I'm a US Citizen living in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.
I drive a 2006 Nissan Tsuru GST II.
This car cannot be imported into the US, it does not meet safety regs.
However, I am working towards dual citizenship. So, I have an FM3 Lucrativa (working Visa), a Sonora Drivers License and Sonoran Plates on the car. This allows me to carry Actual Mexican Insurance instead of the Tourist policies that so many others have. My Mexican Insurance for the Tsuru, covers me when I drive in the US and Canada too. So, there is no need for me to ever actually import the car into the US. No need to get another insurance carrier in the US. I just drive it here.
This Spring I went all the way to Albany, NY and spent 8 weeks with it there. I was pulled over many times (Mexican plates kind of draw attention to themselves)...never any questions about my coverage. I don't show them my NY license either...just my mexican license. I hit a deer, but knew I would be below my deductible, so I just waited until I returned to Sonora to fix it out of my own pocket (door, fender, light & paint).
In the Spring, I also drove to San Diego California with it as well. No issues.
All of that said..the Tsuru is a highly de-contented Sentra. GST II is the top of the line here in MEX and I don't even have Intermittent Wipers. I have factory A/C, factory alarm & an automatic trans...that's it for options.
It is practically the national car for taxi fleets. So parts are everywhere. Very cheap.
I think I remember reading somewhere that it may be possible to import the car if you can somehow prove that the imported vehicle is identical to an American version, but it was contingent on the auto manufacturer actually providing some form of documentation to back that statement. I read this a long time ago so I don't remember if these details are even correct or if they are still applicable.
It sucks because I like the B13 Sentra, but since all of them are old, finding one that is in good cosmetic condition and has low mileage is difficult.
You know, that would work just fine. how would you ever know other than looking at serial #'s. peal the sticker in the door off and glue it to the Tsuru and switch out the sentra badges or pull them off. How easy is that!!!! you could have a new car to swap the SR20 motor into and have a rust free body!! did they do anything to the suspensions to prevent parts swapping? Interior dashes and such would be new, you could pull the harness plugs and insert the dash cluster then from your old car!
I have thought about this. You could get blank bodies with nothing in them other than body panels and such and just swap over all the interior stuff and engine and drivetrain.
Yeah, I thought of the VIN sticker switch idea before, but I wasn't sure how strict our authorities were about that sort of thing. I suppose they'd be more concerned with smuggling people into the country rather than 16-year-old cars.
I don't like "new" cars; I prefer the boxy style that cars had in the late 80s and early 90s, but it sucks that all of the cars that look like that are old and worn out. I'd fix my B13 up to look nice if it didn't meaning getting nickle-and-dime'd $2000+ for all of the odds and ends it would take to make it happen.