Cadillac Looks on Gratefully as GM Adds Third Shift to XT5 Assembly Plant

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

As its lineup of traditional luxury sedans struggles, sales of Cadillac’s 2017 XT5 show why automakers everywhere are scrambling to field as many crossovers as their budgets allow.

The XT5’s popularity and the level sales performance of the redesigned GMC Acadia prompted General Motors to add a third shift at its Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant. For Cadillac, it’s a ray of sunlight breaking through the clouds.

GM says the move adds an extra 650 workers to the plant, with boosted production expected to begin in January. Spring Hill collected more than $2 billion in upgrades during GM’s post-recession investment spree.

Naturally, GM tested the limits of corporate fanfare in announcing the new shift. The mayor, governor, and a senator had a nice day in Spring Hill, it seems.

September XT5 sales in the U.S. totaled 4,608 vehicles, while GMC moved 6,795 newly downsized Acadias. The new Cadillac crossover, which replaced the SRX, went on sale in April and saw its monthly sales stabilize at just under the 5,000 mark this summer. That easily places it ahead of the brand’s second-best-selling model, the full-size Escalade SUV.

In fact, last month’s XT5 sales came in just eight units shy of the combined total of all of its rear-drive cars. During the month of September, the brand moved 1,770 ATS sedans and coupes, 1,503 CTS sedans, and 1,343 units of the quasi-flagship CT6, which bowed in March. The front-drive XTS posted 1,948 sales, more than enough to keep the model alive.

In the CT6’s defense, sales of that model have risen each month since its debut, making its eventual peak a matter of guesswork. Certainly, full-size cars aren’t the draw they once were.

Barring a sudden resurgence in ATS and CTS sales, the folks at Cadillac are no doubt crossing their fingers and hoping XT5 sales stay healthy, as there’s a long way to go until the next new model shows up. Surprise! — it’ll be a crossover. The compact XT3 crossover is expected to arrive in 2018 as a 2019 model.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • LS1Fan LS1Fan on Oct 12, 2016

    Cadillac XT5: for when your GMC store is out of Terrains, and your trade in wont make it to the Lexus dealer. Accept no substitute.

  • Edsel Maserati Edsel Maserati on Oct 12, 2016

    I'm encouraged about Cadillac's progress after a week in a CT6. I really liked it. Well, most of it. The Cue system might be better but it still makes me yearn for an Audi. The driving dynamics of the CT6 really got to me, though. I saw vast improvements in the brand. I do wonder why they chose a name so similar to the CTS. And why didn't they keep SRX name? As I recall it was a big seller. Or is "XT5" part of some nomenclature scheme cooked up in the new Manhattan office?

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.
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