Americans have been driving Chinese-built cars for years – Business Insider

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Americans have been driving these Chinese-built cars for years — and Biden’s tariffs likely won’t impact them

A red Buick Envision SUV with black wheels parked on a driveway.

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A 2024 Buick Envision Sport Touring

GM-DESIGN



  • Chinese car brands are missing from the US market, but Chinese-made cars are still sold in the US. 
  • Americans bought more than 104,000 Chinese-made cars in 2023 and nearly 28,000 in Q1 2024.
  • Buick, Lincoln, Polestar, and Volvo all sell cars in the US that are made in China. 
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Of the more than 15 million cars sold in the US last year, none wore the badge of a Chinese car brand.

Chinese EV heavy hitters like BYD and SAIC are conspicuously missing from US showrooms. With the government’s existing 27.5% tariffs on Chinese-made cars and Tuesday’s new 100% tariffs on Chinese-made EVs imported to the US, the situation isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

What some people might not realize, however, is that tens of thousands of cars manufactured in China are sold in the US every year.

Volvo’s S60L sedan was one of the first Chinese-made cars to be sold in the US starting in 2016, followed by Buick’s Envision SUV and Cadillac’s CT6 Hybrid.

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According to Automotive News data, US consumers purchased more than 104,000 Chinese-made vehicles in 2023, up 45% from 2022.

Americans bought another 28,000 Chinese-made cars during the first quarter of 2024.

Currently, Buick, Lincoln, Polestar, and Volvo sell Chinese-made vehicles in the US. Of those, the only Chinese-made EVs come from Polestar, a brand co-owned by Volvo and its parent company, Geely Automotive. The EV brand imported just 2,217 cars in the first three months of 2024.

It is unclear how the new tariffs will affect Polestar’s future production plans. The company eventually plans to move some of its car production to South Carolina in 2024.

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In a statement to Business Insider, a Polestar spokesperson said the company is evaluating the Biden Administration’s announcement.

Here’s a closer look at the Chinese-made cars on sale in the US.

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Buick Envision

A silver 2024 Buick Envision Avenir parked in front of a house.

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A 2024 Buick Envision Avenir

GM



When it launched in 2016, the Buick Envision compact SUV was one of the first Chinese-made vehicles sold in the US. The second generation Envision, which arrived in 2021, continues to be made in China at one of the plants GM operates in a joint venture with SAIC. The Envision was Buick’s second-best-selling model in 2023, with more than 44,000 vehicles sold.

Last year, Buick sold 167,000 vehicles across its entire lineup in the US, an impressive 61% increase over the previous year. However, this number pales in comparison to Buick’s sales in China, which totaled 517,000 units last year.

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Lincoln Nautilus

A red 2024 Lincoln Nautilus SUV is parked by the sea.

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A 2024 Lincoln Nautilus SUV

Lincoln



The Lincoln Nautilus midsize luxury SUV was originally launched in 2019 as a mid-cycle refresh of the existing MKX model. This year, Lincoln launched the all-new second-generation 2024 Nautilus made at Ford’s Hangzhou factory operated in a joint venture with China’s Changan Automobile.

In past years, the Hangzhou plant produced the Nautilus for the Chinese market, with Ford’s Oakville, Ontario, Canada facility handling US versions. However, Hangzhou took on US market production when Ford decided to repurpose the Oakville facility to focus on EVs, CNN reported.

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Polestar 2

The 2024 Polestar 2.

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The 2024 Polestar 2.

Polestar



The Polestar 2 debuted in the US back in 2019. It was the first EV offering from Polestar, previously Volvo’s performance division that was spun off by Chinese parent company Geely Automotive and turned into a stand-alone company.

While designed in Sweden, The Polestar 2 is produced at its factory in Chengdu, China.

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Polestar 3

The Polestar 3.

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The Polestar 3.

Polestar



The Polestar 3 EV is all-new for 2024 and the brand’s first SUV. The new Polestar 3 began production in late 2023 at the company’s factory in Chengdu, China, alongside the Polestar 2.

Initial US market vehicles will be Chinese-made. However, production for US and European market Polestar 3s will switch over to Volvo’s Ridgeway, South Carolina factory this summer.

There’s also a Polestar 4 coming to the US, but Renault Korea will make US-market versions of that vehicle at its factory in Busan, South Korea.

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Volvo S90

A grey Volvo S90 Recharge T8 AWD sedan is parked in front of a concrete building.

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A Volvo S90 Recharge T8 AWD in Platinum Grey

Volvo



The S90, Volvo’s flagship luxury sedan, is produced at its Daqing Factory in Northern China. Volvo decided, shortly after its launch in 2016, to move S90 production from its factory in Torslanda, Sweden, to China. The wagon variant of the S90, the V90, is still made in Sweden.

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