By on August 5, 2018

Image: GM

We previously reported that General Motors was seeking an exemption from U.S. tariffs that could affect the domestic wellbeing of the Buick Envision, the brand’s Chinese-made utility vehicle positioned between the Encore and Enclave. At the time, GM hadn’t weighed in on if it would pull the model from the United States if it didn’t get a pass into the country.

Since then, General Motors President Dan Ammanm has said the exception is the only way the automaker sees itself being able to continue selling the model in America. The automaker confirmed that the Envision’s domestic sales are insufficient to rationalize U.S. production but noted GM needed the model to have a complete lineup against brands like Audi, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz… Seriously

According to Automotive News, GM’s filing claimed sales of the Envision in both markets would “lead to significant repatriation of funds” that would eventually result in cash for U.S. manufacturing and development of next-generation automotive technologies. But with fewer than 42,000 domestic deliveries last year, versus 210,000 in China, the company can’t rationalize building the model within the United States.

“While the volume of Envisions sold in the U.S. is small, it is strategically important and essential to the Buick brand,” GM said in its request. “A 25 percent tariff on the Envision may eliminate the vehicles from Buick’s U.S. offerings.”

Ammanm went a step further by saying the exception was basically the only way to keep the model in America. “That’s a vehicle that is a relatively low volume vehicle in the U.S. market,” he told reporters on Friday, following a presentation at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Detroit. “It’s a high-volume vehicle in China, so in order to have that vehicle available in the U.S. market, this is the only way that can work for us.”

The Envision, which former UAW President Dennis Williams called “the Invasion,” has been been a target for union advocates for years — ever since General Motors first began importing the vehicle from China in early 2016. It was the first light-duty vehicle from any domestic automaker to be produced in China and imported for U.S. consumers.

While it’s commonplace for domestic manufacturers to import vehicles from Europe, Mexico, and Canada. Increased tensions between China and lackluster reviews have helped the Envision standout as a “problem automobile” for some. Of course, the UAW isn’t thrilled anytime a domestic automaker ventures beyond U.S. borders for assembly.

“There’s another example how employers will go to low-paying nations and manipulate the process and start importing into the greatest market in the world, the United States of America,” Williams said of the Envision last year. “That’s unfair to the American taxpayer, and that’s unfair to the American people.”

However, if you look at the sales figures, Buick’s success in China is probably the only reason it still exists at all. The People’s Republic requires foreign entities to partner with an established Chinese firm before selling cars there and strict import tariffs make shipping vehicles in from foreign markets exceedingly difficult. Buick had little recourse if it wanted to chase volume in Asia.

Unfortunately, that decision is now hurting it here and General Motors is left trying to convince the U.S. government that the right decision is to let the Envision pass into America untaxed — even though China never extended the company the same courtesy.

“The profitability that we generate on that vehicle, selling it in the U.S. market, we obviously reinvest in the business here so we think it’s in everybody’s interest for that to continue,” Ammanm said.

[Image: General Motors]

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94 Comments on “GM Places Gun Against the Head of the Chinese-made Buick Envision...”


  • avatar

    build it here and it will sell. I first called it Envasion and have led the boycott. Buick succeeds in China mainly due to being half a world away from the incompetent and disastrous marketing that has lost almost 40 points of market share. the biggest problems GM has are inside the building.

    Buickman
    ounder
    GeneralWatch.com

  • avatar
    ajla

    “A 25 percent tariff on the Envision may eliminate the vehicles from Buick’s U.S. offerings.”

    WTF, I love tariffs now.

  • avatar
    carguy

    As a car enthusiast, I dare them to pull the trigger. Nothing of value would be lost by cutting the Envision.

    However, this tariff nonsense needs to end. It will simply lead to higher prices and less choice for everyone.

    If you want an example of how badly an insulated domestic market works, just take a look at the pharma sector.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Lol, GM threatening to withhold Buicks from the American people, you just can’t make this stuff up :)

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “Buick’s success in China is probably the only reason it exists at all”…Okay, then what’s the problem? Slap a DNR on Buick and wait for a flatline. Unless GM is afraid the Chicoms won’t buy Buicks if they aren’t a beloved American brand.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    Meet the new GM.
    Same as the old GM.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    DARN.
    Geez, what a worm this car company is.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Nobody is happy with Buick, period. Buick needs an eight cylinder rear drive platform if it’s serious about returning to the luxury market. It’s a long way away from it’s 455 days.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I’m fine with Buicks from Germany, but would have preferred them to be sold under the Opel name as they once were.

    As for Korea, it’s amusing that Daewoo failed, but lives on in Chevy and a Buick. In fact, if you buy a Chevy in the UK, you’re getting a Korean car.

    Frankly, Buick doesn’t make anything of interest. I would gladly have killed off Buick if it meant we could still have Pontiac or Oldsmobile.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    I needed a good laugh :) Buick’s delusion about who it’s competitors are has been going on for longer than I really thought Buick would hold on to dear life for. Maybe, if GM is really lucky, they might be able to sell the brand to a Chinese or Korean company and call it a day in the US market.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Well the Mercedes the Envision competes with is the GLC300. If you want to read what POS the GLC is at $50,000, Motor Trend just finished their long term review of one.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Where do they say it is a POS?

        motortrend.com/cars/mercedes-benz/glc-class/2017/2017-mercedes-benz-glc300-4matic-long-term-review-verdict/

        “Through 12 months and 20,000 miles, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic has been an indispensable member of the MT Garage. Like we found at SUV of the Year, the GLC is quick, efficient, comfortable, and an exceptional value for the segment. The GLC may’ve had to fight hard to earn the Golden Calipers in the first place, but there’s no doubt in my mind that its trophy won’t tarnish in time.”

        That hardly sounds like a thrashing.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        A brake fluid flush after 12 months? Mercedes must have quite the recommended service menu at that dealership.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Buick’s main competitor is Mercury

      the only difference is that Mercury knows it’s dead

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The Asian made Buicks are the highest rated in the states. Enclave and LaCrosse have never had the success of Encore top rated by Consumer Reports and J.D.Power best ranked subcompact rhe Envision.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I know a guy that just bought and Encore for his wife and Envision for himself, and took both in for a Quadfecta Tune.

      Wife’s Encore is making 495 horsepower/505 lbs feet of torque at the front wheels, and his Envision is making 585 horsepower/598 lbs feet of torque.

      Both get minimum of 74 miles per gallon highway at speeds up to 120 mph, and 68 miles per gallon city.

      They made the switch from a 2017 Porsche Cayenne and a 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic and could NOT be happier with Encore and Envision and the trade in value Buick Dealer gave them.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The only Buick of any sales consequence is the Encore. They could easily rebrand it as the GMC Pebble or GMC MightyMite or whatever and shutter the entire TriShield brand.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      crappy Encore is hugely discounted KMart mobile

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The Encore has always had good quality ratings and is far from crap. Acura could compete with the CDX in the states but they do not. Maybe you should poke fun at them for not filling g a popular niche here.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Boycott Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM)!!!

    General Motors/Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors is a foreign entity acting in a directly adversarial way to the economic, social and national defense interests of Americans and The United States of America!

    GM (Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors) is a Chinese State Owned Enterprise that needs to be barred from conducting business of any kind in the United States of America!

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Buh-bye, Buick Envision. I don’t think anyone is going to miss you.

    Seriously, there are too many other General Motors CUVs that can fairly easily be rebadged as a Buick and fill the same notch in Buick’s lineup. If Buick feels ambitious they might even consider throwing in some new sheet metal.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      None with Hyper strut front suspension and Twin Clutch torque vectoring AWD like the Envision or the feature content like adaptive cruise control, heads up display, or longer warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        I really don’t think a new Envision or its replacement needs to have Hyper strut front suspension and Twin Clutch torque vectoring AWD. Most buyer aren’t going to notice.

        Things like adaptive cruise control, heads up display and a longer warranty can be added to a re-badged version of whatever GM comes up with to replace it. Maybe something more closely based on the Blazer or the Equinox.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          When GM Twin Clutch AWD runs rings around Acura SH-AWD it makes a difference.

          • 0 avatar
            chrishs2000

            You seriously need help with your mindless, delusional Acura hate obsession. The only benefit of the GKN system (NOT GM NOT BUICK – GKN, anyone can license it, Ford uses it too) is that the front diff isn’t open like in SH AWD. So if both rear tires and one front tire are on solid ice, yes, twin clutch is better. This seems like a tremendously unlikely event and I can’t even fathom this scenario actually happening. SH AWD can overdrive one of the outer rear wheels, which twin clutch cannot do.

            SH AWD has been in service since 2005 and has proved to be tremendously reliable. It’s a great system. You would probably be a happier person if you weren’t so needlessly angry and hateful. I don’t waste a second of my day thinking about Buick, letting alone constantly ranting my opinions about them.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The Consumer Reports Emergency Lane Change test for the Envision Prem is 55.5 mph or at the top of the list for subcompact SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            “Both cars(MDX and Envision)ran on all-season, not winter, tires. The Envision specifically had Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2 235/50-19 inch tires. Both cars had good grip when accelerating. Going through the slalom, getting on and off throttle, then braking, the Buick felt more poised. Going around a sweeping turn, both did well, although the Envision carved a tighter arc….” extremetech

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Going back to suspension geometry it should be interesting to see what SH-AWD does to the new RDX as the previous generation is based off of the CR-V just like the platform. Buick offers the Envision Hiperstrut which would be benefit to the RDX like the Civic Type-R…crickets.

            Sorry to rain your Honda fanboy parade but the Envision 2.0T might just be a better handling subcompact.

        • 0 avatar
          The_FOG

          Not necessarily directed at you, but more our ingrained hatred for Detroit:

          So we’re going to whine about “rebadging” (even though it really isn’t). Then when Buick gets a line-up of unique products, we’re going to talk shit about those and say they don’t matter?

          • 0 avatar
            chrishs2000

            Norm – you appear incapable of forming any type of rational argument or engaging in coherent conversation. You think that the AWD system is the only thing that factors into handling? And you are comparing the handling of a compact SUV to a 7 seat midsize and attempting to draw actual conclusions about the performance of the AWD system in each from it? Okay….

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The Envision *is* on the same platform as the Equinox and Terrain, as well as the Volt and Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Exactly, slap a “Buick” badge on an Equinox and call it a day. Business as usual

  • avatar
    here4aSammich

    Real answer: Because a Buick built in Germany or Korea is built by a free person. A Buick built in China is still built by someone who is ultimately a slave to a communist government. We can do better.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    People’s Republic of China is the United States’s biggest economic and military threat by a margin as large as any in history, and China has openly stated its intention to get to a position to instigate and win a major war with the United States on many occasions, and has been preparing and is preparing now for that time.

    Idiotic U.S. foreign policy has paved the way for this and U.S. and multinational corporations (like GM – Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors) have essentially engaged in treason and sedition by agreeing to literally have a wing of the Communist Chinese Government (typically a military unit of the PROC) act as a mandated Joint Venture Partner that has allowed China to steal 30 years of western proprietary technology with military and industrial and intellectual applications, thus allowing China to essentially do in 30 years what no other nation has been able to do, to wit, cull an amount of information and secrets that would not be possible to do so in any amount of time if U.S. national interests were paramount and primary.

    People like Norm and those others who advocate GM’s ongoing JV hookup with SAIC and, even worse, who actually advocate buying Chinese-made vehicles are directly helping to fuel China’s economic and military aspirations of overtaking the United States.

    There are others such as Jack Baruth who pretend to espouse a buy America agenda, yet when it comes to a $56,000 purchase, buy a Chevrolet-SAIC Mexirado with 55% foreign parts (many made in China by Chinese military-supported SOEs).

    None of that which I wrote is exaggeration. It is official and openly stated policy and directives of the Peoples Republic of China.

  • avatar
    RS

    If GM is looking for a bailout on this and they are asking the wrong government. They should be asking China to reduce or eliminate their tariffs if they want to keep selling it in the US. This low volume, overpriced Harbor Freight SUV doesn’t warrant an exception from the US.

  • avatar
    RS

    GM’s looking for a bailout on this, they are asking the wrong government. They should be asking China to reduce or eliminate their tariffs if they want to keep selling it in the US. This low volume, overpriced Harbor Freight SUV doesn’t warrant an exception from the US.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    GGM should designate Buick as an export only brand. Caddy can be the high end and Chevy the mid/low end in the U.S. market. GGMC can remain the mythical high end truck.

  • avatar
    redapple

    SUB

    I love it.

    GGM saves A LOT of typing. And spell check.

  • avatar
    The_FOG

    Because Americans are dumb.

  • avatar
    deanst

    “But with fewer than 42,000 domestic deliveries last year, versus 210,000 in China, the company can’t rationalize building the model within the United States.”

    Damn, I guess the lacrosse will soon cease production, and the enclave is on the bubble. More encores for everyone!

    Really, this is some of the stupidest rhetoric from GM in a long time. Nobody cares about your d*mn envision, and tariffs are design precisely to have this effect. Find another government to beg for a bailout.

    ( And I guess GM hasn’t heard that some real luxury car manufacturers actually produce in the u.s. and export to other markets.)

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    A Buick is not a real Buick if it’s not born in Michigan, preferably someplace with some sort of water problem.

    The one made in Delta Township? It’s going great and producing a big, fat margin for Buick in the Avenir trim.

    What else from Buick contributes profits to the company? What other Buick than the Enclave Avenir says you’re quite comfortable but not ostentatious, thanks?

  • avatar
    deanst

    Let’s play jeopardy!

    Answer: Bolt, Volt, Corvette, Sonic, Spark, ATS, CT6, CTS, Escalade, XTS, Cascada, Lacrosse, Regal, Canyon, Savana,….

    Question: Name some GM Vehicles selling less than 42,000 units annually.

  • avatar
    threeer

    “The profitability that we generate on that vehicle, selling it in the U.S. market, we obviously reinvest in the business here so we think it’s in everybody’s interest for that to continue”

    I think I alternatively spewed my coffee and threw up a little at this line. What a load of bull$$$$.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    In fairness, this is exactly what the Trump administration wants. They want it to be prohibitively expensive for GM and other brands to import cars from China. So I don’t know why GM is complaining…that it’ll be prohibitively expensive for them to import the car from China. Of course it will. That’s the point of the tariff.

    That’s like saying, “Don’t shoot and kill me! If you do, I’ll die!”

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Well said, Kyree.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “They want it to be prohibitively expensive for GM and other brands to import cars from China. So I don’t know why GM is complaining…that it’ll be prohibitively expensive for them to import the car from China. Of course it will. That’s the point of the tariff.”

      yabbut it’s also combined with tariffs (or threats thereof) on the raw materials needed to build them here, just like what Harley was kvetching about.

      “You’re going to make it prohibitively expensive for me to build stuff here, and prohibitively expensive to import what I need? Whose side are you on anyway?”

  • avatar
    IBx1

    PULL THE TRIGGER.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Because China is a low wage craphole that manipulates currency, slaps unfair tariffs on our goods, steals intellectual property, and is destroying the climate.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    And thanks for being honest in your screen name. Only an employee of a U.S. automaker would ask such a stupid question. And you’re welcome for bailing out your employer.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      1. It is when you’re dealing with oppressive regimes who keep them artificially low. Google China’s practices against people who try to organize for labor rights. And their use of forced labor. And if reports of steps to improve that are true (of which I’m dubious), I’m sure your employer will be moving elsewhere once that takes hold. Got to have cheap labor.

      2. We had very little by way of tariffs until we elected a President decided to finally start standing up for us. China has long tariffed imported cars, so foreign makes are forced to build them there – at which time their IP is quickly stolen.

      3. Big Chinese cities look like LA in 1970. For that matter, LA may soon look like LA in 1970 because Chinese smog is reaching there. China has a huge environmental problem. The media has reported on steps they’re taking to correct that but, again, I bet once that really takes hold your employer will be looking to build cars elsewhere – to further the goodness of cheap product, right?

      4. Well that’s good. I hope that when your current employer does go under sooner (FCA) or a little later (Ford), I hope I’m not forced to bail it out!

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    GM was bailed out during the late 2000s recession by us, the taxpayers of the United States. The cost to us was $11-$12 BILLION dollars at the time.

    The least GM could do is contract vehicle assembly in markets that are either domestic or allied with the United States. China is a communist country and is effectively a “friendly enemy” of the US. If GM wants to build vehicles in China for Chinese consumption, fine, that makes sense. But exporting them to the US is a slap in the face to every American that supported GM during GMs near bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Personally I wouldn’t buy a Serbian made Renegade. Neither would I buy the very similar FIAT made in Serbia.

      Then again, I didn’t buy a Yugo back in the 80s either!

      As for my Jeeps, the GC is Detroit made with a US transmission and US motor. The Wrangler was 75% domestic but I dont recall the breakdown. Origin of manufacture was not my primary driver behind the purchases though.

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