By on September 22, 2014

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This summer, we heard news that Cadillac was scrapping plans for a three-row crossover set to slot between the SRX and the Escalade. But according to new Cadillac head Johann De Nysschen, that vehicle might be back on the table, along with a slate of new products designed to raise the stature of Cadillac in the minds of a new generation of buyers.

In an interview with Automobile Magazine, De Nysschen outlined his vision for Cadillac over the next 10 to 15 years. Among the products De Nysschen talked about were two large sedans above the upcoming RWD flagship, a successor to the ELR plug-in hybrid, more performance variants and crucially, more crossovers.

Yes, I can hear the groans now, but even De Nysschen recognizes the need for more crossovers as a part of Cadillac’s lineup, stating

We only have two sport/utilities. It’s a sad day when the Germans have more crossovers than we. There’s clearly some room for us to do something between SRX and Escalade; I think there’s an opportunity even to do something sub-SRX.

 

De Nysschen clearly knows which way the wind is blowing. Cadillac wants to expand in the all important Chinese market, not to mention Western Europe and North America. A larger crossover and a sub-SRX model (ala the BMW X1, Audi Q3 or Mercedes-Benz GLA) is also a great way to bring in Millennial buyers, who De Nysschen expects to account for 50 percent of premium car purchases by the end of the decade. A larger crossover slotting between the SRX and Escalade is a no brainer, especially given the easily accessible Lambda architecture used by the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. Such a vehicle will be a veritable ATM for Cadillac, and it’s shocking that the program was canned in the first place.

Like it or not, these two products alone will mean more for Cadillac than any number of rear-drive, V8 powered models. The automotive market is inexorably moving towards crossovers as the bodystyle of choice for global automotive consumers. But as we stated before, his grand plans are all contingent on GM getting out of his way and letting him do things his way: slowly, gradually, with a deliberate, focused effort on building Cadillac up into the brand that it needs to be.

 

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94 Comments on “Editorial: Cadillac Reversing Course On Crossovers...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This is a great editorial.

    I think its cute De Nysschen thinks he will be working there in ten years to even have a “vision” (given his employment of late) and assuming there will even be a Cadillac brand in ten to fifteen years.

    “Among the products De Nysschen talked about were two large sedans above the upcoming RWD flagship, a successor to the ELR plug-in hybrid, more performance variants and crucially, more crossovers.”

    Two sedans above a so called flagship? Intriguing, but also confusing. I also see we still haven’t learned our ELR lesson… or perhaps we have and will be going ‘vert on our low volume rich man’s toy? Regarding “crossovers” I agree a smaller one is needed, but I’d be careful about going all out. Every time Cadillac imitates the Germans, the Germans have moved on by the time the “Cadillac” is ready for market. BMW built the small sport coupe/sedan and Cadillac copied it AFTER its rival moved on to eight different crossover variants. Now Cadillac will copy BMW/Daimler/Audi again and by the time they get it to market I’ll bet zee Germans have moved on to one up Cadillac once again. This is the problem of trend setters vs followers, and Cadillac is either unable or unwilling to set the next trend.

    “De Nysschen clearly knows which way the wind is blowing is Cadillac wants to expand in the all important Chinese market”

    Smart.

    “not to mention Western Europe and North America”

    Not smart.

    Europe no longer matters and North America will matter less and less each year. Just build everything for the Chinese from now on, its not like Americans want backseats or real power in their cars, right?

    “De Nysschen expects to account for 50 percent of premium car purchases by the end of the decade.”

    This gave me a hearty laugh, as if Generation Jobless is going to come out of mom’s basement between now and 2020 -in the midst of an ongoing global depression- and suddenly become 50% of the auto market. The only way this could occur is if the auto market shrinks as Boomers leave it.

    • 0 avatar
      Ihatejalops

      The ELR was a failure in execution rather than drive train problem. If they tried it with a sedan or Crossover it may have worked. Also the marketing sucked on that too. I don’t think you can ignore the US market just quite yet. Maybe in 20 years, but that’s a little to ahead of your time. Also, with all these Chinese becoming wealthy, who knows if a revolution will occur again.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        The only thing really wrong with the ELR is the $75k price. Whoever dreamed that up needs to be drug tested. As a $45-55k luxury version of the Volt, it wouldn’t have been laughed out of the showroom. And 4 doors would have been smart, but GM still hasn’t learned its lesson from the GM10 launch in the 80’s.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree the failure of ELR was not necessarily a failure of the drivetrain, but the packaging and a maybe few other things. Assuming this could be improved upon, another model may succeed.

        Regarding China, I wish I could completely share my employer’s data, as we are a global company and collect HR type employment data among other things. Essentially we saw double digit growth in China, Malaysia (but not Singapore), Australia, Russia, Brazil, and Poland. Single digit growth in Taiwan, India, and the US Southeast, and either flat or negatives everywhere else in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe (Western Europe plus Czech Rep and Romania), and Asia (inc Japan, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines). I doubt these trends will reverse.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Guess what Gen Jobless is interested in?

      Hint: Not old people Cadillacs.

      I don’t count in this, because I don’t fit any characterstics of the generation, and right now there’s a tab of my Internets open to a Sixty Special for sale on Ebay.

      Tehee.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Let me guess, Iphone with a special edition of Iwank?

        “not old people Cadillacs”

        I’ll tell you whats amazing. Your two most popular Cadillacs, Escalade and SRX, are mostly bought by old people and yet they seem to escape the stigma.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Btw Corey, I was just perusing this Dr’s transcript who purports the MMR vaccines in use in mid-90s UK is a possible cause of autism. There certainly seems to be a cognitive divergence between those of us born prior to around 1986 and those of us born long after, perhaps this man is onto something.

        http://therefusers.com/refusers-newsroom/dr-wakefield-govt-experts-have-conceded-that-mmr-vaccine-caused-autism/#.VCB42rRqcwJ

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Good grief. I had heard a little of this before, but nothing to this extent.

        • 0 avatar
          Chris FOM

          The MMR-autism link is one of the most studied medical issues in human history. Only one study, the initial one, has ever demonstrated a link. Hundreds of additional studies with participants numbering in the hundreds of millions have demonstrated no link whatsoever. The original study has since been retracted by its publisher for numerous severe deficiencies, in its design, ethical violations in its execution, and outright fraud in its results. All but one of the authors have pulled their names from it, and the last (Andrew Wakefield) has had his British medical license revoked. There is no credible link whatsoever between vaccines and autism, and Wakefield has the blood of thousands on his hands for perpetrating this lie.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This was the first I read about it. I’m curious though how does this man right or wrong have the blood of thousands on his hands?

          • 0 avatar
            Chris FOM

            Because of Wakefield’s lies, vaccine rates in Britain, Ireland, and the US have dropped considerably over the last 15 years. Herd immunity has been compromised and numerous outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses like measles and whooping cough have occurred with deadly results. I lay the blame for those deaths at Wakefield’s feet.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Where are the outbreaks coming from?

          • 0 avatar
            turboprius

            Imagine being the mother of a child diagnosed with autism shortly after the doctor made his lies. Yeah, that’s what happened to my mom with me. I think the doctors may have believed the vaccines caused it, but she ignored them. Great, as I’ve pulled through it, and am 99.8% normal.

          • 0 avatar
            Chris FOM

            These diseases were never entirely eliminated. The only disease that has ever been complete eliminated by vaccines as smallpox (although we’re making great strides with polio). However, since 1998 when vaccinations started decreasing, diseases like measles, pertussis, and others have been on the rise. There were more cases of measles in the first 5 months of 2014 (288) than in any entire year for the last 20 years. The overwhelming majority were unvaccinated and were related to travel in countries where vaccination is not the norm.

            Important in vaccination is a concept called herd immunity. This refers to the fact that immune people cannot catch, and therefore pass on, a disease. Above a certain threshold (varies from disease to disease but is usually in the range of 80–90%) there were enough people in the community that are immune to the disease can’t take hold and start spreading. So even if someone in the community catches a disease, they can’t pass it on and an outbreak is prevented. In particular, young infants in the elderly are particularly susceptible to these diseases, and infant vaccination is limited, so they’re dependent on herd immunity to be protected from these diseases.

            What we have seen is that vaccination levels in some communities have dropped below the level were herd immunity can occur and outbreaks have started occurring.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not well read on the subject which is why I asked, thank you for a detailed response. I think the last piece I read on the subject was the Micheal Savage article on the diseases being brought in by the wave of illegals in the southwest Drudge linked to a while back.

          • 0 avatar
            Chris FOM

            I’m a physician, so this topic happens to be both a, right up my alley and b, extremely important to me. :)

          • 0 avatar
            Eiriksmal

            Stressing that Mr. Wakefield WAS STRIPPED OF HIS LICENSE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE is critical in explaining the “Vaccines cause autism” farce. Even the smelliest of the anti-vaccine hippies I know can offer nothing in response to that damning fact.

            He manipulated data and looked at an absurdly tiny sample size (12 children! TWELVE!) to cook the results how he wanted. That does not equate to science, but we’re still grappling with the damage his study did years later.

            Hence Dr. FOM’s “blood of thousands” remark.

            28 Cars, I get passionate about this in reaction to my wife and I’s less-intelligent friends passing judgment on us for vaccinating our toddler against horrible diseases. Oh, and we let him drink pasteurized cow’s milk, too. The horrors!

            EDIT: 28-cars, also check out this saddening blog post about whooping cough:
            http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115551/jenny-mccarthy-anti-vaccination-movement-blame-whooping-cough
            That’s newrepublic.com/article/115551/
            jenny-mccarthy-anti-vaccination-movement-blame-whooping-cough

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Eiriksmal

            A sample size of 12 speaks volumes in and of itself.

            I’m reminded of something I recently saw on the subject of science and scientific papers:

            “Every day the newspapers carry stories of new scientific findings. There are 15 million scientists worldwide all trying to get their research published. But a disturbing fact appears if you look closely: as time goes by, many scientific findings seem to become less true than we thought. It’s called the “decline effect” – and some findings even dwindle away to zero.

            A highly influential paper by Dr John Ioannidis at Stanford University called “Why most published research findings are false” argues that fewer than half of scientific papers can be believed, and that the hotter a scientific field (with more scientific teams involved), the less likely the research findings are to be true. He even showed that of the 49 most highly cited medical papers, only 34 had been retested and of them 41 per cent had been convincingly shown to be wrong. And yet they were still being cited.”

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04f9r4k

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        It’s not a broad sampling, but I’m not the only millennial (being 30, I’m not sure if I am one, but I get lumped in more often than not anymore) lusting after a CTS V. There are two in the young professionals-oriented condo complex my girlfriend lives in. They’re stablemates with a few BMW Ms and AMG Mercs, but the CTS are what get my attention. One is a blacked out coupe and always gives me pause when I pass it. And I’m a GM hater from way back, so it’s not a brand thing.

        Assuming Cadillac can pull some magic out of its ass with the next gen models, I think they may very well pull some younger buyers attention and sales from the Deutsches Drei and the Nuevolux Nippon triplets.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      I love the “Cadillac won’t exist in xxx years” crowd. If Lincoln, Acura, and Infiniti are all still around NOW, Cadillac will be here another few decades at least. GM will fight tooth and nail to see to it.

      I agree that two more sedans above the supposed flagship are questionable, Mercedes can’t even do that right. The ELR is questionable, make it the Ciel and it’ll stand a chance.

      The crossovers are unfortunately the key. They should model the small crossover after the 500c, and make the roof retractable. Make it seat four and give it a super posh interior. Start pricing 4-5 grand above the Encore they’ll base it off of and make it awd, maybe a mild hybrid or new volt power train and it should do well.

      The big crossover should just be an escalade for those who want an escalade but are too ashamed to admit it.

      As for America and Europe not mattering to the market, that’s an oversight. These markets are just ahead of the other first world markets in hitting the crapper first. Both will rebound and China will follow the same ebb and flow eventually. An invincible market depends on its people and government not being fickle or stupid at some point, and there’s not a country/culture that isn’t itching to follow the US model. They may act like they don’t, but look at the everyday people and you’ll see they do. (There may be a few counties that really don’t want our cultural model, but infighting will keep then third-world for the indefinite future)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree there is a need for a small crossover, and personally I would just model it after the BMW X3 since benchmarking BMW is what Cadillac has been doing until this point. Cloning the Trax/Encore is dangerous, IMO, better to simply build on the current Alpha platform (it also does not fit in with the performance meme Cadillac has been pushing). Going hog wild and offering several may be counterproductive to the other GM divisions.

        I agree many other nations would like to be following the US style comfortable consumption model, but I do not see the major world powers allowing this simply because there are not enough world resources to allow for it. Regarding Europe and the US car market “coming back” reading between the lines it seems Sergio Marchionne is very bearish on Europe. Recent US sales have been fueled in part by subprime sales (as TTAC has covered) and according to the below link, subprime sales have doubled since 2010. Personally if I’m an automotive conglomerate I’m going to go where the money is, and that is not the West.

        “America Trumps Europe

        Wherever the future headquarters may be, it’s clear where Fiat-Chrysler is doing well these days, and that’s not in Italy, or for that matter in Europe. Auto sales on the continent fell 2 percent in 2013, the sixth consecutive year of decline and the worst in terms of vehicles sold since 1995, according to data released by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. Fiat sales fell 1.6 percent; the group’s other major brands fared even worse, with Jeep down 13 percent, Lancia / Chrysler down 20, and Alfa Romeo a whopping 28. But in the same year, auto sales in the United States rose 7.6 percent. Chrysler, including Fiat (which in the U.S. sells only the 500, produced in Mexico), outpaced the market with a 9 percent jump in cars and trucks sold, according to Motor Intelligence.

        But the writing is on the wall: if European sales don’t pick up, the newly merged Fiat-Chrysler (the company will have a new name, as yet unannounced) is likely going to shift more and more of its focus to where the market is stronger. Marchionne, in what may have been a Freudian slip, told an interviewer in 2010 on Italy’s state-owned RAI network that “Fiat would do better without Italy.” He later clarified his statement, saying that the company wasn’t even thinking of decamping.”

        http://www.ibtimes.com/fiat-chryslers-sergio-marchionne-revered-detroit-reviled-italy-1543764

        “Recently, however, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York issued a report that found U.S. auto loans had jumped to the highest level in eight years this spring. While that corresponds with the surge we saw in auto and truck sales, peering beneath the headlines we find there is more to the story, and in this case it’s the Fed’s findings that the auto loan surge was fueled by a big increase in lending to risky borrowers. More specifically, the Fed’s data show that the dollar amount of subprime auto loans — defined as loans to borrowers with credit scores below 620 — has nearly doubled since 2010.

        That alone is enough to raise an eyebrow or two, but we also have to factor in the likelihood that interest rates will move higher in 2015 and that will ripple through auto loans. Yes, that will make buying a car even more expensive and a potential risk is we could see auto demand pulled forward into the first half of 2015 from the second half if the Fed’s implied rate hike timetable becomes reality.”

        http://www.foxbusiness.com/investing/2014/08/28/auto-sales-fueled-by-subprime-loans/

        • 0 avatar
          SlowMyke

          You’ve got a lot of good info and points there. Hard to argue too much. But assuming that the US is a dying market without much rebound left in it would dictate some serious life decisions, wouldn’t it? A nation without a strong luxury market is a nation without much of a market at all. The point I’m making in saying the US is bound to cycle back is that there is no “natural” market to revert to. Somewhere along the line, it’s people that have to control and stimulate it. And if one (former? ) superpower doesn’t have the ability to keep the market going, I have little faith the others aren’t following down the same path at one rate or another. Humans as a whole aren’t very different from one country to the next. So long as those in power keep the ship straight, things go well. But the general populace doesn’t right it on their own, a la or current predicament.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks. I’m not an economist but the only way I see a luxury car market being truly strong in the US would be with a true economic recovery accompanied by a steady in increase in full time salaried private sector positions. I see neither happening in the short term, I see a lost decade 2008-2018+. In the long term it might be possible to “come back around” but this is still years away IMO. In any event, the automakers will be forced to follow the money if they wish to survive, let alone profit.

            I find your comment about “superpowers” keeping the market going very interesting because the last time a former superpower descended from the world stage it was the British Empire (Soviet Union/Russia followed a much different path). Fifty years ago the UK had a vibrant auto industry, almost all of which is now gone for various reasons (Rover being the last of the plebeian breeds) and what is left has been foreign owned for a decade or more (Bentley, RR Cars, JLR). Conceivably whats left of the “US” auto industry could suffer a similar fate, as one of the three domestics is already foreign owned and the transplant brands were always foreign.

            Personally I’m bearish on Western leaders “keeping the ship straight” as they have already steered us toward the rocks. Even the Pope recently implied we as a planet are in the midst of a piecemeal Third World War as he put it. Economics is an important, if not primary, reason behind many of the conflicts in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and even possibly West Africa as some have implied. Some have argued the massive debt overhang in both Federal debt and student loan debt is forcing banks and investors to be very cautious with their capital and thus impacting growth, jobs, consumption, etc. We are in uncharted waters in world history, IMO.

            The Cleveland Fed points out:

            “Given the large impact that the debt-overhang distortion has on firms’ investment, hiring, spending, and effort levels, debt overhang is likely to have been an important factor constraining the recovery. It is likely that it is still exerting a drag on hiring, investment, and growth.”

            http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/commentary/2010/2010-7.cfm

            “Pope Francis said on Saturday the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism” sowing death and destruction.”

            http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/13/uk-pope-war-idUKKBN0H808R20140913

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      De Nysschen is going to be remembered as the guy who symbolizes that it’s better to be lucky than good/correct when it comes to life, regarding his one off success at Audi.

      I’m really trying to be rein in my p!ss & vinegar here, and I therefore won’t do a seminar, but this is one of those times where a simple Google search will uncover the incredibly voluminous quality control & reliability issues Cadillac ATSs and CTSs are suffering, regardless of motor or powertrain.

      Maybe Cadillac should just join the me-too revolution of all-in on CUVs given the CUV craze, and hope that the CUV craze isn’t akin to a phase.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        GM has traditionally had issues bringing new platforms online (which may partially stem from their style of car production). The quality control issues may simply stem from the introduction of Alpha, and be contained to the models using the platform. Do the Sigma CTS, SRX, or Escalade suffer from similar issues?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          28, the SRX and ‘Slade are probably the two most reliable Cadillac products.

          The ‘Slade is essentially a truck designed and engineered by GM’s truck division, and they do okay, so that’s not a huge surprise.

          But the odd thing about the SRX is that it has fare relatively well, reliability wise, with the 3.6 DI motor, and yet, that same engine is having serious issues (rough idle, stalling, hot start problems) when shoved into the CTS & ATS.

          (The 4 bangers in the ATS, both base – I suffered this motor in the ATS and had issues with it – and 2.0T, are having a plethora of issues different than the 6, so much so, that even GM loyalists/owners readily and copiously show their frustration with Cadillac on online forums).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Cadillac must be trying to screw with the drivetrain or computer for the Alphas vs SRX. Perhaps its the fact Alpha was built and optimized for an inline 4, not a V6/V8 and there are platform specific issues mounting the V6 as Ed Niedermeyer reported in 2011:

            ” Here’s how GMI tells the story:

            …as Cadillac became involved with the Alpha program, a sense of deja vu came with it. Much like Cadillac’s initial involvement with the Sigma platform, Cadillac had a long wish-list for the new Alpha platform. This long list quickly turned a light, sporty platform on it’s head, including stops on development several times over the last few years.

            Initially Alpha was going to be a four-cylinder only chassis for small premium cars, so naturally development focused on optimizing the Alpha platform for four-cylinder mills in a very light package. Well, Cadillac’s first condition was that Alpha be re-engineered to package a naturally aspirated V-6 engine – and that was non-negotiable. This about-face on engine selection would become the first of at least two engine requests that led to a re-engineering of the Alpha chassis to accommodate the new requirements. More changes (read: more mass and cost) were required for the addition of all-wheel drive.

            What started out as a great handling, small RWD program, began it’s mission creep from being very focused to being all things to all people. And as it evolved, certain “hard-points” from previous development were locked in, even though the base program had transformed itself. For example, Alpha was designed with a very sophisticated multi-link front suspension with near perfect geometry for the car as it was developed at that point. That geometry was “locked in”. As the car grew and became heavier with more features and content, that original geometry was no longer optimal. Our sources tell us that GM is now attempting to mask this sub-optimal geometry with chassis tuning rather than doing the right thing and actually fix it.”

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/mission-creep-weight-problems-compromise-haunt-gm-alpha-platform/

            The other point for both of those is they have close Chevrolet cousins whereas the Alphas do not. I imagine each division still has separate product teams, its possible the Cadillac teams are simply incompetent compared to those in C-P-C who have much more riding on the success of their models. GM *cannot* screw up K2XX, they *cannot* screw up Theta, they can screw up Alpha, at least initially (the way they screwed up W, G, J at first). Another piece of the puzzle is the Cadillac variants of both K2XX and Theta were released *after* the C-P-C versions, so they would have both benefited from not being guinea pigs for roll out.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      28 cars wrote:

      “Europe no longer matters and North America will matter less and less each year. Just build everything for the Chinese from now on, its not like Americans want backseats or real power in their cars, right?

      “De Nysschen expects to account for 50 percent of premium car purchases by the end of the decade.”

      This gave me a hearty laugh, as if Generation Jobless is going to come out of mom’s basement between now and 2020 -in the midst of an ongoing global depression- and suddenly become 50% of the auto market. The only way this could occur is if the auto market shrinks as Boomers leave it.”

      ———–

      Don’t forget that it’s a non-negotiable rule that in order to do business in China and have access to their domestic consumers, any foreign corporation MUST have a Chinese JV.

      The west and other Asian corporations are essentially transferring manufacturing, technology and engineering resources, R&D and other information to Chinese corporations, placing trillions in manufacturing and research facilities there, which literally are corporate hostage to the Chinese Government.

      China has been allowed a 100 year leap forward in the span of aprox 20 years (or since Clinton signed China’s MFN trade designation into law, supported by “both” parties of the American political spectrum.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Best thing cadillac could do would be divest itself from GM and go its’ own way. As long as it is part of GM it will continue to be a second class/tier luxury brand. the only person i know that buys cadillacs buys them when they are several years old and starting to leak. If he can keep the leaks less than a quart every two weeks he thinks he is doing well. People that buy cadillacs have too much money and not enough common sense. Too bad they are considered the number one AMERICAN brand. Indication of how far this country gas slipped in the automotive and technology industry. The USSR didn’t destroy American tech expertise but GM is sure doing a good job at it.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      As much as GM touts the independence of their brands corporately they’re just divisions within the corporate structure. Cadillac has no more power to buy itself than GM would choose to sell it off. But the anti-GM attitudes on TTAC make having this discussion kind of moot.

      Cadillac’s best bet is to go heavy on crossovers and stick to their own different styling while offering models people want. 7 Series/S-Classes aren’t the bread and butter of a luxury make anymore (or really ever were). Go wild with crossovers and keep making more relevant decisions to people who are coming up the power structure instead of trying to play on nostalgia for large V8s and RWD cars as your expected ‘come back’ move.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What would you buy in a Cadillac Xer, if you could snap you fingers and have anything?

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          Tough choice, ELR Coupe or SRX most likely. The SRX is actually a nice sized vehicle that isn’t too large and certainly has a decent design aesthetic to me. The ELR is just more interesting in a way, electric coupe would be impractical on long trips but my normal driving habits would be no issue for it to handle.

          But again it’s more a size issue for me, I’ve tried BMW & Mercedes C-Class before, they’re a bit tight for me to slide into so I suspect the SRX would be less of an issue. It just sucks being really tall….

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Interesting. I’d be curious to know how well a tall person would fit in an ELR, it certainly seems like an ATS would be out of the question for most. I would also imagine ATS and ELR would not make the best long distance travel vehicles for most people.

            If I could have any Cadillac, it would be the Elmiraj concept with slightly better styling and a real grille.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Rday, I agree! I have been saying ever since the demise of GM in 2009 that Buick and GMC should be given to China, or whatever, and Chevrolet and Cadillac should do their own thing as GM’s core brands under one umbrella.

      And Xeranar also makes a great point on going heavy on cross-overs. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, that’s where the money is at.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      That sounds a lot like 1980, when the UK’s Iron Lady, Maggie Thatcher, told British Leyland’s hapless management to sell off Jaguar.

      When Jaguar was “privatised,” sales and quality went up on existing designs. They turned a profit. Company head John Egan was knighted. Everyone was happy.

      Then Jaguar introduced the XJ40 sedan in 1986. Quality was bad. From day one it was technically way behind Mercedes and BMW. Then the stock market crashed. Then Lexus came along.

      Fortunately Jaguar found a sucker…er…buyer…Ford. I think you know the rest.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Cadillac isn’t going anywhere soon. There is still considerable equity in the name. Despite GM’s best efforts to damage it, being a Cadillac means something.

        An X-Over between the Escalade and SRX is a great idea. However, the standard 3.6 isn’t going to cut it. It needs at least a twin-turbo 3.6 as a standard engine.

  • avatar

    The SRX is fairly affordable and takes on the Lexus RX, Lincoln MKX and most of the compact European crossovers. I think it looks awkward and needs to be redesigned, but it does well on the market. The Escalade, on the other hand, is large, brash and starts at over $72K…and most examples don’t go out the door for less than $80K. GM already has “luxury” seven-seat crossovers in the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia Denali, and they compete with some of the less-expensive, FWD-based luxury crossovers, especially the Infiniti QX60 and Acura MDX (although I’d buy either one of those before the Enclave and Acadia).

    That leaves plenty of room for Cadillac to introduce a RWD-based, semi-rugged seven-seat crossover that starts at around $48-50K. Something that would be much better than the original SRX (which accommodated seven and *was* RWD-based), and something that would target, for example, the Audi Q7 and (though it’s FWD) the upcoming XC90. And if it’s executed really well, Cadillac could boost their brand perception and desirability considerably. But if they do something stupid like build a Cadillac on the Lambda platform, all bets are off…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Gosh I view the RX as a level up from the SRX. Size, equipment, prestige, all of that.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The SRX is bigger than the RX.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Genuinely, I think of the RX, then I think of the Equinox and the SRX – and that just doesn’t seem possible. Maybe because the SRX is so stumpy.

          Either way, SRX styling doesn’t appeal to me at all, and looks “discount” and sort of “2008.” Which in a way, I guess it is 2008.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, the SRX is kind of stumpy, but it resides squarely in a class of larger-than-compact five-seater crossovers, which also includes the MKX, Edge, Murano, Venza…and the RX. These cars may not look any larger than some of the longer compact crossovers (like the Escape) on the face of it, but they can definitely be identified by having an abundance of rear-seat legroom and being really quite comfortable.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            No matter how much GM attempts to obfuscate the issue, the fact is that the SRX & Equinox/Terrain essentially share the same platform.

            GM officially claims that the SRX chassis is a “premium” derivative of the Theta (because they threw in some elements from the Epsilon 2 & Lambda into the mix), but it’s 90% Theta and extremely close to the Equinox/Terrain.

            I’m not knocking the SRX thought not my cup of tea (few, if any, CUVs are).

            I don’t find the competition to be any better than the SRX, and much of it to be worse (and worse yet, more expensive, ala Audi Q5; the SRX rides as well, is as quiet, is as spacious, is more powerful and is more reliable than the Q5, just to pick on Audi).

            In general, these class of vehicles are all grossly overpriced piles of crap, though, so it’s all relative.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    His statement was fairly bland, really.

    So they are going to build something sub-SRX. Oh you mean like Buick has in the Encore? You mean they’ll use that for a Cadillac. Ok.
    And they are going to build something between SRX and Escalade. Oh like Buick has in the Enclave? So they’ll use that as a Cadillac. Shocking.

    However, this is the fantasy part:
    “…the products De Nysschen talked about were two large sedans above the upcoming RWD flagship”

    Above meaning larger and more expensive? Having an RWD Cadillac to compete with the large Germans is a BIG stretch. Having two more above that is silly. Nobody will pay Rolls-Royce money, is that what they’re thinking?

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    So, we already know that the SRx replacement won’t be on its own platform (technically the current one isn’t either, but they only made a handful of Saab 9-4x). GM will add a smaller badge-engineered SUV to the lineup, as well as a bigger badge-engineered SUV, with the range still topped-off by the badge-engineered Escalade.

    Are you kidding me?

    Cadillac’s bold new plan for the next decade is to repeat every mistake they’ve made over the last 40 years! Are these guys for real?

    • 0 avatar

      Well, of course the new SUVs won’t be on their own platforms. That would probably make the whole exercise cost-prohibitive. But who said anything about badge-engineering either one? GM would be unwise to leverage their existing FWD platforms (like Gamma and Lambda) for this application because neither one would wear Cadillac proportions particularly well. I say the new RWD Alpha platform (which currently holds the ATS and CTS, and will support the upcoming Camaro) is a good candidate for both vehicles. Certainly a compact CUV version of the ATS (with more room) would be well-received, and it looks like Alpha could also stretch to include something with room for seven.

      Also, I think you’re a bit confused on what “badge-engineering” means. Badge-engineering is when you sell the same basic product under multiple brands, with only some trim pieces and “badges” to differentiate each version. This was much more rampant at GM ten years ago, and culminated into the nightmare that was the GMT3xx platform (9-7X, Ascender, Bravada, Envoy, TrailBlazer, Rainier, etc…). Now it’s restricted mostly to selling global products under different brands, depending on region (such as how the Opel Insignia is our Buick Regal, which is hardly offensive), and the large truck vehicles. But even if GM did do something stupid like make a Lambda-based crossover for Cadillac, I’m sure it would have its own bodyshell and interior…and that isn’t badge-engineering.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I disagree that Alpha would work for a volume CUV, although it might make a nice niche product like the Infiniti FX/QX70. RWD-based CUVs just have too many packaging compromises to compete in a very practical market. The last one Cadillac sold, the pre-2008 SRX, had a few devoted buyers but didn’t get mainstream traction like the current SRX.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Luxury CUVs” are a practical market? Daimler, Audi, and BMW all have similar packaged RWD/AWD content in the segment why not Alpha Cadillac?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Audi’s products aren’t similarly packaged to the Benz or BMW products. The Q5 is much more like the usual FWD crossovers.

            And the Benz and BMW products, excluding the huge GL-Class, sell relatively small numbers when compared to products like the MDX, RX, or … SRX. People know that an X5 is much bigger on the outside than a RX with less space inside.

            Cadillac could sell way more copies of a MDX competitor than an X5 competitor.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I was thinking something along the lines of the GLK for the Alpha CUV, something smaller and below SRX. One can see in the image the GLK is a less than ample if not tight fit for four passengers (passenger side seat is in its normal position, drivers is pulled up for contrast I suppose). Cadillac could build a similar model and compete in this segment using the existing small car platform. Whether Alpha could be stretched to build something larger as you suggest I can’t be sure.

            http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3430/3226399079_b4658ba1f4.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Badge engineering, GM style, means that you can buy the exact same car, usually under the same roof, except that it has different lights, a different grille, and different badges. You can also option-up the cheaper car to be equipped like the more expensive car, at a lower cost. That’s exactly what will happen when Cadillac releases their Buick-clone SUVs.

        Cadillac has to mean something if it’s going to survive. They are barely treading water right now compared to Audi/BMW/Mercedes/Lexus. Heck, they are just a few units ahead of “dead in the water” Acura.

        The only Cadillac that’s selling in significant numbers is the SRx. It’s also their only exclusive platform.

        What do they do? Replace the SRx with a lesser platform, and bring-in more low-rent clones!

        That’s how they got in this mess in the first place.

        If they can’t afford to engineer exclusive platforms, they can’t afford to be in business. End of story.

        • 0 avatar

          No, not end of story. Not end of story at all.

          Go back and re-read the article, because you’ve added all sorts of elements to the story that weren’t there previously. For one thing, the SRX really just rides on a modified variant of the Theta platform. It’s not *really* unique. Also, who said anything about *replacing* the SRX with a *lesser* platform? Cadillac have said that they may possibly slate crossovers above and below the SRX. They did *not* say that the crossovers would be on lesser platforms, and they *certainly* didn’t say anything about doing away with the SRX. And they also didn’t say anything about using a platform that has already been utilized by Buick. What if they *do* (as I suspect they will) use the Alpha platform? There are no Buick crossovers using Alpha.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            GM has already announced that the next SRx will be built on a line shared with other GM SUVs, which is the same as saying that it will platform-share.

            At this point, Cadillac is a small regional player. They keep promising that they will sell in Europe, but they never will. They are essentially nowhere China. What’s the upside?

  • avatar
    dwford

    As long as we don’t end up with $70k Buick Encore clones….

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is welcome news. Cadillac needs more crossovers yesterday.

    The challenge will be in making them compelling offerings.

    In the large space, a restyled Acadia Denali won’t cut it… unless there are substantial differentiators. The easiest way to differentiate it would be to give it the twin-turbo 3.6L V6. Magnetic ride would help too. I think a well-styled Lambda derivative with those two features would do the trick.

    In the small sub-SRX space, there’s definitely room. But I don’t know what platform GM would use. Delta III will be the next SRX. Below that, you only have Gamma II. It would be very hard to make a Gamma II-based crossover that felt like an adequate Cadillac. At a minimum, it would need the 2.0T engine (which has never been in a Gamma II car) and a level of solidity that has eluded Gamma so far.

    The theme here is that Cadillac could do very well with more crossovers if, and only if, the investment is made to make them substantially better than their platform-mates.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I’m not sure why, but that whole Acadia/Enclave/whatever platform just seems so emasculated. Are they based on minivans or what? There’s just something off about them, despite them having what looks like the same footprint of the Escalade.

      Caddy has huge, mega, mega brand equity in the Escalade line. They’d be wise to ape Range Rover and style all their SUVs like the Escalade. A little mini Escalade with sportyish proportions based on the Alpha platform would be the first logical use of said platform and would generate the volumes to rationalize its existence.

      I still think the core of Caddy moving forward has to be some kind of “super Volt”… a legit 5 seater sedan or hatch with a decent trunk and similar range to the Volt. Differentiation in this market is critical, which is why GM’s “store brand 3 series for brand name 3 series prices” plan is the height of idiocy. The ‘making the brand more upscale’ talk is not much better- do you think Toyota cares that people don’t see the RX as super prestigious when they are flying out of dealerships? Perception and brand matters for luxury marques but ultimately the fundamentals of business- providing value to consumers- is still paramount, and I am not sure this guy’s aspirations of grandeur for the Caddy brand will do that. Caddy will never be relevant in Europe no matter how hard they try, and that alone will keep Caddy from reaching the top rung. So they might as well focus on selling cars and making profit.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The Lambdas are proportioned a bit more like vans, with relatively low floors and short hoods… which is why they, alone in the crossover marketplace, have honestly usable third rows. So far the styling of the existing variants hasn’t really tried to disguise the proportions. I think GM could do so if it tried, and I also think the TT engine would pretty much shut up all critics (as the EcoBoost V6 did for the Ford Flex).

        I don’t think a Lambda should replace the Escalade. I think it should be a new offering between the SRX and the Escalade, and that the Escalade should also be taken upmarket to become less like a cheap Chevy truck and more like a Range Rover. (Hint, hint, IRS and unibody construction.)

      • 0 avatar

        The Acadia, Enclave and Traverse (Lambda vehicles) seem “emasculated” because they’re somewhat bloated-looking, on account of basically being minivan *replacements*. GM itself has said that the Lambda platform isn’t a good candidate for a Cadillac variant because many of that platform’s constraints (such as windshield rake and dash-to-axle ratio) would not look good with Cadillac styling plastered onto them. Also, the Lambda vehicles don’t look outright “cheap”, but they are built to a price, and you can tell. A Buick (entry level luxury) is one thing, but it’s really hard to make a Lambda look good alongside world-class cars like the Q7 and X5. Plus, the Lambda vehicles hail from MY2007 and are the only GM consumer cars that don’t have the current electronics architecture, so I’m pretty sure GM is going to retire that platform upon the phase-out of its current models. We can pretty much scratch off Lambda as being a supporting architecture for the Cadillac crossovers. It ain’t gonna happen. I agree that the new Alpha architecture sounds like the most likely choice, especially since it could spawn both a small compact crossover (think ATS on stilts, with a bit more backseat room if Cadillac has learned its lesson), and something to seat seven, and that could start at about $48K (to complete the mission that the original, RWD, Sigma-based SRX was supposed to accomplish).

        If you step into any of Cadillac’s new vehicles, you see that they are every bit as good for fit-and-finish and materials choices as what the major players are putting out. Even the Escalade is a significant upgrade from the Yukon Denali with which it shares its body-shell and powertrain. I think Cadillac has what it takes to make this work.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Yea I wasn’t suggesting Caddy should use the Lambda platform. Sorry if it came across that way.

        I think they should make 1 small and 1 midsize crossover with the angular, boxy, blingy style of the Escalade. Basically, apply the “3 sausages different lengths” the Germans do with their sedans to their crossovers. That would be a great use for the Alpha platform- assuming, of course, that GM had the foresight to engineer the Alpha platform for crossover duty. The next Escalade could be the flagship of the brand, built off that new Sigma platform they were looking to waste on a revenge flagship nobody is going to buy. Or not- I think a lot of Escalade users actually tow stuff and use them as trucks. Who knows. In any case, crossovers would be better uses/drivers of new platforms.

      • 0 avatar
        Turbolove

        Comparing the Acadia/Enclave to the Esky/Tahoe/Yukon the cargo cubes are almost identical. The front drive derived crossover is not bog like the big boys so towing is around 5,000 lbs or almost half.

        We don’t need extra seats so the Saab 9-4x Aero/SRX in 2010-2011 share the same 2.8T, which should easily handle it’s 3,500 lbs tow rating and most watercraft duties.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    It’s appropriate that Cadillac is a French name because their concentrated effort in the crossover segments would just give the Germans another Dieppe.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    De Nysschen seems to have a good handle on things. Cadillac needs to go head to head with the competition with a full line, including crossovers. Large luxury sedans might not be the bread and butter, but they’re key to a luxury lineup and add credibility and aspiration to the order.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Talk is cheap, no doubt
    Actions speak loud.

    I like the way he says he’s going to take the company, 3 large Traditional American sized luxury cars to make cadillac a relevant American brand, and allow the escalade some breathing room from being their only offering, and have multiple crossovers to secure a nice cash flow.

    I’m sure the 3 large sedans are going to be more of an aspirational image builder for the brand, and leave room for the rebadged crossovers for the blind masses thinking they got a deal on a “real” cadillac.

    However all this clashes with his previous statement of not appropriately pricing the brands offerings, expensive crap is still crap, it hurts the image, no two ways, there’s no way they can actually open the BMW market with the ATS/CTS when they can’t even compete on pricing, or offer a non boring engine combo.

    • 0 avatar

      The 2.5-liter four cylinder (also seen in the Malibu as the volume engine) is as boring as all-get-out, and has no business being in a Cadillac sport sedan. But the other engines, especially the new 3.6-liter twin-turbo, aren’t boring at all. Besides, it’s not as if people with money buy the 3 or 5-Series because of actual athleticism. The 5-Series is the new German Buick, and the 3-Series is headed that way. It’s merely perception.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        That’s actually the point I was trying to make, albeit poorly.

        The models that actually fill the brands message, are basically never the top sellers, however people will buy vehicles with the badge to associate with that crowd, because for whatever reason they cannot obtain the actual things.
        Makes people happy, and fills the automakers wallet with ease as they just take something cheap from the parent company and try to hide what it is, as people will buy it.

        I know people disagree with me, but cadillac to me means big luxury vehicles with the biggest V8-V/W16 that can be fitted in the engine bay.
        BMW means to mean the most agile vehicle with the lightest and most powerful engine that can be put onto a chassis that doesn’t compromise handling or interior comfort.
        Two different roles, BMW is starting to drift to mediocre, and Cadillacs trying to shift to a makeshift BMW. BMW can only play that game for as long as people are willing to pay top dollar to what is becoming a Camry. Cadillac cannot play that game as it cannot attract that customer base. Nor are they willing to go the distance to show they are better.

  • avatar
    slance66

    CUVs aren’t going anywhere. The reason seems simple to me, people don’t enjoy cars anymore, not like they did. Cars are appliances now. They want one car that does everything. Comfort, space, room for 5 or 7, hauling stuff, getting through snow, traversing deep puddles, nice forward visibility (with a camera to fix the poor rear visibility). It’s the Swiss Army knife approach, just pick your size. The average person has no use for a CTS-V.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      That would be awesome.

      But then, there are two working parents, who work at completely different places, one child who needs to drive to school and college next year, and then another child (me) who will need to drive to school. One, two, even three cars won’t work for us next year, when I get my license and my sister goes to college.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If GM wants Cadillac to have any chance of competing globally, then it really ought to become the brash American version of Range Rover. Much of the world thinks of American cars as a sort of joke, but SUVs are consistent with the stereotype and can be spun positively, without the need to out-BMW BMW.

    That could be done in tandem with transforming Opel into the global luxury car brand. Reskin the ATS and CTS into something Euro-global, and give Opel the big bad flagship.

    This would be an uphill battle in Europe where Opels are not exactly held in esteem. However, Opel is one of a few car brands in the world that can brag about being German, which allows one to charge higher prices when done properly. Why GM doesn’t see that Teutonic connection as an opportunity ready to be exploited instead of just a cost burden, I don’t know.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “If GM wants Cadillac to have any chance of competing globally, then it really ought to become the brash American version of Range Rover.”

      They’ve got the reliability part nailed down!

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Grandiose pronouncements about 3 expensive sedans likely to flop indicates Cadillac could go ADD on the ATS and CTS.

    From what the data, forums and CR say, the ATS and CTS ownership experience is subpar. In other words, they’re BMWs but without the roundel and prestige. My guess is that customers won’t go to Cadillac for sedans if WOM stays bad. It won’t matter if they’re happy with the Escalade, SRX and whatever other CUV comes out.

    Given that scenario, shouldn’t Cadillac be focusing on saying “We’re Sorry and We’re Gonna Make It Right” with ATS and CTS?

  • avatar
    bd2

    Cadillac hasn’t totally reversed course on a large 3-row crossover.

    They did reverse course on a 3-row based on the Lambda platform, but they also had been contemplating one based on the new RWD Omega platform and the latest indication is that De Nysschen wants to go forward with that.

    As for 2 models above the Omega-based sedan that is currently in development, one would be a “4-door coupe” and the other probably a uber-lux sedan.

    De Nysschen needs to be careful here and recognize that such models (as well as a Cadillac supercar) while nice, require substantial investment for little return on sales volume.

    What he needs to accelerate is the development of a full line of Cadillac CUVs (right now, Cadillac only offers the aging SRX).

    Cadillac needs an Alpha based compact CUV, an SRX replacement (next one going to a little larger but remain FWD, which is a mistake), as well as a 3-row.

    Probably need to add a 4th, a subcompact model slotting underneath the Alpha based CUV to compete against the X1, GLA, etc.

    Once, Cadillac has its CUV lineup in order, then they can go ahead and develop halo models like a 4-door coupe or a supercar.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Heck, an SUV based on the new Colorado/Canyon with a 3.6L twin-turbo V6 or 5.3L would be pretty awesome. It would be a baby Escalade.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…a successor to the ELR plug-in hybrid”

    All of Cadillac will be poisoned as long as this mentality persists.

    It’s obvious that nobody exists at Cadillac who can tell the boss “no”.

    The ELR is profoundly inappropriate for the brand. It’s the worst-selling Cadillac in many decades; the Cimarron and XLR were stars by comparison.

    I’ve had a change of heart on the ELR in one aspect: its problem isn’t the price, it’s the performance and the configuration. Lots of people have paid $75k for a Cadillac before, but I still believe true Cadillac buyers don’t want to fool around with a duel-fuel vehicle. Even after that, it is a performance dog.

    Lately a handful of these cars have moved via lower price, so the buyers are now paying for what the ELR is – an overpriced Chevy.

    • 0 avatar

      I admit that I’m sort of shocked that after running in circles with Bob F (a good guy who wasn’t the right guy for this gig) for a couple of years, GM finally went out and hired what might be the one guy in the whole world who really is qualified to do what they want to do with Cadillac. I’ll be less shocked if they actually give him the time and space and freedom to do it.

      And yes, they need the crossovers. In fact, they needed them to be hitting dealers about two years ago.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    How about that? Lincoln actually has a full line of crossovers, compact, mid sized, and large, but Cadillac doesn’t have a mid-sized model. Lincoln needs RWD compact and mid-sized sedans and a Halo full size Continental, but it’s got the bread-and-butter luxury crossovers to keep dealers happy and rebuild the brand. Cadillac doesn’t seem to have a plan.

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