Will GM be the first US automaker to import a car built in China?

The Wall Street Journal reports that the next new Buick crossover to land on our shores will be the Chinese-built Envision.

2016 Buick Regal GS

Will American buyers accept a domestic product with a "Made in China" badge on it?

Andrew Krok/CNET

If this news is true, expect to find it as a major talking point during Donald Trump's next stump speech. According to sources close to General Motors, the domestic automaker giant is planning on bringing a new midsize Buick crossover to the US market. Unlike other crossovers, though, this one will be a direct import from China, making GM the first American manufacturer to import a car from the Middle Kingdom.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Buick will import between 30,000 and 40,000 units of the Buick Envision to the United States each year. Not only will it be America's first Chinese-produced domestic vehicle, it'll fill a gap in Buick's lineup, as the automaker sells both compact and large crossovers in the US already.

Buick is big business in China, and it has been for some time. GM's premium brand has enjoyed solid success in that country, with its demand outpacing that of America nearly fourfold. When US sales dipped as domestic automakers faced financial ruin, China's market was beginning its huge ramp-up that continues to this day. Demand has calmed slightly since then, but China remains a very voracious market, ready to consume upmarket brands at a blistering pace.

"General Motors does not comment on speculation," GM spokesman Fred Ligouri said, after being asked to confirm the validity of WSJ's claims. Automakers routinely decline to comment on future products.

While GM would be the first domestic automaker to sell Chinese-built vehicles in the US, it's not the first manufacturer overall. Swedish automaker Volvo currently sells its S60 Inscription in the United States, and that car is built in Chengdu, in the southwest of China. Volvo also happens to be owned by Chinese auto manufacturer Geely. Across the border in Canada, Honda sells a variant of the compact Fit that's made in Guangzhou.

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