My Experience on Shipping an Audi across North America
After my car was rear ended in a car accident coming home after a weekend of skiing, it came time to find a new car. It wasn’t as easy as I expected buying a car in today’s environment for a whole host of modern day reasons that included a messed up supply chain, a global climate change wet weather flood and lack of vehicles in the market place today. How did I getting my car across the country and back home to Vancouver on the West Coast? Read on to find out…
This post is one chapter on our trip during the pandemic to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Buy a Car. This trip was enhanced through Air Canada Aeroplan Elite Status and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Travelling 4,300km to Buy a Car
- Air Canada Signature Business Class Pandemic Edition: Vancouver – Toronto
- Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- The Process of Buying an Audi on the Internet, Ontario, Canada
- Plaza Premium Toronto Concept Pop Up Lounge – Terminal 1, Toronto, Canada
- Air Canada Signature Business Class Pandemic Edition: Toronto – Vancouver
- My Experience Shipping a Car Across Canada
Activity: Shipping an Audi Across North America
After successfully locating a rare car on the other side of the country, a trip out to inspect and facilitate a purchase, it came time to deliver the car home. While most people buy from a dealership located in their immediate neighbourhood, my journey led me to a car dealer in Toronto for an Audi A6 Wagon.
Considering my options:
My newly purchased car happened to be located some 4,300 kilometres away from my home town in Vancouver, Canada. With Canada being one of the largest countries in the world, there were some distances to be covered in returning the vehicle to my home garage.
It seemed appropriate to consider my return options.
While I could have enjoyed a six to eight day drive across Canada, my time and life schedule got the better of me.
In addition to my limited time, the cost of gas was pricing well over $2.20. With a 73 litre fuel tank, and a range of about 700 kilometres per tank, a trip directly across Canada would have likely cost me $986 CAD in gas alone.
While it may have been cheaper to travel across the United States thanks to cheaper gas prices, at the time of the trip, Canadian Residents required a PCR Covid Test if they were out of Canada for more than 72 hours. I would have to add another $200 CAD and time and efforts to find a testing location if I were to take this route..
Further adding to the expense, if I were to add another six nights of hotel on the trip, it would have likely resulted in another $1000 in expenses. By driving, I would add another 4,300 kilometres on to the odometer. As a result, driving certainly wasn’t my first choice. I wasn’t too keen on driving back.
Based on the above math alone, I decided that shipping the car by train was the better and more economical option.
I ended up using Hansens Freight Forwarding in order to ship the car across Canada by rail. I had used Hansens before to ship a 2001 BMW 540i Touring from Montreal to Vancouver.
I also had some comfort that Audi Durham was familiar with Hansen’s and had some history with them; having used them in the past. Having read some on line reviews of vehicle relocation companies, going for the most economical providers wasn’t necessarily the best option when you’re shipping one of your most prized assets.
Hansens used freight train cars and flat deck trucks at each end, which provided some comfort and security in the shipping process.
Most intriguingly, Hanses offered daily vehicle tracking feature, which allowed customers to see where their vehicle was once a day.
Booking the Train:
I went to the Hansens website on line and prepared a quote. The quote was handled reasonably quickly, and it cost me a quoted $2,000 CAD to ship the car. Hansens quoted an expected arrival date of approximately 21 days from the date of finalizing the order. This was longer than expected, but I hoped that the car would arrive sooner than that.
Starting the Transport:
After about 5 days of advance notice scheduling over the weekend, Hansens’ attended the Audi Durham dealership to collect the vehicle. The vehicle was signed off with photos taken.
The vehicle was loaded into a train yard in Toronto. It’s journey was underway. It took several days for the vehicle to actually get loaded onto the train after it was collected from the dealership. Whether this was a capacity issue or a lack of available space on trains, I’ll never exactly know. It seemed that the supply chain issues were not immune to this trip.
Once the car was loaded on to the train, the car had the experience of visiting heaps of out of the ordinary places. I would religiously check daily on the progress of the car which would yield a postal code near a train yard located somewhere nowhere near anywhere.
It was intriguing to follow this precious cargo as it crossed on it’s journey across Canada.
The car eventually arrived in Vancouver at its final train off load destination. Much like the departure of the vehicle, the car actually spend 3-4 days at the train yard waiting to get sorted out prior to being towed to it’s final destination.
One afternoon, I received a call I was most anticipating. The Hansens’ dispatch called to arrange a morning delivery time. I was pretty exstactic when I saw the flat deck arriving in the neighborhood with a beautiful wagon on the back of it.
It was surprisingly clean for a long train journey across Canada. The truck driver promptly unloaded her and after a few pleasentries, he was on his way.
The next day, I took care of a few local provincial safety inspections that were required in order to finalize vehicle licensing. I plated the car with the Ontario Plates that were supplied and had it inspected at the local Canadian Tire discount tire store. This was an insurance requirement in the Province of British Columbia that all out of province vehicles needed to be safety inspected.
After some bureaucratic inspections, the Audi A6 was on the road in British Columbia. The whole process took about six weeks end to end from the time I located the car, flew out to purchase it, and had it shopped right to the house.
My Thoughts on Shipping a Car:
While it wasn’t the easiest process buying a car and having it freighted, I was really happy I waited for something that I really wanted. I wasn’t keen on settling for a car that was only “just okay”. While I had forgotten how time consuming it was to research and purchase a vehicle, I was ultimately happy with the end result. To date, I’ve really been happy with the car and it’s provided the extra room that I’ve needed while scooting around the Vancouver area.