By on November 13, 2015

Buick Envision

General Motors announced Thursday it will import a Buick crossover from China to the United States by the end of 2016, much to the UAW’s disappointment.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the crossover in question, the Envision, is currently produced at a facility in the Shandong province. The Buick brand itself is doing well for itself in China, where it’s GM’s best-known brand, and in the U.S., where the brand is experiencing rapid growth as of late. In both instances, the main draw for Buick is its small and medium crossovers and SUVs.

GM’s move to bring the Envision over from China has at least one UAW leader in a tizzy.

GM department vice president Cindy Estrada stated in August the “tone-deaf speculation” regarding the crossover’s arrival left union members disappointed in light of the “sacrifices made by U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. workforce” to help the automaker rise back to the top. UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg says the union still stands behind Estrada’s statement in light of Thursday’s announcement.

The Chinese-made Envision would join the Enclave — assembled in Lansing, Mich. — and the multi-national Encore subcompact crossover (built and imported from South Korea, Mexico and Spain).

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57 Comments on “General Motors to Import Chinese-Made Buick to U.S. By Late 2016...”


  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    While I suppose it’s somehow possible that a Chinese manufactured Buick containing tens of thousands of Chinese made parts might possibly be more reliable than a Yugo, I doubt it. This is just what the American market wants – A bigger more powerful Yugo with creature comforts and high-tech toys.

    I hope the drivers seat is nice and comfy. You’ll appreciate that while you’re stranded and waiting on wreckers.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Is that much different than a US-manufactered anything containing tens of thousands of Chinese-made parts?

      • 0 avatar
        WhiskeyRiver

        At least we typically have some measure of quality control.

        Typical Chinese quality control:

        “Boss – this whizzit is put together wrong and will fail prematurely. Should I discard it?”

        “Where are we shipping those?”

        “United States.”

        “Oh. Screw it. Send ’em. They deserve our rejects.”

        “HAHAHAHAHAHA”

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Having worked with people in ML China, this isn’t quite the thought process.

          Its more I need to fill this production quota by this date and don’t have the materials or equipment I need due to corruption or lack of oversight, so I half ass it because I have no choice.

          If the idea is let’s intentionally build a product with heavy lead content for example, this idea emanated from higher pay grades than the production manager or floor employees. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but just saying this isn’t a cultural thing where they all want to build a poor product. Greed knows no specific race or nation.

          FWIW most of the people I have worked with were not on the production side, but they were shockingly professional and had great attention to detail.

          • 0 avatar
            WhiskeyRiver

            I’ve been in the desktop computer business since 1980 and I’ve been a network engineer since 1986. I’ve repaired thousands, if not tens of thousands of computers.

            In the last ten years, common parts for computers have become cheaply made and lack quality regardless of price. Most are made in China.

            Empirical evidence suggests that parts we have high failure rates on in the US have very good reputations for quality in the orient. It certainly appears to me and many in my profession that we’re not getting Grade A parts.

            I do not doubt that you are accurate in recounting your experiences in China. My experiences with their products just do not line up with your experience.

            Right or wrong, every one of these vehicles I see will remind me of a modern high-tech… Yugo.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Well if we’re talking data as you describe then I’ll let it do the talking. My thought was to inject some experience into your statement as I had similar preconceptions about Chinese workers, but this doesn’t mean you aren’t being cheated on some level. I also agree a Chinese assembled car from local parts could be considered an Asian Yugo by US standards.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            WhiskeyRiver, most PC parts were made in Taiwan by DiamondFlower, et al, and their stuff is widely used in Dell, HP, ASUS, Acer, and a ton of other PC manufacturers and suppliers all around the world.

            I made mention of the China-made Buick import yesterday in another thread, and I’m all for it. We, the people, should demand cheap China-made vehicles be sold in the US. They’re sold widely in South America already.

            When we imported cheap Japan-made vehicles back in the sixties and seventies it allowed a lot more people to have mobility. The same is happening in South America now.

            Some say that the times are even more dire today in the US and that the price of even the cheapest vehicle sold in the US is too much for many.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “We, the people, should demand cheap China-made vehicles be sold in the US.”

            Does a Mexican assembled product come with a “discount” vs a US assembled one? Nope. You’re not getting an “end” in the deal, you will pay the absolute same and the OEM pockets the difference. The only way I see it changing is if everyone were importing from China and competition arose. If Buick say built this Envision which is similar to Enclave there, do you really expect them to sell it well below the cost of the more expensive to produce in labor Enclave? They will simply pocket the savings and price it within 10K of Enclave.

            I once did a calculation between a base MY95 Taurus and an base MY15 Fusion (think it was S) using BLS inflation calculation. The Fusion came about to be cheaper by about $500 but the avg UAW cost I used with benefits (I think I used $40, 1995 was probably higher) came about to being about a $2300 cost savings vs Mexico (I used US $5/hr based on a source I found). So pound for pound FoMoCo has at least $2300 more margin to work with and yet I am only getting a $500 discount? You get to assume more risk on assembly and get no savings (assuming you believe UAW is superior to Mexico). Enjoy it, prole as the corporatocracy has spoken.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            You’re right but it does mean that the OEMs will be able to make more money in profit on goods made cheaper elsewhere, so they can pay the extortion to the UAW.

            But what I think is even more important is that China-made cars can be sold here for less, like the early Japan-made cars were back in the sixties and seventies.

            That opened up a whole new world of transportation for people who otherwise could not afford to own a car.

            Remember when VW started selling in the US? My dad bought one, More as a toy, but it sure came in handy, and it is amazing how many people you could stuff into one of those Bugs.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good for somewhat domestic companies to make profit, but its not benefiting me so I could care less. This doesn’t for me work without an incentive, but their position is too bad we’ve got the whole industry doing it so get bent thinking man.

            I can envision what you’re describing and if such a thing does happen, it will require new brands coming from China along with most of the other marques moving things there. What we have seen in Mexico will be what we see out of China if say its done on a model by model basis as it seems to be now. I can’t wait to see resale.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Suppose this diesel fiasco damages the VW brand in the US. What if they closed their North American manufacturing operations and started marketing Chinese Volkswagens at the bottom of the market? That might be fun, and it might make other Chinese companies like GM reduce their profit margin in a price war.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I don’t think a price war is necessary. What we need in America is more affordable personal transportation in the form of small automobiles.

            But this little Buick will not be cheap because it is marketed with the Buick philosophy in mind.

            Like 28- has written, it doesn’t affect me either, but I am a proponent of “the more, the merrier.”

            I am also a proponent of being able to buy a car off the floor at Costco or Sam’s Club. Something that the current OEMs and America’s dealer network strongly oppose.

            But were that to happen, like buy an inexpensive car or truck off the floor at Costco, I bet a lot of people would take advantage of that.

            It’s doable. It was done during the 1970s when I was stationed in Germany. People bought cars and motorcycles off the floor at the Exchange, or picked up special orders in Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Gothenbergh, or even at Schiphol Int’l Airport in Amsterdam.

            I did it twice during the eight years I was stationed there. No problemo!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            28-Cars-Later – sounds like your post was meant for a VW thread ;)

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            28-Cars-Later,

            How much have regulatory costs affected the price of a new car in the past 20 years? That may be where your labor cost savings went.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            “What we need in America is more affordable personal transportation in the form of small automobiles.”

            HDC,

            There’s no shortage of small automobiles for sale in the US. There are more small automobiles for sale than there are people who want to buy them.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            hh, the key word here is “affordable”. Even the cheapest new car available in America is out of the reach of many.

            And who wants to buy a used car if they are short on money to begin with? When you buy used, all you do is buy someone else’s problems.

            Buying used is buying someone else’s discards. It is OK if you’ve got money to stick into it to bring it up to par, but if you don’t have the money, you need to buy new.

            People willing to work and contribute to society by paying taxes often find that buying a means of transportation eludes them and they have to soldier on using public transportation, especially in big cities.

            As an aside, I understand the push for the $15 minimum-wage but I don’t think it would solve anything. But whether it passes or not, we’ll be raising the rents on our properties 5%-15% come 1 January 2016 just to get a slice of that potential pie.

            It is my contention that a cheap China-made new car for ~$8K would go a long way toward increasing the mobility of the less-well-heeled in American society.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Speaking of VW, how much more in harmful emissions will the Chinese plant churning these little turds out emit than an EPA regulated U.S. factory, where they should be built due to the tax dollars given to them to save jobs? Is it more than the cheating diesels?

  • avatar
    ajla

    People with bad knees are ruining everything.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    One news outlet thought this would be part of the talking points of the Trump Campaign. OMG! Cars from CHINA!

    Honestly GM has been importing engines assembled there since at least the early 2000s.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Funny…I don’t hear anyone complain about American brand APPLE and their Chinese made products. They just keep buying them…overpriced at that! Everyone forgets, regardless of WHERE it’s made, it’s ALWAYS to the manufactures specifications. So…if it’s JUNK, as usual…it’s GM’s fault. After all…those cars with key ignition issues, were mostly made in the U.S. Another NEW GM fault.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I will be more than happy to be that guy, despite the techno-gadgetry the products are junk. However most electronics these days fall under thus category regardless if its ML China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea etc as points of assembly.

      I am holding in my hands a pair of circa 1977 Pioneer headphones model SE-20A 8-Omega, ya know the kind that are real big and used to plug into 8 tracks? I paid $24 on Ebay and I have dropped these things more times than I can count. I plan on wearing them until I need another pair of circa 1970s high grade Japanese headphones. A co-worker around the same time blew $300 on a pair of BOSE branded headphones which seemed to be metal and probably won’t break as easily as my old Best Buy grade RCA ones did. For my needs I’d rather pocket the $276 and get something of lesser sound quality but still superior to plastic Dr Dres which attempt to imitate my malaise era headset:

      “Maybe the most striking part of a recent Beats By Dre headphones teardown was the discovery that about a third of the overall weight of the product comes from four metal parts included “for the sole purpose of adding weight.

      Adding some heft to a pair of otherwise lightweight headphones can give a consumer the impression that they’re holding something that’s sturdy and premium, according to Avery Louie, Bolt’s prototype engineer. “One way to do this cheaply is to make some components out of metal in order to add weight”.

      Other findings of the teardown include the use of snaps and glue in place of screws, and the almost exclusive use of injection molded plastic, “which is essentially free at high volumes,” Louie notes.”

      http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/beats-by-dre-headphones-teardown-finds-metal-parts-included-just-to-add-weight/

      “After all…those cars with key ignition issues, were mostly made in the U.S. Another NEW GM fault.”

      Old GM. The problem was introduced in the 2001 Saturn Ion mule.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        ‘Adding some heft to a pair of otherwise lightweight headphones can give a consumer the impression that they’re holding something that’s sturdy and premium, according to Avery Louie, Bolt’s prototype engineer’

        On an aside, that must explain Big Al from Oz’s hatred of the F150; LOL

      • 0 avatar
        kmars2009

        Yes it started with the old GM…HOWEVER, they knew about the problem all along and continued putting it in several vehicles up until they were forced to recall…new GM.
        In addition, after the Northstar issue…can anyone really trust GM? Just because they SAY these things will never happen again, doesn’t mean they won’t. Just give it time. In fact, if memory serves me….the current full size GM trucks and SUVs have recalls now. GM really will never change.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I have not purchased a single apple product. china crap is not for me

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So essentially GM will beat Volvo Cars in importing Chinese assembled product to the USDM?

    When’s the boycott start?

    I will also point out ironically the Chinese owned Volvo Cars intends to build a plant in the USDM…

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      The made in China Volvos (S60L/Inscription) have already arrived on dealer lots in the USA. They have been here for at least a month or so. The question: will the typical Volvo buyer (educated professional, business owner, doctor, lawyer, or “safety conscience” college professor, etc., etc. with the means to buy a highly priced Volvo) trust their personal and/or family’s safety to a 2 ton rolling hunk of iron that is made in China? …we shall see.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    This might be the best thing ever to happen. I think all the automakers have been waiting on the sidelines to see who will take the plunge and import the first Chinese-built vehicle. Want to know my prediction? It probably turns out to be reliable and well built as a typical GM product. Ultimately, if Chinese-built cars turn out to be just the same as Mexican-made, or Korean or wherever, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a flood of Chinese-imports.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I agree! And I hope that China-made cars will undercut all the others in price so that the less well-heeled in American society can also have some mobility.

      Daihatsu and Subaru introduced some cheap cars in the US decades ago, and people scooped them up just to be able to get around whenever they wanted to, and go wherever they wanted to go, without having to depend on anyone else, or wait on public transportation.

      When VW introduced the Bug, that opened up a brand new world for kids who could not afford to buy a used car.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Also, I bet GM is putting the red white and blue back in the Buick badge because now that they are importing all Buicks, its cheaper to just make one badge rather than two.

  • avatar
    threeer

    We all have choices to make, and mine will be to avoid this one. Sad that GM has decided to take this approach, especially in light of the gift that the American (and yes, Canadian) tax-payers gave them a few years back. And I already hear folks saying “well, your computer and phone, etc…are all made in China.” True enough, but those don’t require placing family members inside. Plus, when it comes to vehicles, I still have a fairly good choice to avoid a made in China car. Most of my goods (appliances, clothes, etc…) are made in America, and I’ll continue to do as much as I can to support my neighbors, friends and family. Call it what you want, but there it is.
    In the end, Buick will sell these without issue, as the majority of Americans simply won’t care (or won’t even know) that this thing is made in China. Just another day in the life as they run to Walmart to send another $300 billion plus in negative trade to a country that is neither friend nor ally to the U.S.
    Maybe I’ll look at a made in Ohio Honda next…

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      You have nicely summarized my general feelings. I have very little impact on corporate or Government decisions. All the power I have is where and how I spend my money. In autos I would look at (beyond my basic needs in a vehicle) if the vehicle was manufactured here, and secondly if not does that manufacturer have at least a manufacturing base in Canada. GM has one of the vehicles that at least intrigues me in the Volt, but their decisions on where they are investing in manufacturing will make that decision to buy more difficult.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      IMHO, Wal-Mart was what started us down this path. I’m pro-capitalist all the way, but when you sell your soul to offer goods of questionable quality, you’ve lost the plot. (Perhaps it’s the erosion of basic values vis-à-vis “greed is good” in business that doesn’t help, as well.) I have a 27″ Toshiba CRT TV circa 1998 which is in perfect order today. I want to get an HD flat-screen, but everything is made in China! How long before I drop another thou on a replacement set? (TV repair places don’t exist anymore, thanks to our “throwaway” society!)

      Now I am about to, at 45, purchase my first smartphone, an iPhone 6S, only because I don’t trust the devil at Google with my privacy versus Apple. That may sound hypocritical, as these are made in China, but it seems that the quality of the product is worth some of the premium paid.

      As has been stated, this is a device which isn’t going to kill me with a malfunction. A car could! As with Honda turbos, I give Chinese-imported cars FIVE years to see how they work out reliability-wise. Even then, dropping that much coin on the second-biggest purchase one makes and sending much of that to a place that is not an ally is at best anathema to me.

  • avatar

    I live and work in the Royal Oak, MI area and speak of the devil, I saw one of these yesterday in that same color. At first I couldn’t tell what it was, but the grille is unmistakably Buick. It was a handsome SUV and I loved the brown color (of course!). I think this will be going on sale soon.

  • avatar
    BrianL

    It is odd that there is such a big hangup on this considering how much we import from China currently. Much of our high end electronics come from China. Honda was importing the Fit into Canada built in China a few years ago. Considering how many of the parts of a car are already made in China, I don’t see how this is a big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It isn’t a big deal, except for the UAW and the Buy-American fans. With Volvo and now Buick selling vehicles made in China, the camel’s nose is moving further into the tent. Pretty soon the hump will be inside too.

      And I say “Good-O!” Long overdue.

      The more the merrier. Let the buyers shake out the industry and shape the market.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    First, I am a human. I don’t care what the anti spam algorithm thinks, 8+9 DOES equal 17.

    I thought GM said Chinese made cars would be sold in foreign markets only. It had something to do with the bailouts and keeping the UAW from freaking out.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Disappointing but not surprising – just not worth it for GM to tool a US plant to produce the Envision considering the expected sales volume and the excess capacity at the plant which already manufactures the Envision in China.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Does GM abandon its parts standards in China, and accept any dross that a Chinese backstreet vendor sells them?

    I sincerely doubt it.

    There’s no evidence of that. You need to buy a 100% Chinese branded, designed and constructed vehicle to get the parts made in yurts in Outer Mongolia.

    This “I refuse to buy anything made in China or Mexico by an internationally branded company” is the last refuge of the truly xenophobic to pop up and speak claptrap.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I was offered the use of an Apple phone (a refurbished 4!) at my work three days ago.
    I vehemently said NO, first because it was an Apple product and second because it was made in China.
    Every car I own (standing at 14 now)was made in the USA. I don’t why our country would trade with a communist empire that is readily attempting to conduct cyber attacks against us.
    For almost sixty years we embargoed against Cuba and even Taiwan (for about 40 years now) in favor of mainland China.
    Must be the corporations and their pure greed along with the support from our government.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Very soon, no Buick will be made in North America. In addition to the model mentioned in the article, remember that Michigan is losing the Verano which will be made in China, and Ontario Canada is losing the Regal as well, likely to be made in Europe but that could be temporary.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Does anyone under 40 care where their new, fully warrantied car is made enough for it to be a determining factor in buying?

  • avatar
    RHD

    With cars from South Korea, Mexico, Spain and China, Buick is the new Geo.

  • avatar

    It’s time to stand up against General Motors. Let’s band together and Boycott this Buick (Envision) that GM plans to build in China and import for sale in America. I won’t sell it and hope you refuse to buy it, until it’s made here in the USA! I’m calling on all my Buick Dealer friends to refuse to even stock Envisions. We don’t need protectionist laws, we just need to exercise common sense and demand US production.
    GM sells less than 3,000 total units per year in Japan because their people are fiercely loyal. Now it’s our turn to show the world that we Americans have had enough. Spread the word to your friends and family, post on Facebook, comment on articles, etc…
    We can do this thing!


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