It might have come sooner than many have expected: A Chinese-built car is reaching thousands of consumers in the U.S. — and no, it's not playing the low-price card. It comes with a $40,000+ price tag.
The testing results, sales data and dealership feedback on the Buick Envision signal a milestone for Made-in-China.
Even though China has been producing high-tech gadgets, such as the iPhone, for U.S. consumers for a while, in the automotive world, Made-in-China hasn't exactly been a symbol for quality or design.
The Wall Street Journal called the Chinese cars that have appeared at U.S. auto shows as having “bad fit-and-finish and outdated components.”
The Buick Envision, however, has proven to be a different story.
As the first Chinese-built vehicle to be tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Buick Envision was named a Top Safety Pick Plus.
The Envision, designed and engineered by General Motors Co. in Michigan but built by GM's China joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp., was launched in the U.S. in May and is selling more than 1,500 units per month here. The model was well received in the Chinese market last year, with an annual sales volume of 150,000.
And the customer reaction? The WSJ report quoted a recent buyer as saying, “Once you drive it and experience all the features, it feels far from a made-in-China car.”