By on May 28, 2013

Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. Photo courtesy Brendan McAleer.

Juan Barnett of DC Auto Geek tweeted some interesting information last weekend regarding the last generation of CTS-V; just 1,200 examples of the CTS-V wagon were sold during the car’s lifecycle; by comparison, Cadillac sold a total of 254,000 examples of the CTS.

Of those, 215,000 were sedans (with 8,000 being V-Series), 32,000 were coupes (6,000 were V-Series) and a mere 7,000 were wagons. Given Cadillac’s assertion that 5 V wagons needed to be sold to break even on the project, it seems that Cadillac managed to make their money back many times over on a variant that accounted for barely 0.5 percent of CTS sales. If nothing else, it was a profitable PR exercise for Cadillac. Even male fashion bloggers and the guy from American Pie ended up driving them.

(N.B: Many of you have expressed disbelief at the “5 wagons = profit” figure, so I’ll explain the rationale behind it. The tooling was already there, the drivetrain was certified, the car was crash tested and all the associated FMVSS regulatory crap was homologated. For Cadillac, it was simply a matter of bolting it all together. The above points are the exact reason why European manufacturers are reluctant to bring their high-power wagons over here. The costs of doing all of these seemingly minor things add up very quickly. We are talking low to mid 8-figures.)

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

82 Comments on “Cadillac CTS-V Wagons Made Up 0.5 Percent Of CTS Sales...”


  • avatar
    Sundowner

    Rather than looking at as 0.005%, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look at is as they needed to sell 5 to break even and they sold 1200, which is 240x better? So they made a good/great profit on 1195 shaggin wagons? With that metric in mind, what else will they be willing to build for us?

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    I’d like to buy that 0.005% a drink, but chances are they are too busy being awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Damn straight. Not long ago my CTS Wagon and I were in Florida where I was learning to fly. That *was* awesome. Then there was my appearance on Jeopardy! last year. That was pretty awesome too.

      The real issue is that when you compare the SRX to the CTS Wagon, the SRX is less expensive. Combine that with the ongoing lease deals offered on the SRX, it’s no wonder that CTS wagon sales are what they are. In my case, I find the driving dynamics of CUVs to be unacceptable. Yet I need the versatility of the hatch. I can do things with my CTS that my STS just couldn’t do. And I happen to really like the styling.

      Some people just don’t get wagons. That’s okay. However, Derek’s prattling about them is getting old.

      • 0 avatar

        I like wagons so much I went out and bought one. Like you, I put my money where my mouth is. I just don’t pretend that they’d sell it vast quantities if they were offered here, like a lot of auto pundits tend to believe.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          I’m not intentionally contrarian, it just works out that way some times. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to buy a CUV to get that bit of utility that I really appreciate.

          Like you, I grew up with wagons (two Volvo Amazons and a Valiant) and I still love the damned things. I’m convinced they will survive especially when all vehicles are downsized over the next few years. In fact, I believe that the CUV will evolve back into the wagon, but we’ll just have to see.

  • avatar
    Dan

    The V wagon was easy to bring to market with all of its components already there and approved – the larger question is whether the wagon body paid for itself with just 7000 sales.

    I don’t know one way or the other, but as few other vehicles have come out with a different body that sells so poorly I strongly suspect that it didn’t.

  • avatar
    Easton

    Imagine the collectibility of a V-Series wagon decades from now. Especially considering it’s highly unlikely to ever be built again.

  • avatar
    statuscrow

    Now, I’m no mathematician, so correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t 1200/254000 equal to 0.472%, rounded up to 0.5%?

    For the math in the article to work out, the CTS-V Wagon count would have had to be 12 out of 254k.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Car guys are like blonds. They are not good at math, or they won’t think that a manual diesel Saab wagon is the best in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        Audiofyl

        or a diesel subaru. or an awd jetta sportwagen tdi, or an awd golf tdi, all of those having 6sp manuals, of course.

        or a manual almost anything because they’re being ripped out from under us in lieu of 8-10 speed autos and CVTs.

      • 0 avatar

        Strangely enough, Im testing a manual diesel Saab wagon with 95 seats. Its only got ONE turbo, but Ill get back to ya about the “best”. Its not AWD, but the “best” is that it AINT a VW/Audi or Subaru.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        Hush, now. You’ll make my manual Saab hatchback cry, and I’m pretty sure the headlight wipers don’t work.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      You would be correct…bad math. Its .50%.

      Mr. Barnett also used the entire run of the current generation CTS (2008MY-2013MY) for his 254,000 CTS Sales #s when the CTS Wagon didn’t debut until the 2010MY and the V Wagon didn’t start until the 2011MY.

      It was/is still a very small % of sales but the comparison could have been done better.

    • 0 avatar

      You are correct. I failed to multiply by 100 after the (1200/254000) calculation. Thank you.

  • avatar

    I am 99% convinced that a CPO CTS-V wagon (6 speed, Recaros, hopefully black but we’ll see what turns up) will be my next car. Planning to test-drive a 2012 model this week.

    • 0 avatar
      Opus

      http://www.ecapitol.com/certified/cadillac-cts~v-2012-P10155.html

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Opus, 62k for a used car with close to four thousand miles that stickers new for 64k? Why not just buy it brand new?

      • 0 avatar

        Alas, that one’s an automatic. The one I’m looking at is (a little) cheaper than that, and it’s a 6 speed, but it’s not black. But still, I’m not sure I want to spend $60k when I can probably spend $10k less and still get a 2011 with 20k-ish miles. (And if all else fails, I’ll be pretty happy with a CTS-V sedan, really.)

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        That’s a little steep, down the street from me the local Cadillac dealer has a coupe on the lot with 10K on the odometer for $49K and this dealer has always been real proud of his used cars price wise…it’s been setting there since Christmas

  • avatar

    Ouch. I think the worse number here is the fact that ALL wagons made up 7,000 out of 215,000 total sales. No wonder BMW started to think outside the box with the 5-Series GT.

  • avatar
    Boff

    0.5% of the sales.

    95% of the awesomeness.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Hopefully the fact that Cadillac made a profit on such a niche product will provide incentive to continue offering niche products. Not everyone wants a sedan. Not everyone wants their range of choice wholly determined by the majority. So, Cadillac, if you can turn a modest profit selling a sport wagon to a tiny few of us, then by God keep doing it.

  • avatar
    stephenjmcn

    Someone will hopefully let me know I’m missing the point here…. But how come Caddy can make a profit on 5 cars (tooling, crashing, structure etc already in place), yet it would cost BMW eight figures to homologate a 5 wagon. Which also has these things in place already?

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Federalization costs. It’s much cheaper for the domestics to do it than it is for the foreigners. Perhaps somebody here who has more details on the process can elaborate, but my understanding is that the rules are written to support the home team…

    • 0 avatar

      It is difficult to find a blanket answer. Only the OEMs truly know the cost/benefit to bringing or withholding products and I suspect it varies widely between OEMs. The CTS was designed with all of the FMVSS requirements in mind. I wonder if the 5 Series wagon wouldn’t sell in high enough volumes to justify the numerous minor changes required to homologate it for American sales.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Do I understand correctly that if we just adopted the European standard, we could have some bitchin’ cars?

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Yep, lots of undersized and woefully underpowered cars. But they wouldn’t sell well, so they’d be abandoned, we’d be back where we started.

          • 0 avatar
            spreadsheet monkey

            Times have changed. The gap in vehicle size and engine power between America and Europe is smaller than it used to be. Most of our cars are compacts and midsizes, like you guys, although with a greater proportion of compact cars in that mix. Probably closer to Canada than the US. We’re also buying fewer manuals and fewer wagons these days. But we still have a lot of high performance diesels that you guys would love (if you can forget your experiences of the Olds 350 diesel engines).

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      The “5″ number is for the V wagon. Seeing as the tooling, crashing, structure etc. are paid for with the regular wagon and sedan and the engine and trim pieces already exist from the other V models, the only costs left to cover is an extra photo shoot for the brochure and maybe some marketing tweaks (assuming automated manufacture)

      To make a comparison with the 5 series wagon, BMW would already have to have the wagon on the market then decide to later bring the M-series wagon as a trim option.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You’re not missing anything. It’s quite obvious that, rather than altering the C-pillars and the rear doors, Cadillac literally just slapped a different rear-end onto the sedan and called it a wagon. To me, it looks unsightly. I thought we had eliminated that kind of styling with the demise of the Saturn SW2, but apparently not. You’d think that it would be cheap to adjust the pitch of the roof and C-pillar, and add a slightly different rear door in order to make a cohesive design, but apparently it’s rather expensive. I don’t know if it’s tens-of-millions expensive, though….

      • 0 avatar

        Hah! SW2 reference. Totally true. Remember that thing? It had the same DOORS as the sedan, for God’s sake. They even left the rounded pillar on. What a joke. Great comment!!

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Not cheap. Engineering, additional stampings, crash testing etc. Likely not worth it given the volumes.

      • 0 avatar
        MadHungarian

        And the result of using as much of the sedan structure as possible is a cool car, but one that barely qualified as a wagon from the utility standpoint. The problem about not changing the capabilities of the car terribly much is that you’re not expanding the market very much either.

        The really basic problem about building a wagon off almost any current sedan platform is there isn’t enough rear overhang. Take a look at a Volvo 240 wagon or 1960′s Fairlane/Comet wagon to see what the proportions should be in a mid-sized package. It doesn’t have to be that boxy, but the cargo area of the greenhouse should be longer than the rear doors. Can’t do that on most sedan platforms today.

  • avatar
    hp

    Sedan > wagon

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I’m a big fan of wagons, but this thing is just not good-looking at all. Makes the now dead Dodge Magnum look like a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Agreed

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Agreed. Of course, GM will draw exactly the wrong lesson from this “wagons don’t sell”, as opposed to the correct lesson “Ugly wagons don’t sell when the sedan is orders of magnitude better looking”

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Let’s get real. For the most part, wagons stopped selling en masse in the US over 20 years ago. This is just icing on the cake. Wagons have been a niche car in the US for a long time now, unless you’re a wagon-hipster who can’t see reality.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    The same certification process applies to all manufacturers. It is no cheaper for the domestics than any other manufacturer in that regard. GM Powertrain can spread the certification costs of the supercharged 6.2L Engine family across Camaro and Corvette populations as well as Cadillac, which likely gives them greater economy of scale. If BMW, or any other maker, certifies similar volume of any particular powertrain family for the US they would have a similar cost ratio.

    High Emission Certification costs arise primarily because of the lengthy certification drive schedules and recurrent emissions testing and catalyst deterioration monitoring that is required. In the late 80′s certification schedules were 50,000 miles, if memory serves. I think it is longer today, perhaps 150,000 miles. In my experience managing a California 2% audit program, a full FTP (Federal Test Protocol)chassis dynamometer Tailpipe emission test cost us in the range of $1,000 to $1,200 each in 1990 dollars. Certification costs were a huge driver of de-proliferation of powertrain combinations in the industry. It seems like the cost per engine family was in the range of $500,000 in that time, maybe $800,000- $1,000,000 by the time I retired in 2008, though I was no longer in that staff by then so don’t know for sure.
    It is likely more expensive today.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I suppose the real question in my mind is HOW did they sell? If they only made 7000 wagons but they all sold very quickly and at high margins it’s a different story than if they sat on the lots for 200 days on average and were discounted to move.

    There is definitely a lower demand for wagons, manual transmissions, and the stuff we enthusiasts crave, but I don’t think the supply/demand mismatch is as sever as the OEMs make them out to be. Remember, they sell cars to dealers, not to end users. I imagine that dealers were loath to order manual transmissions and wagons, but those who did may have had great luck with them.

    Did anyone here buy a CTS Wagon? Did you have to search long and hard to find one? Were you able to negotiate much? Did dealers turn you away because they refused to stock them?

    When I was looking for my Mazda5 I had a number of dealers refuse to even order me a manual version or even dealer trade for one. The dealers who had them couldn’t keep them in stock. Just a small sample size, but I think my observations could be applied more widely.

    • 0 avatar

      I looked very serious for a used CTS-V wagon when I had my used E63 wagon. Mind you, used. I wanted a stick. Dealers wouldn’t budge on price. Not a penny. Their rationale was: there’s only four of these in the country and the right buyer will eventually come. I was willing to ship the car from anywhere for the right price. I wasn’t even one of those annoying assholes who wanted like four grand off. At the time the cheaper ones were $50k and I probably would’ve settled for $48-$49. I couldn’t even get them to $49.5. No idea where the market is now but I’d guess it hasn’t moved far.

      Anyway, I noticed the manuals that were out there sat for a LONG time because of this pricing strategy. But presumably, they eventually sold for every penny.

    • 0 avatar
      r_calif

      I bought a ’13 V wagon. I suppose I looked briefly at dealer inventory, but they didn’t have exactly what I wanted (including manual transmission), so I ordered. I was surprised that even on a special order there was significant negotiating room; I ended up paying within a few hundred of invoice per Edmunds.

  • avatar
    PeteK

    As the lucky owner of a ’12 CTS-V wagon, I have to say seeing this makes me smile. I had planned on getting an M3 like a few other folks I know, but the idea of a 556HP stick-shift luxury station wagon with a supercharged V8, Rust-belt build quality, and the mileage of an ore carrier seemed like something that had absolutely no reason to exist, so I had to have it.

    I’d like to say I’m going to keep it pristine so I can sell it at auction in 20 years, but the truth is that it’s my daily driver, and way too much fun to let sit; I’ve put 25K on it in a year and a half and can’t imagine having anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      . . . And the mileage of an ore carrier.
      –Ha! So just how bad is the fuel “economy?”

      • 0 avatar
        PeteK

        With 24K miles, I’ve got a lifetime average of ~16mpg. I’d say almost 90% is highway driving. Putting my foot into it for significant periods of time drops that by a lot.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Some people with solid LSA knowledge has told me the thing is capable of good fuel consumption numbers… if you keep your foot off the pedal. I was also told that keeping the foot off is difficult, and if I have to explain the why…

    • 0 avatar

      Great post. Thanks for chiming in! What color? Stick shift? (No judgement if not – the automatic is surprisingly good.) Love your car and I hope you enjoy it as long as you want to, as much as you want to!

      • 0 avatar
        r_calif

        I recently bought a ’13 V wagon, with manual (black/black/black). I can confirm that the fuel economy is astonishingly bad, at least over the short period that I’ve had the car. With about 300 miles on the odo, I’m getting 9.1 mpg in 90% city/suburban driving (with a lot of hills, admittedly). Range on a tank of gas is around 150 miles. Insane.

        But obviously you don’t buy a 6.2L supercharged V8 expecting efficiency. And I get a thrill just looking back at it as I head into the subway station.

        • 0 avatar
          IHateCars

          Jesus….9.1 MPG?! My SVT Raptor with 35″ tires and 4.10 gears gets better than that in city/suburban driving.

          With that said, I’d still kill for a CTS-V…..wagon or sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        PeteK

        Thanks! It’s an Opulent Blue stickshift. While I guess the automatic is OK, if I’m going to buy a car that’s available with a stick, I’m going to get it with a stick.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Car manufacturers don’t always build cars simply because they’ll be profitable/popular.

    Thank God.

  • avatar
    PeteK

    I was at a Cadillac driving event last year, along with several Cadillac folks. I asked one of the engineers why they had built the wagon, thinking I’d hear him say something about European sales, etc. He said ‘We had spare production capacity and thought it would be cool.’ He also went on to mention that they did make compromises to keep the development costs down (the fastback shape being one of them vs. a flatter hatch).
    Also, of the numbers I’ve seen (5, 30, etc.) to make a profit, it was my understanding that these numbers were for the V-series wagon, which did presuppose an existing Wagon body type.

  • avatar

    I hate wagons. I never really liked the CTS Wagon, or the CTS-V.

    *POOF* another one bites the dust.

    • 0 avatar
      hp

      The wagon fanboys, in the U.S. are all talk. When I sold Mercedes-Benz, we sold probably 150 E sedans per 1 E Wagon, maybe more. We could order more if we wanted to but the one we got sat and sat and sat….

      I’ll also add, in the 4 years I sold cars, at 3 different dealerships, 2 of which offered new wagons, talking to probably over 1k people, I personally never assisted anyone who wanted a wagon, new or used.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I agree. I don’t like them either.

      No one buys them as we can see contrary to what all the people on the internet say.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    The V Wagon never did it for me. Looked at one, but the backseat was awful. I live in a GM town and it sat on the lot for months and months, all of the V wagons did. Audi dealer by me had 2 of those new Allroad wagons and those sat forever. The salesmen told me they hated ordering them because they don’t sell.

    The only wagons I know that sell are Subaru. For whatever reason they don’t carry the stigma other wagons do or their buyers think differently. There are 5 on my cul-de-sac alone, which is just weird. One is a company car and my neighbor was supposed to give it up in January for a Prius and he refused, still has it.

    My whole take on the wagon is that you may as well go all the way and get a crossover or SUV and at least get the towing, cargo carrying and 4WD/AWD and ground clearance that comes with them.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      How many of those Subaru wagons on your cul-de-sac (there are three on our c.-d.-s., including our two) are older-type Subarus, i.e., pre-2010 Outbacks and pre-2009 Foresters? I know Subaru must be doing well among buyers new to the brand; what I’m curious about is how well the car is doing among fans of older Subarus. I wouldn’t want a new one myself – in part because of the absurdly limited availability of a stick shift these days on either the Legacy/Outback or Forester (you can’t get the new Forester in the U.S. with both stick shift and the big sunroof, which is how our ’06 is equipped), in part because there’s been no Legacy wagon available in the U.S. since ’07. You just can’t take corners as quickly in a higher-up Outback with the same confidence.

      The Legacy wagon was offered here for 18 years, with few dimensional changes, and even in its high-performance versions was a very useful car; it’s the central reason why Subaru = Wagons. (The one pictured at http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/cars/T009-S001-10-cars-that-refuse-to-die-slide-show/index.html, slide number 4, is a twin of our other car.)

      As for that alleged wagon, the Cadillac: I think most of us could have designed a better-looking tail section, even using the sedan’s doors, when we were in 8th grade.

  • avatar

    1 in 200 seems right

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I am not surprised that a wagon version of a luxo car doesn’t sell. Wagons are for families with little kids. Luxo cars are for professionals with no kids, or empty nesters with grown kids. You don’t buy an expensive luxo car and risk having junior plop his ice cream cone on thee flooor.

    If GM sold the Cruze station wagon here and it only got a take rate of 3%, I’d be very shocked.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    It’s not an apples to apples comparison, due to the wide gap in price point, but Pontiac was able to sell 1,829 G8 GXPs in about six months (as they weren’t available until almost the point where Pontiac was officially executed). Many of those were sold for far above sticker. I can’t believe that more G8 GXPs were sold than CTS-V wagons.

    I personally love the CTS-V wagon, everything about it, but too rich for my pocket. I could “afford” it but I’d rather actually be able to, oh I don’t know, retire at some point.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Call me old-fashioned, but to me a wagon has a boxy back-end with a bit of rear over-hang so it can swallow up extra cargo, the back end should not needlessly slope down like the sedan counter-part.

    With no obvious advantage to the wagon CTS-V buyers won’t want to bother with it, unless if they’re insecure about their individuality, then the CTS-V Wagon is perfect for them.

    Now lets go get one in black on black, thats totally unique!

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    I don’t know if the CTS-V program ever made much money, but it did wonders for Caddy’s street cred. German ego-mobiles are sliding rapidly in the other direction.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India