Cadillac puts diesel engine development on hold due to declining demand

Article by Christian A., on September 18, 2018

It is better not to expect any new diesel engines from Cadillac, the luxury vehicle division of General Motors. After all, following much considerations of a number of factors, the top management of Cadillac has now decided to stop the development of diesel engine within the luxury carmaker.

During the North American launch of the Cadillac XT4 compact crossover in Seattle, Washington, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle revealed that the luxury car brand is indeed re-evaluating diesel technology. He noted that Cadillac has been working on diesel technology. However, the conditions in the markets around the world – especially their attitude towards diesel engines – have been changing more quickly than the company has anticipated.

It is well known that for the past years, Cadillac had been concentrating its engine development works on diesel mills, in particular four- and six-cylinder units. This diesel engine development work forms part of the luxury carmaker to further penetrate the premium car market in Europe. In addition, Cadillac was also planning to create and offer a number of vehicles powered by diesel engines in the US. In fact, the new XT4 was slated to have a version powered by diesel engine, as slated to arrive before or by the end of the decade (2020). GM’s luxury division had also expected to introduce diesel engines in more of its models.

So, for now, diesel engine development at Cadillac has been put on hold, and the possibility of resumption now hinges on whether demand for diesel-powered luxury vehicles would grow. Instead, Cadillac will start turning its eyes on technologies which demands are increasing, especially electrification.

Indeed, the demand for diesel engines has been in decline, particularly in Europe, since 2015. In September that year, the Volkswagen emissions scandal – also called dieselgate – broke out. At the time, VW’s diesel engines were found to have been programmed to activate their emissions control systems only during lab testing. The emissions scandal has since been rocking the demand for diesel engines, even a few years after it broke out.

The continued declining demand for diesel-powered vehicles also affected Cadillac back then. However, Cadillac executives felt that its program had already made a lot of progress just to be killed. In 2017, Cadillac’s diesel engine development program hit a bump after General Motors sold Opel -- a development partner for the diesel mills – to the PSA Group. But now, Cadillac has stopped this diesel engine development work.

In the recent years, the shift to electrified vehicles has become a lot easier. More and more motorists are already accepting EVs. There has been an increasing number for electrified and pure electric luxury vehicles in the market and the charging infrastructure has progressed so far, making it easier for people to see EVs not just as alternatives offering but as primary products.

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