By on September 5, 2012

Why does a hearse need a sunroof in the back? - GM Photo

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


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30 Comments on “Cadillac’s XTS Based Livery Fleet Fleet Announced: Sedan, Limo & Hearse. Livery Sedan to Have “More Luxury” Than Standard XTS Models...”

  • avatar

    VERY good news ! .

    As a GM man , I applaud this as they need to take back what they gave up to the TC decades ago .

    No more ‘ Superior ‘ Coach Built bodies ? . more’s the pity .


  • avatar

    That is, by far, the coolest looking hearse I have ever seen… though it looks like it’s wearing cheezy aftermarket donks.

  • avatar

    I’ve never been a fan of the XTS, as it seemed to be a product of old GM’s “that’ll do” approach to design, but, in this case, I’d say they really are taking the right approach toward being respected as a legitimate luxury brand.

    I have to say that is the best looking hearse I’ve seen in a while, they got rid of most of the dated-looking fussy crap like carriage lamps and opera lights that funeral cars have carried for decades after they went passe on everything else.

    It is a shame they’re not doing a simple LWB model though, it’s either standard sedan or stretch limo, nothing in between. Chinese prefer longer sedans over the limos, and the XTS doesn’t seem like it has all that much room in the back for a chauffered car.

  • avatar

    I just saw my first XTS on the road last friday. Stray observations:

    – The graphite metallic paint looks fantastic.

    – The car looks VERY narrow.

    – It has scarcely more physical presence than the smaller CTS, despite being slightly wider.

    – It has humongous rear overhangs.

    – From the rear, resembles a female cat in heat “presenting”.

    • 0 avatar

      It does have some of the tall & narrow minivan look to it, which is only accented by the stubby front end. The proportions are unfortunate, and probably couldn’t be helped, given that it’s essentially a scaled-up midsize platform.

    • 0 avatar

      Now I can’t unsee the cat in heat. I’m not a fan of the exterior styling at all, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how much these cost to maintain in the long run. I’d love to get one someday to hide myself from all the awful LA roads and traffic.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Can a retail customer purchase the XTS livery car package? It sounds like a bunch of options people would actually like to have.

  • avatar

    Somebody is missing a great business opportunity here. For the last few years, I’ve said that there is a market for a truck-based luxury car. Take an F-150 or equivalent GM or Ram truck chassis, and form a car-like body around it. Just like GM did with Obama’s newest “Beast” limo (only without all the armor of course) which is actually based on a large GMC Top Kick truck chassis. Just lower it a bit, put a soft suspension on it, and design it so it doesn’t look like a truck or SUV. The design of the body would be that of a traditional luxury car. Old fashioned? Maybe, but not every buyer out there is a 35 year old up-and-comer that’s trading in a BMW.

    It would be easy for coachbuilders to convert them into full limos, hearses, or any other professional car they want. I’ll bet that even the coachbuilders could do something like this. They already rebuild the entire rear half of these cars…why not do something with the front as well?

    While we’re at it, lets not let aerodynamics dictate the looks, ok? Face it, the people who buy something like this won’t be trying to set records around the Nürburgring.

    • 0 avatar

      While I do like the concept (add triple air ride when you’re at it, air suspension, body air suspended on frame and air ride seats, maximum noise reduction, a silent exhaust and the softest engine mounts known to man) I think it’s a no go. Firstly the market would be US only, secondly volume would be small but still require all new sheet metal, interior fittings and a lot of other stuff, thirdly the car would not get the fuel economy brakes afforded to SUVs/Trucks.
      So it might be possible to build i’d imagine the thing ending up in Rolls or Bentley territory, at that price it won’t be many customer who’ll pick a Caddy/Lincoln/Chrysler over its foreign rivals and no livery business could justify a purchase.
      As a ultra low volume halo car with a run limited to a hundred or something like that? Go for it GM, you’ll lose a truck load but we’ll love you for the effort.

    • 0 avatar

      I would be the first in line to buy one. What would be really cool is a big convertible like the Ciel concept (new eldorado) also on this platform.

      • 0 avatar

        “What would be really cool is a big convertible like the Ciel concept (new eldorado) also on this platform.”

        It actually has been done.

        Or Google Stutz Bear.

      • 0 avatar


        I do think it would be better for the once-big 2-3 to build this on a completely redesigned mid-sized, “world truck”, platform. They need more credible challengers to the Tacoma anyway, and with the marketing race on to see who can be the first to build a half ton that can out-tow a Peterbilt, I doubt it’s feasible to built anything even remotely carlike on those frames.

  • avatar

    Wonder how the climate control is in the hearse, air-leveling suspension, etc.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Why does the hearse seem to have a sunroof over the casket area? Just wondering about that option.

  • avatar

    I would totally rock the hearse. can I get it in XTS-V guise?

  • avatar

    Who is Caldwell?

  • avatar

    Why does our author introduce a quote from “Caldwell” without first explaining just who that is?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Doesn’t matter how fast GM tap dances, the XTS is still wrong wheel drive. That matters to fleet operators.

    The RWD Cadillac had the livery business in a headlock. When Cadillac switched to front wheel drive livery operators deserted GM for the RWD Lincoln Town Car. It’s all about durability and maintenance costs. Lincoln Town Cars in livery service routinely do 700,000- 800,000 kilometers before being retired. I would be surprised if a front wheel drive airport limo will do half that

    • 0 avatar

      The current Lincoln Town Car is wrong wheel drive also:

      • 0 avatar
        Gardiner Westbound

        I wasn’t thinking about the 2012 Lincoln MKT so-called Town Car. I bet a lot of livery operators will be looking at the Chrysler 300, especially if Chrysler produces or licenses livery versions.

  • avatar

    I already tested the Livery, standard and Platinum XTS (videos on my youtube).

    The livery version simply didn’t have a moonroof and had the rear seat package (multi zone HVAC).

  • avatar

    To each their own and everything, but I’d hope that the mortuary overseeing my funeral has better taste than to put those wheels on the hearse that will carry my body to its final resting place.

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