DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- General Motors plans to export the plug-in hybrid version of its Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan from China to the U.S. when the car goes on sale this year.
The plug-in hybrid version will be built only in a plant in China, which is one of two factories assembling the CT6, said Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac’s chief marketing officer.
The plug-in hybrid sedan will be the second car that General Motors will import to the U.S. from China; the other is the Buick Envision, which made its North American premiere on Sunday before the Detroit auto show.
The decision to import two high-end models from China shows that GM increasingly views its factories there as capable of building vehicles with good enough quality to sell in the United States. The automaker also wanted to build the vehicle in China to avoid that country’s tariff on imports.
“Longer term, we should see more of this because GM’s Chinese operations have every capability required to provide cars for North America,” said Eric Noble, president of CarLab, a consulting firm in Orange, Calif. “They would import here instead of from Europe because Chinese consumer tastes align more closely to American tastes than Europe’s ever did.”
Though GM could build cars in the United States and export them to China as the company does with the Cadillac SRX crossover, the import tariff is very high, Ellinghaus said.
In the case of the CT6 version, Cadillac expects that Chinese government incentives that encourage consumers and businesses to buy plug-in hybrids will mean better sales of electrified cars in that market than in the United States, GM President Dan Ammann said in an interview.
GM also will build the CT6 at a plant in Detroit. The CT6 plug-in hybrid probably will sell in small numbers, so GM is unlikely to import many cars. “That will be the largest market for electrified vehicles,” Ammann said. “The next generation of fuel-economy rules in China will be quite stringent at the end of this decade and into the next.”