares with prices for a similar car at home.

Check out the company’s blog, called The Truth, for car pricing facts and trends and then do some comparison shopping at your local dealer.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...