GM’s first Chinese-built crossover at Buick dealers now

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

During a trip earlier this month to Bergey’s Buick GMC in Franconia Township (Souderton), PA, MACS was fortunate enough to be shown their newest Robinair R/R/R machine for use with R-1234yf refrigerant as well as the new 2017 GMC Acadia which uses the HFO in its A/C system. You can read all about it at this link:

While we were there, we stopped by the new car showroom to check out the other GMC and Buick models they had on display, and it was just our luck that they happened to have a very special new car parked out front that was just driven off of the transport truck. That’s where we saw our first GM vehicle that was built in China and being sold in the United States. It was the all-new 2016 Buick Envision.

According to James Pollino, new car sales manager at their GMC Buick store, Bergey’s has sold quite a few of the new Envisions, in fact more than their original dealer allotment of 12. The only one they had on the lot that day was a white 2016 Envision AWD Premium model that was originally sent to a dealership in Smithtown, NY, but was then traded to Bergey’s to meet customer demands.


The only two Chinese-built vehicles currently being sold in the US are the Volvo S60 and this Buick Envision.  A careful look at the VIN instantly gives it away.


The only other times we’ve seen an “L” in that first “Country Code” VIN position is on certain imported trailers (usually sold as trailer kits-in-a-box) at various big box stores and other tool retailers.

Pollino says these first few shipments of the small luxury SUV will be 2016 models. He expects to receive 2017 models later on this year, perhaps sometime in October. “We have more ‘16s on the way, but should start seeing the ‘17s this fall.”


Service port caps are considered to be the primary seal of a vehicle’s service port.  Helping to make that seal tight, o-rings like this one on the Envision are installed inside service port caps, as is seen with other GM models, but take note: the service port itself is a threaded design, which means it can be removed from the A/C line with the correct size socket.  Why would they use this type of removable service port? it’s quite a convenient feature to have during service or repair when you need to change out the port due to damaged internal Schrader valve threads. We’re not exactly sure why they used them here, but it’s likely in preparation for the model’s eventual changeover to R-1234yf refrigerant.  Threaded service ports make it easy for vehicle manufacturers to switch refrigerants in the middle of a production run.  They simply have to stop using R-134a service ports and start using the ones for R-1234yf, while also switching to different refrigerant oil and likely a different TXV as well.

Envision is being built on GM’s D2XX/D2UX platform. Introduced in August 2012, it’s shared with other GM models such as the 2015 Opel Astra and Buick Verano, as well as the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt. Its Chinese name is “Ang Ke Wei” (昂科威) and has been selling there since late 2014. It’s being built by SAIC-GM (Shanghai GM) at their Dong Yue Foundry in Yantai, Shandong Province, China.


Current models of Envision being sold in the US are 2016s and are still being filled with R-134a refrigerant at the factory during assembly.  2017 models should start arriving here in the fall, and we’re curious to find out if they’ll use the new refrigerant at that time.  This system takes 0.600 kilograms, or 1.325 pounds (21.164 ounces).  You might wonder why the label is spec’d out in the metric “kg” scale, and it all has to do with that little “J639” that’s printed on the label.  The SAE J639 Standard provides for many of the basic “rules” that A/C system manufacturers must follow when designing and building their systems, and listing the refrigerant charge spec in kg is one of them. Manufacturers are allowed to include converted measurements as well for technician convenience, but expect to see kg listed in the first position on almost all vehicles.


The only other vehicle manufacturer in the US to print “CHINA” as their final assembly point is Volvo with their S60 Inscription model which is made in their factory at Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. Buick’s Envision is the first GM vehicle to be imported into the US from China.


Buick includes their tri-zone automatic climate control system (RPO Code CJ4) as standard equipment in the new Envision. It provides individual climate settings for the driver, front passenger and rear seat occupants, while also being able to operate in “SYNC” (Synchronized Temperature) mode as well. Pressing SYNC will “link” the front passenger and rear climate temperature settings to match the driver’s settings.


More information about Bergey’s Buick GMC can be found on their website. You can also find out more about the 2016 Buick Envision by visiting and clicking on Envision.

Don’t forget to make your plans to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade show in Southern California at the Marriott in Anaheim on February 15-18, 2017. Visit for more information or call MACS at 215-631-7020. We look forward to seeing you there!

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About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues.
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