General Motors may soon be slapping the “made in China” sticker on one of its automobiles. The company is reportedly working towards importing a car that is built in China.
IHS Automotive claims that GM is planning to start shipping a small SUV, the Buick Envision, back to the U.S. by next year. The car is built in Shanghai for the China market.
Buick is a very popular brand in China and GM actually builds more of its cars in China than it does in the United States.
“It is all speculation at this point,” Buick spokesman Nick Richards tells CNNMoney. “To this point we haven’t disclosed any plans for it outside of China.”
Volvo is the only other major auto manufacturer who has announced plans to ship a Chinese made vehicle into the United States. Volvo is owned by Chinese automaker Geely.
The company does face some hurdles if it decides to support the Chinese market with U.S. sold vehicles. U.S. The federal government spent $49.5 billion bailing out GM when it went through bankruptcy in 2009. Taxpayers lost out on $10.6 billion when the Treasury department sold its final shares of GM stock, despite GM making record profits since the bailout.
GM is currently in the midst of contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. The current pact is due to expire next month. Talks among union members and Ford, GM, and FiatChrysler have included guarantees that a certain number of vehicles will continue to be manufactured inside U.S.-based manufacturing facilities.
The Envision is a compact SUV, an option not currently offered by any U.S.-based Buick SUVs.
By 2017 IHS Automotive believes 38,000 Envisions will be sold in the U.S. by 2017, compared to about 126,000 it is now selling annually in China.
As China continues to expand its auto manufacturing facilities we are likely to hear more about GM, Ford, and other automakers plans to create made in China vehicles and then export them back to the United States and to other locations around the world.