Cadilac planning to build and sell ATS, CTS, XTS models in China

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 17, 2012

General Motors is planning to produce three Cadillac models in China, with hopes to follow in the success of the Buick brand in this country. According to The Detroit News, Cadillac will announce these plans at the Beijing Auto Show later this month. Cadillac will ultimately produce the ATS sport sedan, midsize CTS sedan, and executive XTS sedan in China.

Currently, there’s just one Cadillac model is in China -- the STS-based SLS executive sedan. Shanghai General Motors, a long-standing joint venture between General Motors and SAIC Motor Corp., is the producer of this vehicle. Since the SLS is built in China and not imported, the Chinese government can’t impose heavy tariffs on it. This means that there are major price differences in Chinese-market Cadillacs.

A 2012 Cadillac CTS that’s at the top of the line is priced at $57,555; however, Chinese-market models are priced at $71,032 after the import taxes and fees are included.

Those who buy the CTS in China have to pay a higher price for the sport sedan than the larger, Chinese-built SLS, which has a starting price of only $61,546. It’s not yet clear at this stage if the CTS and ATS will be identical to their North American counterparts, or if Cadillac wants to create long-wheelbase variants to pacify Chinese buyers, who would rather be driven in their luxury vehicles rather than driving them.

In China, Cadillac sales reached 30,000 units in 2011, about 72.8% higher than the previous year. Transferring the assembly of Chinese-spec ATS, CTS, and XTS sedans in China is expected to raise Cadillac’s market share in China by a huge percentage, considering that Chinese luxury car buyers love the BMW 3 Series and Audi A6 models. It’s also not expected that Cadillac will affect Buick’s shares, which sold almost 650,000 vehicles in China in 2011.

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