By on August 11, 2014

 

2015 Cadillac CTS sedan

Back in May, we reported on the rather fat inventory levels of Cadillac’s products, examining through the context of the one product with less than 100 days of supply – the SRX crossover. A few months later, dealers are tight on the newly redesigned Escalade, but the inventory picture for Cadillac’s car lineup hasn’t gotten much better.

Automotive News is reporting that GM’s Lansing, Michigan factory will sit idle for three weeks, starting next Monday. While the inventory woes of the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid have been well publicized, inventories of key models like the ATS and CTS are rather high. Currently, there’s a 152-day supply of the ATS, in line with when we last checked in during May, but the CTS has a 215-day supply, up from 138 days in May, and an astonishingly high number by industry standards.  The XTS large sedan and the ELR have 152 and 194 days worth of supply respectively.

AN paints a bleak picture of Cadillac’s commercial performance, writing

Cadillac’s car inventory stood at 44,700 units on Aug. 1. That’s equal to a 172-day supply — about triple the level that is considered healthy. By comparison, Lincoln’s car inventory was 87 days on Aug. 1. Audi’s was 45 and BMW’s was 42. Overall, Cadillac’s U.S. sales have slipped 2 percent to 97,358 this year through July, in a luxury market that has expanded 6 percent.

From a nameplate perspective, the massive inventories of the CTS are an ominous sign. The CTS was widely praised in the motoring press, besting major German rivals in comparison tests, and heralded as proof that Cadillac had finally mustered up the product needed to compete with Tier 1 luxury brands. But none of that has converted into sales, despite numerous lease specials and cash incentives. As AutoPacific’s Dave Sullivan told TTAC

The last generation CTS presented a tremendous value – almost a 5-Series sized sedan that was priced like a 3-Series. The new CTS is a bit of a turn off when it comes time to replace your CTS lease. The ATS is too small and people feel like they are getting less car for more money. It’s going to take time for people to readjust since Cadillac has basically resegmented the CTS.

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91 Comments on “Bloated Inventories Lead GM To Idle Cadillac Plants...”


  • avatar
    thalter

    No surprise. Not only is the new CTS way more expensive than the previous model, the styling is rather bland compared to the previous model, which is better looking IMO.

  • avatar

    it’s not the product, it’s the marketing. I could get them 5 points of market share in 6 months without spending any money but they will NEVER listen.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Buickman…I’m listening Dude. I’ve got a list of suggestions for the senior management at GM.

      They won’t listen to me either.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      It’s the product. Cadillac has exactly one sedan that has a reasonably usable rear seat by sedan standards (especially given how expensive Cadillacs are).

      To add salt to the wound, they have some the unmitigated gall to not only serve up “the standard of the world” with 4 bangers, but with unrefined, coarse 4 bangers at that.

      And let us not even discuss the gauge cluster “issue” in the ATS.

      It’s the big things…and the little things…

      …but it’s definitely a product issue (especially given MSRP creep).

      The ATS has failed, which is a shame given the chassis GM gave it.

      The CTS is insanely priced (with a still too small backseat).

      The ELR and XTS….yeeaaah..

    • 0 avatar

      Read Peter DeLorenzo last week? He’s been saying the same thing. Best vehicles in memory but a 6% drop in market share over the last 5 years. Plus he noted Cadillac MSRPs are too high, they jumped too fast before the demand would justify those prices.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I heard your plan on Autoline, and 5 points is very optimistic with what amounts to a service and test drive incentive.

      You really need to spend more time in competitors’ products if you think that many people would buy a GM if they would just try one. Not to say GM is bad, the competition is really good.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        If GM products are marketed well, meaning they get people who aren’t customers to at least consider GM products, what will happen when those folks go to a dealer, see the questionable value proposition combined with high sticker prices and walk out believing that while GM has gotten better, it’s just not worth the money?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I disagree Buickman, the Cadillac product has more bad points than good, and the good product is priced too high to make up for the losses of the rest.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Agree.

        The ATS has unlocked the driving experience formula – it can go against anything in the class. But the interior still does not measure up, some of the powerplants available are questionable, and the C-Class update has just raised the bar across the board.

        The CTS is just too darn expensive and had too much of a price jump.

        The XTS is not worthy of the Cadillac brand or badge. Go get a loaded to the teeth LaCrosse with a 3.6 and put the rest in the bank account (see Jack’s most recent LaCrosse review)

        The Escalade will always have a market. The SRX, dismissed as a “chick” CUV and wails of badge engineering is probably the best thing in the line up.

        Free marketing will move the needle 5% in six months — very doubtful. You have written for years how “off” GM marketing is, yet your predictions of 15% marketshare, even under the specter of deathmobile ignition switches and the botched Silverado/Sierra launch it hasn’t happened – not even close.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Cadillac (since let’s say 2002 or so) has just diluted itself to the point of irrelevance when there is Buick present. The “XTS medium-sized placeholder” (as I substituted automatically when I read the article) is not measurably better than a loaded LaCrosse, no larger, no exclusive V8, etc.

        Yes the build the CTS and ATS, but everybody who wanted a CTS bought one between 04-10, and nobody wants the ATS. Now they’ve dropped their crest and have a melty logo on the front (along with melty new CTS styling), leaving Buick as the dignified/sensible choice for luxury from GM.

        EDIT: Yes they have the gauche Escalade keeping them around, but they could easily make a Buick Excalibur XL or whatever, and people would buy that too.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The Cadillac CTS, in my view, is a handsome car. The price point is steep relative to other automakers wares. I don’t like the run-flat tires. Standard tires and a proper spare aren’t even an option.

    It’s clear GM is a long way from correcting it’s quality problems, an egregious resale value killer. I would be extremely wary about putting my money on the counter for one at this time.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Ever seen the CTS with the front end lit up? The near full height vertical stack of LEDs is all kinds of weird. Really detracts from the rest of the car.

      • 0 avatar
        Gardiner Westbound

        No. I looked at a CTS during daylight hours.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        I have complained numerous times about that atrocious and hideous lighting job they did on the CTS. Having those awful vertical fog lights on all the time creates this giant, gaping maw that might work on something large like an Escalade or that Ciel concept car, but on something the size of the CTS it just doesn’t. You should at least have the option of turning off those awful fog lights. The ATS and even the XTS do a much better job with their lights on the front.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I have! Reminded me of a vacuum cleaner.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Cadillac pricing is way out of line with their current status. Just because the ATS and current CTS are generally well reviewed by the automotive press doesn’t mean consumers have forgotten about the poor quality and performance of Caddy’s from the previous few decades. Thus when GM management attempts to match BMW and Mercedes price levels, the public doesn’t see the value. Furthermore, even though current models are getting good reviews, I think a lot of enthusiasts have trouble justifying the Cadillac price premium when they share all major drivetrain components with various Chevrolet models that are much less expensive, while offering no flagship models featuring advanced V-8s, V-10s, V-12s, 8-9 speed automatics, etc. that the competition offers.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Stingray is right. The new ATS/CTS are terrific cars–but Cadillac’s brand equity doesn’t justify the rather high price.

    With the benefit of hindsight, the ATS should’ve debuted at a base of $32k–WITH the TURBO ENGINE, not $35k with the Malibu 2.5 liter. That would’ve created a lot more demand and anticipation for the CTS, which I find overpriced.

    Then again, when Audi offers a new A3, with auto only, starting at $30k, more like mid-hi 30s for some options, AND no manual trans, while in 2000 I could get a base A4 withe MANUAL (which was a MUCH better car RELATIVE to the competition then) for $22k, it’s easy to understand why GM overpriced the ATS/CTS.

    And CUE probably does not help. I drove one and thought it was fine, but if a lot of people don’t like it..it’s a problem.

    I will say, the ATS I drove was a great-driving car. I wouldn’t pay $42K for it (sticker price), but I loved driving it. Maybe some one will buy my one….”OH Lord, won’t you buy me, an new ATS. My friends all drive Bimmers, I must make amends…worked hard…,so oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a nuuuuuuu ATS….”

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      tomLu86 –

      Agreed on most points.

      We can talk all we want about things like CUE, the rear seating or even the mid 90’s gauge cluster in the ATS, the reality is that no matter how good the product is, Cadillac doesn’t have the brand image to command their asking prices.

      The Audi example is a great one: go back to the original A4 back in ’96. If Audi had tried to price comparable to BMW or Mercedes they would have been dead in the water. It’s only now that Audi can get close to pricing parity with their German rivals, and even then Audi is being careful about where and how it fights: the A3 and CLA are almost dollar for dollar competitors (Audi can do a low end product far better than Merc can due to Audi’s scale and parts sharing), but Audi is careful to avoid model-to-model matches where it can (eg: the S4 has traditionally straddled the line between the 335/M3 making point by point comparisons tricky).

      Making Cadillac the “value alternative” to the Germans would be wise.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I keep hearing about how awful the gauge cluster is in the ATS, but BMW’s clusters hardly appear different than those found in an E36. Is it merely because the ATS cluster appears black when it’s off? If so, why does this matter?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I just looked up the ATS guage cluster…

        Seriously? Is that really what people are complaining about?
        I was expecting GMT400 style cluster from all the crap you guys spout about it.
        Besides lacking a voltage guage and a much needed oil pressure guage, (which would kill my interest in the whole car) the guages look pretty intuitive and above all straight forward.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          During daylight, the base ATS cluster looks like something out of a late 90s era Pontiac.

          But more importantly, the fact that it does look cheap advances the argument that GM can’t seem to fully bake their vehicles before marketing & selling them (at what are now very high prices).

          GM sweats every detail on the ATS chassis, and then totally phones in many of the details (some big, like the powertrain, some small, like the gauge cluster).

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Cadillac needs to follow the Lexus model: it took them almost two decades to come close to price parity with the likes of Mercedes and BMW. Cadillac is an appealing alternative to the German luxobarges only insomuch as they are stylistically unique and at one point in time offered a substantial savings over the Euromodels.

    The market is vastly different today: the Germans have upper their quality, retained their technological advantage (even if only perceived) and moved downmarket to keep volumes up.

    Cadillac has the homefield advantage and unique, yet “American” styling (obviously subjective, but I find Cadillac’s design language to be fresh, contemporary, yet pleasant), but they just don’t have the brand image to command the same prices as the established players.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Cadillac needs to follow the Lexus model”.

      That’s been Cadillac’s main issue for the last 3 decades, following. It needs to lead.

      I agree with your comments on the styling and think that’s where they’re finally stepping out. The new flagship sedan that’s in the works will help lift their image as well. That’ll be the biggest dontributor towards an image of segment leadership if it’s executed well and looks anthing like the Elmiraj.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Lead with product, not with price. They’re trying to price at a premium level that consumers don’t feel is justified.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Hyundai is now facing its watershed moment in terms of pricing higher end cars (not the Equus, but with the new 2015 Genesis).

          Assuming Hyundai truly corrected the suspension woes of the Genesis, we are about to find out if a very badge conscious public (sadly our reality, writ large) is willing to pay an average of 4k more in terms of average actual transaction price for the new Genesis vs the last generation.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You know I hope it doesn’t go well. I want Hyundai to have to spend LOTS of money if they want to compete in the luxury segment here, and create a new brand. That swirly H does nothing for me, and just puts me in mind of the S-Coupe or some old piece of crap Grandeur taxi in Korea with vinyl seats.

            I would NOT buy a Hyundai, but if they make it super awesome, competitive on price, and in a different dealer with better surroundings, I might consider it. My $70,000 Equus does not need to be in the same space as the Elantra Coupe.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I agree the price has to be jsutified. While the cars are nice, many customers don’t feel the price is justified just yet apparently.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Toyota plays the long game. GM still seems to be living and dying by the quarter, an approach to leads to a cycle of excessive pricing that is invariably followed by incentives, which erodes future pricing.

      If Cadillac is going to compete with the Germans (and that’s a big if), then it will take at least a decade, maybe two, to get there. Brands need to build trust, and GM has a long road to travel if it is to establish its credibility.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Cadillac’s charging Mercedes and BMW prices and they are not even Hyundai good. Go put a $42K Genesis next to a $55K CTS, the Genesis will eat it alive.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Oshawa Flex, runs Camaro,Buick Regal, 2014 Impala, and XTS ? on a three shift operation. The Flex is in its 3rd down week since the end of summer shut down. The old consolidated plant is chugging along on a one shift basis.

    Scary times.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Yup, there are droves of potential buyers standing “none” deep waiting for the fall release of the ATS Coupe.

    Not a bad car, the ATS. Drove one and felt it was about $15,000 overpriced here in Canada. When you can get an Accord Coupe V6 like Baruth’s (yes I know it’s FWD) for $35K, with what looked to me like superior assembly and finish utilizing slightly lower quality materials, why does a V6 ATS cost $55K? The GM V6 is a good engine, but common as dirt because it’s made by the millions literally to fit into “classic” as well as new Impalas, Traverses, the new Colorado, and so on, so why does Cadillac literature treat it as exotic?

    Overpriced, by a lot, and with sales down by 30% year over year, the ATS needs some rethinking at GM.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Price and performance.
    Cadillacs cars are pricing themselves into oblivion, wouldn’t matter if every car they had bested their respective segment, these aren’t exotic cars, they don’t have brand cache.
    Then there’s performance, cadillac execs seem to think emulating foreign cars with laughably small engines will somehow make people think caddy runs with the big dogs.
    55k for a V6 ATS is a joke. Put that v6 in at a base price of 25k, the TTV6 at 30k, and the 6.2l at 35k. See if you don’t make a couple sales then.

    6.2 should be availible across the lineup, its a cheap engine and even at a 2k premium will bring profit compared to the more expensive 4 bangers being made.

    • 0 avatar

      Cadillac is off about 2K cars for 2014, not a big deal.

      Sales at no gross profit don’t make any sense.

      Perhaps some perspective is in order. A plant shut down to recalibrate inventory and a 2% decline in YTD sales doesn’t mean the sky is falling. I’m more concerned about Cadillac turning over executives like they’ve done since the restructuring. Either they don’t know how to hire or their expectations are unrealistic.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        It’s a big deal when the division’s sales are down after the release of two all-new and widely ballyhooed vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Somewhat disagree.

        2% down in the best market since before the Great Recession, and after three core product updates (or net new) in the ATS, CTS and Escalade is concerning.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I was actually at the old Hendrick HUMMER dealer for a bolt last week. Previously Cadillac, HUMMER, Saab, now Cadillac, GMC, Buick.

          The old style escalades lined the back wall, probably 20 of them, I saw 1 new style escalade, an no ELR, granted I didn’t go into the show room. Pretty deep in ATS, didn’t pay attention to XTS, CTS, and SRX.

          Granted the other Hendrick dealership in the county over had 2-3 ELR, and the new escalade wasn’t out a month ago when I went there, I don’t think… I also saw some old-new CTS-Vs (6.2lSC)

          Either way acting like a Tahoe is worth 50k to try and justify 90k for an escalade is rediculous.
          Likewise trying to push the prices up on mid/large cars to differentiate price is similarly stupid.
          Additionally removing the V8 option from the CTS, to keep shoddy FWD XTS above it in the lineup is just as pathetic.

          This is where the SS should have been put, as caddies full size car. I mean think about it, if the SS had been the full size caddy the 40k price tag would have been much more appropriate and the fact its RWD would have been extremely healthy for the lineup.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            …Either way acting like a Tahoe is worth 50k to try and justify 90k for an escalade is rediculous…

            Worth noting a Toyota Land Cruiser starts around $75K and its Lexus counterpart is around $80K to start.

            I don’t see why anyone would buy the Land Cruiser over the Lexus given the narrow price gap – but the main point is that the pricing isn’t all that out of whack.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Can a Lexus LX be loaded up to be 80% of the Toyota LC?

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            Bonus: both the Lexus and Land Cruiser can be run to 200k miles, then sold for ridiculous money to an overseas buyer who will happily drive it around Africa, Eastern Europe, or Central America for another 10 years.

            The Escalade will be a mobile crack house or being resold at a BHPH lot at 120k miles.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL Toad, spot on.

            Old Land Cruisers are driven by respectable people who wash them and mow their grass. Old Escalades have broken suspensions and are parked over the smallest oil patch in the bad part of town. The prior DD, a gen1 Navigator, sits with a collapsed suspension in the gravel driveway. The kids play on it after school before mom comes home from the restaurant.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        @ ruggles:

        Is the Cadillac division all comprised of ATS? No. I was talking about the ATS,, not the other stuff Cadillac makes. So your observation is invalid.

        Sales up 2% in this market which is up 9% or so means a 7% slide anyway.

        Recalibrating inventory? Sounds like the BS PR types utter when they’re desperately trying to paper over the cracks. Not quite lying, but close. Why are you such an apologizer for Cadillac? Statements like yours are why Farago started TTAC: to combat such nonsense and to get at the truth, and to quit listening and accepting such soothing platitudes and banalities. You know, when you have almost 6 months supply rusting on lots everywhere, the wonder is they didn’t recalibrate inventory some time ago.

        Apparently, they enjoy following the successful Wagoner model, and are having difficulty extracting their heads from the sand.

        As for losing money by selling inventory below cost: any successful business takes into account likely future costs and sales. So either Cadillac has a grossly overpriced manufacturing setup, or they were under the delusion that these good but not great vehicles would sell better. In the markeplace, in reality, they do not command their asking price.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Cadillac. Throwing away 100 years of heritage, nearly 80 of which were good, to build store brand BMWs which cost as much as the real thing. Of course nobody buys them.

    Art and Science was the one intangible they really had going for them, but the Chinese market doesn’t like angles so we can’t have them either. (Meanwhile, the Chinese market does like cars that actually have backseats, so they get one added for them. 6′ Americans are on their own.)

    The motoring press loves them because racecar. We’ve all seen what that’s worth.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You articulate the issues well. Quick survey aside from Lincoln (which is dead), which “luxury” brand is more screwed up: Cadillac, Acura, Infiniti, Volvo, JLR, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, or Lexus?

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Potentially tied for first place:
        1. Acura
        2. Infiniti
        3. Volvo

        Lexus, apart from its questionable design language implementation as of late, still has its core.

        Mercedes, if anything, is getting its house in order. The CLA is questionable, but the rest of their lineup, the new C-Class in particular, are exceptional.

        BMW will always frustrate the enthusiast crowd who will forever claim they have ‘lost their way’, but in order for them to be a viable concern moving forward they need to expand into a full line manufacturer, so volume is critical.

        Audi is still on a roll, putting out some solid (if a bit bland) product. They’ve got a very aggressive new model rollout within the next 18 months that will keep things fresh, so as long as they don’t mess with the formula too much they should be good.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Great feedback. Tied for first IMO would be Acura and Cadillac, followed by Volvo, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Mercedes, then JLR and Audi right at the end.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Acura has two crossovers – the RDX and MDX – that are modern and sell well.

            Cadillac’s SRX is about past its sell-by date, but it’s still the best-selling vehicle in the Cadillac line-up. I would argue that, at this point, Acura has better entries in the hottest segment of the luxury market.

            If you look at return on investment, I’d also wager that Honda handily beats GM in that regard when Acura is compared to Cadillac.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No disagreement on your points, but the question was which brand is more screwed up overall, not which sells better or is more successful. I also agree Honda easily beats GM on its ROI since every Acura model but one is a USDM Honda (RL being a JDM Honda) where GM took pains to produce at least three unique models for Cadillac as of late (four if you consider “V-series” a model, which I do not).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think we have to separate J and LR, and then put both of them in front of Acura and Infiniti. J has no new product, nothing compelling, and has yet to slide out from under the shade of protective Ford products. LR is doing alright, but still on Ford time, and has sold their soul with the Evoque and the end of the Defender approaching/here.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        Infiniti is an absolute basket case. Its recent model name restructuring threw any recognition for individual vehicles out the window, while disregarding the tried-and-true nomenclature of model designation (X) followed by a numeric roughly correlated with displacement (##), in favor of a baffling mishmash of Qs followed by meaningless numbers. Only Lincolns are harder to decipher.

        Couple that with high executive turnover and the inexplicable relocation of the corporate headquarters to Hong Kong (long known for its ties to auto design and manufacturing, right?)and its hard to see the brand turning around for the better.

        That said, I quite like the current M37 (aka Q50 3.7). Part of me almost hopes the worst for the brand so I can pick up a used one on the cheap in a few years.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “Infiniti is an absolute basket case. Its recent model name restructuring threw any recognition for individual vehicles out the window, while disregarding the tried-and-true nomenclature of model designation ”

          Agreed it was a bad move. My buddy who works at a Nissan/Infiniti store has a hard time figuring out which vehicle is which now.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Agreed on Infiniti. What a mess, dumping all the goodwill the G cars had built up. Not to mention, their decision to keep the old G37 sedan around for a few years, which sort of discredits the new Q50, in my eyes.

          And the decision to price the old G37 coupe (now Q60) at a much higher price than the Q50.

          The rest of their cars are absolute non-factors.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Good points gentleman on Infiniti, but other than the naming fiasco I wasn’t aware the brand changed much at all in the past few years.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Could not agree more on the name drop for Infiniti. Most people, even if they didn’t particularly fancy Infiniti, knew what those model letters stood for. And that Q should be ONLY on their largest flagship, if at all. The 02-06 Q didn’t do them any favors, so it might have been time to pick a different letter for their big car. Or just use President.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Wow, tough question.

        Acura, Volvo, and JLR are definitely more screwed up than Cadillac. You could build arguments for any of them to be in first place.

        Acura seems to be actively trying to destroy its brand.

        Volvo has lost its roots, completely.

        JLR, although LR is doing better in the sales department, product quality remains abysmal. They are almost an outlier in the argument that there is no such thing as a bad car you can buy today. The new Jaguars aren’t selling – at all. The brand can barely justify its existence.

        Infiniti’s transition has been very painful, and the new Q naming seems to confuse everyone.

        Mercedes and Audi appear to be able to do no wrong.

        BMW is doing a lot right – but the everything gets a number strategy and the race to the bottom for the 3-series is worrisome.

        Lexus can do wrong. One can question products like the CT200 (over priced and certainly not a drivers car) but the formula works – and the quality is unquestionable.

        Cadillac is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack in the screwed up department.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I don’t understand Jaguar’s problems enough to make an intelligent argument, but the cars certainly look like knockouts. They might be suffering from a similar problem to Cadillac, high priced product which is not justified by the brand’s current position (and in Jaguar’s case so-so to bad reliability).

          I consider Acura and Cadillac to be more screwed up than Volvo, as Volvo was already abandoning their roots and heading in the so-so FWD direction long before the Ford takeover.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnnyFirebird

            I still think Volvo makes some great cars, but you know who I work for.

            Volvo isn’t in a precarious situation as far as the medium-term goes, because Geely pretty much can’t fail. It’s not exactly an open market out in China, and they can sell as much as the Chinese government wants them to sell, internally, and yeah, I do think they’d do that to save face and keep the brand alive.

            Externally, specifically in North America, their premium upswing (distancing themselves from the Subaru market and aiming for BMW and Audi) is a huge gamble. If the XC90 and vehicles based on the new modular platform don’t perform well, I don’t see Volvo here by 2020. At this point, though, sales can pretty much only go up.

            Better brush up my resume.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          The world is not just the US, and JLR has quadrupled revenues in the last five years, so are hardly worried about a few US sales.

          Jaguar XE has quite a few advantages over Cadillac’s ATS.

          The first is brand management with some real imagination not mired in GM think.

          The second is worldwide brand recognition with sales outlets in 84 countries instead of three or four.

          The third is that Jaguar will NOT produce a car with:

          a) A super cheap instrument panel
          b) A lame entry-level normally-aspirated long-stroke chuffer of a 2.5l four designed to power CUVs, so as to advertise a silly low lease price
          c) No back seat worthy of the name
          d) A price at least $10K too high for the V6 which they churn out by the millions and sell for next to nothing in the Impala Classic, etc., etc

          The new Jaguar may not even be as good as some ATS models. It won’t matter, because it’ll have an aluminum body to crow about, whether it’s lighter or not, an “Ingenium” turbo engine standard to hook the hipsters, proper double wishbone suspension like the ATS, and it’ll look great.

          In fact, when I drive by the local Jag dealer, there ain’t a styling dud on the lot. You can argue details, but overall, ugly is missing. Across the street is a Nissan/Infiniti dealer featuring weird cockroaches and QX60 hearses, and next to that is the BMW dealer with garish SUVs like the X6GT surrounded by MINIs flying balloons. Class.

          Yup, Jag is going to have a hard time moving XEs around this world of ours. On this site, US navel-gazing is prominent among the commenters. The remainder of the world is ignored as if it hardly existed or matters.

          GM can’t even get around to designing a modern new turbo-diesel four, but Jaguar has. On world markets it’s a necessity. Without such an engine, the ATS is a joke internationally, and GM’s fumbling around to open a few European Cadillac dealers who probably want to sell something else that, you know, actually moves off the lot, shows that GM still has only the faintest of clues, and is not really serious.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        Acura apart for the MDX is in pretty bad shape. Infiniti must be in horrible shape, the salesman or the dealership nearest to me I kid you not, calls me at least once a week, sometimes twice asking me if I am interested in buying a car from them. This has been going on at least 4 months now, even emails me. Even Jaguar did not act this desperate. If Volvo did a better job advertising or having more dealerships they could probably sell more cars.

        I am pretty disappointed with the current Lexus lineup, I think the quality of materials have slipped and the rides gotten worse. I would not buy one. Apart from the LS, the Hyundai Genesis is superior to any other Lexus sedan out there right now. All they need to make it perfect is add massaging front seats that have a million adjustments like BMW has.

        Mercedes seems to have figured it out, the new S is excellent of course and the new C should dominate its class easily. Audi always builds a solid attractive car and BMW has name cachet that will always sell its cars. Neighbor just bought a brand new blue A3 yesterday and I have to say it is a very attractive car. Other neighbor’s daughter had an A3 hatchback and that is a very nice car also.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Good point, Dan: if people wanted a BMW, they’d buy the BMW, right?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yup, that’s the way I see it too.

        It’s pretentious for Cadillac to claim they’re in the same league as BMW and Mercedes. They’re not.

        Audi, OTOH, is a fancy VW on steroids, in a niche all its own. VW took all the best from Porsche, BMW and Mercedes and rolled it into the Audi line. That is a synergy that is impossible to beat.

        Cadillac today not only has lost its way, but it still believes it is the standard of excellence, certainly the height of self-delusion.

        My dad was a Cadillac man in his final years and I remember well the glory days of the HT 8-6-4. What a nightmare!

        I’d take ANY BMW or Mercedes over a Cadillac in the same segment, and I’m no fan of BMW, nor Mercedes.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Ehh, don’t know if I fully agree with your view.

          The “media” and beyond the breathless paid hacks generally say the same thing, the ATS out “BMWs” in the BMW hallmark areas of handling and driving experience.

          I would argue that is more due to BMW diluting their products, than the ATS being that much better.

          It doesn’t change the other glaring issues with the ATS that GM could very easily fix without even doing a model refresh.

          With that said, Cadillac does not have the brand equity that BMW does – even if right now the ATS will hang with it in the handling and driving experience department.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            APaGttH, I was tying into hreardon’s comment about buyers’ choice. Maybe I should have written, “If people wanted a Caddy, they’d buy the Caddy.”

            I am certain that there are people who believe that the Cadillac lines of vehicles are the standard of excellence. There are just not enough of them.

            I never bought a new BMW but the used BMWs I bought from GI’s who brought them back from Germany far outclassed anything that American auto had to offer or could muster.

            IMO, a BMW inline six is THE smoothest, torque-rich engine I have ever driven, even with more than 100K miles on the odo.

            Years ago, one of my sons outran a CHiP Mustang in a used 328i (speed-limited to 155mph) on I-8 near Algodones before Winterhaven; but he couldn’t outrun the radio.

            Cadillac may lay claim to all sorts of performance that they can do better than BMW or Mercedes, but there still aren’t enough takers to swallow the bait, hook, line and sinker.

            IMO, Cadillac should have continued what it does best, instead of trying to attract the younger, smarter generation. The younger, smarter generations know which brands to buy, and it is not Cadillac.

            And what other reason can there be for so many previous Cadillac owners switching to Lexus and Mercedes (because they can).

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “IMO, Cadillac should have continued what it does best, instead of trying to attract the younger, smarter generation. The younger, smarter generations know which brands to buy, and it is not Cadillac.”

            They didn’t have much choice. Their traditional buyer demo of the 70’s and 80’s are mostly dead.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            danio3834, “They didn’t have much choice. Their traditional buyer demo of the 70′s and 80′s are mostly dead.”

            But vehicles of the Luxury class are still alive and well, to wit the Lexus, BMW and Mercedes brands.

            If they were not in demand, these offerings would not be on the market.

            I believe Cadillac tried the shotgun approach to new-vehicle development with the help of Opel in Germany, a few years back.

            They tried to be everything to everybody, all the time.

            And it turned out, like wmba wrote, “there are droves of potential buyers standing “none” deep waiting for the fall release of the ATS Coupe.” Clever and true!

            The rest of the Cadillac line isn’t doing much better.

            Back when I was a kid, the progression as one progressed through life was Chevy, Olds or Pontiac, Buick and then Cadillac as one became more mature and successful in life.

            These days it is Lexus or Mercedes people aspire to as they progress in life.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “Back when I was a kid, the progression as one progressed through life was Chevy, Olds or Pontiac, Buick and then Cadillac as one became more mature and successful in life.”

            Are you sure? Seems like err’body around here would put Olds and Buick together, with Chevy and Pontiac firmly BELOW. And then Buick people went to Cadillac, while the special Olds people only graduated to a bigger Olds.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “Art and Science was the one intangible they really had going for them…”

      Are Cadillacs now less arty and sciencey than in the recent past? They still appear to feature sharp angles and thin vertical headlight modules more than other cars?

      I pay no deliberate attention to this segment but even I couldn’t help but notice Cadillac’s aping the F-117 motif for a long time now. Beats the predatory alien catfish look of the Asians.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Rumor on the street that Lincoln Horseless Coach Company, PLLC’s new slogan is going to be –

    “Hey, have you seen Cadillac’s inventory lately?”

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I’d imagine that more than a few denizens of Ford’s Dearborn headquarters are now are glad that Ford didn’t spend a ton of money for that dedicated, rear-wheel-drive Lincoln platform to take on the Germans that the internet experts were so sure it needed.

  • avatar

    First, let me say Cadillac makes some fine automobiles.

    BUT there was a time when the influence of Steve Girsky hung over the American domestic auto business. Mr. Girsky was enamored of the Toyota Through put Model, with fewer dealers doing the volume. This led to the auto OEMs, GM and Chrysler, being forced to terminate dealers during their Chapter 11 BKs. Cadillac shed an extremely large percentage of its total new vehicle dealer count. Girksy convinced Team Auto that the same volume done by fewer dealers meant better efficiency. A lot of things “work” when demand is equal to or exceeds supply. But when conquesting for market share it is unheard of to get rid of shelf space. And that’s what the dealers are to an auto OEM. Take the Toyota Tundra, a fine truck. Its sales have never reached expectations. But Toyota doesn’t have “country stores.” How many Ford, Dodge, and GM truck stores will a farmer or rancher drive by to get to the big city Toyota store? In practice, it hasn’t happened much. What seems to have “worked” for Camry and Corolla hasn’t worked for Tundra.

    Many of those terminated Caddy stores only sold a few new vehicles. They specialized in pre-owned before they were terminated, and probably still do. But their new vehicle sales would probably have kept volume at a level to better sustain production. Just because people will drive to the few Lexus, MB, Audi, BMW, etc. stores doesn’t mean that approach works equally well for a brand like Cadillac. IMHO

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Interesting take.

    • 0 avatar
      northshorerealtr

      Think you’re exactly right on this, Ruggles. Many great dealers were culled from small areas that weren’t deemed to have enough volume, but dealers were profitable, with preowned sales doing just fine. And the other component is service availability. Buyers like/demand easier serice than driving 30 or 45 miles or more (i.e., an hour or more in lots of areas) just to have dealers do scheduled maintence, recall work, or to take care of other problems. Plus, the service departments were also, in many cases, profit centers for the dealership as well.
      I’m also convinced that part of the issue in new sales is just the logistics. We’ve all heard horror stories of a sale that takes all day/days to finalize. How much of that is due to eating up a half day to drive to the dealer (and back) just to be able to look at the vehicle you MAY have decided on, only to be disappointed in the vehicle or dealership’s inventory and having to start the search over? And that sort of issue has nothing to do with the separate issue of “dealer experience”–it’s a function of the time to get in and get out from point A to B.
      There’s a saying in real estate that “if you can’t show it, you can’t sell it”. I’d suspect very few folks would consider buying a car they couldn’t conveniently touch/smell/experience. Convenient dealer help with those sales–and many dealers are no longer convenient. It’s not an impulse purchase, but should manufactures have allowed the profitable dealers to stay in business rather than terminating franchises based on smaller-than-standardized-sales statistical averages, or lack of a coffee bar, or not having the most recent granite castle exterior/interior design?

    • 0 avatar
      cartunez

      Sorry but the fit and finish of the new Caddies is not up to par and the pricing makes me think drugs are in heavy play within GM.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’d put the ELR’s inventory at closer to 300 days.

    August’s sales report will show whether the massive incentives will sustain the relative sales burst of July.

    The story doesn’t say how long the plants will be idle, but it would be crazy to resume building ELRs for the rest of this year. Actually, it would be crazy to ever build another ELR.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    GM is always a dollar short and a decade late. The door into these segments pretty much closed with the G35. Jag’s XE will fail the same way too.

    GM should have abandoned the Alpha platform completely… Camaro can soldier on with the Sigma. EV/hybrids are the future of luxury and cars in general… the ATS should have been a “super Volt”, with an AWD setup like the RL SH-AWD hybrid. Then they could have had the same dynamics, with things people actually care about, like style, fuel economy, green cred etc. Anyone who didn’t see a store brand E46/E39 selling for F30/F10 money failing was not thinking logically. O well, another lost decade for GM.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    What do the lease deals for the ATS and CTS look like, compared to the Germans? That’s what moves metal in this segment.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I just posted this but let me reiterate..

    1) Kill the XTS
    2) rebadge SS as a cadillac
    3) profit

    The 40k price tag would actually be reasonable on the fullsize SS as a caddy, it could potentially 20x the sales of the commodore, and it would actually be healthy to the lineup having a RWD fullsize.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      GM does not want to sell the SS at all. In hindsight it would have made more sense as a “Cadillac” for Cadillac money, but it would upstage all of the other Cadillac car models and show how unimpressive they really have become.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The SS would have made more sense as a Buick flagship. All things being equal they could have held the line on price and used the Chinese parts bin for the grille.

        For all the grousing that the SS is overpriced, when you do the inflation and added content math, it is on parity if not a bargain compared to the 2009.5 G8 GXP.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Hummer,

      Personally I think the XTS is the only car they should keep.
      I can go either way on the Escalade but they for sure need to knock $15K-$20K off the price, they are not in that league. Not with the cheap looking interior it has.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    People don’t buy compact and midsized luxury cars for themselves. They don’t even buy them. They lease them at affordable prices for the purpose of projecting an image to others. Cadillac doesn’t have that image. The cars could be just as good as BMWs. They could be quite a bit better probably, judging by the way all the Fs drive. It wouldn’t mean the cars perform at what’s important to the people that make the payments.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    One of the biggest problems with Cadillac is that Buick still exists and has better products for a mainstream luxury market. The LaCrosse, Enclave, Regal, Encore, Verano. So what they’re FWD/AWD. People don’t care driving dynamics in the luxury market. People care about comfort or the brand name. Buick just happens to have a great combination of both right now. For what it’s worth, I think Buick is on glide path to overtake Lexus if they can sustain their lineup.

    I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again. In this saturated market, Buick and Cadillac can’t coexist, at least not at the volume levels that Cadillac wants. If Cadillac decided to become a low volume manufacturer, I think they’ll be okay. However, as long as Buick is around with their solid lineup, Cadillac isn’t going to light up the sales charts.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Prices way too high, even in my town which is a GM town that has never had any problems selling Escalades, the dealership by me has had one sitting there for almost 2 months now. Drove 900 miles in the last 4 days, including damn near all over the lower part of Canada, including downtown Toronto where I saw every car imaginable including an F12 and an Aventador, my whole trip, 2 new Escalades.

    CTSs and ATSs are piling up too. CTS is way too expensive and the quality and quality of materials poor. The backseat of the CTS is atrocious, thin and small. 2 brand new CTSs on the lot that I looked at in the last month, had door issues. One somehow was able to lock the car and all the doors except one backdoor and when it was opened the alarm went off. Other one the rear door handle was broken and not working and out of alignment. And for Godsake, you can hit $70K in a CTS and still can’t get a power closing trunk.

    Go look at the new Hyundai Genesis, it looks great inside and out and the fit and finish is excellent, for much less money than the CTS and the space inside is cavernous.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    Come on Cadillac stop trying to compete with the BMW’s, Audi’s, and the like. Those buyer’s don’t care for American iron and never will. Just stick to your roots by building luxurious well made good looking cars that appeal to the American upscale buyers along with the China market, since it appears they like American cars also. We frankly don’t care about driving around mountain roads at breakneck speeds or seeing how fast cars can go on the Autobahn just American comfort, luxury and reliability at a competitive price.

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