General Motors may be setting stage to import more of their China-made vehicles into the U.S.
General Motors Co. plans to start importing Chinese-made Buick Envision SUVs to the U.S., starting in 2016, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
It would be the first automaker to import cars made in China to the U.S. About 30,000 cars would be imported next year.
The Envision is made in GM’s plant in Shandong, a joint venture with a Chinese partner that until now has made vehicles for the domestic market.
However, the cross-over segment – a small or mid-sized SUV on a car chassis – is a hot market in the U.S. and the Envision would fulfill that demand.
Global automakers have been slow to ship Chinese vehicles to the U.S. and Europe, despite low-cost manufacturing there, fearing Western buyers would shun them over quality concerns.
However, GM may be setting the stage for other automakers to import Chinese-made vehicles.
China has been GM’s largest market since 2010, accounting for about one-third of global sales.
GM says it notified the United Auto Workers of its intention to import the Envisions in recent contract talks.
However, workers are unlikely to welcome any expansion of the experiment, as the U.S. market could become the dumping ground for cars when Chinese sales slow.