RightHandDrive.ca/blog Canadian Right Hand Drive News and Thoughts


Meeting with MPI: the details

Well, the meeting with a fellow at MPI went reasonably well. I was worried that they'd have me talking to some know-nothing, powerless, overall not useful person, so I was delighted to find that that was not the case. The man I was talking to (who shall remain nameless) was no VP, but is a Manager in Vehicle Standards and Technologies. Great!

I honestly didn't know what to expect from the meeting, but the fellow had read my letter to MPI, and had even marked it up for things to discuss. Awesome.

At first the fellow was somewhat defensive, expecting me to attack full-on. Honestly, I don't blame him. I'll bet he has more than a few angry people go through his office. Once he realized that I was not angry, but actually bringing up valid points and willing to discuss them, the whole tone of the meeting changed. It was really good.

The main issue that the fellow had with the letter was that 'grey imports' was too vague. Any rules from that would also apply to Tata Motors from India, and everything. I was thinking about Eurocars (BMWs, Alpinas, Mercedes, AMGs...) and not 3rd world cars. The reason I had originally done that was to avoid saying 'right hand drive', since there is a certain negative stigma attached to that term. He agreed with many of the points, but didn't want to stretch it out to all grey imports, but Japanese RHDs might be possible.

JIS non-headlight lighting in Manitoba. He made it clear that they are looking into this, and they will probably be accepted in the next vehicle inspections handbook. When that comes out? I don't know.

General confusion about RHDs. Manitobans frequently get turned away from safety inspection stations. The fellow was genuinely confused about this. I mentioned that ICBC has a right hand drive page on their site... which is largely useless, but has some FAQs that can be helpful. I said that a page might clear the air about RHDs, since there is so much misinformation about them. The fellow was still surprised about the confusion, and agreed that it would help.

JIS seat belts. This is a sore point for all Manitoban right hand drive drivers. Seat belts must be marked DOT, SAE, or MVSS (read: North American standards), and most are not. Even the Fairlady (the JDM version of the 300ZX) doesn't have the right markings on the seat belts, despite the fact it's pretty much the same car! Will MPI ever accept them? Probably not. The only argument I had was 'well... BC does!', which is the equivalent of saying 'my friend's parents let them!'

If we can get together and make a strong argument that the seat belts are equally as safe, they would probably accept them... getting there would be very difficult though.

Overall... it was a good meeting. I think I won the guy over. It's a good first step in to making right hand drives more legitimate in Manitoba.


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MPI situation news update

So, I'm currently in the process of making a meeting with some staffers at MPI to discuss compliance items. I'm honestly quite nervous about it.

That, and I'm picking up my new fancy car from Vancouver this weekend. Photos to follow!


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Manitoba RHD – MPI’s memo *updated*

So, I've heard from a few sources now that MPI has sent a memo to a all Safety Inspection Stations. I'm still trying to get a copy of this memo. If you have one, please forward it to me. I now have a copy of this memo, it is attached.

The gist of the memo is... look for DOT head lights, DOT tail lights, DOT and seatbelts. Some have said that the memo says to not safety the vehicle at all. At any rate, people are getting turned away from Safety Inspection Stations because of this memo. It has been an ongoing problem that RHDs are getting turned away, but this has made even more stations close their doors to us.

Manitoba is currently in provincial election mode. MPIs are going to be too busy to care about the little guys. I had a response from Hon. Andrew Swan earlier, but MPI has still refused to contact me.

Because of all this, I have sent another email to Hon. Andrew Swan, and Hon. Steve Ashton to see if they could help.

Hon. Andrew Swan and Hon. Steve Ashton,

I realize that you are probably very busy with your campaign, but no
one from MPI has contacted me. This is itself is fine, but MPI has
just released a memo to safety inspection stations that has caused
most stations to stop safetying right-hand drive vehicles.

This is exactly what I was trying to avoid. This approach to the
safety in these vehicles is not the answer.

I would like to set up a meeting, or at least open communications
between myself, MPI and all relevant parties. Can you help me with

Again, I realize you are probably very busy at this time. If you don't
have time to attend meetings about this, can you help me contact the
correct people at MPI.

Robert Guderian

So, hopefully I'll get some kind of response.


Attachment: Memo from MPI

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My answer to “Why would you want to drive a right-hand drive”

My aunt actually asked me this question the other day. It was particularly interesting since she's over the age of 60 and one of the most judgemental people I know. I feel very good about the answer I gave.

I turned the gun on her.

"Have you ever gone to the States to buy something there because it's cheaper, or not sold here?"

I feel that this pretty much sums up why I drive what I do. My truck has never been sold here, it's very good on gas and extremely useful. And, it's actually pretty cheap to buy when you start looking at the 4x4 market. In fact, all JDM cars are reasonably priced when you look at what you're getting.

Other answers I thought up after the fact are:

  • "I like the style." Though I'm not a huge fan of admitting to buying something because it's stylish... it's true. I like being seen in my truck, and I like the conversations it starts. I'd love to say I bought the truck because it's useful, and it happened to be be RHD... but that's a lie. The two factors were equal in my mind.
  • "Because it's an icon." This is for you Skyline people, Hilux people, Figaro people and more. These fantastic vehicles were never sold here, and they're amazing. People just like seeing these drive around!
  • "Because it's amazing." Here I'm thinking about a Delica, or the like. You just can't get that from a a USDM van!

The reason I hear altogether too frequently is "Because it's fast". You're not going to win hearts by saying that you can drive fast. Think up something more inventive if this is your go-to.


Filed under: Car Talk No Comments