Motown may be moving east. Far east.
The latest twist in Detroit’s do-over has General Motors becoming the first automaker to import Chinese-built cars into the United States, according to Automotive News.
Citing a leaked document shown to lawmakers who are overseeing the restructuring of the auto giant, the newspaper reports that GM is planning to market made in China cars to American consumers as early as 2011, the same year the company’s heralded Chevrolet Volt electric car goes on sale.
General Motors is currently the best-selling foreign automaker in China, and Buick is number one brand overall, part of the reason that the nameplate was saved during a recent round of cuts that included the elimination of Pontiac. As an example of the growing influence of that marketplace on the company, the interior of the upcoming replacement for the Buick LaCrosse sedan was designed at a GM studio in Shanghai.
According to the report, GM plans to sell nearly 18,000 Chinese-made vehicles in the US in 2011, with that number rising to over 50,000 by 2014.
General Motors currently imports the Chevrolet Aveo and Pontiac G3 from South Korea, and several other models from Canada, Mexico and Europe. The United Auto Workers union has been critical of any plans to move more production overseas.