Economy, Auto

GM to Market Chinese-Made Buick

GM to Market Chinese-Made BuickGM to Market Chinese-Made Buick

The United States—that bastion of well-made cars—is now on the verge of becoming one of China's clients.

The shock announcement that the US plans to import a Chinese-made car, Buick Envision, came as the latest iteration of the Detroit Auto Show got underway in the northeast state of Michigan.

A compact crossover, Buick Envision is the first mass-market vehicle made in China that will be sold in the American market. The decision has annoyed many in the US auto market who think this could be the likely picture for the wider industry.  General Motors' CEO Mary Barra said that although growth in the Chinese auto market has slowed, sales will grow significantly in the long run.

The world's biggest auto market "is going to be more volatile, but we still believe over the long term, the market (will have) substantial growth,” Barra told reporters at a Detroit auto show event on Sunday night.

The Chinese market is expected to show 3% growth in 2015, well below the double-digit gains it experienced earlier this decade. GM's sales in China rose 5% last year.

Last month, before the most recent stock market plunge in China, an industry association said auto sales were expected to rise 5% to 7% in 2016. Barra spoke after a Buick small sedan, Avista, was unveiled. She said the car indicates the direction of Buick sedans, but would not say if there were plans to make a production model.

Karl Brauer, analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said the Envision is only the first of what will become a growing number of Chinese-made vehicles exported to the United States.

"Most consumers are not hung up on, if not completely oblivious to, where the car is made," Brauer said. "At the end of the day, if it is a Buick-badged vehicle that we really like as a domestic buyer, we're going to buy it."

What does this say for the import of Chinese cars to Iran? If America is joining in on the cheap import trend, it would appear natural for the Chinese to boost their share of the international car market. However, what's cheap for the Americans is doubly expensive for the Iranians when the imported car is sold at the market exchange rate of over 37,000 rials for one US dollar after slapping it with the 45% car import tariff and a percentage of profit depending on the unfathomable appetite of the Iranian importer.