General Motors Co. asked the Trump administration to exclude the China-made Buick Envision from import tariffs, saying they would harm the company’s ability to compete in the U.S. luxury sport utility vehicle market.
The Detroit-based automaker sold 210,000 Envisions in China last year compared with 42,000 in the U.S., it said in a July 30 filing with the U.S. Trade Representative Office. Those domestic sales aren’t enough to support a U.S. manufacturing plant, but GM needs to offer the model to have a complete lineup against brands such as Audi, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, it said.
Carmakers across the world, from Germany’s BMW AG to Hyundai Motor Co. of South Korea, have urged President Donald Trump’s administration not to impose tariffs on cars imported to the U.S. as part of a trade war with China. GM itself warned in June it might shrink U.S. operations and cut jobs.
“While the volume of Envisions sold in the U.S. is small, it is strategically important and essential to the Buick brand,” GM said in its request. “A 25 percent tariff on the Envision may eliminate the vehicles from Buick’s U.S. offerings.”
Sales of the Envision in China and in the U.S. “both lead to significant repatriation of funds” to invest in U.S. manufacturing and development of next-generation automotive technology, GM said.
By Angus Whitley