New, Used, or Demo

When you are about to purchase a vehicle, it’s important to know whether the vehicle is sold to you with a New or Used or Demo status. Although these three terms are widely used by vehicle purchasers, there are some misconceptions about the technical meaning of these terms.

The following table compares key parameters of New, Used, and Demo vehicles that are important for the purposes of declaring this condition on the Purchase Agreement.

Registration to New Owner New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS)* Warranty
New VehicleWill be registered the first time with the sale Has not been surrendered. Will be surrendered to ICBC at the time of the sale Generally, the warranty or in-service start date will be the sale date. There may be occasions where the dealer already registered the vehicle with the manufacturer.
Used VehiclePreviously registered at least once to a dealer, business or consumer Has already been surrendered to ICBC at an earlier dateThe warranty will be in progress or finished, depending on when the first sale date was registered with the manufacturer.
Demo VehicleA vehicle acquired by the dealer as new and used by the dealer in their normal business operations, such as for test drives May already have been surrendered to ICBC if the vehicle was registered to the dealer for demo purposes. The dealer may not always register the vehicle when using it as a demo. Be sure to ask the dealer for detailsThe in-service or start date is the date the vehicle was registered with the manufacturer as sold. Also, mileage will have accumulated which may limit the warranty period. Be sure to ask the dealer for details.

Please note: The mileage on a new or demo vehicle may vary depending on a vehicle’s use by the dealer prior to sale (for example: test drives, courtesy vehicle, service shuttle, transportation or used by the dealership for other business purposes for a period of time).

Let’s consider the following example:

A consumer purchased a vehicle from a dealer, then returned it a few days later. The dealer puts the vehicle back on the lot for sale.

Q. Can the vehicle be sold to another consumer as a new vehicle?
A. No. This vehicle is a used vehicle. Even though the vehicle may appear to be new due to its low mileage, it has already been registered to a new owner.

Q. Can the vehicle be sold to another consumer as a demo vehicle?
A. No. Since the vehicle now has a used vehicle status after being registered to a new owner, it can no longer have the status of a demo vehicle.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Low mileage alone does not mean that a car is new 
  • Your Purchase Agreement should indicate if a vehicle is new, used or a demo  
  • If you are buying a demo vehicle, make sure to ask the dealer what the term demo means at their dealership  
  • Asking questions about the vehicle you are about to purchase is more helpful then simply knowing that the vehicle is new, used or a demo. Some questions to consider are:
    • How was the vehicle used and by whom? (i.e. was it previously a taxi or police vehicle)
    • When is the vehicle’s manufacturer warranty start date?
    • Has the vehicle been previously registered with ICBC?
  • A demo vehicle may still qualify for manufacturer’s incentives such as interest rate promotions or rebates – enquire with the dealer
  • Dealers are not prohibited from charging Freight and PDI on demo vehicles. It is common practice to charge Freight and PDI to the first end-user of the vehicle

*The New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS) is a record of a new vehicle. It provides basic information on the vehicle, the manufacturer/importer, the authorized dealer who sells it, and the initial purchaser. The NVIS will provide consistent and accurate information on a new vehicle to the Motor Vehicle Registry administered by ICBC for registration purposes. This document is surrendered to ICBC during the registration of first owner.

If you have any questions, please contact VSA Consumer Services.

NOTE: This is to provide general information and is not intended to be legal advice.