By on June 11, 2015

Cadillac CTS sales chart

In each of the last five months, General Motors has failed to sell more than 1,800 copies of the CTS. Sub-2K CTS sales months are unheard-of. Even in 2012, when CTS volume slid 15%, Cadillac averaged 3,914 CTS sales per month in the United States and never fell below 2,300.

CTS volume dropped 31% in 2013 and another 4% in 2014. However, over the course of the last two calendar years, Cadillac averaged 2,644 CTS sales per month and never slid below the 2,000-unit mark.

In 2015, the CTS has been hit even harder.

Let’s remember, the CTS is not positioned in the market the way it was in prior generations. It’s no longer an upsized 3-Series rival. No, it’s the ATS’s role to now be an undersized 3-Series rival. Instead, the CTS attempts to line up directly against the BMW 5-Series, a car which is averaging more than 4,100 monthly sales in 2015.

2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport

But it’s not working. U.S. CTS sales slid 24% to just 1,698 units in January, the fourth consecutive January in which CTS sales declined. February volume likewise declined for the fourth consecutive year. March sales were down 49%. CTS sales in April plunged 47%. Most recently, May volume fell 38% to 1,792 units, and that was the best month of the year thus far. Year-to-date, the CTS is America’s 76th-best-selling car. It ranked 59th at this time a year ago.

Total Cadillac car volume is down 20% to 29,124 units in 2015, just 43% of the brand’s total. However, Cadillac sales are down just 1% overall because the brand’s Escalades and SRX are collectively up 21%.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

138 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Cadillac CTS Sales Are Down 41% In 2015...”


  • avatar
    John R

    We’re ready for your close up, Deadweight

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Excellent comment, excellent reference!

    • 0 avatar

      For what you get – it’s too expensive.

      A $53,000 Mercedes C-class 4-matic makes the CTS look like a complete joke.

      You can argue that: “the CTS drives, handles, etc,etc better.

      But I can argue that:

      I’M DRIVIIIING A MERCEEEEEEDDDDDDDEEEEEEEZ

      “Cadillac” will NEVER have that kind of name rep ever again…

      …unless…

      Cadillac starts putting ridiculously powerful engines in everything.

      …like Chrysler.

      …HELLCAT.

      These people figured out how to make people pay $20,000 over sticker for a $60,000 car…

      …just think about that for a second.

      • 0 avatar
        BrunoT

        It’s a sad testament to shallow wealth displays that one would care what brand they’re driving exclusive of the car and dealer network’s merits.

        The CTS would dance around an E class, and out perform a modern day 5 series. The reason not to buy the Caddy would not be brand status. It would be resale vs those German brands.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “The CTS would dance around an E class, and out perform a modern day 5 series.”

          Sure about that?

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Sad or not, that is the business segment Cadillac tries and fails to compete in. Lots of money to be made there if you know what you’re doing.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          “It’s a sad testament to shallow wealth displays ” – what an apt description of the Escalade.

          Which makes Cadillac a unsavory choice for people who eschew same. And make no mistake, Escalade is the franchise.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            CTS is way to overpriced for what it is, especially with a 4-cyl. Seriously, it costs MORE than the XTS when decently equipped.

            The small back seat is stupid. There is no reason it shouldn’t be spacious.

            It was better when it was cheaper. Going head to head with the German big 3 is a mistake. No one is going to pick this over a 535, E350 or A6. If most people have to pay the german price tag, they want the german car to go with it.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          “The CTS would dance around an E class, and out perform a modern day 5 series.”

          Unless you wanted a usable back seat. Or a user interface that didn’t frustrate and infuriate you with every attempt to use it.

          Cadillac built a car deficient in multiple respects, but with brilliant steering and handling, only to find the public has moved on to different buying priorities.

          I’m confident that Cadillac will be staying the course with that “German-level pricing for the next decade” thing for at least 3 more months.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            The American buyer has always placed a premium on interior space – which is something Cadillac, in their zest for attaining the handling crown lost sight of – which is something that Jaguar is also experiencing.

            The new C Class is getting closer to matching the 3 Series in sales (and in some markets, has surpassed the 3 Series) by emphasizing rear passenger space and luxury.

            Having said that, one has to take into account XTS sales which competes in the same price segment.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “The CTS would dance around an E class, and out perform a modern day 5 series.”

          Even if true, who cares? These aren’t track cars.

          Cadillac went from parade float to hard-edge at the expense of things most people actually care about. It is like they can only exist at extremes.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          “It’s a sad testament to shallow wealth displays that one would care what brand they’re driving exclusive of the car and dealer network’s merits.”

          So let’s go back 60 years – why drive a Cadillac if you can drive a Chevy? To show “you made it”.

          To paraphrase a comment on this site some time ago, “I drive a Cadillac” means nothing at the country club these days. In addition to time marches on and we don’t covet what our parents coveted, Cadillac and GM have frittered away all value.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      These cars SUCK & Cadillac is now desperate to move both the CTS with $17,500.00 off MSRP, and the equally, if not more sh!tty ATS with $14,000.00 off MSRP!

      http://www.carscoops.com/2015/02/cadillac-has-hard-time-selling-ats-and.html

      This vindicates my position all along that:

      1) All three motors in these SUCK

      2) These ride like sh!t (there’s a non-refined, harsh, non-premium ride with no reward – very un-Cadillac and far less comfortable than 3 Series BMW, Mercedes C Class or Audi A4)

      3) Back seat room and trunk space blows

      4) Gauge cluster sucks

      5) Build quality & reliability sucks

      6) Overpriced

      7) Hideous exterior

      It’s just like Jack said: GM never should’ve played the Germans on their own terms.

      Cadillac, as a matter of heritage & an iconic brand (maybe now permanently tainted) should’ve played to its core strength of masculine, bold, powerful, comfortable, commanding vehicles with a snorting, torque rich V8 under every hood.

      New CTS for 30k and new CTS V-Sport for 50k – even GM fanboys are ripping Johan:

      http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f21/so-cadillac-has-problem-189609/

      They’d be way further ahead slashing MSRPs by a hefty amount rather than keep piling inevitably larger stacks of cash on the hood (is $20k on the ELR the most so far; I see $15k to $18k on the CTS V-Sport?).

      But they won’t. It’s GM. They’ll do the least logical route.

      The real trouble will come when the CT-6 debuts, which will give even more sticker shock to any dwindling remaining potential Cadillac buyers, and it will just get worse from there.

      If the CT-6 isn’t a BETTER vehicle than the MB E-Class AT A LOWER PRICE, it’s doomed (it’s going to be doomed).

      When Escalade sales slow, and they inevitably will, Cadillac Dealerships are essentially going to turn into financial black holes (many are now, since Escalade procurement is constrained, and nothing else is moving, let alone moving at a profit).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Where have you been all day?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I’ve been busy with work.

          Cadillac’s failing in a boom time (though the boom is closer to bust now, at which time Cadillac will have no paddle, not even the Escalade, to steer itself up sh!t creek).

          Johan & Melody, FTMFW!

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Despite the struggles of the CTS, Cadillac has done nearly 20k in sales YTD in the lux mid-price segment with the CTS and XTS.

        Only MB and BMW have managed to surpass that and all the others – Audi, Lexus, Jaguar and Infiniti lag a good bit behind.

  • avatar
    Mr. Orange

    How much of a decline is due to no more new coupes? And how many fewer tens of sales because of no new wagons.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    This sucks. The CTS is a great car. Small backseat, sure, but nothing objectionable otherwise. CUE isn’t any worse than BMW and Mercedes systems.

    I think sedans are a tough market. Too many excellent choices, too many near luxury models. I’d focus on crossovers too, where it’s easier to deliver a truly different experience.

    • 0 avatar
      mmreeses

      The back seat of a cts (stereotypically) gets used most to carpool with one’s golf buddies or another twosome.

      Small, cramp back seat?

      Deal breaker especially given the number of competent competitors *above and below it)

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The other use for a CTS’s back seat is to drive around an out-of-town couple looking for a split-level or bungalow in a good school district. Any kitchen looks big after spending 20 minutes in the back of a CTS!
        To bad the trunk can’t hold enough House For Sale signs.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Except that CUE is far worse than the BMW system. I’ve used both. They’re not even close. I have not used the Mercedes system, but iDrive is easily a far better system than CUE.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …obvious digs at manhattan fashion marketing in lieu of stronger product development aside, something’s working with the suburban utility vehicle demographic for cadillac…i expect SUVs to go the way of the minivan and the station wagon before them, though, probably around the end of this decade, and if cadillac’s not careful its brand will be strongly-associated with that unfashionable kiss of death for the next generation of car buyers…

    …that’s a dangerous place to be for a marque which just doubled down on fashion as its core branding identity…

  • avatar
    redav

    Maybe they should change the name to CT(number) and raise the price. That might work.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    CTS is aiming at the wrong targets. They aren’t going to take on the Big German 3 even though I feel confident the car is at least as reliable or better than any German competitor. They should be going for the people that want Japanese level quality and fit and finish but that “American car” feel.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      If Cadillac does absolutely everything absolutely perfectly, it will take a generation before enough people believe Cadillac quality rivals Lexus to make a difference.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Basically this. They still have a long journey ahead of them. IMO they have the product to support the price, but the brand doesn’t at the moment.

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          The question is, does GM have the patience to play the long game?

          With good products, good quality and solid pricing discipline, Cadillac can improve its perception and sales, but it can’t be done overnight. 2020 would be a good initial target.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            They’ve already started making progress, but they jacked up their prices too soon. I also question whether the ‘sports sedan’ direction has any life in it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Do you feel the current CTS interior supports the price point?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Corey, are you kidding? The CTS looks awesome inside. Zero cheapness. Have you been in one, by chance?

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            Not with that base cluster, and the LH side glove box door issues I’ve seen on a number of vehicles: 12mm gap anyone?

            Also the overhead console is straight out of the GM parts bin. Dear Cadillac, GET YOUR OWN!

      • 0 avatar
        John R

        If it’s going to take a generation GM better start preparing to shutter Buick…or Caddy.

        One has to go. In the minds of most both brands share the same space in the food chain; two objects occupy the same space at the same time.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      cartunez,

      Exactly. Watching those Cadillac ads where they pretend they’re BMW is embarrassing. If people want a BMW, they’ll get a BMW, not some copy. The genuine article is probably cheaper too, because of better residuals.

      Cadillac should stand for something, it should be an American car, and unapologetic.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    Wonder if slacking sales have anything to do with Caddy pushing 4cyl CTS’ with $60K+ MSRP’s? That would be a huge turnoff for me.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Test drove a used one recently. Bad driver’s seat, the top of which didn’t bend forward enough to support the upper back. It felt heavy and ponderous. Handling was ok, but I had a feeling of piloting a big GM sedan from the 80’s. Noise isolation was excellent. Back seat…pretty poor for a car that size.

    The new car price on these is insane. Depreciation is very high, and I didn’t even think the used one was worth buying.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      That’s a characteristic of many GM seats. I don’t know whom they are designed for, but I have always found them terrible.

      Overall, the CTS and ATS are just uncomfortable cars. And that’s exactly the opposite of what I expect from a Cadillac (or any car at that price point).

  • avatar
    cartunez

    I just checked auto trader for the CTS pricing in my area. Clearly these dealers are sharing the crack pipe. The prices they are asking I could get a Equus or Pre owned LS460 and be much much happy in the short and long run. Of course this is Florida the official home for the caddy buyer.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Maybe they’re all keenly keeping for the new Maxima…

  • avatar
    FrankAtlanta

    In case anybody from Cadillac is monitoring, I’d love to speak to them. Given the below, I think I can provide some insight at a consumer level.

    1. I’m the market demographic for Cadillac. I purchased a new V Wagon a year ago – spec’ed to order. Fifteen to twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have given Cadillac a second thought – I now like the products.

    2. I’m in the market for another Cadillac – we’re considering a new CTS sedan.

    3. Despite the (excellent) product itself, there’s a good reason my wife’s on the fence about the CTS and there have been items that have surprised me in the purchasing & ownership experience.

    Thanks,
    Frank

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I would be delighted if you would expand on number 3 and for grins provide a separate write up on number 1.

      I would love a V wagon MT but for me the price point is not doable. I don’t necessarily feel it is too expensive for what you get, the V wagon that is, I just can’t drop 70k on a car.

      • 0 avatar
        FrankAtlanta

        I don’t want to slag anybody, so I’ll do my best to answer as follows.

        For #3 – the buying decision is made difficult by dealers – examples:

        A. When I bought my V, I almost gave up. I’d go to local dealers and ask about the V Wagon in late 2013. Responses were: “There was never a CTS Wagon.”, “There won’t be a V Wagon in 2014”. Before the 2014 models came out, I physically visited a particular dealer & left my name & number and asked that they call me when they received pricing & info re: any special packages (ala, the 2013 Stealth Blue package) – never got a call back. When you’re dropping $70k, you’d like the people you speak with to be knowledgable about the product. Needless to say, I didn’t buy from this dealership. Having said that, many of the dealerships I called/visited told me a V Wagon wouldn’t be available as a MY2014…

        B. We’re currently looking at 2015 CTS sedans for my wife. We pull up in my V Wagon. Sales guy seems like a good guy and he even asks – “Is that your VSport wagon?”. Strange, as a V isn’t the same as a VSport, but I don’t bother to correct, as it’s no big deal. We then go test drive a series of cars and I ask if the 2.0t we’re going to drive is either AWD or RWD. The answer is, “I’m not sure – it’ll be either AWD or FWD.” We later talk about the VSport & V sedans and he says, “VSport or V, there’s no difference, same thing”. Contrast that experience with BMW – we had a great, knowledgable sales guy and he gave good advice, knew his product and took us on a test drive that really showed-off the car. The Cadillac test drive was a big square around crowded city blocks – doesn’t exactly show off the car. Funny thing – my wife liked the Cadillac’s dynamics much more than the new 5 series – and I’m not surprised.

        C. Service – the service advisor experience is completely random. I’ve had SAs that have been great and others whereby I feel like I’m going to my Chevy dealer. Ranges from great service to passable. Not what I want at this price point.

        Realize these can be nits, but it doesn’t build confidence and it’s not a good experience at this price point. So – in my case – I liked the product enough to overlook the sub-par experiences. And that’s because I wanted this unique car so much. Most consumers, though, aren’t enthusiasts and, when you’re competing in the $40-60k or $60k-80k range….there are lots of other, good options and these little things make a huge difference. Especially if you’re swayed more by the ‘brand appeal’ or ‘luxury connotations.’

        Now, I do like the V Wagon so much that I’m willing to add a sedan to the stable – that says something about what Cadillac has accomplished to turn around a guy in his late 40’s that has come from Porsches, AMG Mercedes and BMWs.

      • 0 avatar
        FrankAtlanta

        Hi 87 Morgan – thanks again for the question. So I’ll now try to address point #1.

        The V Wagon was the right car for me at the right time. Have 2 kids and I couldn’t cart them around in my 2-seater. Didn’t want to give-up a ‘sporty’ car and I didn’t want something plain – so what fits the bill better than a monster RWD station wagon with a manual transmission (and when’s the next time we’ll see such a combo)? So, I ordered a wagon – 6-spd manual, recaro seats, no sunroof, etc.

        My assessment – it’s a great car. Have taken several trips with it and it is a great GT car. Covers distances fast, in comfort and can take plenty of stuff! Very responsive & fast; unbelievable combination of handling & comfort. I know there are cars out there that handle better and others that have better rides, but the V seems to have nailed the balance.

        I really like the car – it has a unique combination of comfort + sportiness (the manual is what tipped it for me – don’t’ think I’d have done a V Wagon if it was auto, only). Reliability so far has been good. It’s a sleeper among those that don’t know cars (which I like), but otherwise, I’ve had some great discussions at the pump (and, I spend a lot of time there…) with car guys.

        I simply don’t know of alternatives to the V Wagon (manual/RWD)…but I guess there are few folks looking for that combo – hence why it’s been cancelled. But: A) it got me into the Cadillac showroom, B) I’m considering other products now and C) maybe it’ll be a collectible when my son comes of age!

        Thanks, Frank

  • avatar
    Andy

    This is a shame. Every journalist says it’s a great car. It looks awesome. I wonder if I could get a ridiculously cheap lease…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Not right now. Lease pricing has gone up around these parts (Detroit). Even the ATS is leasing out higher than it was. With $0, you are over $300/month on an ATS 2.0T AWD. That’s only 10K miles a year too. The CTS 2.0T AWD will be over $400/month, and maybe even above $500/month.

      The SRX is the best Cadillac lease deal right now.

  • avatar
    Keith Kostecke

    Drove three heavily discounted ’14s earlier this year and really wanted to like them but couldn’t pull the trigger even with the discounts. CUE was a huge issue. Other control systems have their learning curves but they at least respond to inputs. Nothing more maddening than touching the CUE icons and getting no response or the wrong response. While I know some controls are on the steering wheel, other systems also have redundant knobs for volume and tuning on the dash which are still easier to use. Voice prompts did’t work well, either. CUE is supposed to be upgraded in ’16, and I’ll keep an open mind.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    41% isn’t high enough, we need to shoot for 80%.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Without knowing “why” this story is not that informative. It is likely something beyond “people quit liking them” to have such a big drop in a year when sales are up generally in the market.

    Seems a litle lazy. You guys get paid by the story?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Cain sticks to sales data in his pieces, its just what he does. The reasoning behind the disaster that is Cadillac has been detailed and debated in many previous articles which you may have missed.

  • avatar
    bojac

    people waiting for the 2016 improved 3.6 and across-the-board 8-spd automatics?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    In light of the recent Saturn debacle/story, is Cadillac profitable? Even w/ the ridiculous Escalade?

    Cadillac’s curse, the Escalade “success”, really fundamentally undermines what Cadillac is trying to do to move its image upscale.

    In the 1960’s CBS canceled three of its highest rated shows to move its demographics upscale. And it worked.

    Does Cadillac have the fortitude to do the same?

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      So are you suggesting that Caddie cancel the Escalade? This is their most expensive vehicle what is more upscale than that? Its transaction prices are ridiculously high. So my question to you is what DEMOGRAPHICs due you suggest they go after?

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        If they are trying to move their brand image upmarket the Escalade, no matter how expensive, is the opposite of what it needs.

        The Escalade is expensive American cheese – its the official Bling- mobile.

        Money v. money w/taste

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      The escalade is the only true Cadillac in the stable, it’s also the only one that creates buzz and backs the buzz up with sales, it is the number one seller in its class. Cadillac would be very smart to copy that success across its entire range.

      All the other manufacturers are doing the same boring crap and they cannot get ahead, Cadillac would be best served to offer the best Cadillac, not the best BMWs. The Escalade is the American upmarket whether you understand it or not.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Not really. The Escalade is just a Chevy w/ klass. I’ll bet no one was more surprised at its sales success than Cadillac.

        “What do you call a $73,000 Suburban? An Escalade.”
        https://www.cars.com/articles/2014/05/no-joke-we-drove-a-73000-chevrolet-suburban/

        Cadillac should choose a consistent image. Plainly the Escalade doesn’t fit w/ the rest of it.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d say the TV business in the 1960’s and the luxury car business today have about zilch in common.

      Ditching the Escalade would be utter insanity.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    How’s that new premium pricing strategy working out, Cadillac?

    You’ve managed to turn Sticker Shock into Sticker Coronary.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I don’t understand why Cadillac isn’t listening to the complaints about CUE. This seems like a firmware fix or software update that could correct the problem, no?

    Fixing it in 2016 won’t do much to move the metal sitting on lots now.

    Yet another piece of low hanging fruit for GM that could be fixed but isn’t.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

    http://www.newsweek.com/fixing-cadillac-152739

    According to this article, Cadillac will be fixed in 5 to 10 years. Let’s see, that’s 2006 and 2011…oh dear.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      So basically the run of the final DTS was supposed to do it, eh?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Thank you for posting this, it was pure entertainment.

      “A few years ago, Ron Zarrella, a rising star at Bausch & Lomb, decided to reward himself with an expensive new car. He took several models out for a test drive, including a Cadillac Seville. But it lacked a certain panache and Zarrella instead went with a BMW 850. “I like performance cars and the BMW was just a bit better,” he says. Today, Zarrella drives Cadillacs. He doesn’t have a choice. He is now president of General Motors North America, maker of Cadillac.”

      Hey Ron, K-body Seville and an BMW 850 aren’t even remotely the same, in fact they only thing they may have had in common was four wheels. I wish the reporter would have bore this out in the piece.

      “”It’s not a special thing to have a Cadillac anymore,” says Philadelphia salesman Rob Lanham, 38, who just bought a BMW 528. “You don’t look successful in Cadillac cars.””

      Gee this sound familiar, not much has changed in fourteen years.

      “Now GM is betting $4 billion on a make-it-or-break-it overhaul.”

      So does that, except isn’t it $14 billion this time?

      “Also rolling into showrooms over the next two years: two new SUVs, a $65,000 roadster and a $50,000 Cadillac pickup truck–that’s right, a pickup truck.”

      So we haven’t seen a new SUV since SRX was introduced in 2003ish. Nice. Roadster? Whats that?

      “Cadillac’s ads also are being made over, focusing on the avant-garde styling and high-tech features. But for that pitch to work, Cadillac must improve its quality. That’s why GM is building the superefficient [sic] factory and spending $3 billion engineering an advanced new chassis for Cadillac’s cars.”

      Quality lacking eh? Glad that was fixed.

      “”Cadillac is in a very similar situation to Oldsmobile,” says Lehman Brothers auto analyst Nick Lobaccaro. “If O’Malley had 100 percent confidence this turnaround plan would be great, he wouldn’t have left.” O’Malley says he still believes in Cadillac’s strategy, but admits it will be “incredibly difficult” to pull off. “If the quality isn’t perfect and the execution isn’t what it needs to be to compete with the world’s best, they’ll have a difficult time.””

      Lehman Brothers knew what it was talking about. Good thing Cadillac fixed quality and improved their execution otherwise it won’t be able to compete with the world’s best. Like today of course /sarc.

      “”We made some real bad product decisions,” admits John Smith, who ran Cadillac from 1997 to 2000. “And we let our guard down on quality.””

      Say it ain’t so.

      “In the ’90s, as GM suffered through a financial crisis that nearly bankrupted the company, Cadillac suffered from a lack of cash and direction.”

      Interesting history.

      “Cadillac failed again in 1996 to attract Yuppies with its Catera, a thinly disguised version of the bland Opel sedan GM sold in Europe.”

      Some brands never learn.

      “”To me, the Cadillac is the car of your dreams,” raves Al Fiorini, 78, who has been buying big Caddies for three decades. “I don’t think they should ever change Cadillac’s nice, comfortable ride.””

      Geez Al, who expects a Cadillac to be comfortable or have a nice smooth ride? Its all about Playstation driving, Al, wake up.

      “So will Cadillac follow Oldsmobile into retirement? Zarrella insists there is no comparison. Oldsmobile was a money-losing brand that tried to cover up its geezer image by removing its name from its new models.”

      Names, what are those? Oh wait I get it, remove the Cadillac names in favor of nonsensical ones! Because screwing with names helps image.

      “”If there’s something we learned from Oldsmobile,” Zarrella says, “it’s that you can’t hide from your brand.””

      Which Cadillac has been doing for fifteen years.

      “”And we certainly won’t hide from the Cadillac brand; it’s too strong.””

      LULZ.

      “Failure, he says, will not be offered as an option on Cadillac.”

      Except the Northstar, Opel 2.8, Opel 3.0 (54 degree), and Ecotec 2.0T, all of those models come with failure STANDARD (of the world).

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The Seville wasn’t even the performance trim of course, that’d be the STS. AND, wasn’t the 850 like… more expensive than an SL, way up there in la-la land pricing? I don’t think the Seville cost even as much as a base level E-Class.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        All true…but think of how badly off the brand would have been if what was being talked about in that article hadn’t happened. In 2006, you had the first-gen CTS, the STS, the old-gen SRX, the DTS, and the Escalade.

        But think of what would have happened without the stuff that was in the pipeline when the article was written – the 2008 CTS and the current SRX. The brand wouldn’t have even survived the bankruptcy.

        As it is, it’s not selling to expectations, but it’s far from dead. And each generation of new product is markedly better than the last.

        So, maybe the article wasn’t that far off, y’know?

        By the way, the “new SUV” they were talking about was the second-gen SRX (the first one was based on the CTS platform and was a bomb…the current one is probably the number one reason the brand still exists).

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Sigma CTS came out for MY03 and is the model referred to as being worked on in the circa 2001 article. This platform carried on until CY 2013, thus in 2008 it was simply a refresh. The Seville which you refer too was also Sigma variant. The first SRX too shared this Sigma platform with CTS and was replaced by Theta Premium in CY 2010. I can’t find the source but I have read Theta Premium was developed by and for Saab and Cadillac switched to it due to lackluster sales of the first SRX. In fact the only impressive product other than the CTS at the time was the Y-body derived XLR. However the Y-body itself was developed in the early 1980s for use in the C4 Corvette. Escalade was/is a gaudy rebadge of GMT900/K2XX.

          Cadillac 2005 to now has consisted of:

          -Sigma platform with five variants (CTS sedan, coupe, and wagon, STS LWB sedan, SRX Gen 1)
          -Theta Premium variant in SRX Gen 2
          -G-body variant in Deville.
          -Chevrolet Y-body platform variant in XLR
          -Chevrolet GMT900/K2XX with three variants (Escalade, ESV, and EXT)
          -Alpha platform with two variants (CTS and ATS)

          The article described these models but generally speaking its been way off and in a way is repeating the past almost to a “T” (in trouble, need big money, radical changes, alienate current customers). Cadillacs not named Escalade still come with failure standard.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The ’08 CTS was WAY more than a refresh, 28. It was bigger, and completely different inside and out. It was a massive improvement over the original in about every way. And I’d say the new one is a definite improvement on the preceding model too.

      • 0 avatar
        3XC

        We “playstation” drivers will purchase a dozen (or more) cars in the future. Al Fiorini isn’t buying any more cars.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m from the Playstation generation and I can tell you I’m not interested in Gran Turismo dynamics in my realistic car purchases. Sure those cars are cool but its just a game with a reset button. A myriad of factors including decaying roads, law enforcement, weather conditions, and sometimes simple physics prevent drivers from doing 100mph on their daily commutes in their souped up Nissan Silvia. Reality bites.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Lots of factors at play here:

    1) The entire segment appears to be down – Cain’s website shows the BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-class to both be far off from 2014. In fact, the Mercedes appears to be something like 35% down, which begs the question of why that hasn’t been gotten any ink on this site (well, we all know the reason).

    2) The introduction of the ATS cannibalized sales of this model. The biggest drop is between 2012 and 2013, when the ATS came out.

    Cadillac has the product to compete with Mercedes and BMW, but the brand cachet hasn’t caught up. I think that’s the central issue here.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The get the “5 series” Cadillac Sigma for “3 series” (or less) money seemed to work for awhile, but get the F30 “3 series” size for near “5 series” money -with standard I4 to boot- does not.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, the new base 5-series is a four-banger too, 28.

        Product-wise, I don’t think Cadillac’s all that far off from BMW or Mercedes, and in terms of driving dynamics, I’d say it has the upper hand.

        Fixing CUE would be a boon to the brand. And as far as four-bangers are concerned, I don’t that think that in and of itself is all that big a deal, as long as it’s effortlessly powerful and refined, like the one in the BMW 5 series.

        But having a $50,000 Caddy with an almost identical motor to a $25,000 Malibu IS a big deal, particularly when it behaves pretty much exactly like the motor in the cheaper car.

        If GM insists on the same basic architecture for Cadillac and lower-tier GM engines, then fine. But there should be a huge qualitative difference – the Caddy version should be so heavily modified that the mechanic at the Chevy store wouldn’t recognize it. Clearly there’s enough engineering know how at GM to make this happen.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “the new base 5-series is a four-banger too”

          I’ve brought this up before but just because your rival does something stupid doesn’t mean you should emulate it.

          “in terms of driving dynamics, I’d say it has the upper hand.”

          Great, but if you still suck in every other metric you alienate a whole bunch of customers who want driving dynamics plus I dunno comfort, visibility, style, infotainment, ride quality, power etc.

          “But having a $50,000 Caddy with an almost identical motor to a $25,000 Malibu IS a big deal”

          This is a problem GM has which Mercedes and BMW don’t since these brands don’t have low level sub brands for the most part (Mini in this country isn’t low level but in Europe I dunno). Assuming it was a great motor, German rivals could contract and build GM’s motor for their own cars and it would not hurt them much. But people like me will point out that 25K Chevy and 50K Cadillac use the same drivetrain. The best way to differentiate this is to use the premium motors from the lesser divisions as standard options in the Cadillac models. I crunched auction numbers one day and could show nearly 60% of ATS sales used the 3.6 V6 and something like 20% were the base 2.5 I4 (I assumed as lease specials) with only the remaining percent wanting the 2.0T. In other words a simple majority of ATS buyers wanted and paid for the V6. I imagine GM viewed that as extra profit but forcing customers to pay for something which should be standard is not a long term brand strategy. My recommendation at the time was to make the V6 standard and force 2.0T buyers into a driver oriented turbo package. The car IMO becomes more attractive with a standard V6 at the price points GM was asking (regardless of ATP).

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Great, but if you still suck in every other metric you alienate a whole bunch of customers who want driving dynamics plus I dunno comfort, visibility, style, infotainment, ride quality, power etc.”

            Except…Cadillacs don’t suck at all in any of those metrics anymore. If you compared a 2004 CTS to, say, a BMW, there were obvious, glaring deficiencies in the CTS in every category you mention. The ingredients were there – the CTS looked good and drive darned well – but in terms of quality, it was radically inferior in about every other way.

            These days, aside from CUE, the differences are boiling down to personal taste and preference. The trick is to get the market to notice that.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have to run to a meeting shortly I don’t have time to drudge up sources to refute any arguments the Alpha cars are competitive in any of the metrics I rattled off. However it has been well discussed among these pages how the ATS specifically has many, many shortcomings outside of driving dynamics.

            Regarding personal taste, 41% of buyers didn’t pull the trigger this year vs last. Evidently their taste has evolved.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            No one complains that the A6 2.0T at $50k (and closer to 60k decked out in option packages) shares an engine with the $25k VW GTI. If the engine is good enough for the $50k car, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s also used downmarket. The issue with the Cadillac motor is that it just isn’t quite refined enough, so it feels like a Chevy engine in a Caddy rather than getting a Caddy engine with your Chevy. And that isn’t even getting into the issues with pistons and such that they’ve been having with that motor.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I was in the market (CTS, A6, E-Class, BMW 5) and one of the reasons I skipped the CTS was because I saw articles about them changing the name to the CT# nomenclature, which I know will drop the value like a stone in the water. Consistency is key, Cadillac. It’s hard to build a customer base when you keep alienating the ones you already have.

  • avatar
    kingbernie06511

    -CTS has no brand appeal (Cadillac is a joke compared to BMW or Audi, even Lexus)
    -The rear end of CTS is horrible, the entire car lacks elegance (put it next to a Maserati and you will get the hint)
    -Caddy logo looks from the 50’s

    too bad cuz its a great driver’s car…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      While I agree a Maserati is elegant, in no way should a Cadillac be elegant in the same way. Ever. *The Ghibli is not elegant, and is far too chopped off because they tried to downsize Quattroporte styling and it failed.*

      Even when Cadillac had some Italians design the Allante, it still was American looking. (And yes I like the Allante styling.)

      Agree on the melty cheese logo, it’s awful.

      • 0 avatar
        kingbernie06511

        it really ticks me off that they went on a product offensive without having a flagship first. Audi R8, Acura NSX, etc. Something that would say ‘Holy Cr*p, they mean business. Germans will want that car.’

        On top of that, they went with cars, instead of developing a car platform but making an SUV first. Imaginge getting ATS and CTS SUV first, then release the lower margins/volume car. Still it doesnt solve the lack of flagship.

        I wonder if De Nisschen will be heavily involved in product development….

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The CT6’ll fix em up, but it will come out a year after the Continental, and all the traditional American buyers will have the car they want already.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          Until they build a car like the Ciel or the Elmiraj, they won’t be picking up many customers for the models geared at higher volume, that aren’t currently…very high-volume. You can’t expect the CTS to sell at an ATP of 60K with a 4 cylinder. Cadillac isn’t BMW, they can’t pull that move. BMW sells the 6 series.

          I have yet to read or hear of a green light on either project (Ciel/Elmiraj).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Speaking of, interesting they put the Ciel in the new Entourage movie. It’s featured in the trailer.

            Of course the CIEN was in The Island, and featured prominently.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoom91

            @Corey

            The new Entourage movie had the Ciel top of mind for me, too. It’s an absolutely stunning car. They won’t build it, even though I feel like Omega would provide a viable platform.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t get it – that Ciel steals the show wherever it goes. Park it next to a Bentley, and it still gets all the attention.

            Just make it! WTF! Even if it’s expensive, famous people and basketballers WILL buy it.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        They should bring back the logo from the 50s. Corey is right, the Melty Cheese/Chinese Knockoff Transformer logo is terrible.

      • 0 avatar

        I think the Ghibli isn’t great in general but in particular it’s not very attractive from the back.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          http://image.motortrend.com/f/roadtests/sedans/1307_2014_maserati_ghibli_first_drive/48727135/2014-maserati-ghibli-rear-left-view-3.jpg

          It’s got a pug nose at the back. It’s like they were saying “Oh, it’s just like a Quattroporte now, as long as we… omg out.of.room.”

  • avatar
    jmiller417

    The problem is mostly brand image, with CUE also hurting a bit. I’ve used CUE in a loaner, and while it was in no way an improvement over buttons, it didn’t bug me that much.

    I just don’t get the whole “make the cars unapologetically American” thing. What good has that approach done for Lincoln? Isn’t that the very thing that people on a site like this used to ridicule Cadillac for? Would vinyl roofs and Vogue tires help? How about a gold package? One could argue that the market cares less about dynamics these days, but the masses’ shift to crossovers might mean car buyers will be looking for something sportier.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      American 2015. Not American 1975, or 1955.

      To me that means that the interface should be tidy and intuitive, the ride should be comfortable (unlike some large cars that ride like skateboards), and the interior should be as comfortable as an old pair of Red Wings.

      Cadillac was doing OK style-wise with the “Art and Science” look, but then when it got mildly successful they got scared and stopped evolving it.

      • 0 avatar
        jmiller417

        I was being facetious with those suggestions, but the Lincoln question stands. Unapologetic American style has put Lincoln in an even deeper ditch than Caddy finds itself in, though we’ll see how the Continental turns out.

        I have little experience with the CTS, but the ATS actually has a great ride/handling trade-off. It’s far smoother than my old 128i and handles about as well (even without MRC).

        From what I’ve read, Caddy pulled back on A&S because the Chinese don’t like angular cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “American styling” for luxury cars, at least in its current form, is not particularly desirable.

        Copying the Germans won’t work, since nobody can out-German the Germans, but Detroit also can’t go back to what it was. At this point, I would turn Lincoln into a sort of poor man’s Bentley (the Continental concept is a good sign) and Cadillac into an American version of Land Rover.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Would vinyl roofs and Vogue tires help? How about a gold package?”

      No one wants that stuff.

      Take the 300C Platinum, make it look like the Elmiraj, give it a name that isn’t just alphanumerics, prioritize ride over handling, give it a brand-exclusive engine, don’t offer 4-cylinder engines, price range $40-$55k.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        40-55 for what you just required is not a realistic price range, if you’re a car maker which has to make money. What you just said sounds more like $85,000 base price.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Why? The Ghibli, CTS vSport, and Q70 5.6 aren’t even $85K.

          Other than the engine nothing I brought up seems grossly expensive.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            None of those are Elmiraj sized! None of those are $40k either.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Ghibli starts at $70K. Good luck finding one under $80K, but the monthly lease payment matters more than the window sticker.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I was just using the Ghibli as an example of a car that doesn’t start at $85K.

            I don’t see why what I described would cost any more than the Genesis sedan. You can even lose the new engine, just use the 3.6, 3.6T, or an LS V8.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            If they just throw the LS/LT in the ATS and CTS and don’t increase the price, they’d probably be fine. $45K CTS with an LS V8? Yes please. I can look past CUE and that back seat becomes bigger if the thing that GM does best is powering the CTS.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @bball40dtw

            People would argue that’s what the Chevy SS is for and look at it. The Cadillac Alpha models are too screwed up and are being asked to perform a mission they were never intended to accomplish.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            GM has less of an idea of what to do with the SS than Cadillac.

            I think the SS is a cool vehicle, but I feel like it only exists to get a few more units out of that Australian plant.

            Also, I’ve driven all three. The only one I’d buy is the CTS. Alas, you are pushing $65K with the V6. I shall wait for the CT6 and Continental to precipitously fall in price once off lease.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            SS exists as a Aussie bailout compliance car just for that purpose, nothing more. However if buyers were clamoring for it and every model was already presold, it would say alot more.

            “I shall wait for the CT6 and Continental to precipitously fall in price once off lease.”

            I know CT6 has no chance against a proper Conti in the bball household.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            “I know CT6 has no chance against a proper Conti in the bball household”

            This is true. I see CT6s on I696 multiple times a week and the design leaves me cold. It’s pretty “meh” for a car that will serve as a temporary flagship.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m glad to see they’re replacing the stop-gap flagship XTS with a stop-gap flagship CT6.

            Remember the time when Mercedes had a stop-gap for the S-Class, and didn’t make one for a while? Oh that’s right, no.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            There is stop gap between product and planning at Cadillac’s swanky SoHo pad in the big NYC.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Lincoln is not in the slightest bit “American” in the cars it produces, I would describe it as a Chinese effort to attract European buyers, and nothing about the American market was ever considered.

    • 0 avatar
      zoomzoom91

      @jmiller417

      I don’t think Lincoln has been “unapologetically American” since about 2005, when they offered the Town Car (V8, RWD), Navigator (in the attractive, 2nd generation form…V8, RWD), LS (V6 and V8 RWD), etc.

      For the past decade they’ve been (mostly) upscale Fords. The upcoming Continental is more of a return to the “unapologetically American” format, and I suspect it will be a success.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The fact that the lower trim CTS models come with the same gauge cluster as the ATS is INSANE. Pure insanity. Can Cadillac managers not read or something? Dump that thing NOW. TODAY. Equip all versions with the LCD gauges. At least that would be a start.

    CUE is lousy, but I don’t think that’s the main reason for Cadillac’s sales failure with the ATS and CTS. Lexus Remote Touch is also terrible, and they also keep fumbling around and not fixing it, and people are still buying Lexus vehicles anyway.

    I think the main reason for the ATS and CTS failure is a combination of bad pricing, bad packaging, and bad dealership experience. Cadillac simply does not have the brand image to get the prices they are asking, and they seem to be incapable of learning from history.

    Remember a decade or so ago when Hyundai products were largely terrible? Imagine if one day they just woke up and said “now all of our products cost as much as the equivalent Honda! Come and get ’em!”

    Hyundai isn’t that stupid. They undercut on price, and they spent their time refining their products, improving quality, improving design, etc etc. Little by little prices began to creep up, but the products also began to speak for themselves. A Sonata used to be the piece of crap you bought because you couldn’t swing the payments for an Accord. Now The Sonata is a serious player, and the Malibu is the piece of crap you buy because you can’t swing the payments for an Accord… or a Sonata.

    This is the method that every new up and coming player has used from Hyundai to Lexus, and it usually works provided you actually deliver on PRODUCT rather than fumble around in the dark for decades like Infiniti.

    But now Cadillac is too smart for that. Give me monies because I say so. What car brand has that EVER worked for?

    • 0 avatar
      FrankAtlanta

      Agree with your Hyundai example. Also applies to Audi after the (undeserved) bad publicity around sudden acceleration – took them years to rebuild. Cadillac’s doing a good job with the rebuilding, at least on the product side…but it’ll take more time.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Cadillac thought it could move upmarket. Raise brand image by selling premium products.

    Problem is, it tried this in a segment that it has no history in. Cadillacs are known for luxurious palaces and boats on wheels. Not midsize sporty sedans.

    You want traction in a new segment, you provide a proudct that is strong on value to entice new buyers. You had it with the 2nd-gen CTS against the BMW 3 series. Then you upsized it and raised the price to compete against BMW’s 5 series. Confusing your customers, another newbie mistake.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      This is a huge part of the issue. You can’t just make a car bigger, move it up a size class, and tack on a $20k premium and expect to not confuse customers. And alphanumeric names aren’t an issue in and of themselves, but it’s an issue when you keep redoing them. Everyone knew what Infiniti models were when they had the G37 and the M45, etc. but since they moved to Qx0, not even enthusiasts follow their lineup anymore. Cadillac is making the same mistake, after already fucking up by trying to put the CTS label on a completely different car. The ATS should’ve been a bit bigger and called the CTS, the CTS should have been the size of the new CT6 and called ETS or FTS and gone up against the 5 series/E class by undercutting in price and having more space (particularly rear legroom). The issue isn’t a lack of names, it’s a lack of consistency and logic in naming and in product positioning.

  • avatar
    b534202

    Time to rethink that $85k MSRP on the CTSV.

    • 0 avatar
      seanx37

      No, that is fine. It is the $60k price on the regular models that is the issue. The V is a limited market.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Both the Chrysler 300 and Hyundai Genesis (2015) are roomier, more luxurious (by far), and have better ride quality and power, at 30k to 35k new, than the CTS at 50k to 60k.

      Cadillac is a sad joke being run further into the ground by the month.

      I can hardly wait for the CT6 reviews to come in, so even many loyal GM fanboys to finally concede reality (Cadillac Total Failure), and can quit deluding themselves by way of Johan de Nysschen the shyster.

  • avatar
    r129

    Does today’s Cadillac CTS do a better or worse job competing with the BMW 5 series compared to the 1990s Seville STS and the 5 series of that time? The STS was a pretty expensive vehicle back then with a $45-50k base price.

  • avatar
    MichaelD_Utah

    The new CTS is fugly as hell, so I’m not surprised it’s down on sales. The ATS is also fugly (just not as much as the CTS), so maybe that’s the real issue with Cadillac’s current sales.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    They need to make a balanced assault on their aspirational competitors. They CAN’T have poor interior alignment, early component failures, balky infotainment, bad ergonomics, suspect styling, or poor performance and gain captures. They need a car to be competent in all aspects, not simply superlative in a chosen area. Then they need to keep doing that until the brand means what they wish it already did.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Caddy has a lot of problems. All of which are listed in the comments.
    The CTS is overpriced,has too small of a backseat, and costs too much.
    The new CT6 is way overpriced, and had a damn 4 banger as its base engine. The turbo 4 is fine for the low end ATS. But no medium or large Caddy should have a 4. The CT6 should be Turbo V6 or V8 only.

    My father has a CTS, his fourth. I like it, if I am driving, or in the passenger seat. I don’t fit in the backseat. GM should sell the Chinese long wheelbase version.

    The ATS…well, they have to lease something to people for $229 a month. A loaded v6 model isn’t too bad. But it costs more than the much bigger, nicer Hyundai Genesis v8.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      A 25k (real world pricing) leather trimmed 2015 Hyundai Sonata has more interior room, rides as well, has better fit and finish (and gauges), is as quiet, and more reliable than a 55k Cadillac CTS.

      Hyundai finally got serious about suspension tuning.

      A 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 at 34k real world pricing blows the ATS, CTS and XTS into the weeds.

      Cadillac needs to first catch Hyundai before it can claim with a straight face that its a competitor to the Germans.

  • avatar
    415s30

    I never see these in SF/marin, it’s a German/Japanese area mainly. The new Maseratis are creeping in a bit.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic

Get No-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners Automotive News in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked