18:08 GMT23 November 2020
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    Controversy is growing as Buick, one of America’s oldest automobile companies, may begin importing models to the US from China. General Motors, which oversees the brand, has been criticized by US automotive labor union UAW for considering the plan.

    General Motors is reportedly considering introducing the Envision, a model manufactured in China, to the US market in late 2016. While a Buick spokesperson previously refused to corroborate the rumors, one of the company’s CEOs hinted at the possibility when he suggested that the Envision would be welcomed by American buyers.

    “We can't confirm anything, but clearly it is a very nicely designed and executed product that is very much a Buick," Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick-GMC sales, was quoted as saying by Edmunds last year, adding that the model would fit into “a big segment in the US.”

    Automobile experts note that it’s much easier for GM to maintain production of the Envision in its current plant in northeastern Shandong province. Diversifying the manufacturing process to include American auto workers would add unnecessary costs.

    Still, the very possibility of importing an American brand has upset US auto unions.

    United Automobile Workers (UAW) called the potential move “especially alarming,” according to Automotive News.

    “The Envision should be made in the US by the workforce that saved GM in its darkest time,” Cindy Estrada, vice president of the UAW's GM department, said in a statement.

    Buick Envision has reportedly become a popular model since its introduction in 2014 on the Chinese market, where Buick is considered a much more important brand than in the US. Sales of the Envision in China are expected to reach 170,000 by 2018.

    If the Envision comes to American shores, sales are unlikely to exceed 30,000.

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    Tags:
    car market, car production, automotive, Buick, General Motors (GM), Shandong province, China, US
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