GM Could Drop Buick Envision From US Lineup Without Tariff Exemption31
General Motors is currently fighting to exempt the China-built Buick Envision from a 25 percent tariff enstated by the Trump administration. Now, the automaker said it could pull the luxury crossover from the U.S. market if its request is denied.
The latest comments on the Envision’s future come from GM President Dan Ammann. Speaking to reporters at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Detroit, Ammann said the tariff exemption is the “only way” to continue selling the Envision to U.S. customers.
“That’s a vehicle that is a relatively low volume vehicle in the U.S. market,” he said, according to Automotive News. “It’s a high-volume vehicle in China, so in order to have that vehicle available in the U.S. market, this is the only way that can work for us.”
Without the exemption, the Envision will likely exit the market. Buick sold 41,000 Envision crossovers in 2017 compared to 200,000 units yearly in the crossover’s home market of China. In its filing with the U.S. government, GM said the “vast majority” of Envisions are sold in China, which makes building the CUV locally the best option. The 41,000 units sold in the U.S. don’t justify a U.S. manufacturing plant, and the Envision’s exit would remove an essential product from the Buick brand: a mid-size luxury crossover.
Ammann added, “The profitability that we generate on that vehicle, selling it in the U.S. market, we obviously reinvest in the business here so we think it’s in everybody’s interest for that to continue.”
On tariffs, GM itself warned the Trump administration that continued effects could lead to a smaller GM with lower U.S. production and job losses at American manufacturing plants.
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Obviously there is an agreement (with SAIC) that the Envision is only to be assembled in China and GM is reluctant to admit as much. This vehicle is on GM D2XX, that same platform underpins the current Equinox and Terrain. Those 2 are assembled in Canada and Mexico. The idea that there is “no way” to add the Envision to one of these facilities is absurd. Remember the facts, this vehicle is priced between $34-44K and even on a bad month over 2000 are “going over the curb”.
An Opel version of the Envision would probably also have been assembled in the Rüsselsheim factory as the “second flagship besides the Insignia” promised for the end of this decade, and then exported from there to the USA as Buick, as the Regal in all its body shapes already is. Take note that the Buick Regal could also be exported from China, but GM preferred the Opel factory which was 100% GM owned when the decision had to be taken.
There is certainly no “only China” accord with SAIC, but GM is probably rather reluctant, as all foreign automakers are, to export from their Chinese joint-venture because they would have to share the profit with their Chinese partner. The Chinese partner would rather interested in such a profitable export business, but the foreign partner is not so interested…
This will vanish as the Chinese policiy to withdraw gradually the 50:50 requirement for foreign automakers. BMW already got this year the approval to increase their share in a Chinese joint-venture above 50%.
I doubt anybody would notice. It’s not a compelling product and anyone shopping for this type vehicle can select from a multitude of other offerings from GM’s own lineup or from competitors and virtually all the other options are produced in the US or at least in North America. As I see it, nobody is going to care so GM can threaten all day long but they’ll get little reaction. If this were the Corvette people would care but with the Envision, or Envasion as it’s been called, only people working for General Motors will notice.
Further the Buick brand itself has seemingly become merely a repository for GM products wordwide with overcapacity potential in their plants. The Polish plant producing the Cascada obviously is able to build more cars than the European market can support so the excess capacity gets sent to the US and a Buick dealer. The same is true with Regal, TourX, Encore, and Envision so I doubt Buick really needs the Chinese-import as much as China needs to keep their plant running at full capacity so GM sends their excess product to Buick in North America. Buick has become the Overstock.com of car brands.
Trade wars could possibly leave Buick as a two or three vehicle Chrysler-like brand.
GM only covers the Americas and China so slow sellers need to either be built in the same plant or eliminated.
Due to low volume the next Lacrosse must come off one line and China is the only logical location. Same for Envision. Same for a Regal replacement. Buick Blue products, too, would come from China. This production model may eventually cover Cruze and Malibu, too.
GM only garners high margins do to its efficiency. GM minus China-only brands fails to move large quantities like Toyota or VW.
Buick, especially with Avenir, is a gravy on top kind of brand. What suprises me is that GM isn’t reskinning Terrain or XT 4 to fill the Chinese Envision void. This suggests GM can’t or won’t allicate three capital for such a plan.
GM holds warrents for PSA stock. Maybe cars can be sourced from Europe?
General Motors should build the Buick Envision in the United States; the Envision is built on GM’s D2XX vehicle platform which is the same as the Chevrolet Cruze meaning.. it might be possible to build the Buick Envision at GM’s Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio which currently builds the Chevrolet Cruze and it could be a win-win situation for everyone given that Chevy Cruze sales are down.
Well give us the cost to revamp the line in Lordstown and spread the cost over $41k units per year.
Then if the. Cruze continues to falter what else do you put in the plant that would have as much and hopefully more volume?
How long would it take to make the changes if you started today 2021? 2022? Will there be a Cruze by then?
Or do you wait and move a unreleased product to Lordstown that will exceed volumes of the Cruze and uick combined.
These are just a couple of the dozens of considerations needed when moving product. There are many more were are not open to due to confidentiality of products outside the company.
Playing Web CEO is easy for all of us till we face the real cold realities of what they really face.
Fine with me. Would never buy one anyways and there are already far too many SUV choices to start with.
I think it’s a question of cost versus benefit, what with the similar GMC in the same showroom. But it is a peek at the future, with Buicks being made in the country where they are mostly bought. China. And with a 25% import duty, there won’t be any sold in this country. Leaving Chevrolet to sell basic level cars and trucks, and Corvettes; GMC to sell premium level trucks, and Cadillac selling luxury cars and trucks. If cars make a comeback, so can Buick, being premium level cars made along side Chevrolets or Cadillacs.
It seems that General Motors refuses to invest in the Buick brand in the USA. Does it not occur to them that a fully competitive product, designed and built in the USA, would very likely sell far better than the existing Chinese-built Envision?
That assumes, of course, that GM actually develops a cohesive marketing strategy for the Buick brand in the USA. GM’s failure to do so is difficult to understand.
“Does it not occur to them that a fully competitive product, designed and built in the USA…would likely sell far better”
What evidence is there that this is remotely true?
– Buick’s most successful product over the past 5 years has been the Buick Encore — it has been a smash hit. Not a single one has been built in the US.
– On the flip side, the Cruze sedan is built in the US — how is it doing? Same with the Buick LaCrosse.
If your response is, “CUVs, of all sizes, are more popular now”, there’s your answer. The American consumer has repeatedly shown it cares most about price, quality, features and performance — where it assembled is way down the list.
If GM moved the Envision to the US, it’s profit per vehicle would go down; there is no doubt about that, as US workers are paid more and GM would lose the efficiency of producing all the Envisions at the same plant that is already configured for it (e.g., Lordstown would require significant investment to get ready).
GM has already shown that it is all about profit per vehicle — it will cut out whole countries and vehicle lines that don’t meet the return they feel necessary. I have some disagreements with that, but that’s what the stock market has demanded, so that’s what they are going to do.
bye bye Envision the reason I don’t own one because it is not assembled in NA , so if the brains at GM dont want to build it here and would prefer not to import it then I say SO BE IT .. the 41k units GM would lose out on will go to other brands . and maybe not GM . GM should decide to build all Buicks in other countries making them foreign cars and end it .. Then the smart move is to bring back OLDSMOBILE & PONTIAC which were always more stylish and better sellers then Buick
My word, this website generally has some good commenters (whether I agree with them or not) but these articles on tariffs and assembly location really bring out the nonsensical comments.
You think the smart move is to bring back OLDSMOBILE? In today’s hyper-competitive market place, what would a brand associated with large, land-based sedan yachts bring in terms of cachet in where the vehicle market has already headed — CUV/SUV, trucks or off-road?
“Then the smart move is to bring back OLDSMOBILE & PONTIAC which were always more stylish and better sellers then Buick”
Nope! ‘Better sellers’ aren’t as important as a higher transaction price. Olds had worse ATP than Buick at the time of it’s demise, and Pontiac never came close.
The GTO and G8 perhaps, but lets be real here, they were always niche products that never had the volume to go long term. The G8 GXP had an MSRP of just over $40K, but Buick can command just as much for smaller, less powerful, FWD vehicles…and that’s just fine for Buick and just fine for GM.
I don’t play poker, but I’m calling their bluff here. I bet they bring it to either the Equinox or Terrain plant. There’s too big of a gap between Encore and Enclave for Buick not to have something, and if they can build Terrain Denali in Mexico and make great ATP, they can do the Envision as well.
Yeah, its because of the “too big of a gap between Encore and Enclave for Buick” why GM thinks that Buick needs the Encore.
And with this gap being empty … some people in the automobile press think that this could lead to the demise of Buick in NA altogether. Thanks to POTUS Trump.
Just Build it here in the U.S. Plain and simple. Problem solved. (((Invest in USA built Automotive Products)))
GM has to decide if it spits or swallows when it comes to Trump.
GM should just take an Equinox and ‘buickize it”. The Envision is a slow seller in an SUV Market – so the product in current configuration is not “platable” to consumers.
With respect to comments above about Olds and Pontiac -the answers is they should be back as “car only” brands, with Pontiac back at Buick and Olds alongside Cadillac as the “less premium line”.
Believe me the Big 3 have to rebate their CUV/SUV’s to move them and choose not to invest in new car product not understanding that children don’t drive their parents SUV
I am confident that when the pendulum swings back toward cars Honda and Toyota will have product. The Accord still sells over 300,000 units a year with Camry selling even more. Seems like GM and Ford need to explain why
Pontiac should be bought back as a “performance only” brand in Buick showrooms as 2-3 models. An Alpha sedan/ an Alpha coupe (as GTO or Firebird) and Torrent (an performance CUV) with unique performance heads on the 5.3 and 6.2 V8s to have “Pontiac” engines and the 2.7t for a “base” engine.
Olds last change was in 2000 when Saturn was chosen over them, the late model Saturns should had been entry-level Oldsmobiles. I don’t see a business-case for a return unless they can be primarily 2-3 model performance EV/Plug-ins with some gas only models (an Cutlass, Bravada and Aurora).
Weren’t the Saturn just rebadged Opels, assembled in the Antwerp plant?
You’d have to define “late model”, but no, most Saturns were not just Opel rebadges. That was only true for Astra. Sky, LS, S, Relay, Outlook, Vue… all were built in NA and most of those were on a platform shared with another GM product. Only the “S” was developed for Saturn specifically. Unsurprisingly, “S” owners were very loyal and loved their cars because they truly were different.
It was a good experiment that went well while Americans still had a modicum of patriotism and pride in things conceived, designed, engineered, built, and assembled in America. Even in the 1990s that was all headed out the door. Now most Americans just want the lowest MSRP and the “coolest” car they can get for that MSRP, regardless of where any of their money ends up.
The few that still care about domestic jobs, often don’t understand the wide reaching factors. It’s not just parts content + location of assembly plant. That’s far too simplistic. If you really want to consider what’s a domestic car and what benefits your fellow Americans most, take some time to read the 7 criteria of this study and digest its findings. It’s VERY educational and worth your 15 minutes.
First off Pontiac is dead and not coming back. There is nothing Pontiac could the other brands could not do. Pontiac lost its heart when it lost its engines and just became a fancy Chevy. Note I still own my 3o plus year old Pontiac I bought new.
Also investing in and adding more sedans let alone coupes in this market would not be wise.
Olds, Saturn and Hummer are gone they and never will return.
The economics of so many brands just do not work unless you charge a lot of money for them and these brands could not support that.
I miss them all but I also understand how they had their time.
You fully haven’t read my post. I don’t see really a business-case for both either but if one (or both) were to come back they have to fit today’s climate as 2 or so models with the must-have CUV.
Pontiac was about performance not G5s, fwd Tempest, Aztec, Montana’s and so. Olds was always experimental and high tech, nothing says “high-tech” then a EV/PHEV only niche brand, could be sold at Caddy dealers .
And yes by not having Hummer as an GMC sub-brand is GM leaving money on the table.
I’m not a fan of envision styling anyway, it looks outdated. Buick should just reskin a new Blazer to make it look more like new Enclave (beautiful car) and produce it along side with the Blazer.
Not a bad idea. Envision is indeed a bit bland (as is Cascada, but that has no hope of a reskin due to niche status).
The SWB (short wheelbase) version of C1XX, Blazer, is 193″ long, like Acadia, a full 10″ shorter than the current Enclave/Traverse. It could definitely work and would increase Buick ATP, even if volume decreased.
It’s up to the bean counters to see if there’s enough demand for 2 versions of the LWB and 3 versions of the SWB for C1XX. Oh, almost forgot Cadillac… XT5 is C1XX… and XT6 is coming off C1XX too. That’d be 7 iterations across GM. Overall I think bringing Envision to the USA for assembly and giving it a MCE is a better call.
Simple , get China to again donate another 500 million to a Trump branded hotel project in Indonesia or elsewhere . Last time about 6 mths ago this worked when Trump proclaimed a massive import tax on ZTE , huge Chinese smartphone manufacturer , who as he said stole US manu. secrets and unfair competition . After the tax was imposed , within days of the big donation of 500 mil , Trump now publicly declared that we must stand by our Chinese friends and the tax was removed . Works once , why not again….and his base says ” WHY NOT ” !!
Revised comment….Simple , get China to ease the tariff on Envision by it’s opening up it’s territory to tariff free Trump branded , or Ivanka branded businesses . Worked last time , about 6 months ago when Trump proclaimed a big tariff on ZTE , the massive Gov. owned cellphone company .He accused ZTE of pirating trade secrets and unfair competition . Within 2 wks , China made a 500 million dollar gift to Indonesia to aid in a Trump branded hotel and complex . Then only days after , Trump proclaims that we must stand by our Chinese friends and not destroy their company business , lo and behold the big tariff on ZTE was removed , forthwith ! In my opinion , if it personally benefits the Trump family , you’ve got a deal ….and his base says WHY NOT , for if it benefits Trump , it benefits the USA , right ?
Not true ,
Hummer is the only worthy comeback as a GMC Upscale Luxury Subrand to compete with Mercedes Benz G-Wagen. But the rest?
Pontiac is really gone, Oldsmobile is really, really gone. Saturn is no longer in GM”s orbit. We may have to start a support group for those still holding on to the old GM. Just let it go… and walk away! (a little humor) Cutlass? Gone. Hurst 442? Gone. GTO? TransAm? RIP.
And just like that, I’m in full support of the tariffs.