Luxury car makers are in a race to win over wealthy Chinese drivers. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have their sights trained on the Chinese market, as do Jaguar, Land Rover, and Lincoln. The Chinese government makes no secret that it prefers “new energy vehicles” with lower carbon emissions than conventional cars. That definition covers hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric vehicles.
Cadillac is also anxious to win over customers in China. In fact, it will manufacture a plug-in hybrid version of its all new CT6 sedan there. In an odd twist, the CT6 PHEV will be built exclusively in China. If Cadillac decides to sell any in the US, it will import them. The conventional CT6 will be built in the US, however. The company says its marketing forecasts predict few US customers will be interested in the plug-in car.
Cadillac has been keeping mum on the details of the CT6 PHEV, but in the past few days, it published a road map outlining its sales campaign for the Chinese market. That document may have inadvertently let some of those details slip. Or maybe it was just a test to see if anyone reads press documents. It claims the plug-in car will use only 1.7 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers. Translating that to gallons, that works out to 0.45 gallons per 62 miles — the highest fuel economy rating of any plug-in hybrid luxury car.
The powertrain is based on a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder gasoline engine, but the onboard battery is said to give the car 50 miles of all electric range. Most observers will be quick to note that is just 3 miles less than the official range of the Chevy Volt, a far smaller car and lighter car. Kudos to Cadillac if those numbers turn out to be accurate. If they are, demand in the US could be quite a bit more than the company anticipates.
Building the car in China will give Cadillac a competitive price advantage over other luxury cars imported from outside the country, as China has fairly steep import tariffs on foreign-made vehicles. General Motors will also market the Malibu Hybrid and its corporate cousin, the Buick LaCrosse hybrid, in China as part of its campaign to attract local customers who want to buy “new energy” automobiles.
Source: GM Authority Blog