Mitsubishi Cross-Border Roadblocks

The lease on Ashley’s Mini Cooper is up in April 2008, so we’re looking at getting a new car in the spring. I’ve always enjoyed the look of Mitsubishi cars, and now that they’re being offered in Canada (that happened a few years back) I’m seriously considering either a 2008 Eclipse or a 2008 Lancer. Given the strength of the Canadian dollar, I figured I’d check into how much the cars are selling for in the US: I wasn’t overly surprised to see a 2008 3.4 litre engine Eclipse, fully loaded, selling for $30K USD. The same car in Canada? $36K CAD. No equitable pricing there. It’s always been less expensive to buy a car in the US though, which is why some Canadians will drive down and buy their cars in the US. There are costs involved in bring a car across the border, and some paperwork hassles, but $6000 is worth a fair amount of effort.

What was surprising to me was the conversation I had with the local Mitsubishi dealership: the saleman informed me that in October of this year, Mitsubishi segmented their warranty. Previously they offered a North-American wide warranty, meaning if you bought the car in the USA, you’d still have the 10-year warranty in Canada. No longer. If I were to buy a 2008 Eclipse in the USA and bring it up here to Calgary, I’d have zero warranty. Worse, they won’t even sell me a warranty – if anything went wrong with my Mitsubishi car I’d have to take it back down to the US to get it fixed under warranty.

I understand that Mitsubishi is under pressure from Canadian auto dealers to stop this cross-border buying practice, especially with the dollar disparity, but the solution would seem to be obvious: make the prices fair in both markets so buyers don’t feel like they’re being punished (price-wise) by purchasing from a local reseller. There will always be price discrepancies in different markets, but when I can drive down to Montana in five hours and buy the car for $6000 less…that seems a bit extreme to me. I don’t like it when companies use their power to abuse the consumer, so this is definitely a strike against Mitsubishi – the Eclipse and Lancer had better test drive damn good for me to continue to want one!