Learn who makes Cadillac, as well as other interesting facts about the brand.
There have been so many partnerships, alliances, separations, bankruptcies, and brand deaths in the past two decades that keeping track of who owns which car brand can be difficult.
Automakers such as PSA and FCA are now a single company, while iconic brands such as Mercury, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac have all kicked the dust. Cadillac? It’s still around.
If you’ve ever wondered who owns Cadillac or where its cars are made, this article highlights the company’s history and other interesting facts to give you answers.
IN THIS GUIDE
Who Makes Cadillac Cars
General Motors owns Cadillac (along with Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC) and makes all of its vehicles. More specifically, Cadillac is the luxury division of GM, producing premium cars and SUVs that compete directly with the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus.
Does Cadillac make good cars? For the answer, read our in-depth analysis of the brand and its vehicles.
While GM is the parent company of Cadillac and has been for decades, that wasn’t always the case. The brand was once a separate company.
Fun fact: Cadillac has some ties to Henry Ford. That’s right, the same Henry Ford that revolutionized the automotive industry with the assembly line method of production and founded the Ford Motor company.
Before there was a Cadillac or even a Ford Motor Company, there was the Henry Ford Company, a fledgling carmaker where Ford served as chief engineer. Due to disputes between the company’s financial backers and Ford himself, the company folded just one year after being formed.
Ford left to start his own venture in 1902, while engineer Henry M. Leland was brought in to appraise what remained of the Henry Ford Company.
Instead of liquidating its assets as requested by the financiers, Leland persuaded them to continue making automobiles using his proven single-cylinder engine. This led to the formation of a new company called the Cadillac Automobile Company in 1902.
The name Cadillac pays homage to Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, the French explorer who founded Detroit in 1701.
Cadillac was acquired by General Motors in 1909, becoming one of several car brands owned by the American automotive conglomerate.
It already had a reputation for making quality vehicles by the time of the acquisition and, in the years and decades that followed, became synonymous with style, innovation, and reliability in North America and around the world.
Cadillac is far less prominent today than it was before the 1970s, but it continues to make some of the best cars on the road.
Fun Fact: Henry M. Leland would go on to found the Lincoln Motor Company in 1917 after selling Cadillac to General Motors. Cadillac and Lincoln have been fierce rivals in the American luxury car space ever since.
Iconic Cadillac Cars
Cadillac has made many great vehicles throughout its storied history. The 1908 Cadillac Model K won the DeWar Trophy for demonstrating the feasibility of interchangeable parts and cemented Cadillac’s reputation for precision and quality.
The brand’s famous “Standard of the World” slogan stems from this achievement.
Cadillac changed the game in 1930 when it introduced the V16 (AKA the Cadillac Sixteen), the world’s first true 16-cylinder car. Sold from 1930 until 1940, this flagship vehicle catapulted Cadillac past Packard as the preferred luxury brand among America’s elite.
The 1953 Eldorado was a glamorous and very expensive vehicle, but its release may have marked the point where Cadillac became — you know — Cadillac.
Featuring a wrap-around windshield, a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission; and power steering, seats, and windows; and several other innovations, it was a revolution in modern styling and engineering.
In the 2010s, a struggling Cadillac proved to the world that it could beat the Europeans at their own game when it introduced the second and third-generation CTS. The performance-tuned CTS-V provided near unrivaled performance and has gone down as one of the best American sedans ever — a legend among driving enthusiasts.
Of course, we can’t talk about Cadillac without mentioning the Escalade. The premium body-on-frame SUV has dominated its niche for decades due to being large, boldly styled, and screaming luxury and performance — qualities that defined the brand in its heydays.
Finally, we have the Cadillac Lyriq. As the first all-electric Cadillac, the stylish crossover marked a new beginning for a brand that has struggled to regain relevance in the modern era.
Starting with Lyriq, every new Cadillac will be battery-powered by 2030.
Where Are Cadillacs Made?
GM is a massive automaker with many assembly plants around the world that manufacture different vehicles across for its various brands. However, of the over 50 factories the company operates, fewer than seven are used to manufacture Cadillac vehicles.
This makes Cadillac the most exclusive GM brand.
Most Cadillacs are made in the US and China, which is understandable considering that they are the brand’s two largest markets.
GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in the U.S. state of Michigan makes the Cadillac CT4 Cadillac CT5 premium sedans, while its plant in Arlington, Texas, produces the Cadillac Escalade and longer Cadillac Escalade ESV body-on-frame SUVs.
The Escalade is also assembled in Kaliningrad, Russia, under license by the Russian company Avtotor for several European markets.
The XT4 compact crossover is made at the General’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas, while production of the midsize XT5 crossover and three-row XT6 crossover occurs at its Spring Hill, Tennessee, facility.
The Cadillac Lyriq electric crossover is also made in Spring Hill, and several other electric Cadillacs will likely also be made at that plant.
Vehicle production for the burgeoning Chinese market is handled by Shanghai GM, a joint venture between General Motors and Chinese automaker SAIC Motor. The company manufactures the CT4, CT5, and CT6 sedans, as well as the XT4, XT5, and XT6 crossovers, at several plants in and around Shanghai.
Past Cadillacs have been built at many other factories that have either been shut down or retooled to produce other models. We highlighted Cadillac’s lineup as of 2021.
Considering Cadillac is one of the most iconic American car brands of the last 100 years, we could talk about it on end if time and space permitted. We don’t have that luxury, unfortunately.
This section summarizes everything discussed in this article and lists some other cool and interesting facts about the brand you should know.
- Founded in 1902, Cadillac is one of the oldest car brands in the world. The company was formed from the remnants of the defunct Henry Ford Company, the predecessor of today’s Ford Motor Company.
- Cadillac was named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a French explorer who founded the city of Detroit. The original Cadillac logo bore his coat of arms.
- Cadillac’s first vehicles were the Runabout and Tonneau, two-seat horseless carriages powered by a single-cylinder engine making 10 horsepower.
- General Motors purchased Cadillac in 1909 and has owned it since.
- Cadillac was the first manufacturer to mass-produce cars with enclosed cabins, electric lights, and V8 engines. It invented climate controls and the electric starter and was the first manufacturer to equip a car with electric lights and a V16 engine.
- The 1957 Eldorado Brougham was quite the car. It came with magnetic whisky glasses and essentially had a minibar in the glove box.
- Cadillac won the first “Car of the Year” award, granted by Motor Trend in 1949 in recognition of its innovative V8 engine.
- Cadillac used the “Standard of the World” slogan from 1908 until 1981, when it was changed to “An American Standard of the World”. It’s had several different slogans ever since.
- Cadillac’s first electrified vehicle was the ELR range-extended hybrid coupe; its first all-electric vehicle was the Cadillac Lyriq.
- The 1908 Cadillac, 1948 Series 62 Club Coupe, 1930 Cadillac V16, 1953 Eldorado, 1967-1970 Eldorado Coupe, and CTS-V are considered the best Cadillacs of all time.
Cadillac Brand FAQs
Cadillac has such a storied history that we could easily write a 100,000-word article on it. But who has the time or patience to read something that long?
How about we give you more information by answering some popular questions about the brand instead?
Is Cadillac Made By Chevrolet?
No. Cadillac and Chevrolet are separate brands owned by General Motors. Chevrolet caters to mainstream buyers, while Cadillac competes in the luxury car market with the likes of BMW and Mercedes.
Did Ford Own Cadillac?
No. Ford never owned Cadillac. However, both automakers trace their roots to the Henry Ford Company, where Henry Ford worked until it went bankrupt in 1902.
Henry Ford went on to found the Ford Motor Company, while Henry Leland created Cadillac from the remains of the defunct Henry Ford Company.
What Are Cadillacs Known For?
Cadillacs were traditionally known for their large size, smooth-as-silk ride quality, and luxurious appointment. While still comfortable and luxurious, today’s Cadillacs are far sportier and more engaging to drive, rivaling the premium offerings from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Modern Cadillacs are some of the sportiest cars on the road today.
Cadillac is one of the oldest car brands in the world and the most storied American luxury automaker. Created in 1902 from the ashes of the Henry Ford Company and acquired by General Motors in 1909, it gave the automotive industry some of the greatest cars and innovations.
Cadillac is a luxury marque in the same vein as BMW and Mercedes-Benz and serves as GM’s flagship brand, sitting atop Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC. Its vehicles are mostly made in the U.S. and China, its largest and most important markets.
There is a lot to like about Cadillac, and with the brand going all-in with electric vehicles, the best could still be yet to come.
So, who makes Cadillac? General owns Cadillac and makes all its vehicles.