Business / Auto Global

In a major milestone, GM mulls selling Chinese-made cars in US

By Paul Welitzkin (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-17 07:14

In a major milestone, GM mulls selling Chinese-made cars in US

A production line of GM's Buick brand in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. [Photo/China Daily]

General Motors is reported to be planning to import its midsize sport-utility vehicle, the Buick Envision, from China-becoming the first United States automaker to sell Chinese-made cars in the country.

The Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press both reported GM is to bring the Envision to the US, with the Journal expecting imports of between 30,000 and 40,000 of the vehicles.

GM declined to comment on the reports.

Speculation had been building that GM's Buick brand was planning to sell the Envision-now produced at a plant in Shandong province-in the US.

The Envision is considered a midsize crossover sport utility vehicle that is bigger than Buick's Encore subcompact, but smaller than its large Enclave SUV.

David Whiston, an automotive analyst at Morningstar Inc, said the Envision could fill an important gap in Buick's US lineup.

"They don't have a vehicle in that (midsize crossover) category. The Encore is too small and the Enclave is too big or too expensive for many families," he told China Daily.

Sean McAlinden vice-president for strategic studies and chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan, thought the model "will probably sell very well" in the US.

"This segment is now over 30 percent of the market."

Volvo-part of privately owned Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group-began exporting the Chinese-made S60 Inscription sedan to the US earlier this year.

Analysts suggested that could well have prompted the GM move, as well as inspire Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to import their Chinese-made models to the US too.

"Fiat Chrysler does not have much capacity in China," said McAlinden.

"It plans to build the Jeep Renegade in China. Ford might consider it as the Chinese market has slowed down.

Whitson said that whether those companies do choose to sell Chinese-make cars in China might "depend on the political fallout" and also on what happens to Chinese demand.

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