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Cadillac Small Crossover to be Built at GM Orion Plant

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/24/2015 Alex Nishimoto

General Motors has announced it will invest $245 million and add 300 new jobs at its Orion Assembly plant in preparation for an "all-new vehicle program unlike any in the plant's 32-year history." While the Chevy Bolt might be your first guess, GM already made a $160 million investment in Orion specifically for the upcoming EV hatch earlier this year. So what unknown vehicle will benefit from this new cash injection? A small Cadillac crossover, that’s what.


A source at GM told us the car will be "a future crossover with no predecessor" and that "the gaps in [Cadillac's] product lineup are obvious." Since the Orion plant makes small cars already, you can bet this will be a small crossover. As for the bit about it not having a predecessor, we know Cadillac is readying a barrage of new products to further the repositioning of the brand. GM has pledged $12 billion toward developing eight new Cadillac models by 2020. This upcoming vehicle at Orion will be one of them, either the XT3 or the even smaller XT1. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen said previously that the crossover segment would be a major focus going forward. He would know, as he was the one who fought to bring Audi crossovers Stateside. Crossovers now account for more than half of Audi’s U.S. sales. Three crossovers are said to join the Cadillac XT5, which will replace the SRX, with two slotting below and one above. The plan is to align Cadillac's lineup with those of the German brands, so the sub-XT5 model would go up against the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Audi Q3, and new BMW X1. Once all of Cadillac's SUVs are built, here's what we think the lineup will look like and what each vehicle will compete against: Cadillac XT5 prototype© Provided by MotorTrend Cadillac XT5 prototype

Cadillac XT7 = Mercedes-Benz GLS, BMW X7
Cadillac XT5 = Mercedes-Benz GLE, BMW X5
Cadillac XT3 = Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3
Cadillac XT1 = Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1

You may be wondering where all of this leaves the Escalade. When Cadillac announced it was adopting the "XT" prefix for its crossovers and SUVs, it made it clear that the Escalade would not be affected. With that said, the model will likely become its own, separate deal, similar to the Mercedes G-Wagen. An Icon, if you will.

The $245 million for the new model at the Orion plant is part of the $5.4 billion GM said it will invest in U.S. manufacturing. Expect the Cadillac small crossover to begin production in 2017, and arrive for the 2018 model year.

Jonny Lieberman contributed to this post.

2015 Cadillac Escalade Grille© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Cadillac Escalade Grille

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