Buick sold about 200,000 Envisions in China last year compared to 41,000 in the U.S.
A 25-percent U.S. tariff on Chinese-made goods could hinder sales of the Buick Envision in the U.S. General Motors is hoping to alleviate any potential damage caused by the tariff by seeking an exemption for its crossover, which is made in China. Earlier this week, the Detroit automaker filed an exemption request with the U.S. Trade Representative arguing the Envision’s Chinese production leads to investment in the U.S.
“Envision sales in China and in the United States lead to significant repatriation of funds to the United States to invest in our U.S. facilities and operations,” the company said in its exemption request filing.
The company also noted that a majority of Envisions produced in China are sold there, adding that about 200,000 Envisions sold in China last year compared to 41,000 units in the U.S. According to Reuters, the company said, “assembly in our home market is not an option.”
“Those modest U.S. sales would never support a manufacturing plant in the U.S., but the import of those few vehicles here is necessary for Buick to have a complete lineup to compete against brands like Acura, Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo,” the company noted in its filing.
In preparation for the tariff, GM imported a six-month supply of Envision crossovers, according to Reuters, which were subject to a modest 2.5 percent tariff rate. At the crossover’s current sales rate, the automaker should have enough Envisions for dealerships through the end of the year.
“The profitability we generate on that vehicle, selling it in the U.S. market, we obviously reinvest it here,” GM President Dan Ammann told the publication at a Detroit conference in Detroit earlier today.
An anonymous source who spoke with Reuters said the company has no plans to move production of the Envision to the U.S. or to stop selling the crossover here.