SEATTLE — Cadillac has put diesel engine development on the back burner, citing the industry's rapid shift to electric vehicles.
Cadillac President Steve Carlisle, speaking last week at the XT4 compact crossover launch here, said the brand is re-evaluating diesel technology.
"We have been working on diesel, but the markets may be changing more quickly than we anticipated," he said. "Going forward, we will focus on electrification."
Cadillac had been working on four- and six-cylinder diesel engines for several years as part of its push into Europe, and had planned to offer diesel-powered models in the U.S. as well.
Although Cadillac’s plans to launch diesel-powered models in the U.S. are under review, diesels will be offered on the European market as planned. Cadillac communications director Andrew Lipman said: “The European versions of the all-new Cadillac XT4 premium compact crossover will be offered with specially-developed gasoline and diesel engines.”
The XT4 was to have been offered with a diesel by 2020 or before, and Cadillac had expected to launch diesel engines in more models.
This may still happen, but for now, Carlisle confirmed the program is on hold.
In 2015, the Volkswagen diesel scandal caught Cadillac flat-footed, but executives felt it had progressed too far to kill the program. It hit another snag last year when General Motors sold Opel, a development partner for the engines. But despite delays, the program continued.
Now the strategy is under intense scrutiny. Still, Carlisle maintained that diesel engines will play a role in the auto business, especially in trucks, for a long time.
The future of the diesel in the U.S. is uncertain. Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz have pulled their offerings, but BMW continues to sell diesels. Diesel models have been launched by Jaguar Land Rover, and Kia and Mazda have announced diesels. GM sells the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox, as well as the GMC Terrain, with diesel engines.
— Jens Meiners