General Motors Co.’s Cadillac brand will build the plug-in hybrid electric version of its new CT6 flagship sedan only in China, marking the second vehicle the Detroit automaker plans to import to the United States from China.
The non-hybrid 2016 Cadillac CT6 will go into production within weeks at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, which will serve the North America market, and also in Shanghai, China, to serve the Chinese market, Cadillac confirmed.
Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said the 2017 Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid, expected to begin production late this year, will be built only in China where GM expects the biggest sales. Plug-in hybrid CT6s for the U.S. will be imported from China, Caldwell said.
The 2017 CT6 plug-in, which will be able to travel about 30 miles on electric power when fully charged and hundreds of miles more with its engine, has not been priced. The 2016 non-hybrid CT6 begins at $53,495; the platinum model starts at $83,465.
Last month, GM announced it will import the Buick Envision compact SUV from China beginning this summer.
While GM isn’t providing sales forecasts for the CT6 plug-in, Caldwell said more than 90 percent of CT6 production for North America will come from the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
Volume for the U.S. may be in the hundreds of cars initially, and it would be expensive for the carmaker to retool the U.S. plant for a low-volume model, industry experts say.
Still, some including the United Auto Workers are not happy. The UAW called the move worrisome, especially on the heels of GM’s announcement on the Envision.
“It’s another case of GM backing out of their word to build where they sell,” Cindy Estrada, UAW vice president overseeing the GM department, said in a statement. “We had no idea about this and learned about it yesterday. It is a slap in the face to U.S. taxpayers and GM workers. It may only be a small amount of units, but this on top of the Envision is concerning.”
Buick showed the Envision to automotive journalists ahead of press days for the Detroit auto show.