Editorial: Cadillac Reversing Course On Crossovers

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

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, h is 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.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 23, 2014

    "...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.

    • John Rosevear John Rosevear on Sep 23, 2014

      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.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 23, 2014

    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.

  • Ronin The very asking of the question "Are Plug-In Hybrids the Future?" is an interesting one. Because just 2 or 3 years ago we'd be asking- no, asserting- that E cars are the future. We're no longer asking that question.
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