The Cadillac brand holds weight around the world, with a variety of different models sold in more than 30 international markets. However, Caddy’s three biggest markets are Canada, the U.S., and China, with the Chinese market now topping the list in terms of sales volume. In fact, Cadillac sold significantly more units in China than it did in the U.S. last year, reaffirming just how much the brand has taken off in the largest auto market in the world.
The numbers tell the story. Last year, Cadillac sold 194,100 units in China, topping the 134,703 units sold in the U.S. by a massive 59,397 units, or 44 percent. But that pales in comparison to the 2021 calendar year, during which Cadillac sold 231,800 units in China compared to the 118,032 units sold in the U.S. during the same timeframe, a spread of 113,768 units, or about 96 percent.
Indeed, looking back at the numbers, we find a distinct rise in Cadillac’s sales success in China as compared to the U.S., with 2020 marking a 78-percent higher total sales volume, 2019 marking a 37-percent higher total sales volume, and 2018 marking a 33-percent higher total sales volume.
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This sales volume difference can be traced back to the turn of the decade, around 2010, at which time China was a relatively tiny market for Cadillac. However, that all changed when GM opted to begin building Cadillacs locally in China, thus circumventing steep import tariffs and propelling Chinese sales numbers to all-new heights.
It’s certainly impressive to see just how well Cadillac has taken off in the Chinese market. That said, even though we don’t have profitability figures in hand, it’s safe to assume that the brand is considerably less profitable in China than it is in the U.S.
The big factor here is that Cadillac doesn’t offer the iconic Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV in China. The Escalade is undoubtedly Cadillac’s biggest profit driver here in the U.S., and its absence in China hurts overall profitability by a signifiant margin.
That said, it’s possible that may change in the future thanks to the automaker’s recently established premium vehicle import business. As GM Authority covered previously, GM is now preparing to bring in new high-end models to cater to wealthier buyers willing to fork over a premium, with highlight models including the C8 Corvette Stingray, the GMC Hummer EV, and yes, the Cadillac Escalade as well. To note, the Cadillac Escalade is exclusively built at the GM Arlington plant in Texas.
Naturally, we’ll certainly keep an eye on this and relay any updates, so stay tuned. In the meantime, remember to subscribe to GM Authority for more Cadillac news, more GM business news, and around-the-clock GM news coverage.