Cadillac will launch a completely new diesel engine by the end of 2019, a manager at the luxury automaker announced in an official statement that has gone completely unnoticed until being discovered by Cadillac Society.
The announcement was made in a Cadillac-run Question and Answer session – available in its entirely below – with Felix Weller, Vice President of Cadillac Europe, Russia, Israel and the Middle East. Weller was discussing plans to launch the new Cadillac XT4 in Europe, a process that will take place in the fourth quarter of 2019 – exactly a year after the crossover had gone on sale in the United States.
One year is a very long time for a model to become available in a different market, but that’s not without purpose. In fact, Weller stated that the delay is actually “very good news” because “the XT4 will be offered in Europe with specially developed engines, gasoline and for the first time in quite a while a brand-new diesel. These engines will be powerful, efficient and clean and correspond with the latest Euro 6d emission standards.”
The response reveals that the development of Cadillac’s new diesel engine will be completed in 2019, and that the luxury brand decided to wait for that to take place before starting to sell the XT4 in the old continent.
Despite the negative image of diesel due to emissions cheating by German automakers, notably the Volkswagen Group, diesel engines will continue playing a dominant role in the European auto business, especially when it comes to trucks and utilities.
More than half of all SUV’s sold [in Europe] today are powered by a diesel and will continue to be because diesel engines combine powerful performance with frugal consumption and are contributing to reach increasingly stringent CO2 emission limits.
The arrival of the new Cadillac diesel engine this year is consistent with promises made by ex-Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen, who told Car and Driver a few years ago the following: “We will introduce an all-new diesel engine developed specifically for Cadillac by around 2019.”
de Nysschen was also quoted as saying on other occasions that Cadillac was working on four- and six-cylinder diesel engines as part of its international expansion strategy for the next decade.
We expect that the new Cadillac diesel engine set to debut in the XT4 will be a common-rail, four-cylinder with a displacement of 2.0 liters. The size is a segment standard in Europe, and will enable the engine to be used in used in other future Cadillac models such as the CT4, CT5, and XT5.
At this time, it is unclear if the new Cadillac diesel engine will make its way to other markets, such as the United States and Canada. Last we heard, new Cadillac president Steve Carlisle stated that plans for the United States are under review. Similarly, it’s not known if the six-cylinder diesel engine referenced by JdN will make it through this revaluation process.
The all-new Cadillac XT4 – the brand’s first premium compact crossover utility vehicle – is being launched in the U.S. domestic market at this very moment.
This sets the stage for Felix Weller – Vice President of Cadillac Europe, Russia, Israel and Middle East – to provide a brief outlook into the future of Cadillac in Europe and the role of the new XT4.
Below is the transcript of the Q&A interview.
The SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in the automotive industry. How important is it for Cadillac?
Every 3rd new vehicle currently sold in Europe is an SUV or crossover and that this trend is further accelerating. The SUV segment in the first half of 2018 grew by almost 20 percent compared to only 2.5 percent growth of the overall new car market. We obviously want our share of the pie and the all-new XT4 will be our attractive entry ticket.
You expect the XT4 to perform well in this fast growing segment, but you are not exactly the first brand to compete in this market. Aren’t you afraid that you are late to the party?
It is the right time to introduce an attractive new crossover like the XT4 that offers the exhilarating performance and outstanding comfort that you’ve come to expect from a Cadillac. It will be offered at a price point that will allow younger customers to afford their first Cadillac. In fact, we intend to price it below our current entry model, the ATS Sedan, when we will take first orders in the 4th quarter of next year.
Why does it take a year between the launch in the US market and the time it will reach European soil?
The delay means actually very good news for us: the XT4 will be offered in Europe with specially developed engines, gasoline and for the first time in quite a while a brand-new diesel. These engines will be powerful, efficient and clean and correspond with the latest Euro 6d emission standards.
Why are you introducing a diesel when other manufacturers start second-guessing this technology?
More than half of all SUV’s sold today are powered by a diesel and will continue to be because diesel engines combine powerful performance with frugal consumption and are contributing to reach increasingly stringent CO2 emission limits.
With the main focus of Cadillac being on the US domestic and the Chinese growth market, what is the role of Cadillac Europe in a region that is widely dominated by established premium automotive brands?
Europe is still the biggest automotive premium market in the world. A presence here is and has always been an enhancing factor for the global development of Cadillac. It not only gives us credibility in other regions but also the chance to be compared with the best European competitors on their home turf. The many favorable test results are clear proof of our competitive product substance. And with the launch of our first compact crossover XT4, we will soon be able to tap into one of the major growth segments in Europe.
Where do you see Cadillac in Europe in the next 5 to 10 years and what’s your market share goal for the next decade?
We will be using the coming years to optimize our product portfolio and adapt it to specific European needs. At the same time we are defining an appropriate go-to-market strategy. Given the very well established competition, a simple ‘we too’ approach will obviously not cut it. In light of the paradigm shifts that are happening in the fields of vehicle ownership, electrification and autonomous driving we ought to come up with our own specific strategy that is as distinct as the spirit of our brand and design of our products.
While we are very confident that we can grow our Cadillac sales over the coming years we also realize that we will remain a challenger brand for some more time. And that gives us a decisive advantage: we do not have to shoulder the enormous volume pressure of our German competitors but can explore new and innovative ways to do business.
One of the innovations you have introduced so far is BOOK by Cadillac in Munich. How does it differ from other mobility services and how successful is it?
BOOK by Cadillac is a true success story. We have not just copied the US version of this innovative premium mobility service but have tested, adapted and introduced it in an exclusive European format in the matter of just nine months.
Unlike other programs that are on the market or in preparation, it offers unprecedented flexibility allowing its subscribers for a monthly fee to drive every car in our line-up including the Camaro and Corvette, change the cars as often as you like, drive them without mileage limitation and have them delivered to your preferred location by a concierge. Three month after its introduction in Munich we have already reached our goals in terms of number of participants and were taken by surprise, that many of them actually come from other cities in Germany and Austria.
Are there any other innovations you plan to launch in Europe apart from your mobility service?
BOOK by Cadillac is just one example of how we see ourselves braking with conventions and developing into a digital mobility provider always with the demanding premium customer in mind. GM is developing new technologies like the 20 electric cars that Mary Barra announced to be launched by 2023, many of these as Cadillac models. Or take autonomous driving: Cadillac’s Super Cruise is the world’s first true handsfree driving technology for the highway and it is available on the Cadillac CT6 in the US today! So stay tuned for more new innovative products and services from us in the near future.
Whatever we are going to introduce: it will be getting us closer to our corporate triple 0 vision: 0 crashes – 0 emissions – 0 congestions. And it results in exciting new models like the new XT4!