Who Owns Cadillac? Automaker Hasn't Changed Hands in Over a Century
Cadillac has long been a name among automakers that represents the finest and most luxurious of brands. Over 100 years since its inception, as one of the first auto manufacturers in existence, Cadillac is still a symbol of luxury. But Cadillac is a branch of its parent company and not an independent entity. Who owns Cadillac?
The Cadillac Automobile Company was first created with the inspiration of former financial backers of Henry Ford. They spearheaded a new manufacturing endeavor using liquidated materials from Ford's failed second automobile company attempt and gave it the Cadillac name in 1902. Just a few years later in 1909, General Motors bought the Cadillac Automobile Company and made it a division of GM.
Who owned Cadillac before GM?
Prior to General Motors purchasing the Cadillac brand, it was privately owned from 1902 until 1909. The first Cadillac manufacturing took place in what was a Henry Ford Company factory, at Cass Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Founders named it after French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac. That explorer had founded the city of Detroit in 1701.
The very first Cadillac vehicles were the Runabout and the Tonneau. These early Cadillacs strongly resembled the Ford Model A, with a two-seater design powered by a single-cylinder engine. How much was it to buy the very first Cadillac? Just $850 (which would be the equivalent of about $28,897 today).
Cadillac was early to the industry, as the fourth automaker established in the U.S. The first three were Autocar Company, founded in 1897, Oldsmobile in 1897, and Buick in 1899.
When did GM purchase the Cadillac company?
On July 29, 1909, General Motors Corporation (GM), a fairly new company itself at the time, bought the Cadillac Automobile Company. The purchase price for Cadillac, already known as the premier luxury automobile maker, was $4.5 million.
Where are Cadillacs made?
Many American drivers like the idea of buying only American-made vehicles, for the chance to help provide jobs on U.S. soil. As Car and Driver magazine pointed out, at one time you could count on anything from General Motors to be fully "American." However, as with most brands that started in the U.S., Cadillac also has factories located internationally.
According to Car and Driver, the Cadillac models ATS, CTS, and XT5 are American models of the Cadillac brand. According to Huber Cadillac, about 86 percent of all Cadillacs are American-made. Cadillacs are also manufactured in China.
Here's where assembly plants for Cadillacs are located:
- Lansing, Mich.
- Arlington, Tex.
- Fairfax, Kans.
- Spring Hill, Tenn.
- Shanghai, China
What are some of Cadillac's major accomplishments?
Cadillac has always stood for luxury, and under the umbrella of GM, it remained a luxury brand. Cadillacs have also typically been GM's "commercial chassis" institutional vehicles, meaning they're often built into limousines, ambulances, and hearses.
What was the first automobile manufacturer with an electrical system installed for starting, ignition, and lighting? It was Cadillac — and this was back in 1912. Later, in 1954, Cadillac was the first to offer power steering and automatic windshield washers as standard features on all vehicles.
Other fun facts about Cadillac:
- Cadillac was the first automaker to use Phillips screw and screwdriver technology (1937).
- Automotive magazine Motor Trend gave its first "Motor Trend Car of the Year" award to Cadillac in 1949.
- Cadillac participated in the NASCAR Grand National Series in the 1950s.
- The Cadillac Escalade debuted in 1999 as a competitor to the Lincoln Navigator.
Cadillac received other Motor Trend Car of the Year accolades in 1952, 1992, 2008, and 2014. In January 2023, GM announced plans to enter the Cadillac brand into the Formula One World Championship.