GM Might Discontinue Chinese-Built Buick Envision in America Over New Tariffs
The company reportedly wants a tariff exemption; if it doesn’t get it, the midsize crossover might have to go.
President Donald Trump's 25 percent tariff on certain goods imported from China into the U.S. is now in effect and unfortunately for Buick, cars are part of that sweep. General Motors is making an effort to get an exemption for the Chinese-built Buick Envision SUV, but last week the company warned that it might discontinue the model in America if its request isn’t approved, according to Automotive News.
Starting in the 2016 model year, the Buick Envision became the first ever made-in-China Buick to be available for sale in this country. China is by far Buick’s biggest market and from a manufacturing perspective, it just makes sense for Buick to build the Envision where they’re going to sell more of them and import them into the U.S. It also makes sense that they'd want to keep it in the American market: in 2017, about 19 percent of all Buicks sold in the U.S. were Envisions. That's a lot of sales to save.
The midsize luxury crossover segment is just too hot for Buick to abandon it entirely, so it’s possible we’d see a rebadged Chevy or GMC crossover that’s made here at home to slot between the Encore and the Enclave. The Envision being discontinued in the States would actually be a win for the United Auto Workers Union, which never liked the idea of selling a Chinese-built car in the U.S. under an American nameplate.
“It will continue to be the position of the UAW that products sold in the U.S.A. be made in the U.S.A.,” Terry Dittes, the union’s vice president and head of its GM department, said in a statement according to Reuters. “They can simply build these 41,000 Buicks right here in the U.S.A. and create American jobs!”
But Buick says it wouldn’t be worth it to simply move production of a relatively low-volume crossover from China to the United States. Even though the Envision makes up about one-fifth of Buick’s sales, it’s actually the brand’s slowest selling crossover, beaten by the bigger Enclave and the smaller Encore (which more than doubled the Envision’s volume in 2017 with around 88,000 sales).
The Buick Envision might not be too sorely missed by many Americans if it were to go away, but it should still have the dignity of dying on its own accord.