For centuries we have wanted to see, copy and obtain products from other countries. It’s a simple reality of the human existence and curiosity. From the times of simply walking and trading amongst tribes and countries in different parts of the world to the building of ships which made foreign lands more accessible to the now completely connected world of the internet and global trade routes the world has become accessible to use in every way imaginable.
This global market certainly affects the auto industry which at one point in time was limited to domestic markets with a few foreign made offerings. Now, companies have plants all over the world and try and position the manufacturing and assembly of their vehicles as close to the general sales area as possible. This helps to cut down on the cost of shipping vehicles from port to port, and helps to increase the economy in the area where the vehicles are most purchased.
Buick has, still is and will probably always be considered a US premium brand from GM, but the tides have changed and a country that has nearly three times as many people as the US is purchasing Buick models at four times the rate of use here in the States. China seems to love the Buick models and with plants and local models already in place the sensible move it to transition more of the production to China and import to the US the products for our own consumers.
Currently, the lineup form Buick is built in many places anyway. The Regal sedan is built in Canada, the Encore is built in Korea and the Verano, LaCrosse and Enclave are all built in the US. The plan is to start importing the Chinese-built Envision SUV to the US in 2016 and move the production of the Verano to China. China already has a version of the Verano in the market but this will strengthen the ability to sell as many as are called for by this highly populated country.
After the Verano is moved, the next to go is expected to be the Regal which will be made in either China or in Europe. The Cascada is made in Europe which makes this a market and a plant that might work well for manufacturing the new generation Regal when it’s time to make that change. The Encore is even expected to make a move from the Korean plant to the one in China. All these moves will of course only leave the LaCrosse and Enclave as models built in the US, but since the market for these vehicles is stronger in the US than anywhere else, this is not expected to change.
If you thought that the auto industry wasn’t global, think again. Buick is not the only brand to align itself in this way. As I said, this is the sensible move to make because of the market for the vehicles which is so much stronger in China than anywhere else. We will have to get used to having our own domestic brands built elsewhere as long as the markets are stronger for these products in those areas of the world than it is here in the US.