Yesterday it was revealed that production of the next-generation Buick Regal may move from General Motors’ Oshawa Assembly plant, where the current car is built, to Opel’s plant in Russelsheim, Germany. Oshawa is a consolidated line which also builds the Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, models which will eventually move to production facilities in Lansing and Hamtramck, MI., respectively. This leaves the future of the Cadillac XTS, the other model Oshawa builds, up in the air.
The fact that GM has not spoken about where production of the XTS might go isn’t what is making some think the car will be discontinued. Cadillac is working on a new, rear-wheel drive full-size sedan to compete with the cars like the Mercedes-Benz S Class and BMW 7-series, rendering the full-size XTS a bit pointless.
Automotive News notes the XTS is a relatively low-volume car and could easily be moved elsewhere if it lives on past the introduction of Cadillac’s new full-size flagship, which may arrive as early as 2016. If it does stay in the lineup, it could find itself a niche by undercutting the price of the new full-size sedan and offering customers a more affordable alternative, but this doesn’t seem likely.
The other question the departure of the XTS leaves is in regards to what will happen to the Oshawa Assembly plant. If the Regal is built in Germany, the XTS is killed off, and the Camaro and Impala have both moved production to Michigan, what is left to build there? Canada has long been known to be one of the more costly places for automakers to build cars, so it seems unlikely GM would go out of its way to add a new model to the plant. GM also signed a “vitality agreement” with the Canadian government as part of its bailout in 2009 requiring it to build cars in the country until at least 2016, meaning it will expire almost just in time for the new models to arrive.