DETROIT – Cadillac expects to achieve its third-consecutive year of record global sales in 2020, according to head of the General Motors luxury brand.
Those expectations, according to Cadillac President Steve Carlisle, will be led by continued double-digit sales gains in China this year despite some economic uncertainty and slowing sales in the country, primarily in the mass-market.
"We're still entering new segments in China and we're still building out a distribution network, so there's a lot of reasons to believe that we'll improve volume and share in China this year," Carlisle told CNBC on Thursday. "It will be double-digit growth again in China."
Cadillac's global sales last year were up 8.8% to roughly 390,000 vehicles compared to 2018, led by a 10.9% increase for Cadillac in China. That compares to Cadillac's U.S. sales, which were up only 1% to more than 156,000 in 2019.
China overtook the U.S. as Cadillac's top sales market in 2017, two years before executives at the time expected.
Assisting Cadillac in achieving its forecasted third-consecutive year of record global sales is expected to be the recently introduced CT4 and CT5 sedans, as well as a forthcoming redesign to its flagship Escalade and its lineup of newer or redesigned crossovers.
Not contributing to its U.S. sales much longer will be the Cadillac CT6, which will end production at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Michigan at the end of the month, according to the company. The CT6 as well as the Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Impala (in February 2020) were cut as part of a restructuring of GM's North American manufacturing operations.
Carlisle, at the beginning of last year, had hopes that the company could save the CT6. However, he said potential alternative production plans never "panned out in reality." He declined to comment on specifics.
A direct replacement for the CT6 large sedan, which included a performance variant with a 4.2-liter V-8 engine, is not currently in Cadillac's plans, according to Carlisle. If the company were to fill that large sedan void, Carlisle alluded to the car being an all-electric model rather than one with an internal combustion engine.
"We're headed into this intensive electrification cycle," he said.
Carlisle last month said Cadillac expects a majority, if not all, of its cars and SUVs sold globally to be all-electric vehicles by 2030. He said the brand will phase out current models of internal combustion engines based on market demand.
"We're going to enter that decade as an internal combustion engine brand. That's where we are. We've never been better positioned as an internal combustion brand," he said during a media event in Detroit. "It's a decade we're also going to exit as a battery-electric brand. There's a lot that's going to be going on for Cadillac in the '20s."
Cadillac, according to Carlisle, will give greater detail about the brand's EV plans in March.