U.S. to GM: Sorry, Pay Your Buick Envision Tax

Pity the poor Buick Envision. As one of the few Chinese-built vehicles sold in America, it earned an unpatriotic stigma upon its arrival. There’s no word on how many UAW workers own one. Meanwhile, the compact crossover launched part way through the 2016 model year with only high-end trims in tow, saddling it with a steep starting price. The entry price has since declined to saner levels.

Just when Buick thought it had righted the Envision ship, the U.S. hiked tariffs on a slew of Chinese goods to 25 percent last July, suddenly making the Envision a less profitable endeavor for the doctor’s car brand. As we learned today, General Motors’ appeal for mercy apparently fell on deaf ears.

As reported by CNBC, the Trump administration denied an exemption request filed by GM immediately following the tariff hike. The unhappy news came via a letter sent late last month from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office

In it, GM was told the Envision is “a product strategically important or related to ‘Made in China 2025’ or other Chinese industrial programs.”

With its request denied, GM will be forced to continue eating the tariff, as the automaker chose not to raise the Envision’s price to offset the levy. In fact, Envision prices fell for 2019. GM did, however, decide to stop importing the plug-in hybrid variant of Cadillac’s CT6. Announced last November, the Chinese-built CT6 Plug-in disappeared from the U.S. lineup for 2019, though it’s still available to buyers in its home country. Unlike the CT6 Plug-in, the Envision has both volume and segment importance going for it.

Facelifted for the 2019 model year and carrying a nine-speed automatic on upper, turbocharged trims, the Envision range starts under $35,000 (after destination) for a base, front-drive model. Incentives are available, with Buick currently listing the cheapest model at $31,995 before destination.

In the first quarter of 2019, Envision sales fell 21.4 percent in the United States.

from TTAC

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