Toronto, July 9 /CNW/ - With the Canadian dollar hovering around the 94 cent mark, Canadians are buying up cars from the United States in record numbers. Last year, Canadians imported 112,826 vehicles from the United States, an increase of 55 per cent from the previous year.

Canadians buy American cars for two primary reasons. Thanks to favorable exchange rates, consumers have discovered that vehicles imported from the United States are generally less expensive than identical cars in Canada.People can also buy vehicles that are not otherwise available in Canada.

"A real niche industry has been created," says Brian Osler, President of the North American Automobile Trade Association (NAATA), the Ontario based not-for-profit association of dealers specializing in cross-border sales. "Canadian dealers that import from the United States are able to provide their customers with a real buying advantage that they can't get anywhere else."

Part of the growth comes from consumer awareness and education. As people have become aware of the savings and increased product choice, they are specifically asking for American imports.

"The advantages of buying U.S. cars right now are endless," says Stephen Bulyovsky, co-owner of Canadian Auto Associates Ltd., a vehicle dealer specializing in cross-border sales in Guelph, Ontario. "A 10 per cent price difference between countries may not seem like a lot, but on a $100,000 Porsche, that is a $10,000 savings. That's attractive mathematics to anyone buying a car."

The big excitement for car enthusiasts is the increase in product choice.Some options and even an entire vehicle brand are not available in Canada.Sometimes a vehicle becomes a hot-seller and there is not enough supply for the market. Canadians who are aware they can buy American imports are able to purchase these vehicles.

Toyota does not yet market the Scion brand in Canada. Consumers in Canada can only buy these vehicles from dealers that import from the United States."It's pretty cool to own a car that no one else has," acknowledges Mr. Bulyovsky. "We've sold more than 100 Scions to Canadians so far and are having a hard time keeping up with the demand."

For further information:
Canadian Auto Associates Ltd., Stephen Bulyovsky, tel: 1-866-606-2155, email: sales@canadianautoassociates.com; or North American Automobile Trade Association, Tahverlee Mills, tel: (905) 882-7040, email: Tahverlee@naata.orgu