Buick revealed that it will start to sell the Envision SUV, made in China, in the United States in the summer of next year.
With the announcement, General Motors will become the first of the big three companies in Detroit to offer a model made in China for sale in the United States, despite the resistance from the United Auto Workers union that says it prefers the vehicle to be made within the United States.
Buick's pending introduction of the Envision will fill a gap currently seen in the midsize crossover segment, but the vehicle was a critical point of discussion at the recent contract talks between GM and the UAW. The car company, along with Fiat Chrysler and Ford, is moving the production of small vehicles to locations outside the United States. One example is the Buick Verano, a subcompact sedan that will be moving its production to Mexico from Orion Township.
However, the argument is that the Envision is big enough for profitable assembly within the United States, as it is just about as big as the Ford Escape and the Jeep Cherokee which have their production lines in the country.
UAW General Motors department VP Cindy Estrada called on the company to honor its pledge of building vehicles where it plans to sell them.
"The company should reconsider this decision and place this product into one of their facilities in the United States of America," the union said, attributing President Dennis Williams and Estrada. The union also added that the workers of GM and the taxpayers of the United States deserve better treatment from the car company.
The Buick Envision is being produced in Yantai, China, with sales in the Asian country of the vehicle reaching 127,000 units for the year.
There were concerns in the past about Chinese automakers flooding the United States market with vehicles that were produced cheaply for lower prices compared to vehicles made in the United States. However, this never materialized as the manufacturing quality and engineering in China were deemed to be subpar for success in the United States. In addition, with the Asian country's booming economy, automakers in the country were struggling to keep up with local demand, so there was no surplus to be exported.
The Buick Envision will be making its debut in the United States January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.