According to IHS Automotive, General Motors is planning to import the Buick Envision, a small SUV built for the Chinese market in Shanghai, back to the U.S. next year.
If true, General Motors would become the first major car maker to produce a car in China and sell it on the U.S. market. Volvo is the only other major automaker to make an announcement of plans to export Chinese manufactured cars to the U.S., but it is owned by Chinese automaker Geely.
Due to the growing demand for cars from Chinese buyers, General Motors has been building and selling more cars in China than at home. The Buick brand itself has far more popularity in China than it does in the US. However, as more car factories are being built in China every day, targeting the same market, and considering the slowdown in the Chinese economy, the situation might change very soon. Making GM’s decision potentially brilliant but only time will tell.
The Buick Envision is a compact SUV, not currently offered in the U.S. so it could represent a nice boost for the company in a popular segment of the home market. According to IHS, GM could sell around 38,000 Envisions by the end of next year, compared to the around 126,000 it sells in China annually.
However, General Motors could be facing a major backslash if they do decide to go through with this plan. When the company went through bankruptcy in 2009, federal government spent nearly $50 billion on bailing it out. While they managed to repay its loans, taxpayers still ended up footing a $10 billion bill after the bailout.
In addition, together with Ford and Chrysler, GM is in currently in contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union to renew a deal which is about to expire in September. One of the main demands set by the union, is to guarantee that the majority of cars produced for the U.S. market are made at home rather than abroad.