No Cars on Chopping Block, Cadillac Boss Says While Confirming the Death of One Car

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

You can’t compare the traditional passenger car segment to the Titanic speeding towards an iceberg, as the once market-leading segment tore its hull open on that crossover-shaped berg long ago. Cars, especially in North America, are rapidly taking on water and sinking by the bow.

Against this backdrop, a recent — and unconfirmed — report predicting looming death for six General Motors car models came as no shock, though it did raise questions. Would GM really drop a famous nameplate like the Chevrolet Volt? The Cadillac CT6 is barely more than a year old — surely the division wouldn’t go to the expense of building a flagship, then take it behind the barn?

The deaths foretold in the Reuters report would be carried out by 2020, the source claimed. While he didn’t speak to the lifespan of the Volt or the Chevrolet Sonic and Impala, nor the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen responded by saying Cadillac’s four-sedan lineup remains safe. Yep, those three sedans will be just fine, he said. Wait, what? Speaking to Jalopnik, de Nysschen claimed there is “not a single car on the chopping block,” despite the rumor of Cadillac axing its XTS and CT6 full-sizers.

“There is absolutely, if I could speak all capitals now, they’d be coming out of my mouth,” de Nysschen said. “There is absolutely no plan, at all, to cancel the CT6.”

The CT6 serves an important role in Cadillac’s lineup, he said, both in terms of shaping public perception and as a testbed for technological advancements. Customers will eventually see a “very sophisticated and modern internal combustion engine” in the CT6, he added in a statement that didn’t exactly speak highly of the model’s existing powertrains.

SEE ALSO: Refreshed 2018 Cadillac XTS Debuts with CT6-Inspired Styling

However, de Nysschen avoided mentioning the facelifted-for-2018 XTS, a front-drive relic already granted one stay of execution. U.S. sales of the model fell 24.7 percent in the first half of 2017, year-over-year. No real timeline accompanied the mildly restyled sedan, so it’s not surprising to hear de Nysschen speak implicitly of its demise.

“The vehicles that are under development as you and I speak will have the net result that Cadillac ultimately will have three sedan entries, of which CT6 will be the most senior,” de Nysschen told Jalopnik.

“We will be able to much more clearly separate the market position, both in terms of target customer demographics, in terms of market segments and in terms of price points between these three sedan lineups.”

How can the brand’s president talk about not having a model on the chopping block while simultaneously confirming one car model will die? It comes down to the product cycle, and your definition of “chopping block.” It apparently doesn’t count as an execution if there’s no existing plan to renew the model after the current product cycle. As such, Cadillac’s four sedans “will run through their natural life cycles,” he said, after which only three shall remain. Given its age and the fact it shares a segment with the rear-drive CT6, there’s no reason to believe Nysschen wasn’t speaking of the XTS. When will the funeral take place? We don’t yet know, by the 2019-2021 window seems a given.

So, taking de Nysschen at his word, the passenger car isn’t yet an endangered animal at Cadillac. That said, the brand’s main focus remains on the crossovers and SUVs that make up the overwhelming majority of new product scheduled for the near term.

A version of this story originally appeared on The Truth About Cars

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Steph Willems
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