The Buick Envision is a compact luxury SUV that fleshes out the Buick lineup and is an important part of Buick’s strategy to attract crossover buyers. It also happens to be made in China. That’s a problem. General Motors says it may pull the Envision from the U.S. altogether if it can’t get a tariff exemption.
The Trump administration is proposing tariffs that could hit Buick hard with many of its vehicles coming from outside the U.S. these days. According to Automotive News, GM President Dan Ammann says the only way the Envision will continue to be a part of the U.S Buick lineup is with an exemption.
The Envision won’t disappear altogether, however. It’s built in China and also for sale in China, which is where it will remain if the exemption is denied. It’s a big seller there with 210,00 units moved last year compared to just 42,000 in the U.S. market. Still, this isn’t great news for Buick, which would much rather keep importing the Envision for sale in the U.S.
While automakers like GM don’t want the tariffs, there are differing opinions on whether they’re a terrible thing overall. The UAW, for example, isn’t exactly keen on cars being built in other countries and coming into the U.S. since it cuts them right out of the picture.
Whether you’re a fan of the UAW or not, making more cars here can increase the number of manufacturing jobs available in this country. The cheaper and easier it is for companies like GM to build overseas and import to the U.S., the more likely it is to continue.
The whole point of the tariffs is to get automakers to build stuff here rather than taking advantage of trade deals that have, in the past, made it cheaper and easier to take that manufacturing elsewhere. Many will see this as a good thing. Those 42,000 Chinese-built Envisions could instead be 42,000 U.S.-built vehicles. It’s not as though those people simple won’t buy a car if the Envision is gone.
Still, it’s a challenge for the Buick brand and one that GM needs to find a way to overcome. An exemption is one way to do that, but it’s unclear whether that will happen. If it doesn’t, then the Envision could disappear and brands like Buick will have to find a way to shuffle their lineups to manage the change.