Cadillac has proven to be extremely popular in China, with the luxury marque’s vehicles consistently racking up more annual sales in the Asian country than in the United States. That was the case once again in 2022, wherein Cadillac sold 44 percent more vehicles in China than it did in the United States.
Last year, a total of 194,100 Cadillacs were sold in China compared to 134,703 sold in the U.S. While that number is impressive, it is substantially less than that of the prior year, when China sales outpaced U.S. sales by 96 percent in 2021 as sales totaled 231,800 units in China compared to the 118,032 in the United States.
Going back even further, Chinese sales topped U.S. numbers by 78 percent in 2020, 37 percent in 2019 and 33 percent in 2018.
|Calendar Year||USA||China||China +/- Units||China +/- %|
This wasn’t always the case, however. In fact, Cadillac’s massive success in the Chinese market didn’t really take off until the turn of the decade. In 2010, Cadillac was a relatively small player in China, but a pivot occurred when the luxury marque’s parent company decided to begin producing vehicles locally instead of importing them from its manufacturing facilities in North America. Producing Cadillacs locally in China eliminated steep import tariffs on the vehicles, making them more affordable to Chinese buyers and pricing them inline with primary rivals Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Despite its popularity in China, it could be surmised that Cadillac is significantly less profitable in the Asian country than it is stateside. Though Cadillac doesn’t break out financial performance by market, we believe this to be the case due to the fact that the Escalade, which is the luxury marque’s most profitable vehicle by a substantial margin, has not yet been made available to buyers in the Chinese market.
Instead, interested buyers in China are faced with paying a premium to have the full-size luxury SUV imported via private party channels, thereby subjecting it to the aforementioned import tax along with fees of the importers. However, recent rumblings suggest that this could soon change, and the fifth-generation Escalade could very well make it to the Asian country, thereby further increasing the luxury marque’s sales volume and profitability.
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John M Engelman
The story of Cadillac in the U.S. is a sad story indeed. With barely any product to sell. What if you’re not interested in SUV’s, what does Cadillac have to offer you? Two entry level sedans, both incredibly small, and not REALLY a luxury sedan….sad! It is sad that Cadillac is selling far fewer vehicles than it sold 60+ years ago
Mercedes still makes a luxury, flagship, sedan,….so does BMW, and Audi, and Lexus. As a matter of fact, Genesis, which is the luxury Division of Hyundai, makes several/ ALL bigger than the CT5. As much as I hate to admit it. All, amazing, and beautifully styled.
It makes absolutely no sense to me that a luxury division like Cadillac, whose best offering in the sedan category is the equivalent of a “C” class Mercedes, now wants to take on Rolls-Royce and Bentley with an electric $350,000-$450,000 flagship sedan. Do they really think that those buyers who have that kind of disposable money to spend on an automobile are going to chose Cadillac over RR, or Bentley, even if the Celestiq is a bespoke vehicle. Of course, they only expect to sell around 200+ per year, hardly profitable, and what they think that will do for Cadillac’s image is beyond me…
Sad, sad, sad, The XT4, XT5, and XT6 are hardly on par with the offerings from BMW, and Genesis both with powertrain offerings and luxury interiors. The Escalade looks awful,…too tall, and too narrow…keep in mind it’s nothing more than an upscale Suburban, same chassis, and, not counting the V, same powertrain offerings. Speaking of the V offering, which is marked up $50,000 over a regular Escalade, what the hell are you going to do with 650 hp. in a top heavy SUV…..race it?
Yes, very sad line-up from Cadillac. I truly think they have lost their way. Sad when you think what Cadillac once was…..”The standard of the World”. You can try and fool as many people as you can get away with, but when you start believing your own hype, your doomed!
Look, I own two Cadillac CT6’s, a 2018 Platinum Twin turbo V6, and a 2020 Platinum Blackwing, (both between $92,000 and $110,000). Probably the best Cadillacs made in the last 60 years with some features you still cannot get on the best competition in the segment. Features like the Omega chassis, AWD/AWS, Super Cruise, On Star, and the 36 speaker Panaray sound system…
You are correct. Now to add insult to injury ,one of Cadillac’s best selling SUV’s, the XT5 ,will be getting an updated DASH and some BODY changes 2024. Then those models will be sent to “CHINA”, leaving the American Cadillac buyers with the “UNCHANGED ” XT5 version. They just want to PUSH the LYRIQ onto US and eventually get rid of the XT5 in 2 years.
Just to keep the conversation accurate:
1. The next-gen XT5 coming to China will not only have “dash” and “body” changes. Instead, the updates will go beyond that.
2. This vehicle is not “being sent” to China… it will be build in China for the Chinese market.
Your story is more than sad – but you only have to the beginning to understand why. The executives at the board of General Motors and CEO Mary Baros couldn’t care less what you and I think about the Cadillac brand or American cars in general as long as they can sell more on Communist China… profit, above all is the name of the game in Detroit…why design or produce Americas “standard of the World” for Americans, when you can make a killing in China.
Given the difference in population size, it’s not too surprising that more vehicles were sold in China than the USA. That said, I agree with Mr. Engelman; Cadillac has let their competition “best them” in their own backyard, vis a vis product selection and quality. I’ve owned three ATS’ and though Consumer Reports and other reviewers seemed to find fault with them, they have been a good looking, fun and reliable drive. I was an early adopter on a CT4; what a mistake! I sought out a low mileage ATS via online, and traded the newer CT4. It revealed itself IMO – as unrefined, a mating between my old Chev Cavalier and a Honda Accord. I’ll drive my ATS ’til the wheels drop off…
WS – as a past owner for two ATSes and with extensive time behind the wheel of the CT4, I can’t quite see how you came to the conclusion that the CT4 is “unrefined”. Could you shed some light on this for me?
Sure Alex; I owned a CT4 (sport configuration). The exhaust note, even when I set up My Mode, was intrusive in the cabin (noise more prevalent) – guttural, as if struggling; maybe the difference being the 237 hp vs. 272 hp in the ATS. Road “stance” – the CT4 is longer and even in sport mode, didn’t seem to hug the road like the ATS; at higher speeds, almost a drift-like sensation. ATS always feels “planted,” and I enjoy the steering – it does seem more responsive in sport mode than what I experienced in the CT4. The ATS seems to respond better to acceleration. As well, I lost the blind spot mirrors on my CT4; they should have been standard IMO. I like the profile of the ATS better, even though overall interior size is about the same. I’m not sure why Cadillac felt it couldn’t break through with the ATS, leading them to move to CT series – I’d definitely have bought a CT6, but as you know, that was the one model they opted to phase out. Over time, as I said, I felt like I was back in my 2003 Chev Cavalier – which was good, basic, reliable transportation; how I was starting to feel about my CT4 – but with a fancier badge.
Anyway, to each his own. I don’t expect everyone to share my opinion, though as I read reviews about the CT4, the anti-Cadillac gang are shrill in their critique of the CT4, so as to agree IMO that it could be called unrefined. That for allowing me to share my thoughts – I’m happy for you in your CT4 and pray you enjoy lots of motoring fun in the years to come.
John hits the nail on the head. Somehow, the European brands can offer a sedan, coupe, and convertible across all segments in the US, but Cadillac can’t? No large sedan, not one coupe or convertible? It beggars belief.
I was in my early thirties when the ATS came out. It was the perfect introduction to the Cadillac brand and I enjoyed driving it everyday. Then I moved up to the CTS, but after that there was no where else to go. The CT6 had been dropped and I didn’t want or need the monstrous Escalade. So I found a well kept Eldorado instead. I love it. Sad to think that I’ll probably never buy a new Cadillac again unless GM does a 180 degree turn from their all electric, all crossover future plans.
To prevent fallacies, I’d like to focus this part of your comment:
“unless GM does a 180 degree turn from their all electric, all crossover future plans.”
Cadillac will have electric sedans as well as electric crossovers. In other words, the upcoming onslaught of electric models will be for both utility vehicles as well as sedans, not just utilities.