With Lincoln abandoning the tradition Panther platform Town Car and moving to the awkwardly shaped MKT for its offerings to livery fleet operators, you might think that Cadillac would aggressively market their new XTS to the “black car” industry. The XTS, like the outgoing Town Car, is a traditionally styled luxury sedan. Cadillac just announced it’s plans going forward for professional vehicles, and while they are indeed based on the XTS. Cadillac will be appealing to fleet operators that want to offer something a bit more luxurious to their customers than the decontented Town Cars of recent years.
Cadillac’s David Caldwell said that Lincoln’s Town Car brand, “has for a long time been the far-and-away market leader for these – and that will likely continue to be the case. But we are doing something specific for this, in a different direction… We are offering the Livery Package with a bit more luxury inside than standard XTS models… which honestly will limit the volume quite a bit, but is the right approach for how we wish to present the brand.”
While that might be a clever long term strategy to reenter a market more of less defined by the outgoing Town Car, it carries risk for the XTS brand. The strategy does make some sense. Once upon a time limousines were the apogee of luxury. I’m not talking about custom stretch jobs with stripper poles and neon lighting, I’m talking about factory built Series 75 Fleetwood limos, with jump seats to accommodate extra passengers and mohair upholstery. The decontented Town Car town cars used by livery services of late do present an opportunity for a fancier livery service vehicle. The problem with making the XTS Livery Sedan package more luxurious than standard retail XTS models is that it runs the risk of upsetting some of those retail XTS customers when the car service they use has a more luxurious Caddy than they do. Mechanically, the XTS Livery Sedan will differ from retail units in that they will come standard with air-leveling rear suspension. They also will feature GM’s trick magnetically adjustable dampers and brakes supplied by Brembo. Livery passengers will enjoy a premium sound system, heated seats, the rear seat comfort option package, shades on the side windows as well as the backlight, plus their own climate control zone for the back seat. There’s a console in the back as well and if there aren’t enough 12 volt outlets for everyone’s electronics, the XTS Livery Sedan comes standard with a power inverter if you need AC mains voltage. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system is also standard on the Livery Sedan and while the announcement didn’t say so, my guess is that folks in the back seat will have their own touch panel.
The XTS Livery Sedan will be factory built alongside of regular XTS models at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario facility. It’s a safe guess that with the way that wealthy and successful Chinese prefer being driven, quite a few of the XTSes that will also be built in Shanghai will have the same rear seat accoutrements. As for other “professional” cars, hearses and stretched limos, as with Lincoln’s professional car program, Cadillac will be working a small group of coachbuilders that have been certified as meeting the OEM’s standards for quality, engineering, and safety.
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS