GM faces potential PR problem with imported SUV
General Motors (GM) will start selling a car made in China on the U.S. market in 2016, which will be the first time this has been done by a big name U.S. car manufacturer.
Their soon-to-be imported vehicle is an SUV known as the Buick Envision, and they will be bringing over 30,000 of them to the United States. Some are skeptical of GM’s plan to sell the vehicle because they believe the company made this decision as a way to save money on labor costs. GM agreed to a new union contract in October that was speculated to increase the company’s U.S. labor costs. By importing thousands of vehicles from China, they could circumvent these high costs of labor.
According to The Wall Street Journal, GM officials have said that this decision was made as a way to “fill a gap in the brand’s product line.” While this could be the case, their plan was made public only weeks after the union contract agreement. Whether this move was just bad timing or GM’s response to the new contract, there’s a big chance that this could bring bad PR to the company in the near future.
GM’s move to import the Envision from China could become a big topic during the 2016 presidential election. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been very outspoken against outsourcing, and he’s made it a big part of his campaign. Trump stated at the South Carolina Freedom Summit that he would impose a 35 percent tariff on multinational corporations to help put an end to outsourcing.
GM is positioned to import thousands of China-made vehicles right when candidates will have to increase their campaigning as the election draws closer. GM’s move could be used as a platform that some candidates publicly stand against, potentially hurting the company’s image. The full impact that the Envision will have on GM won’t be fully known until it hits the U.S. market in early 2016.
Will this move by GM hurt them more than it helps? Which candidates are likely to talk about GM as a platform for debate? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.