Is Cadillac Completely Ending Its Diesel Engine Tech Program?

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The German luxury brands have already ended diesel. Makes sense for Cadillac to come to the same conclusion.

Only a few days after BMW announced plans to end diesel engine sales to focus on plug-in hybrids and upcoming all-electric vehicles, America’s very own luxury automaker has made the same decision. According to Automotive News, Cadillac has put its diesel engine technology development on hold. Is diesel dead completely for Cadillac?

Probably, but for the time being the brand’s newly installed president, Steve Carlisle, understands it’s smarter to focus on electric vehicle development as well. "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,” Carlisle said at a recent XT4 crossover launch event.

Cadillac’s no longer in development four- and six-cylinder diesels were intended to help it gain sales traction in Europe and, eventually, those engines would go on sale in the US as well. The XT4, for example, was due to be offered with a diesel by 2020. Could this still happen? Well, maybe, but Carlisle again confirmed this is on hold for the time being. Cadillac was caught off-guard by Volkswagen’s diesel scandal back in 2015, but its own diesel program was already too far along to kill it completely.

And then last year GM sold its Europe-based Opel division, which was served as a diesel development partner for Cadillac. The combination of both of those factors certainly influenced Carlisle’s decision. However, Carlisle remains adamant diesel will continue to play a major role in the car industry for years to come, mainly in trucks.

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But it’s a different story for regular cars and crossovers. It’s not only Cadillac and BMW that are either delaying or ending diesel sales altogether, but so have Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz. The first two brands are, of course, part of the VW Group, but it appears to be the start of a trend nonetheless. In the meantime, GM still continues to sell two models with diesel options, the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox and Cruze. But when the biggest luxury brands make bold decisions such as this one, history has shown mainstream brands typically aren’t far behind to adapt.

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