The CT6 will have both a PHEV option as well as standard gas engine versions. David Leone, Cadillac's executive chief engineer, told AutoblogGreen recently that, "[China is] far more receptive to approving localized production of vehicle programs that have new energy vehicle powertrain applications." To put it succinctly, since the CT6 has a PHEV option, it is easier for GM to build all CT6 models in China. Some of them will then be imported to the US.
"To bring any new car into China, to produce it, you need government approval," Leone said. "The government isn't interested in bringing many new cars to market that don't have new energy credits. [The CT6] also provides new energy credits that enables it to be an attractive, well-received product in China."
"Most new global Cadillacs will also be produced in China as well. It's our second-largest market in the world."
Leone said that there are two main markets for the various CT6 models: China and the US. The car will arrive in the 2017 model year, so some time after the end of June 2016. There are other practical reasons to build the PHEV in China, like the cells in the battery pack. Those are provided by LG Chem, which makes some cells in Michigan but more in South Korea. And GM already builds cars in China through its joint venture with SAIC, Shanghai General Motors, or SGM. "In February 2013 we started making the XTS, in summer of 2014 we started making the ATS-L," Leone said. "We will be producing [the CT6] within a number of months. Most new global Cadillacs will also be produced in China as well. It's our second-largest market in the world."
The Chinese and US versions of the CT6 will be identical, Leone said. While some Cadillacs sold in China are slightly different than the US versions – the Chinese ATS is 77 millimeters longer, for example – the CTS6 PHEV will be exactly the same in both places, other than slight tweaks to the trim levels. Still, "more of our cars going forward will be the exact same car," he said.
That doesn't mean that sales will be the same everywhere. "China has tremendous government incentives to produce what they call NEV - new energy vehicles - and they give tremendous financial incentive to every customer that buys one of these," Leone said, echoing comments from GM president Dan Ammann, who told Bloomberg that GM expects those government incentives will result in more CT6 PHEV sales in China than in the US.