Earlier this month, Subaru released pricing information for the 2022 BRZ in Canada. Its base and Sport-tech trims mirror the U.S.’s Premium and Limited configurations for features, but Canadian enthusiasts are charged considerably less for their daily drifters. So much less, in fact, that it’s cheaper to import a BRZ than to buy one in the U.S.
Here in the U.S., a base BRZ starts at $27,995 before destination and delivery. A Canadian base model costs CAD $29,495 — just $23,427 at current exchange rates. Even accounting for destination, delivery, and other fees, the Canadian BRZ costs only $25,094 in Freedom Bucks.
Cars in Canada often go for slightly different converted rates than their American counterparts. Sometimes it’s due to marginal equipment differences, other times it’s due to the cost of transport. A $4,500 difference, however, is considerable — especially on such a budget-minded car.
I reached out to Subaru of America and Subaru of Canada to ask about the discrepancy, and the company’s Canadian wing got back to me with a very detailed response:
We price our vehicles to be competitive within the Canadian market not based on another country’s pricing or exchange rate.
Well, what does the competition look like? The closest car to the BRZ that’s currently on the market is the ND Mazda MX-5 Miata, which starts at $26,830 in the United States. Its Canadian base price of CAD $33,200 translates to $26,452 USD — only a few hundred dollars difference.
Since Subaru doesn’t look at “another country’s pricing or exchange rate,” they’ve ended up in a weird situation for U.S. buyers. Namely, it’s cheaper to buy a BRZ in Canada, drive it over the border, and register it in the US than it is to buy one from your local Subaru dealer.
I asked Jalopnik’s Canadian-border-crossing expert Elizabeth Blackstock about importing a vehicle from up north, and she informed me that some organization called “U.S. Customs and Border Protection” would make you pay something called “taxes” on imported vehicles. Those import duties, according to CBP, total out to 2.5% of the vehicles’s value — a mere $585.68 based on the price of a Canadian-delivered BRZ.
I know, I know, “What about the 25-year ban on imported vehicles? I can’t bring one in!” Here’s the thing: You very probably can. The ban carves out exceptions for vehicles built to U.S. specifications, which many Canadian-market vehicles are. While it isn’t entirely confirmed that the Canadian-spec BRZ is entirely identical to the one we get down here, a simple letter from Subaru is all it takes to find out for sure. That letter tells the NHTSA that your discount BRZ is in full compliance — ready to import to the U.S. of A.
So, for budding enthusiasts looking for a deal on a fantastic entry-level sports car, give your local Canadian border crossing a look — and maybe chat with an importer to see if there are any hidden fees. You’ll get a nice road trip, a little vacation, and an unbeatable deal on a new BRZ.