Cadillac Wary of Trump's Escalating Trade War with China

September 10, 2018

By Christian Smith

The uncertainty of the United States' economic relationship with China is concerning to Cadillac's president Steve Carlisle.

In an interview with Cheddar Monday, he said that market is incredibly important for the automaker's growth.

"In the short term it doesn't impact our business at all, but certainly we'd appreciate the clarity of what the future holds as we plan our business," Carlisle said.

"Certainly we're advocates of freer, more open trade, and particularly in the case of China we would hope that would come to a successful conclusion somehow sooner as opposed to later," he added.

America's trade relations with China have been in question since President Trump announced in January he would impose new tariffs on solar panels and washing machines, two key Chinese exports. Roughly two months later, the commander-in-chief announced additional taxes on $2.7 billion worth of aluminum and steel imports from China. In retaliation, the Chinese government announced new tariffs of its own on American exports to the tune of $2.4 billion. The back-and-forth has only escalated since then ー so far tariffs have been levied on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods with as much as $467 billion on the docket.

The auto industry is among the sectors most affected by the trade war, since it relies heavily on imported raw materials to produce cars.

Annual Cadillac sales in China surpassed its U.S. sales for the first time in 2017, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. And accessing the Chinese market will play a pivotal role in the success of Cadillac's first-ever compact crossover, the XT4, which will hit the market this fall.

Carlisle said the car manufacturer decided to get into the crossover game because it's the fastest-growing segment globally.

"I think it's actually a great time for XT4 to be leading our new series of launches," Carlisle said.

"We have a new product launch every six months for the next three years, and what better place to start than what has established itself as the hottest sector in the auto industry."

The XT4 goes on sale this fall and will start at a price of $35,790.

For full interview click here.