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Why Importing the Buick Envision from China Makes Sense

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2016 Buick Envision

2016 Buick Envision
Photo: © General Motors

There has been a wide range of reactions to the news that Buick will be importing its latest product, the Envision crossover, from China. Among American labor unions in particular, that reaction has been resoundingly negative, with the fear being that Buick importing its first China-built vehicle could lead the brand to undertake a complete exodus from American manufacturing.

Yahoo! Finance puts some economic sense to the move this week by taking a brief look at the history of the model, as well as at the inevitability that US-born automakers would import its vehicles from China at some point or another.

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What is striking to some about the importation of the Envision is that it is not a small economy car targeting American buyers who may be otherwise unable to afford US-manufactured goods. The Envision is more likely to carry a price point starting somewhere in the $40,000 range, which itself might perpetuate to some the idea that Buick is putting profits before American jobs.

But, upon closer inspection, it’s a move necessitated by circumstance. When Buick began building the Envision, it was solely intended for the Chinese market, and the original assumed annual output was 100,000 units annually. In its first year on the market, 150,000 Envisions have been sold, forcing a ramp-up in production.

With Buick hoping for US sales of 30,000-40,000 with the Envision, the possibility exists that exceeded sales expectations could ultimately result in some chunk of production being moved to North America. For it to reach that point, however, the Envision must catch on with the crossover-hungry American consumer. Ironically, that puts the power of adding American manufacturing jobs in the hands of the customer, not Buick.

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News Source: Yahoo! Finance