by Noah Joseph | Car and Driver
- If you’re thinking about why a traditional rear-wheel-drive sedan like the Cadillac CT6 is no longer being built, a simple look at the much higher sales figures for SUVs is a partial explanation.
- In 2019, only 7951 CT6s were sold, compared with almost 50,000 Cadillac XT5 crossovers, and U.S. CT6 production ended in January.
- Anyone still looking to buy a 2020 CT6 can find 694 spread across American dealerships—of which 130 are the CT6-V model.
Who could fault General Motors for discontinuing the Cadillac CT6 in the U.S.? After all, Cadillac sells more than four times as many SUVs these days as traditional passenger cars. But if Cadillac still means “big sedans” to you, and you were still hoping to get your hands on a CT6, there’s a good number of them still available.
The thirst for crossovers and SUVs is part of the reason the CT6 is no more; another possible reason is that it fell short of greatness compared with rivals including the Mercedes-Benz S-class (12,503 sold in 2019), BMW 7-series (found 8823 U.S. buyers in 2019), and Audi A8 and Genesis G90 (each with 2019 sales in the low 2000s). The CT6 sold 7951 units last year.
GM started producing the CT6 at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant early in 2016, reviving the classic Caddy formula: a full-size luxury sedan with rear-wheel drive, a bit of a comeback for its kind (notwithstanding the front-drive XTS), which was not seen since the old Fleetwood was discontinued in the late 1990s.
Unfortunately, sales of the CT6 lagged far behind those of its taller stablemates. In 2016, Cadillac sold 9169 examples of the CT6 in the United States. In 2017 (its first full year on the market), 10,542. In 2018, that number fell slightly to 9669. And last year, it sold just 7952 of the CT6, while moving more than 35,000 Escalades and nearly 50,000 XT5 crossovers.
With sales falling off, GM announced in November 2018 that the following July, it would cease producing the CT6 at Hamtramck, which is now being retooled to build electric vehicles. Cadillac spokesman Stefan Cross confirmed to Car and Driver that, after successive stays of execution, “CT6 production did end in February as scheduled.”
Some held out hope that, short of moving CT6 production to another North American facility, the automaker might import them instead from China. Through its joint venture there with SAIC, GM produces the CT6 (among other models) in Jinqiao, Shanghai—but only with the smallest engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and only for local consumption. Production was halted there, but only briefly, because of the pandemic; as China spokesman for Cadillac David Ni told Car and Driver, “Manufacturing [at] the Cadillac plant was affected by COVID-19 but had been recovered by end of March.”
Unfortunately, Cross said, “There are currently no plans to bring additional CT6s from China” to the United States, but Cadillac does “still have some CT6s and CT6-Vs at available dealerships.”
Searching GM’s online inventory database, we found 694 brand-new 2020 CT6s sitting on dealer lots across the United States—including 130 units of the high-performance CT6-V (with the 550-hp Blackwing V-8), and a dozen of the CT6 Platinum (with a detuned 500-hp version of the same). And there are more still-new examples from previous model years as well, including 156 from 2019, 23 from 2018, 13 from 2017, and one from 2016. All told, that comes to 887 vehicles of various model years, trims, and specifications.
At the rate at which CT6s were snapped up last year, that wouldn’t be enough to last for six weeks of steady sales, dwindling though they may be. So anybody sitting on the fence over picking up what could be the last traditional Cadillac sedan had better get moving.
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