China-built Buick Envision coming to US, GM confirms – Detroit Free Press
Buick confirmed Friday that it will begin selling the Chinese-made Envision crossover in the U.S. next summer and show it at next month’s North American International Auto Show despite resistance from the UAW, which would prefer that it be produced in the U.S.
Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick-GMC, told Buick’s dealer council Thursday, according to a spokesman.
Bringing Envision to the U.S. fills a gap in the rapidly growing midsize crossover segment, but it was a sore subject during the recently concluded contract talks between General Motors and the UAW. GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler are shifting more small vehicle production outside the U.S. For example, production of the Buick Verano subcompact sedan will move from Orion Township to Mexico.
But the Envision is large enough to be assembled profitably in the U.S. It’s comparable in size to the Ford Escape, assembled in Louisville, Ky., and the Jeep Cherokee, now assembled in Toledo but slated to be shifted to Belvidere, Ill.
Cindy Estrada, vice president of the union’s General Motors department, again called on the automaker to live up to its pledge to build vehicles where it sells 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 in a statement attributed to President Dennis Williams and Estrada. “The men and women of GM who are so proud of their role in saving their own company deserve better and so do the American taxpayers who invested so much in GM’s future.”
GM told the union it would import the Envision from Yantai, China, where it has produced the vehicle for about a year. Through the first 11 months of 2015 it sold 127,000 of them in China, said Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle . Fowle declined to say how many vehicles can be produced in Yantai, which is part of GM’s joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp.
Crossovers are hot. Fowle said the subcompact Encore, which GM builds in Mexico, South Korea and Spain, along with the Enclave, produced in Delta Township west of Lansing, account for 60% of Buick’s U.S. sales so far this year.
The Envision is larger than the Encore but smaller than the Enclave. Buick sees it competing with the Lincoln MKC, Acura RDX and the Audi Q5, which gives a general idea of where it will be priced. Buick will release base pricing closer to the time the Envision goes on sale.
When it reaches dealerships next summer, it will have a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, mated with a 6-speed all-wheel drive transmission.
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