Registering a vehicle manufactured in Canada

Hi all, have trawled all the obvious sites for info and have emailed Ford France HQ for info. However, anyone any real experience of bringing in a UK registered vehicle that originally came from Canada? Have seen that you can get a certificate of non-conformity from Ford but what happens after that, is the vehicle inspected here in France and will they require modifications? The engine size is bigger than the normal EU spec so does that mean it would not be acceptable?
Also, do you get screwed with importation taxes and levies?
Any advice welcome please


If you do not have all the paperwork in place, I suspect you may have to go the DREAL route - which we discussed a while ago on another thread.

With regard to importation taxes and levies - hasn’t the car already been imported into UK ???

Bringing a car to France will incur Taxes on Registration - as you will know. Is there something else you are thinking about ???

Hi Stella, just trying to understand the process of non-conformity - is this a big deal and therefore a no-go area. also trying to work out the potential taxes on registration which looks like another minefield. Just need to know what we are in for before taking the process of buying the car any further.

OK, not to worry, Ford France came back and suggested we would have problems so its a no-go for us.

That’s strange I see Canada made cars here often

The issue isn’t what country it was manufactured in, but what market it was manufactured for. Each trading block has its own set of standards and any goods it imports have to conform. If a car wasn’t produced for use in the EU it won’t have been manufactured to EU standards, which cover everything from emissions to seatbelts to windscreen glass etc. To register ir in the EU, every component that is covered by EU standards would have to be replaced by a CE marked equivalent. It would pretty much amount to rebuilding the car.


Hi Martin… could you please amend your Registration to show your Full Name… (First and Last)

It’s quite possible that Martin is your First Name and Bajen is your last name (but Bajen has been Registered as your User Name).

I can amend the Registration for you, if you like…

So, either amend your Registration or confirm your Full Name on the thread and I will amend it for you…


You don’t need to replace parts just look at all the American cars on French and Europen roads

Mmm… as far as I am aware non-confirming parts will need replacing if DREAL will not pass the vehicle in its existing condition… :zipper_mouth_face:

What model is it

You have two choices, either you are a visitor and you leave the car on US plates in which case it shouldn’t be kept in France or the EU permanently, or you import it into France in which case it will have to conform to EU normes one way or another. You won’t find a vehicle on French plates that either wasn"t manufactured to EU standards, or hasn’t been inspected and approved by DREAL. For classic vehicles the normes are more sympathetic, because standards evolve all the time and vehicles aren’t required to comply retrospectively, in most cases they only have to meet the normes that were in force when they were new. But it still has to be inspected by DREAL, and whatever mods they specify need to be done before they will approve it and you can register it.
It’s the same the other way round, vehicles produced for the EU market won’t meet US safety normes. It’s not simply that one set of standards is higher overall than the other, but they are different. For instance people often say that the US is more focused on making cars safe for their occupants while the EU is more focused on making cars safe for pedestrians and other road users, they have different crumple zones. So a vehicle is manufactured to one set of standards or the other according to where it is destined to be sold/used. Eg an EU spec MINI Cooper will look the same outwardly as a US spec MINI Cooper but it will have been sujected to different crash testing procedures and there will be significant differences in its structure and components.
France is stricter about this than the UK, for instance “grey” imports that get onto the UK market sometimes run into problems when folk try to import them to France, even though they are already on UK plates.
If you’re interested, this study takes a details look at some of the differences between US and EU normes (I believe Canada is different again) and although it’s from 2015 nothing much has changed AFAIK. If you know different, please point us to new developments.

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Just submitted an american Audi Q5 for registration. It needed a DREAL inspection & had an issue with the seat belts not having a conformity number on them. Fortunately as this model has a european version parts were easy to get.
Cars that are not sold in Europe such as say, Ford Crown Victoria, would be much harder & expensive to get registered.
There is a company that offers this service & estimates the cost to be in the region of 5000 euros.

I presume that you have found this on the Internet: “How to import a car to France”.

Good luck … !

Your internet example is not bad but not completely accurate either.