June 16, 2024

Biden’s tariffs are unlikely to affect Americans who own Chinese-made cars

A 2024 Buick Envision Sport TouringGM-DESIGN
  • Chinese automakers are absent from the US market, but Chinese-manufactured vehicles are still available in the US.
  • Over 104,000 Chinese-made cars were purchased by Americans in 2023, with nearly 28,000 sold in Q1 of 2024.
  • Brands like Buick, Lincoln, Polestar, and Volvo offer vehicles in the US that are manufactured in China.

None of the cars sold in the US last year, out of the over 15 million, belonged to a Chinese car brand.

Major Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers such as BYD and SAIC are notably absent from US dealerships. With existing 27.5% tariffs on Chinese-made cars and the recent implementation of 100% tariffs on Chinese-made EVs imported to the US, the scenario is unlikely to change in the near future.

However, it is important to note that tens of thousands of vehicles made in China are indeed sold in the US annually.

The Volvo S60L sedan was among the first Chinese-made cars marketed in the US in 2016, followed by Buick’s Envision SUV and Cadillac’s CT6 Hybrid.

According to Automotive News data, US consumers bought over 104,000 Chinese-made vehicles in 2023, marking a 45% increase from the previous year.

A total of 28,000 Chinese-made cars were purchased by Americans in the first quarter of 2024.

Presently, Buick, Lincoln, Polestar, and Volvo provide Chinese-made vehicles in the US. Only Polestar offers Chinese-made electric vehicles, with plans to shift some production to South Carolina in 2024.

It remains uncertain how the new tariffs will impact Polestar’s future manufacturing strategies. The company intends to relocate some of its production to South Carolina this year.

In response to Business Insider, a Polestar representative mentioned that the company is assessing the announcement from the Biden Administration.

Here’s a detailed look at the Chinese-made cars available for sale in the US.

Buick Envision

A 2024 Buick Envision AvenirGM

The Buick Envision compact SUV, which debuted in 2016, was one of the initial Chinese-made vehicles available in the US. The second-generation Envision, introduced in 2021, is still produced in China at one of the plants operated by GM in partnership with SAIC. In 2023, the Envision was Buick’s second highest-selling model, with over 44,000 units sold.

Despite selling more than 167,000 vehicles across its entire range in the US last year, a notable 61% surge from the previous year, Buick’s US sales figures are dwarfed by its performance in China, which totaled 517,000 units in 2023.

Lincoln Nautilus

The Lincoln Nautilus midsize luxury SUV was initially introduced in 2019 as a mid-cycle refresh of the existing MKX model. This year, Lincoln unveiled the all-new second-generation 2024 Nautilus, manufactured at Ford’s Hangzhou factory in collaboration with China’s Changan Automobile.

Previously, the Hangzhou plant produced the Nautilus for the Chinese market, while US versions were handled by Ford’s Oakville facility in Ontario, Canada. However, production for the US market shifted to Hangzhou when Ford repurposed the Oakville plant to focus on electric vehicles, as reported by CNN.

Polestar 2

The Polestar 2 made its US debut in 2019 as Polestar’s inaugural electric vehicle. Originally Volvo’s performance division, Polestar was spun off as an independent company by its Chinese parent organization, Geely Automotive.

Although designed in Sweden, the Polestar 2 is manufactured at its plant in Chengdu, China.

Polestar 3

The Polestar 3.
The Polestar 3Polestar

The Polestar 3 EV, fresh for 2024, is Polestar’s inaugural SUV. Production of the new Polestar 3 commenced in late 2023 at the Chengdu factory, alongside the Polestar 2.

Initial Polestar 3 units for the US market are manufactured in China. However, production for US and European market versions will transition to Volvo’s Ridgeway factory in South Carolina this summer.

Additionally, a Polestar 4 destined for the US will have its US-market editions produced at Renault Korea’s facility in Busan, South Korea.

Volvo S90

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

Variants of the S90, Volvo’s flagship luxury sedan, are produced at the Daqing Factory in Northern China. Following its launch in 2016, Volvo decided to shift S90 production from its Torslanda factory in Sweden to China. The wagon iteration of the S90, the V90, continues to be manufactured in Sweden.


  1. Which Chinese car brands are available in the US market?
  2. Chinese car brands are currently not present in the US market, but vehicles manufactured in China by companies like Buick, Lincoln, Polestar, and Volvo are available for sale in the US.

  3. What is the future outlook for Chinese-made electric vehicles in the US?
  4. With the imposition of tariffs and trade regulations, the future of Chinese-made electric vehicles in the US remains uncertain. Companies like Polestar are evaluating their production plans in response to these changes.


Despite the absence of Chinese car brands in the US market, Chinese-made vehicles from manufacturers like Buick, Lincoln, Polestar, and Volvo continue to attract American consumers. The increasing demand for these vehicles highlights the importance of international trade relations in the automotive industry.

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