Cadillac Prepping XT4 Production on the Sly at Kansas City's Malibu Plant

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

General Motors is tooling one of its car plants to build the svelte new Cadillac crossover that’s aimed at fixing the luxury brand’s sales slump in the United States. However, GM is keeping quiet on the move as the XT4’s future hasn’t been officially announced. However, insiders have claimed the automaker has already begun production on test versions of the Cadillac XT4 at its assembly plant in Kansas City.

Cadillac deliveries fell 8 percent last year in the United States and, as crossovers seem to be the sure-fire remedy for every automaker seeking sales, the XT4 could be a godsend. That blessing isn’t isolated to North America either. Adding the more-affordable crossover to the company’s Chinese lineup is equally important.

Chinese shoppers, who seem to really dig luxury nameplates like Cadillac and Buick, likely won’t mind seeing another model added to the mix. However, in the domestic market, Cadillac genuinely needs to bolster is non-sedan offerings. Presently, the only utilities available stateside are the XT5 and Escalade.

The production location, while technically still a secret, is not a surprise. The XT4 uses similar underpinnings as the Chevrolet Malibu, which is also built at GM’s Fairfax Assembly in Kansas. With the automaker slowing down sedan production last year, it makes good sense to assign the luxury crossover to that location. Through the first five months of 2017, Malibu sales were down 30 percent, falling nearly three times faster than the segment as a whole.

However, there were still 185,857 Malibus sold in the United States last year. At that volume, General Motors knows it can’t outright replace the sedan. But it can offset costs by sharing factory space with the XT4.

[Source: Bloomberg] [Image: General Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • El scotto El scotto on Jan 09, 2018

    The big DeVilles and Town Cars are dead as dodos.Blame CAFE,EPA, leases on European cars, and ungodly luxurious trucks and Lexus. People with money who want to humble brag buy a nicely loaded truck; Town Car = King Ranch crew cab, Caddy = Silverado Denali. Then some folks just get an LS and drive it for 10-15 years; its not like they change THAT much. Until GM can build the equivalent to Lexus LS, people with money aren't interested. Lincoln? Being the American Acura/Volvo should work just fine.

    • See 4 previous
    • FreedMike FreedMike on Jan 09, 2018

      @highdesertcat I can see the appeal for someone who wants to drive some big road boat into 500,000-mile decrepitude. Panthers are good for that mission. Problem is, the Town Car was a $50,000 luxury car, and people who buy $50,000 luxury cars could care less about that kind of thing. They generally don't want to keep a car more than a couple of years.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Jan 09, 2018

    I recently tried out an ATS just to see what the hate was all about, and you know what? As a driver's car, it's superb. Where it fails is in the details, particularly underneath the hood. The 2.0T is great on paper, and has plenty of power, but it sounds and feels unrefined. The instrument panel, which took a lot of heat four years ago for being cheap, is still cheap. The interior has lots of discordant styling touches. None of this is awful, but when you look at a C-class Benz right afterwards, you know why this car isn't selling. A Cadillac needs to feel like money, and contemporary ones don't, no matter how well they perform.

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    • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Jan 10, 2018

      @NormSV650 You should start a new auto tuner company called abNormal Trifecta Tuner Motors, using General/Guangzhou Motors' vehicles, particularly Buick clown car Encores, and made in China Envisions, and chip them to 480-horsepower/510 lbs feet of torque, while enabling them to achieve 78 mpg city/109 mpg highway, and give customers a completely free, bumper to bumper, completely comprehensive (every single part covered, from motor to the exterior to the tiniest screw or gasket) 500,000 mile/20 Year, $0 deductible warranty.

  • Jonathan IMO the hatchback sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Kia Stinger, and the already gone Buick Sportback are the answer to SUVs. The A5 and the AWD version of the Stinger being the better overall option IMO. I drive the A5, and love the depth and size of the trunk space as well as the low lift over. I've yet to find anything I need to carry that I can't, although I admit I don't carry things like drywall, building materials, etc. However, add in the fun to drive handling characteristics, there's almost no SUV that compares.
  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars
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