Can't import 2008 Prius into Canada - why

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by georgekessel, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. georgekessel

    georgekessel Member

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    I imagine this was already discussed on the forum but I couldn't find it.

    I imported my 2006 Prius into Canada and helped a friend bring in a 2007. Now the 2008 is not allowed to be imported - anyone know why?

    Perhaps something about a required immobilizer?
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Yep.. the immobiliser's the culprit although I believe that has been reversed (i.e. it was implemented for a short period).

    But then again, since news such as that is slow to go around, they might think it's still inadmissible (esp. if RIV hasn't updated their site yet).
     
  3. georgekessel

    georgekessel Member

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    Glad to hear they're probably importable again

    I've got a 2009 on pre-order :)
     
  4. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    I recall reading about a certain something being on the 'wrong' side of the firewall, which renders the car ineligible to be imported. As to why this thing has to be on different sides in different countries, I'm sure it has something to do with dealer complaints. What Free Trade agreement? :confused:
     
  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Yeah I believe they are but again double check and keep checking the RIV site to make sure it is before you buy one.


    Yeah... they just move the immobiliser chip or unit or something to the other side of the firewall (I think David Beale said this??).


    You have no idea how many cars are coming through the border. Just today, I saw someone import a 2008 Corolla LE from the US!
     
  6. HolyPotato

    HolyPotato Junior Member

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  7. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    I wouldn't think NAFTA has anything to do with this as the car is (AFAIK) 100% made in Japan.
     
  8. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Yeah but it interferes with the consumers' right to purchase at a place where the consumers believe they're getting the best price.
     
  9. beach247

    beach247 New Member

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    I feel like crap now! I didn't pay much attention to the EIS footnote for the 2008 Prius built after Sept 2007.

    As I've mentioned, I recently bought a 2008 Prius and I'm moving to Canada in July 2008. Now, I find out that my 2008 Prius may not be admissible. DAMN! :mad:

    I need to call the RIV for a definite answer. But, I'm currently out of town so it would have to wait till Friday.

    What's the latest on this issue? Does anyone know? I need HELP! :confused:
     
  10. removeum

    removeum Member

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    If your vehicle is found to be inadmissible to Canada it will be promptly be deported back to the United States absence of the driver.;)
     
  11. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    This is rediculous. I think anybody who has lost/misplaced their Prius keyfob can attest to the fact that it takes longer than 5 minutes to start a Prius without a keyfob. Like maybe a tow job to the dealer and $500 worth of service with the proper equipment.

    The US style immoblizer may not be certified, but it certainly meets the requirement. If additionally the immobilizer has to be in the engine compartment, then that is less secure. Tearing apart the dash takes a lot longer than opening the hood!
     
  12. 13Plug

    13Plug Active Member

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  13. beach247

    beach247 New Member

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    I've been on the phone with RIV, Toyota USA and Toyota Canada for more than an hour.

    To make a long story short, my car came with an engine immobilizer. Thank heavens! According to Toyota USA, not all of the 2008 models come with it. I guess I lucked out! I called the RIV to make sure that my factory installed engine immobilizer would meet Canadian EIS (electronic immobilization system) standards. They said that if I have the window sticker that states that it has the engine immobilizer, then, I should be fine. Thank goodness, I kept the window sticker.

    Still not satisfied, I called a Toyota dealer in Amherst, NY. According to the service person I spoke with, they have sold the 2008 model to Canadians with the engine immobilizer without any problems. This made me feel better.

    But, until my car passes inspection in Canada, it's something that will always be on my mind. I'll post a message on the Canadian Prius Yahoo Group to see if anyone has any first-hand experience.

    Thank you!
     
  14. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    Quote from the Toyota service document for 2006:
    1. ENGINE IMMOBILISER SYSTEM DESCRIPTION
    (a) The immobiliser system is a theft deterrent system that determines whether or not to disable starting of the hybrid control system depending on a comparison of the key's ID code and the vehicle's pre-registered code.
    The immobiliser system compares the vehicle transponder key ECU's pre-registered ID code with the key-embedded transponder chip's ID code. If the ID codes do not match, the immobilizer system activates and the hybrid control system cannot be started. The transponder key ECU manages communication with the hybrid vehicle control ECU and power source control ECU. When the ID codes of the transponder chip and transponder key ECU match, the transponder key ECU authorizes the starting of the hybrid control system.
    This description applies to every 2004-2008 Prius ever sold. If the Prius uses a keyfob, then it uses this immobilizer system. Actually, it also applies to the 2001-2003 Prius, although that vehicle uses a transponder key instead of a keyfob.
     
  15. beach247

    beach247 New Member

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    RobH, what are you saying then?

    That's what the people at Toyota USA told me. They asked for my VIN to confirm that I have an engine immobilizer. I don't know about the other model years. Besides, only the 2008 Prius has an EIS footnote with regard to Canadian admissibility if built after September 1, 2007.

    TOYOTA/LEXUS
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety/importation/VAFUS/list/VAFUS.pdf

    I still feel uneasy about the situation. I don't want to drive my new Prius to Canada in July to only find out that it would be inadmissible. If you know something, please let me know.

    Thanks.
     
  16. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    You don't have an equipment problem. You have a certification problem. Every Prius ever made has an immobilizer. But apparently nobody with adequate authority has placed the Prius on the proper list.

    Reference "Section 9.2, Electronic Immobilizers Installed as Original Equipment but not Certified to CMVSS 114". The last line states "Other type of information present on the vehicle or on the ignition key or fob allowing the positive identification of such a system".

    There is a transponder inside the keyfob. Perhaps they would accept a letter from a locksmith stating that there is in fact a transponder present in the keyfob. This is a simple test that a locksmith uses when choosing the proper key blank for a duplicate. The test will show the transponder, although the locksmith won't have any keyfob blanks. The transponder is the "key" portion of an immobilizer system.

    There are no keyfobs without transponders. Since the mechanical key is not used to start the car, the only identification function is the transponder. So if the car starts with the keyfob in the keyslot, then the transponder/immobilizer function is working. You may want to disable the smart key system (if installed) before presenting your case. If they can't understand a transponder system, it only gets deeper with the smart system.

    The quote that I gave above from the Toyota service document is on page El-4 of Toyota Prius document "ENGINE IMMOBILISER". You can get your own electronic copy from the Toyota Technical Information Center website. When I used it, it cost $10 for one day of access to the data.

    I've attached a photo of a disassembled keyfob. The transponder is the little 1/2" by 1/8" chip under the circuit board. The transponder is the only active device when the keyfob is inserted into the keyslot on the dash.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. beach247

    beach247 New Member

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    Rob, thanks for the very detailed explanation. I agree that it's a certification issue. That's Canadian bureaucracy at its best. The 2008 Prius should be in the admissible column without an EIS footnote.

    This stupid regulation was designed as a deterrent for the importation of US cars to Canada. Some people say that some cars had no modifications on the engine immobilizers from 2007 to 2008. Some Canadian dealers were also caught purchasing vehicles from the US and selling them at the marked up Canadian prices. I don't know if it's true but I read that the engine immobilizer for the 2008 Prius is on the opposite side of where it was located in the 2007 Prius. Thus, making it non-compliant with CMVSS 114. The more I read about this, the more it's becoming apparent that it's pure BS.

    As I've previously stated, the RIV rep told me that the window sticker indicating the VIN and the presence of an electronic immobilizer will suffice (as stated in the 2nd indented item of section 9.2). I think I'll write RIV and Transport Canada a letter and hope for a response, so I have it in writing. I don't want any surprises.


    "2. Electronic Immobilizers Installed as Original Equipment but Not Certified to CMVSS 114 Vehicles that do not comply with CMVSS 114 will require confirmation of the presence of an electronic immobilizer at the time of the RIV inspection. They are listed as admissible with a special annotation [EIS] regarding the immobilizer. Demonstration of the presence of an electronic immobilizer can be done through one of the following means:

    - Presentation of the completed vehicle purchase agreement showing the vehicle identification number and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer

    - Presentation of the vehicle window sticker (Monroney label) showing the vehicle identification number and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer

    - A letter from the manufacturer showing the vehicle identification number and indicating the presence of an electronic immobilizer.

    - Other type of information present on the vehicle or on the ignition key or fob allowing the positive identification of such a system."

    Thanks again!
     
  18. dragoncello

    dragoncello New Member

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    Beach247, RobH

    Today, I have phoned Toyota-USA, the RIV (Registrar of Imported Vehicles, in Canada), and Canadian Tire (a location, randomly selected, on Vancouver Island). According to Toyota-USA, the Prius has an electronic (engine) immobilizer. At RIV, the person with whom I spoke, told me the 2008 Prius built before Sept 2007 has about a 5 second delay system (he wasn't precisely sure), whereas the Canadian standard (CMVSS114) was 1 second delay. The Canadian Tire technician told me that he cannot change that, but a Toyota dealership should be able to. So, that is what I know.

    Have you got any further?
     
  19. beach247

    beach247 New Member

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    Dragoncello, my 2008 Prius was manufactured in Feb 2008, so I don't know about the ones built before Sept. 1, 2007.

    As I've written in my last post, the RIV rep confirmed my understanding of section 9.2 of the VAFUS memo. If I submit, during the RIV inspection, the original vehicle window sticker showing the VIN and the presence of the engine immobilizer, then, I should be fine. I just wanted it in writing (which I haven't gotten so far) so there won't be any surprises.

    http://www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety/importation/VAFUS/list/VAFUS.pdf
    TOYOTA/LEXUS

    I encountered one post at the RedFlagDeals.com discussion forum where the poster was able to successfully import and register a 2008 model with an EIS annotation (just like the 2008 Prius) by showing the original window sticker showing the VIN and proof of the presence of an engine immobilizer. So, that was, at least, reassuring.
     
  20. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    A 1 second delay between what and what? The only time delay I can think of in this context is a limit between trying different keyfobs. So a thief with a box full of keyfobs has to wait at least the delay period between trying different keyfobs. Well, actually they'd probably have some sort of electronic box that would try different transponder codes, and the delay would place a limit on how quickly they could be tried. If this is the delay that CMVSS114 is talking about, then a 5 second delay would be 5 times as secure as a 1 second delay. So Toyota had to reduce the security of the immobilizer system for the Canadian market?

    This still sounds like a non-technical bureaucrat enforcing a trivial difference between two technical documents. Nothing I've heard so far sounds like there is any practical difference between the Canadian and US immobilizers. If anything, the US standard is stronger than the new Canadian standard.
     
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