AD #1758 – Porsche Green Lights 1st EV, FCA Converts Truck Fleet to CNG, Why GM Will Ship Chinese Buicks to the U.S.

December 7th, 2015 at 11:49am

Runtime: 8:14

- Porsche Green Lights 1st EV
- LPG Interest Doubles in the U.K.
- FCA Converts Truck Fleet to CNG
- Why GM Will Import Chinese Buicks to the U.S.
- Buick Envision U.S. Specs
- Nissan’s Titan XD Strategy

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50 Comments to “AD #1758 – Porsche Green Lights 1st EV, FCA Converts Truck Fleet to CNG, Why GM Will Ship Chinese Buicks to the U.S.”

  1. Mac Says:

    I’m very much in favor of Buick importing the Envision. First, it looks to be just what the market is seeking in the US currently, from a size and feature standpoint. Second, it truly is a US designed product — the fact that it’s assembled elsewhere is about as relevant as a US designed cellphone manufactured in China or Korea. Finally, it helps round out the Buick line compared to Acura, Volvo, and Lincoln; whom I would identify as their primary competitors. Good for them! It well may end up on my personal shopping list.

  2. David Sprowl Says:

    2 things: 1) no mention of the UAW/VW vote? That is big news! 2) I’m not in favor of the current “free trade” agreements. I’m more in favor of the “sell it here, make it here” approach. Very few of us can export our knowledge and repatriate that product at a profit. I can only pay my bills and buy my goods and services via my country’s currency. I’m OK with foreign trade as long as we are trading goods of equal value. I can not see eroding our tax base any further than it has already been allowed.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d be uninclined to buy a car from China, but I agree that it makes complete sense to build Envision there and import them, if the global sales volume will only need one assembly plant, and 2/3 of those sales will be in China. It will give GM haters more ammunition for a while, but in time, we will be getting Fords and Nissans from China too.

  4. Lisk Says:

    GM should just let Buick go away in the U.S. market. In away, they are doing it already. Chevy has had 2 redesigned Malibus while Buick wall be soldiering on with the Regal for at least another year. The Lacrosse? It’s restyle still is more boring than the Impala. Verano? Not many warming up to a $27,000 Cruze. And the Enclave is one of the oldest platforms in the segment. Their sales increases are through additional product, not sales gains from the core product.
    As for the Envision being built in China, it should have been built in the highly underutilized Spring Hill, Tn. plant.

  5. Tony Gray Says:

    Americans, myself included, are bipolar when it comes to purchases. Most of us bemoan the lack of truly American made products, but when it comes time to pony up the cash, we choose the one that is easier on our wallet, no matter where the source. Companies have to make money. And until people decide to actually put their money where their social media posts are, then those companies will continue to source from the most cost effective place on earth.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Americans don’t seem to mind buying iPhones from China.

    As far as Envision, GM is just doing what BMW has been doing for several years, building certain vehicles where the market is. The US is the biggest market for the X5, so they build them in the US, and export them to smaller markets. GM is doing the same with Envision, except that China is the big market.

  7. dcars Says:

    (4.) I agree with Lisk, Buick just isn’t a great brand. If they need another brand to add volume in the US why not buy/or revive something that will make people “drive excitement,” “fuel the soul” or “designed for action.” I can give them some hints.

  8. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I don’t care one way or the other of where buick wants to build their vehicles.That’s because it’s a brand I would never consider in the first place.Would I like to see it built here? Sure,but that’s not how our world turns anymore,as my new van was built in turkey,it was designed in Italy,and it has an American drive train.My advice,buy what you want.

  9. HtG Says:

    The US economy already benefitted greatly from the bailout, not just GM and Chrysler. GM is a global corporation, let it use its advantages to compete.

  10. Jon M Says:

    Well, my first reaction to GM importing the Envision from China, as well as other vehicles being imported from China going forward, is how much difference does it really make? Have you checked the labels on virtually everything else you have? Try it and write down the number of items that are NOT made in China; it will likely be a shorter list. Second, send your insight to Donald Trump, John. Seriously, send it to him. If you want uninhibited feedback, just send him your thoughts and watch/listen to him go nuts over it. And by the way, don’t interpret that to imply that I’m part of the so-called silent majority.

  11. FL Schmidt Says:

    Regarding the Buick Envision, building them in china for our market has one glaring problem, China does not have our interests in mind. They are an aggressive country trying to dominate certain parts of the Pacific rim by building artificial islands for military use and expansion. GM should be punished for this move and as a tax payer I am very upset at this self centered and short sided tactic. With Cadillac,GMC and Chevy making cuv/suv’s, we don’t need a Chinese/communist Buick.

  12. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Cadillac did it with the ELR and now Porsche is doing it with their electric; both these car designs were fresh (dare I say gorgeous) and both are electric. No volume for the ELR but that’s a whole other story, probably the same for the Porsche (low volume); they need to get these design ‘stars’ in their regular line-up. JMO

    The Buick looks really nice to me, would I buy it or not buy it because it was built in China…….tough question. Buick makes some of the Generals’ most reliably stuff, though granted, some have a stodgy reputation and design. Buick makes money so I don’t think it is going anywhere soon and new sheet-metal will be forthcoming; I say, go for it GM (you need that tweener in your Buick line-up yesterday.

  13. Room for more Says:

    There’s room in General Motors product catalog for 2-3 more CUVs from China minimum as the Envision is over a foot longer than the Encore and over 700 lbs heavier at 4,047 lbs meaning there’s room for another CUV to fit in between the Envision and the Encore that is 6-8 inches longer than the Encore and 400 lbs heavier as well as a CUV that is in between the Envision and the Enclave; further, Cadillac needs 1-2 more CUVs because given the market, the XT5 and Escalade isn’t enough especially if the Escalade is going up-market.

  14. Rob Says:

    I’m so sick of hearing about the bailout to the auto industry. GM got just over 50B, Chrysler got just over 10B yet another 560 Billion was handed to banks. Fanny Mae alone got 116B Freddie Mac 71B.
    By the way (as of Nov 2015) of the total 617B handed out, only 390B has been repaid So 227B is still out there only 12B of it is GM and Chrysler. So how about the banking industry take half the heat the auto industry does?

    If GM builds cars in China because it makes good business sense, well isnt that what everyone wants is for them to be conducting business that is financially sound? If you don’t like them sending manufacturing jobs overseas then the people that make our trade policies are the ones to be mad at.

  15. GM Veteran Says:

    Of course the UAW brass would have to chime in with a comment about the Buick built in China stealing jobs Americans should have. However, I don’t recall them saying anything about all of the GM vehicles that were built here and shipped to China for sale before they had enough assembly plants there to handle the local demand. Until just recently, all Cadillacs sold in China were built in the US. I don’t see anything wrong with balancing this equation with the Envision.

  16. Jonathan Says:

    I would prefer the gm products be built in the usa but if the new cuv brings a successful model for Buick . I’m all for it.

    Gm should just announce if the sales of the new cuv are successful the second generation could be built in America.

    Be upfront and announce the 50k units a year projected make production in china logical.

    Honesty is the best policy.

    The new Buick looks better than Cadillacs new xt5.

    I’d prefer a cuv based off the ATS in the same vein as the Porsche Macan and jaguars new f pace.

    A real sports crossover.

  17. Lex Says:

    I love the look of the Buick Evision. However your import argument does not work for me. Isn’t the Evision and it’s platform going to be the underpinning of the next generation GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox. The issue of production /plant utilization and capacity is easily solved by build all three versions in one plant along parallel lines. The Tooling cost would be minimal if you tweaked the US version of the Evision to use many underlining components which will be shared with the Terrain and Equinox. I not not want a 2.0 Litre Turbo! My understanding was that the next Generation of the Terrain and Equinox were getting the 2.5 litre like in the Chevy Canyon. GM needs to keep it’s Chinese vehicles in China and build those vehicles for the sale in North America in North America with American Labor and materials.

    My alternative suggestion is to let Buick starve out of existence in the same way GM did it to Saturn. I do not think many would lament the closure of Buick in North America. Buick can thrive in China and Asia if that is what they want. Without Buick then Cadillac might have a better chance to improve it’s market share in North America IMHO.

  18. Steve W Says:

    If the US imposed a tariff of 20% on automobiles not made here, such as is done in Brazil, our cars would be made here!

  19. FSTFWRD Says:

    @#5 Tony, I couldn’t agree more, most Americans consider price first on most goods. Too bad, but that is the way it is.

    I’ll be curious as to the build quality of the Buick. How well will these vehicles hold up in 3-5 years, in the real world as well as surveys. Well see.

  20. XA351GT Says:

    I’m going to go against the opinion here and say I’m not for the Chinese made cars here. Here’s my reason, China has a lousy record with quality. Known for cheap products that are easily broken and have materials that are not healthy. If GM ships it here and still charges big money then they are just ripping off the buying public. This program a few years back stated that when the Honda workers in China went on strike , that the raise they got by result still only amounted to what a US GM worker makes in a hour for a whole months work.So unless they are going to sell it for under $8000 they are committing highway robbery. Also With all the money that the taxpayers wound giving GM in the bailout they should making more vehicles here and employing more Americans not less. Flame On.

  21. Henry Says:

    The announcement of the Buick From China was a PR failure on GM’s part. There should have been a whole lot more explanation and justification when the decision was announce.

  22. Rob Says:

    #7 dcars I caught on to your hints and yes I also miss my Pontiac.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 We are going to need to get used to 2.0 turbo engines. That’s what you get in an X3, Q3, GLA, and many Fords, so Chevy is bound to use increasing numbers of them.

    I think Buick should keep going in North America, but if they dropped Buick, they could turn Cadillac into GM’s Lexus. Lexus has a few cars, like LS and GS that are not badge engineered Toyotas, but the ES, RX and others are largely badge engineered. That might work for Cadillac. Restyle the LaCrosse as a Cadillac, and it might better compete with the ES, etc.

  24. Rob Says:

    #20 Labor only accounts for about 10% to 15% of the price of a vehicle and assuming its @ $30,000 CUV if you remove all labor its still a $25-27k vehicle.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Are the Chinese Volvo S60′s here yet? If so, has anyone checked them out for quality?

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 Virtually all Apple products come from China, and the quality seems pretty good. You can build products anywhere in the world, and get decent quality, if you manage the operation properly.

    As far as Chinese cars, I won’t be buying one any time soon, even if the quality is competitive.

  27. MJB Says:

    I know many here are saying just let Buick go by the wayside. But I, for one, would like to see it stay and thrive. After all, hasn’t Buick been consistently one of the top performing cars in terms of reliability for at least the past decade? Saturn could never lay claim to that.

    Regarding their outsourcing assembly of the Envision, that’s just business. If companies (of all sorts) were to take the financial hits needed to keep all their production in the U.S. regardless of losses suffered because of it, they wouldn’t stay in business long. Then we’d have people upset about mass layoffs.

    Heck, I’m about to bring a product of my own to market in the next 6 months. And I don’t mind saying point blank that I am seeking (and will utilize) whatever manufacturing source can guarantee me the highest quality output at the lowest price. If (before my product launch date) I can find a local source that will match, or at least come close to, the price I’ve already gotten from my Chinese source, then fantastic! But if not, I won’t loose a wink of sleep over it.

  28. Lisk Says:

    23) Labor is much higher than you think. If there are 600 workers at a plant making $50 per hour, then each hour costs $30,000. In that hour, 60 vehicles come off the assembly line so it cost $500 in labor for each car per hour it is on the line. It takes roughly 3 eight hour shifts to built a car so the labor costs work out to $12,000 in this hypothetical situation. No matter whether it is a $20,000 Focus or a $63,000 F150 Platinum, the labor costs are real close.

  29. merv Says:

    never thought we would see a buick built in china,and sold here,but it makes sense the way you explained it. redefining global market

  30. HtG Says:

    If not for the Chinese consumer associating Buick with the Emperor would there even still be a Buick? Does US demand sustain the business? I think everyone knows the answer.

  31. G.A.Branigan Says:

    There’s more than a few of us that well remember ‘jap junk’ from the 50′s and 60′s.And take a look now at Toyota,Honda etc.Given enough time,maybe the chinese products will improve as well.

    On the buicks built there and sold here,as xa351GT pointed out,I would be worried about the quality of the sheet metal,as well as the treatment of the sheet metal,as in anti-corrosion and such.Will GM have American QC there on site?

  32. Rob Says:

    #27 Just do a quick google search and you’ll find some references to the percentages that I quoted. Just to put things in persprective a base Chevy Sonic MSRP is $14,435 so I doubt that they can buy all the material, pay taxes, plant operational costs, Research and design, for the remaining $2400..
    I think your math is a bit off.

  33. Rick wakefield Says:

    Regarding importing the Buick from China.

    I personally will not buy buy any car/vehicle imported from China, no matter where they were designed and developed.

    As long as there are vehicles that are designed, developed and manufactured here in the US, I will continue to buy USA only vehicles.

    Just my $0.02 on the issue.

  34. Ziggy Says:

    John and Sean,

    Could you do all of us engine nerds a favor and post at what RPM the maximum power and torque are developed at when you quote those figures? I’m sure there are a few of us that like to know if we can get our torque down low or if we will have to rev the heck out of it to get it going. Thanks guys, and keep up the good work.

  35. Robert Morrison Says:

    Ok so this will be the vehicle that let’s the cat out of the bag. It will be the 80′s all over again except there are,fewer workers and plants to shut down this time and China will make Japanese cars look like a small market share.
    John, when will a company stand up and say no more. We cannot ship american made jeeps over without a large tarrif and China will pressure FCA to build a plant there.
    Come on we need to make a level playing field.

  36. Dave Forslund Says:

    China Imports:
    America is the “Homeland” of the Capitalistic / Free Enterprise economic system. The U S Government has been its protector throughout the world. People throughout the world marvel at its success.

    There are 4 factors that allow corporations to survive in Capitalistic system.
    Fair return to its investors (stockholders)
    Fair product value for its customers
    Fair payment to its labor force
    Support of the Free Democratic government without which it cannot survive.

    Corporations complain when the government interferes and complain when the government does not assist (laws and taxation).

    During this period of greed, GM must learn that they have to support the government that allows them the freedom to exist. China does not allow them to be and Independent Corp (China GM is 1/2 owned by China.) Rich China did not help them in the time of need. American Taxpayers helped them! GM can import cars from China, but in return they have an obligation to ship American products to China. Life, for a person or a corporation, is never a one way street!

    The car was designed in the U.S. Did GM China pay the U.S. for it’s services????

    Americans, through their buying habits, will speak! And if they don’t, our Capitalistic system will be one link weaker.

  37. XA351GT Says:

    Rob @ #23 I don’t know about . Chinese workers make less in a years work than a US GM worker does in a week . They are basically getting the labor for free.

  38. G.A.Branigan Says:

    But what is the cost of living in china,as compared to every town USA?

  39. Danny Turnpaugh Says:

    Well those Chinese made Buicks sure won’t be your fathers Buick.

  40. gary susie Says:

    One question everyone should ask what is the tariff on an American made car going into China. That is what we should charge them. I have owned several Buicks and they were great cars and were good looking too. Remember when you buy that Chinese import you are helping the polluters.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    39 From what I can find, there is now no tariff on American cars exported to China, though there was, in retaliation for the very high tariff on Chinese tires imported to the US.

  42. W L Simpson Says:

    Re: propane—1970 saw me involved w/a field test converting Flathead Dodge aircraft tow tractors to propane. The most notable result was combustion chambers that looked liked they had never been run , compared to tractors that remained on gas.

  43. W L Simpson Says:

    I tested the S Korea Encore , which is small & a cheap feeling ,noisy rough ride , don’t understand the need for the chink machine.

  44. paulstewart Says:

    Lest I need to remind my fellow Americans, that China has well over 100 Nuclear missles pointed at this country. Yes we have more than that pointed at Them. I am not going to aid that country. I dont buy my phones from that country either I don’t own an Apple.The tires on my vehicle were made in a Democracy. I hope the best for the Chinese people. But I favor Our country 1st !

  45. MJB Says:

    #42. No need for the racist banter WL.

  46. MJB Says:

    #42. No need for the racist banter WL.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43 Like it or not, we buy a lot of stuff from China. It’s hard to know where any smart phone is made. Samsung is a South Korean company, but some of their phones are made in China and Vietnam. Maybe HTC phones are still made in Taiwan, or maybe not. As far as general household products, nearly all are from China.

  48. Enn Norak Says:

    GM’s bean counters may see importing a Chinese Buick as a part of a sound business plan but, as a customer burned previously by imported shoddy and sometimes toxic goods, I remain a “Made in America” diehard. The jury is still out on Chinese-made cars and I am also not fond of 4-cylinder engines working themselves to death at high RPM in order to deliver desired power.

  49. john l Says:

    Just what we need more jobs sent to China? if you cut off two fingers would that be a reason to cut off another? We don’t need any more imported Chinese crap – I don’t care if the engineering was done here -it ALL should be here.

    How about we import Chinese Autoline? They’ll work cheap. Sounds like a good business case to me. Get it? So what you lose your job.

  50. chas orvis Says:

    Hi Sean+John, how are you guys? I don’t know for sure, the photos of this car are not great, but the taillights look like Cadilac to me; could this be a CT8 prototype? What it should be, if I had any input, would be a preproduction version of that beautiful concept car the Cadillac El Mirage. I really think Cadillac needs a flagship car like the El Mirage, and I REALLY liked both the interior and exterior styling of that car, and LOVE THAT NAME!!!! I think it’s a hell of a lot better than CTS, CT6, ATS, etc (doesn’t everybody know what the ESCALADE is by its name?), and shame on GM for not using that pretty NAME on SOME CAR!!!