1997 Canadian Jetta Questions

Any VW mechs or fans out there? I may have a chance to acquire a '97 Jetta GT. Problem is, according to the current owners, it’s Canadian-made, & won’t pass IL. emissions. I thought exhaust fumes were exhaust fumes…could it be that I just need to change a chip to make the car compatible to the U.S., or will it be more involved, & not worth the effort? The car is in otherwise good shape.

By made in Canada do you mean made for sale in Canada? Is the car currently registered in Canada or did the sellers buy it in Canada and found they were unable to register it in the U.S.? Either way you could be in for a boat load of problems.

For U.S. regulations regarding the importation of cars from Canada
General info

No, exhaust fumes are not all equal. Governments have different requirements for exhaust emissions and safety. Vehicles made for other markets generally don’t meet U.S. requirements. Changing a few parts probably won’t do the trick.

Canada has slightly different tailpipe regs that the US “49 State”. There are also other regs, such as daytime running lights on all cars and motor bikes, some bumper standards, and the achoring of child seats. In most cases the Canadian regs are more strict.

Many cars coming from the US into Canada need significant modifications, and some are prohibited.

Is it just made in Canada? Was it sold as a US car? Just because it was made in Canada does not mean its not US emissions compliant. It may just need work to make it pass IL emissions.


They don’t make Volkswagens in Canada. The Golf and Jetta models are generally made in Puebla, Mexico and the Passat has traditionally been imported from Germany. The Minivan is made by Chrysler. Because the Canadian market is so small, the Mexican plant likely just makes the extra mods for Canada and tries to keep everything else the same.

Thanks Docnick. Thats why I asked the question.

A 15 year old Jetta? I would run from this one. But if you really want it and have the finanicals for it, go for it.

Many thanks to all that responded-I may have dodged a big headache on that car, because the owners haven’t got back to me about whether they want to unload it.