On August 29th, 2018, GM officially launched the Cadillac XT4 in China. The small crossover is the newest Cadillac to go on sale in the country, notably launching in China before doing so in North America. One of the details that we’ve managed to dig up with the help of our colleagues at Cadillac Society is that the small crossover SUV is being made at the Jinqiao Cadillac plant in Shanghai. The decision to make the XT4 at the facility is quite notable, and provides some insight into the inner workings of GM and Cadillac.
In 2016, GM and its Chinese joint venture partner, SAIC, built a new factory in Shanghai specifically for Cadillac. Called Jinqiao Cadillac, the plant was billed as a way to support Cadillac’s growth in China. Prior to its launch, most Cadillac vehicles were assembled in North America and imported into China, thereby being subjected to a hefty import tariff that made them uncompetitive from a pricing standpoint and significantly limiting sales volumes.
The facility is unofficially referred to as the Cadillac mega plant in China, and the first two vehicles to be built there were the CT6 and XT5. All was going well until GM quietly stuffed the Buick GL8 minivan into the plant, raising the obvious question of why a Buick was being made at a plant allegedly meant for Cadillac production. And that brings us to the Cadillac XT4.
The XT4, you see, is not a “pure” Cadillac the way the ATS, CTS, or CT6 are. It’s built on the same GM E2 platform that underpins the current-generation Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Regal. We won’t get into whether that’s good, bad, acceptable or otherwise. But what we will get into is the model’s production location: since GM builds the China-market Malibu and Regal at two other plants, logic follows that it would make the XT4 on the same line, as well. Interestingly, that is not the case.
Three different plants are involved in this dialogue: the aforementioned Jinqiao Cadillac plant, and two others: Jinqiao South, which builds the Cadillac ATS-L, Buick Regal and Lacrosse, and Jinqiao North, which builds the Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Malibu, and Buick Velite 5.
The GM Authority Take
The decision to assemble the Cadillac XT4 at the Jinqiao Cadillac plant despite the existence of two other facilities that make vehicles on the same overall vehicle architecture shows that GM is consolidating the manufacturing of China-market Cadillac vehicles into a single, central facility. In fact, we would not be surprised to see all future Cadillac models, including the upcoming CT4, CT5 and XT6, to be assembled at this very facility.
The development indicates that, at least on some level, GM is serious about establishing Cadillac as a true semi-independent division with its own headquarters, design, engineering and manufacturing operations. And though the new XT4 traces its roots to more plebeian models, we don’t envision that taking place for the next generation XT4, as GM Vehicle Sets come into play, including VSS-R.[toggle title=”Cadillac XT4 Photos”]