General Motors Co. will become the first major American automaker to sell Chinese-made vehicles in the United States, a move that could rile a key industry labor union.
The company will import Buick Envision midsize sport-utility vehicles to the US from China, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Sales of the imported vehicles, made at a factory in China’s Shandong province, will begin early next year, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Initially, the company expects to import between 30,000 and 40,000 vehicles a year.
The move signals the beginning of a strategic production shift for GM and a bold experiment that will be closely followed by other auto companies, the Journal noted.
The arrival of Chinese-made Buicks in the US could prompt a backlash in the US, with labor unions saying earlier that companies should produce more at home rather than resort to imports.
The United Auto Workers union said in August that the “Envision should be made in the US by the workforce that saved GM in its darkest time.”
The union said it intends to address the issue in contract talks with the automaker.
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