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Cadillac's "One Millionth" Party in Lansing And Purdy Was There

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By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

The press release says this lovely red 2014 (third generation) Cadillac CTS “rolled” off the assembly line making it the one-millionth car produced at the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant. That verb is too sedate for such an exciting car, so lets say it “pranced” off the line to the cheers of a couple hundred employees, a glom of reporters and a few politicians.

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The Grand River plant came on line in 2001 specifically to produce the brand new, rear-wheel drive Cadillac CTS, a car aimed directly at the BMW 3-Series and other entry-level luxury sedans. Variants like the CTS Wagon and high-performance V models were added along with sexy CTS Coupe and CTS-V Coupe. Last year the smaller ATS emerged as part of the Grand River Assembly plant’s responsibility to take up the challenge to 3-Series as the second generation CTS grew up a bit.

Now the new, longer, lower, leaner, more refined CTS is essentially a 5-Series competitor with an entry price around 45 grand. The range of options will challenge the high-tech German competitors and standard features well exceed the last generation of the car. It will have three powertrain options from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making nearly 300 pound-feet of torque to the 420 horsepower, twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6. The normally aspirated V6 is good for 321 horsepower.

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Over 1,500 people populate the 2.5 million square foot Grand River Assembly plant covering two shifts per day. UAW Local 652 boss, Mike Green, is proud of the relationship the union has with the company and was seen arm wrestling good-naturedly with plant manager, Tony Francavilla, on the hood of the CTS. A couple decades ago they would have been more likely to be bloodying each other with fists.

Lansing’s mayor, Verg Bernero, brought his father, a retired GM factory worker, to the media event and raved about the record of the factory and the new CTS as well. Mayor Bernero was instrumental in convincing GM to invest in building this plant on the decaying site of an old Oldsmobile factory.

Twelve years and one million cars is a good start for the Grand River Assembly plant, but they still have room for a third shift. The new CTS could become popular enough to take up that slack as Cadillac exports more cars to strengthening markets around the world.

Look for a thorough review of the new CTS as they become available in the press fleets. Until then check them out at your Cadillac dealer around mid-October.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved