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


A tense moment…

Got this in the mail yesterday:

MPI - not a huge fan of RHD

Now, this is tense since MPI is known to call in cars for re-inspection (free of charge!), where they'll re-check all the compliance items that imported cars must adhere to. It's happened to a few of my friends, but I've not been called in yet. So, I was thinking this might be a precursor to it.... luckily it's not. So, what was this for? Well...

A VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is a North American invention. A VIN is a 17 digit number, with a few different conventions on what the numbers mean.

JDM vehicles ship with a chassis code (or frame number).

Example chassis codes

As seen here, the codes can be of varying lengths, ranging from 9-12 digits. Also, this is where the chassis number comes from! The model is the first few alphanumeric digits. My Subaru's number is GC8-xxxxxxx, my Hijet was S83P-xxxxxxxx. An 'S13' Silva would be S13-xxxxxxx. Super cool!

There should be a plate on every JDM car listing the model number, chassis code, engine number and transmission number. It's quite informative and interesting to look at. Check it out on your car, or your friend's car!

BC's public insurer (ICBC) provides 17 digit VINs to their customers, while Manitoba's (MPI) doesn't. So, apparently they'll occasionally check in to make sure it's still the same number. Make work project!


Another response from an MLA

So, I had a meeting with MPI this September. It was good, I learned a few things, and got across the frustration that us RHDers have in Manitoba.

This week, I got another response, this time directly from the of Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation.

Dear Mr. Guderian:

On behalf of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, I am responding to your September 12, 2011 e-mail regarding grey imports. Your e-mail indicates that you are concerned about the inspection of right-hand-drive vehicles under Manitoba's Private Vehicle Inspection Program (PVIP).

The Minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) has requested MPI to review this matter and to contact you upon completion of their review. It is my understanding that subsequent to your e-mail of September 12, 2011 MPI has met with you and is giving consideration to your concerns and requests regarding right-hand-drive vehicles and other grey imports.

MPI administers The Drivers and Vehicles Act (DVA) on behalf of the Government of Manitoba. Regulations under the DVA govern the PVIP. MPI has the technical expertise regarding vehicle equipment standards that is required to meaningfully address your concerns. As I trust you appreciate, the PVIP is intended to ensure that vehicles operating on our highways meet a minimum of safety-related standards. To this end, MPI is reviewing the implications of Manitoba's equipment standards and safety inspection programs on grey imports.

Should you wish to discuss this matter further with MPI, please contact Mr. Ward Keith, Registrar of Motor Vehicles, at (204) --------. Mr. Keith oversees MPI's Vehicle Standards and Technologies. I hope you find this information helpful.


So, yeah. Interesting.

I guess, my first reaction was, "Wow, this took 2 months to be sent".

My second reaction was disappointment. Though I'd be willing to work with MPI to solve this problem, the legislature MAKES the laws, MPI just FOLLOWS the laws that the legislature makes for them. If we want to solve this problem we need to go to the top, speak truth to power.

So, I'm between a rock and a hard spot. I want to reply and say that I want to make a meeting with them, but they'd just talk to MPI too. So, should I arrange a meeting with both them and MPI... have all the players in the room?

What do you all think? Comment or fire me an email at robg@righthanddrive.ca.

Tagged as: , No Comments

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

Tagged as: , 2 Comments

An open letter to the Government of Manitoba

A while ago I drafted up a letter to send to the Government of Manitoba about how poorly they are treating grey imports in Manitoba. It's summer, and I haven't heard any valuable response. Needless to say, I'm disappointed, but now I'm opening up this letter to all of you to send to your MLA and anyone you think should read it.

You should send it to:
Hon. Steve Ashton, Minister of Transport: minmit@leg.gov.mb.ca
Hon. Andrew Swan, in charge of MPI: minjus@leg.gov.mb.ca
Your MLA, found here.

I have prepared a coverletter for you to use, just replace all the 'your name' to... your name. Ideally print it out and snail mail it, but email is just as effective.

The technical document is here in PDF form, and HTML form.

Here's the original coverletter for your entertainment.


Attention Honourable Steve Ashton, Honourable Andrew Swan, and Ms. Marilyn Brick

Regarding Grey Imports and Safety in Manitoba

There has been a noticeable increase in the number of grey imports Manitoba and Canada as a whole. Manitoba laws require that compliance items are completed to allow the vehicle to be on the road. These laws are in place to make the vehicle more safe, but the laws regarding compliance items for these vehicles is outdated. The requirements that MPI and Manitoba has in place for Grey imports does not make the vehicles safer, but in fact makes them less safe.

Attached you will find a detailed report of the current situation, and some suggestions for making requirements simpler for these vehicles, which will also make the vehicle safer. It details how other provinces that have larger numbers of grey imports has dealt with the situation, and suggests that Manitoba take the same approach as British Columbia has taken, which is to simplify and clarify requirements - focusing on important and relevant safety items.

One of the problems with the current compliance requirements, is that the requirements are confusing and are often unknown to or misunderstood by safety inspection stations, law enforcement officers and the owners of the vehicles. Adopting a simple set of requirements would ensure important safety items are addressed and easily enforced. Accepting a simple set of easy to understand requirements would ensure that grey import vehicles meet these requirements, making the vehicles suitable for Manitoba roads, thereby making roads safer.

If there is any questions about anything in the attached documents, I would be happy to discuss it with you.


Robert Guderian

Enlc: Grey Imports in Manitoba - Clarifying Requirements to Make Manitoba Roads Safer

Tagged as: 1 Comment