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