Following the announcement that it will be importing the Buick Envision from China to the US this year, GM now also plans to import the plug-in hybrid version of its Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan. The plug-in CT6 model, which will launch in the US in the last quarter of this year, is exclusively made at GM’s joint venture plant with SAIC – Shanghai GM – in Shandong.
The standard version of the CT6 is made at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant in Michigan and is being launched in the first quarter of 2016.
A spokesperson for GM’s Cadillac division told Automotive Logistics that production on both versions of the CT6 begins in February in Detroit and Shanghai.
According to the carmaker the decision to import the hybrid model, rather than build it at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, is based on the sales breakdown in each region.
“In China, we expect the plug-in hybrid to be a very significant portion of the car’s consumer appeal,” said a spokesperson for GM’s Cadillac division. “Given the vast majority of sales – close to 90% will take place in China – the plug-in hybrid edition of the CT6 will only be assembled in China, with a small quantity exported to other markets.”
Additionally, imports to China are subject to high tariffs and with sales of the plug-in CT6 likely to remain at 90% in China, the company is keeping production overseas.
“We expect to export only several hundred [plug-in] editions to the US,” said the spokesperson, adding that more than 95% of CT6 models sold in North America will be built in Detroit-Hamtramck.
That cautious qualifier may hark back to issues the carmaker had with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union last year when it initially revealed that the Buick Envision would be imported from China. That announcement came during lengthy contract negotiations between GM and the UAW and led the union’s vice president of the GM department Cindy Estrada to insist that the Envision should be made by the US workforce. “GM should stand by its declaration that it will build where it sells,” she said at the time.