First GM China-made import to U.S. to go on sale in mid-2016

The GM logo is seen at the General Motors Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan October 26, 2015. Photo taken October 26. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

DETROIT (Reuters) - By next summer, the Buick Envision small SUV will become the first General Motors Co <GM.N> model imported from China to be sold in the United States, the company said on Friday.

Reuters reported in August that by 2017 most Buick's U.S. sales could be of models produced in either China or Europe.

The Envision will give Buick three "crossover” vehicles in the U.S. market. In November, crossover vehicles accounted or 40 percent of U.S. auto sales and is the fastest-growing segment of the auto industry.

The four-door, five-passenger compact Envision will fit in the Buick crossover lineup below the Enclave and above the Encore.

The Envision-from-China announcement comes two weeks after GM's U.S. unionized plant workers ratified a new labor contract, but a GM spokesman said the company did not hold off on announcement of the China import because of negotiations with the United Auto Workers.

Next summer's sale of the Envision was reported earlier on Friday by the Automotive News.

While the Envision is built at a plant in Yantai in China, a GM statement issued on Friday emphasized that it was "designed, engineered and tested in Michigan."

Through November, GM reported sales of 127,085 Envision in China.

Together, U.S. sales of the Encore and Enclave through November were up 16 percent at 117,200 from a year earlier. Sales of Buick's three sedans through November fell 21 percent from a year earlier.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; editing by Sandra Maler and Nick Zieminski)