On January 27th, 2016, the first 2016 Cadillac CT6 rolled off the line at a new General Motors plant in Shanghai, China. Built at an investment of $1.22 billion to exclusively produce Cadillacs, the plant is as high-tech and state-of-the-art as it gets. Here is an all-encompassing summary of the new facility.
Standing at 477,000 square meters with an annual production capacity of 160,000 vehicles, the plant has a body shop, a paint shop, an assembly shop, a high-speed test track as well as auxiliary facilities. It also serves as a “green” benchmark for vehicle manufacturing globally, according to GM.
Cadillac China Plant At A Glance
- Footprint: 477,000 square meters (570,487 square yards)
- Investment: RMB 8 billion ($1.22 billion USD)
- Annual capacity: 160,000 vehicles
The body shop is the first in China that is capable of manufacturing all-aluminum vehicle bodies. It consists of two fully-automated production lines – one steel and the other aluminum – with 386 robots.
The shop also features GM’s patented mixed material welding technologies, including resistance spot welding of aluminum (a global first on the CT6), laser brazing of aluminum (a Chinese industry first), and extensive use of the industry-leading cold body connection process that uses self-tapping screws and self-pierce rivets.
The paint shop utilizes robots to fully apply paint and coating. World-leading technologies and processes, including membrane pretreatment, electrophoretic coating with high throwing power, second color coating and transparent color coating, provide a translucent finish that showcases the ultimate luxury of the Cadillac brand.
In addition, the paint shop is the only facility of its kind in China without a concrete chimney. The environmentally-friendly spray booth exhaust treatment system and dry venturi scrubbers make the shop nearly 300 percent cleaner than conventional paint shops, with significantly reduced volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and power consumption.
The highly-flexible and intelligent general assembly shop supports the production of up to seven models simultaneously. The world-class digital assembly facility has incorporated the industry-leading Internet of Things system, which can monitor torque information for every key fastening point.
Like the paint shop, the general assembly shop has an industry-leading automatic exhaust collection and pumping system that substantially increases exhaust collection.
Cadillac’s Production Base In China
The new plant will support the growth of Cadillac in China while strengthening GM’s overall industry position. It currently assembles the 2016 Cadillac CT6 and 2017 Cadillac XT5, and will manufacture a variety of other Cadillacs — both sedans and SUVs — in the future.
To note, manufacturing vehicles in China for the Chinese market is crucial for GM, as doing so avoids a hefty import tariff. Traditionally, Cadillac has imported vehicles into China, thereby making its vehicles more expensive than its direct rivals like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.