By on July 22, 2017

2018 Cadillac XTS, Image: General Motors

You can’t compare the traditional passenger car segment to the Titanic speeding towards an iceberg, as the once market-leading segment tore its hull open on that crossover-shaped berg long ago. Cars, especially in North America, are rapidly taking on water and sinking by the bow.

Against this backdrop, a recent — and unconfirmed — report predicting looming death for six General Motors car models came as no shock, though it did raise questions. Would GM really drop a famous nameplate like the Chevrolet Volt? The Cadillac CT6 is barely more than a year old — surely the division wouldn’t go to the expense of building a flagship, then take it behind the barn?

The deaths foretold in the Reuters report would be carried out by 2020, the source claimed. While he didn’t speak to the lifespan of the Volt or the Chevrolet Sonic and Impala, nor the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen responded by saying Cadillac’s four-sedan lineup remains safe. Yep, those three sedans will be just fine, he said. Wait, what?Speaking to Jalopnik, de Nysschen claimed there is “not a single car on the chopping block,” despite the rumor of Cadillac axing its XTS and CT6 full-sizers.

“There is absolutely, if I could speak all capitals now, they’d be coming out of my mouth,” de Nysschen said. “There is absolutely no plan, at all, to cancel the CT6.”

The CT6 serves an important role in Cadillac’s lineup, he said, both in terms of shaping public perception and as a testbed for technological advancements. Customers will eventually see a “very sophisticated and modern internal combustion engine” in the CT6, he added in a statement that didn’t exactly speak highly of the model’s existing powertrains.

However, de Nysschen avoided mentioning the facelifted-for-2018 XTS, a front-drive relic already granted one stay of execution. U.S. sales of the model fell 24.7 percent in the first half of 2017, year-over-year. No real timeline accompanied the mildly restyled sedan, so it’s not surprising to hear de Nysschen speak implicitly of its demise.

“The vehicles that are under development as you and I speak will have the net result that Cadillac ultimately will have three sedan entries, of which CT6 will be the most senior,” de Nysschen told Jalopnik.

“We will be able to much more clearly separate the market position, both in terms of target customer demographics, in terms of market segments and in terms of price points between these three sedan lineups.”

How can the brand’s president talk about not having a model on the chopping block while simultaneously confirming one car model will die? It comes down to the product cycle, and your definition of “chopping block.” It apparently doesn’t count as an execution if there’s no existing plan to renew the model after the current product cycle. As such, Cadillac’s four sedans “will run through their natural life cycles,” he said, after which only three shall remain. Given its age and the fact it shares a segment with the rear-drive CT6, there’s no reason to believe Nysschen wasn’t speaking of the XTS. When will the funeral take place? We don’t yet know, by the 2019-2021 window seems a given.

So, taking de Nysschen at his word, the passenger car isn’t yet an endangered animal at Cadillac. That said, the brand’s main focus remains on the crossovers and SUVs that make up the overwhelming majority of new product scheduled for the near term.

[Image: General Motors]

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24 Comments on “No Cars on Chopping Block, Says Cadillac Boss, While Confirming the Death of One Car...”

  • avatar

    I think you are wrong Steph.

    Johan also said that there won’t be direct successors to the ATS/CTS duo and that Cadillac is going to “rebalance its sedan portfolio”.

    The XTS has overall has been a worthwhile vehicle for North America and China. They might not call it “XTS” but a big front-driver on the Lacrosse platform is going to be part of Cadillac’s future. The ATS/CTS is going to become a single vehicle.


    “Customers will eventually see a ‘very sophisticated and modern internal combustion engine’ in the CT6”

    Northstar Series II, baby!

    • 0 avatar

      Wasn’t there an “ULTRA V8” project that GM was working on prior to bankruptcy? It was potentially going into everything from Cadillacs to the Lambda platform “don’t-you-dare call it a minivan”.

      Maybe that will be revived.

  • avatar

    Also, if you want to see Johan stammer ask to comment on the future of CT6 production in North American factories.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. I can see production of Cadillac and Buick sedans moving largely to China. Nothing says traditional American luxury like a Made in China label.

      • 0 avatar

        China is the new America. European countries already started to gravitate to China esp after US left Paris Climate Accord. China is the new leader of free world according to Angela Merkel et al.

        • 0 avatar

          Then enjoy your unfiltered and uncensored responses to TTAC on the internet while you can!

          I think I’m going to find me an old C-10 or something of the like that I’m fairly certain was made in the US, and then hold onto it until I can’t drive anymore. Yeah, I realize that China is a big(ger) market for Cadillac and (especially) Buick now. Just wish the tables were level and that we could just as easily sell them vehicles made here as they sell goods to us (something about protectionist tariffs on their end, making any company spill the beans on technology and forcing them to join Chinese-held JVs…).
          Not that I’m sure I’d ever be in the market for a Cadillac, either way.

        • 0 avatar

          @ Inside Looking Out

          We need to let the EU realign with China. It will be the most entertaining misadventure in the history of international trade. Two mercantile empires going toe-to-toe, each certain it can best the other.

          Why do you think UK regulators and industry leaders are so desperate to stay in the EU? The UK has the most sophisticated banking sector and financial markets in Europe. They don’t want to miss out on the fun when Mutti inadvertently sells her European children into bondage.

  • avatar
    Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

    For most people, news about Cadillac is analogous to news about semi-pro lacrosse in Latvia – it’s completely irrelevant to our lives, since we don’t watch Latvian semi-pro lacrosse, nor do they ever plan to buy a Cadillac.

    For those of us who have been watching GM during its ever-so-slow, decades-long spin around the drain, it’s kind of entertaining.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      I buy ’em when they’re ten years old. As long as I can replace my Gen I CTS-V with a manual Gen II Vagon in another few years, followed by the awesome current CTS-V in a few years more, I’ll be happy.

  • avatar

    The only way they let him drop XTS is if the whole platform is not being renewed. Ajla nailed it above, ATS/CTS is going to become a single sedan model with possibly the Alpha coupe (three “sedans”, no mention of anything else).

    • 0 avatar

      I’d have to guess XTS lives, livery duty and old folks love it.
      ATS has a niche, I’m seeing them around.
      CT6 is a big investment-even if it looks lost now.

      I’m going to guess CTS goes behind the barn, and a single gunshot.

  • avatar

    Big problem with Cadillac is they never develop any product loyalty since they constantly keep renaming and cancelling their products.

  • avatar

    No surprise the CT6 isn’t going anywhere. They spent so much time and money lightweighting the chassis, which means it’s designed for the long haul. In 8 years virtually all fullsize sedans will have to be plug-in hybrids or advanced, high-capacity traditional hybrids.

    Generally speaking, it seems everyone in the press and the enthusiast complex is sleeping on CAFE 2025. I don’t think people understand what’s on the horizon. The Cadillac CT6 has a footprint of 54 sq ft. Under the current standards it will need to make about 34mpg combined on the window (46mpg on the CAFE test) by 2025. The current 3.6L makes 22mpg combined. Is the picture coming into focus? The CT6 will need to improve fuel efficiency by over 50% in 7 years. Yeah, Cadillac will get credits for enviro freon and start-stop, but they still might need a plug, especially since it gives a CAFE credit multiplier for a few years. The Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 will have to do the same Doesn’t look good for FCA, does it?

    The car industry is about to get a-bombed by CAFE regulations. When you understand what’s coming, it’s easier to understand what will live and what will not. Many cars will have plugs or Prius-like hybrid systems within 10 years, makes you wonder if the Volt will survive. Will it even be special? The future of the Volt will probably be political more than anything else, unless volume increases sharply. Furthermore, light trucks will be under intense pressure, which means the manufacturers might be less inclined to drop sedans than you think.

    Personally, I think the Lacrosse will survive or a successor will survive, and it will probably be based on the CT6 platform (or the CT6 successor), with styling and suspension meant for the Chinese market. Buick isn’t going anywhere b/c GM needs it for China. It’s not going downmarket because we don’t need more overpriced Chevy’s in the US. Therefore, something needs to hang around at Buick, and that something needs to be technologically comparable to the CT6 chassis.

    • 0 avatar

      The big issue isn’t meeting future CAFE standards. There is already a plug-in CT6 for sale and I’m guessing the hybrid V6 system FCA uses on the Pacifica could be adopted to the rest of their line. Really, nearly every automaker right now has a robust EV or hybrid program and many are still dabbling in high-FE diesels.

      I’m not sure how everything gets rolled up for the final calculation, but CAFE is still a sales average, so *everything* doesn’t have to be a hybrid. You can be in compliance selling the correct mix of 106MPGe Volts and 19MPG Camaros.

      The problem is going to be getting people to actually purchase these CAFE friendly vehicles at a profitable price level if fuel prices stay low.

      • 0 avatar

        CAFE isn’t the big issue, it’s the only issue. The CT6 is plug-in ready. The ATS, CTS, and XTS are not. They will have to be redesigned or scrapped.

        The current CT6 plug-in is a 2.0L engine with an 18.4kwh battery and $75,000 MSRP. It’s an obscurity. Cadillac will probably not rely on this configuration for CAFE compliance in the long run, and if they do, they will need to hybrid the rest of the CT6 lineup because plug-in volume will be too low.

        Since CAFE is footprint sensitive, it means the ATS, CTS, and XTS are stacked on top of one another. The Epsilon-II-based XTS will probably bite the dust, especially if rumors of the Impala and Lucerne disappearing are true. The CTS and ATS will be rename and redesigned to optimize for hybrid powertrains and plugs. ATS will probably get a smaller wheelbase (106-107 inches), not sure if it will retain rear wheel drive, depends who they are targeting (if 2-series then FR layout, if Audi A3 then FF layout). FF is probably the smart choice because of how it positions itself against the A3 and 2-series, but branding is more important so we’ll see. CTS will probably stay the same size and layout.

        • 0 avatar

          I think it would be smart for them to ditch the Alpha platform and move to something EV friendly. Hopefully they are designing that capacity into the Epsilon III.

          One big blind spot in your claim though is the assumption that CAFE standards won’t change. They changed before and they can change again.

          • 0 avatar

            @ sportyaccordy

            2017 is the midterm congressional review. Our congress currently has a docket of healthcare reform, tax reform (specifically corporate tax), and infrastructure. Despite the collapse of our health insurance system and our roads, and the problems in international capital markets caused by clumsy US repatriation taxes, Congress has accomplished nothing.

            Furthermore, the American left is triggered to the point where they can’t even think clearly, unable to accept the unfortunate realities of the legislative nightmares that passed during the Obama admin. They will mobilize the riot industrial complex if we scrap CAFE 2025 after withdrawing from the Paris Accord.

            The odds of CAFE getting a major shakeup via Congress are nil. At best, we can hope is a raft of inappropriate credit/multiplier rules from a sympathetic EPA. They will never see the light of day, and no one outside of the manufacturers’ compliance divisions will know they exist.

    • 0 avatar

      Large light trucks actually have the least to worry about from CAFE 2025. The F-150 is pretty close to being in compliance already, due to its large footprint.

      I expect the rules to be modified or rolled back for that reason alone. Footprint rules mean the overall fleet MPG will likely go down, not up, as even more buyers flee to the only vehicles that are largely exempt from crippling changes. At this point the whole scheme gets scrapped as unworkable. This is assuming that Trump’s EPA and/or the Republican Congress don’t just abolish it in the next couple of years.

      As for FCA – of all the manufacturers, I think they’re by far the most likely to simply ignore CAFE and pay whatever fines they incur as a result. Virtually nothing they make is compliant, especially not their most popular vehicles. Simply paying the fines would be cheaper than having a “buy a Wrangler, get a Fiat 500 free” promotion.

      • 0 avatar


        Yes, the two-wheel drive 2.7L Ecoboost SuperCrew is within 5% of being 2025 compliant (it might actually be there depending on the off-cycle credits). The V8 F-150 variants are not close. They will need 25%-30% fuel economy improvement in 7 years, despite all of the work Ford has already done to lightweight the body with aluminum.

        To operate a functional fullsize truck fleet (including regular cab, 4wd, V8s, etc), the manufacturers will need diesel or hybrids or maybe both. At some point in the near future, hybrid pickups will probably become a reality because the regulations include special credits for using strong hybrids in at least 10% of your fleet.

        CAFE will not be scrapped. We can all dream about it, but it’s not going to happen. The 2022-2025 regulations will not be final until April 1, 2018. The best we can hope for is the NHTSA gets cold feet, and they make minor changes to the implementation.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe it is time to roll the various electric drive systems into traditional styled vehicles.

      I REALLY like the Volt drive system but I don’t want to own a car styled like that.

  • avatar

    I find it ironic that they are dropping the XTS, as it’s closest in concept to what I think they need- a PHEV A7 clone. Ditch the “BMW from the 90s fighter” nonsense- the average BMW sold today drives like an old Buick, and they all outsell the Caddys they compete with embarrasingly. Turn the bustle-back into a Kammback, shrink the XTS to save some weight and give it enough electric range to do the average commute in a day while keeping the corporate V6. It will go. They wouldn’t need any other sedans, just as Chrysler doesn’t need any others to outsell Caddy’s whole lineup. The Alpha project was an abject failure.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    The problem with XTS is that the Impala, is 95% of the car, and easier to see out of for some reason. I’ve driven both and was remarkably impressed with the space/quietness of the Impala, while not rolling over itself in the twisties. I’ve recommended it to my non- auto enthusiasts friends/relatives several times.

  • avatar

    i want a car which help me to drive fast and average should must be 32Km in one liter any suggesion
    Car for drive – Car for sale

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