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There’s much handwringing about whether to allow Chinese automakers–such as BYD–to export their affordable cars to the U.S. But you may not know that several familiar models sold in the U.S. already hail from China. They are the Lincoln Nautilus, Buick Envision, and the Volvo S90 sedan. Read on to find out who pioneered this business practice.

Lincoln is Ford Motor Company’s luxury brand. So you might expect all its models to be assembled in the U.S. of A. But Lincoln found its new Nautilus (2019-present) was popular in China. So it began to build crossovers in China for the Chinese market. When it redesigned the Nautilus for the 2024 model year, it took the Nautilus’ North American factory offline to retool it for EV production. So all 2024 Lincoln Nautiluses (Nautileese? Nautili?) are built in China and shipped over the ocean.

Gray Lincoln Nautilus SUV
2024 Lincoln Nautilus | Ford Motor Company

General Motors has also found its Buick crossovers are very popular in China. In fact, GM builds hybrid Buicks for the Chinese market, even though it doesn’t currently offer hybrid Buicks in the United States. From the introduction of the very first Envision (2014), Buick has exclusively built the crossover in its Yantai, China plant–even for the North American market. Of the Detroit Three, GM was the pioneer in exporting U.S.-market manufacturing to China.

Volvo’s move to China actually makes some sense. While the automaker is still headquartered in Sweden, one of its main investors is Geely out of China. Geely Holding Group acquired Volvo when the automaker parted ways with Ford in 2010, and it now owns 78.7% of Volvo. Volvo builds its S90 sedan for the North American market in its Daqing, China plant. It has also begun to manufacture its new compact EV crossover–the EX30–for the North American market in China.

Next, find out why the least USA-made pickup truck has the most star-spangled name, or learn more about where your car is made in the video below: