KIEV, Ukraine — UkrAVTO, Ukraine's largest automobile manufacturer, is considering setting up assembly of the Buick Lacrosse. The proposal was made by UkrAVTO's China partners. The Lacrosse is currently being produced in China by SAIC, a partner of General Motors.
The Lacrosse could be produced at UkrAVTO's Illichivsk plant in the Odessa region. A preliminary agreement between UkrAVTO and the Chinese side has already been reached and is expected to be signed in coming days.
Permission is still needed from General Motors, which could potentially veto the plan amid fears that the Lacrosse could be positioned as a competitor to the Chevrolet brand.
Representatives of GM were not available for comment.
According to sources in UkrAVTO, the car will be equipped with a 2.4-liter engine and priced at the equivalent of $40,000.
Local experts believe that Buick may face difficulties in Ukraine since demand for U.S. cars in this country is rather low. UkrAVTO has already scaled down several programs involving U.S. products from Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep in Ukraine.
According to Ukrainian auto magazine A95, these brands have not been imported to Ukraine since early 2009.
The magazine also said that SAIC may be interested in a full transfer of production of the Buick Lacrosse to Ukraine to let it start production on more promising models