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Cadillac delays Super Cruise for CT6, will import hybrid variant from China

The rollout of its semi-autonomous cruise control has been pushed back in the name of refining the experience.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you were planning on buying Cadillac's new CT6 flagship for its semi-autonomous Super Cruise software, you're going to have to wait just a little bit longer. Instead of releasing the system at vehicle launch, the automaker is delaying it to 2017.

"Getting the technology right and doing it safely is most important," said Cadillac spokesman Donny Nordlicht, "so the exact month of introduction cannot be announced at this time." Super Cruise is similar to Tesla's Autosteer technology, in that it will provide hands-free lane keeping and automated speed and brake control.

If you're hoping that you can just flip a software switch and enable Super Cruise later on, after purchasing an early CT6, you're plum out of luck. Nordlicht pointed out that early cars will lack some of the hardware required for Super Cruise: "Because it is not only in the software, an owner couldn't 'upgrade' to Super Cruise once the system is released." Caveat emptor.

In other CT6 news, Bloomberg reports that the CT6's plug-in-hybrid (PHEV) variant will be imported to the US from China, as Buick is about to do with its Envision crossover. The PHEV CT6 will be the only variant built in China -- the rest will come from GM's Detroit plant.

Part of it involves incentives. China has huge taxes on imported vehicles, so it's much cheaper to build them in the Middle Kingdom and export to the necessary markets from there.

Furthermore, according to GM president Dan Ammann, take rate also factors into the equation. "The next generation of fuel-economy rules in China will be quite stringent," Ammann told Bloomberg. Thus, it's cheaper for Cadillac to import a few to the US, than it is to export most of them to China.