Escalade To The Rescue: Cadillac's Numbers Are Awful Without The Big SUV

escalade to the rescue cadillacs numbers are awful without the big suv

At this very moment, imagine if you will, Cadillac without the Escalade.

It’s not a difficult task. Let’s just do the Cadillac maths as if the Escalade no longer exists. It does, and it surely will, but let’s exclude it for the sake of establishing a different perspective.

• Cadillac cars down 7% in January

• Escalade up 136%; ESV up 189%

• Cadillac brand up 2.6% in January

In the U.S. last month, Cadillac’s car division was down 7%. The ATS slid 8%, the ninth consecutive year-over-year monthly decline for the small Cadillac.

The CTS, which is still a recently introduced model, fell 24%, a loss of 534 units. We knew Cadillac was repositioning this car in a smaller, less affordable corner of the luxury market. But CTS declines are nothing new. After sliding 15% in 2012, CTS volume fell 31% in 2013, then suffered a slight 4% drop in 2014. On a monthly basis, CTS volume has fallen on 30 occasions in the last 37 months.

XTS volume increased in January, however, rising 14% (or 234 units) to 1882 U.S. sales. But that year-over-year comparison takes us back to a month in which XTS sales fell 13%. Compared with January 2013, the XTS didn’t quite make it back to that level. In 2014, the XTS’s second full year on sale, U.S. volume plunged 25%.

CadillacJanuary2015January2014% ChangeSRX3,4854,446-21.6%XTS1,8821,64814.2%ATS1,7571,909-8.0%CTS1,6982,232-23.9%Escalade1,664704136%Escalade ESV1,100381189%ELR9241124%Escalade EXT225-92.0%Total11,68011,3862.6%

Cadillac also reported a 124% ELR uptick, but at just 92 units sold, the ELR only forms 1.7% of Cadillac’s passenger car volume.

Thus, in a U.S. car market which climbed 8% in January, Cadillac car volume was down by 401 units to 5429.

In other words, the whole Cadillac car line was outsold by individual nameplates such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Lexus RX, and the BMW 3-Series/4-Series.

As for the SRX, an aging crossover which resides at the heart of the premium utility vehicle market, January volume dropped 22%. After witnessing impressive U.S. SRX sales growth in 2010, 2011, 2012, and the first half of 2014, second-half volume last year tumbled 25%.

Fortunately, the Escalade still exists, and the weak performance of other Cadillac allowed the Escalade family to showcase the Cadillac’s real strength in January. Combined, the Escalade and the SRX – which, while slowing, is not yet an unpopular luxury utility vehicle – accounted for 54% of Cadillac’s January sales.

The regular-wheelbase Escalade jumped 136% to 1664 units, nearly as many sales as the CTS managed. The long-wheelbase Escalade ESV was up 189% to 1100 units. (Cadillac also reported two EXT sales.)

Without Escalade, Cadillac was down 13% to 8914 January sales.

With Escalade, Cadillac was up 3% to 11,680 January sales.

True, the overall brand’s slight 294-unit increase involves a year-over-year comparison with January 2014, when auto sales were not at their healthiest. In comparison with January 2013, total Cadillac volume was actually down 11% last month. Moreover, Cadillac’s growth was far outpaced by the industry as a whole, which shot up 14% in January 2015.

The fact remains, no imagination is required to realize that the Escalade is the beacon of hope for Cadillac at this moment.

And yet even the Escalade isn’t selling like it did in the glory days of yore. Take your mind back to January 2007, when the Escalade, ESV, and EXT combined for 3710 total U.S. sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

Join the conversation
6 of 132 comments
  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Feb 19, 2015

    The problem with Cadillac is that it isn't a Euro prestige vehicle and never has been and never will be one. It attempts to compete in their market segments and is assessed against them. Why would anyone buy a Cadillac when you have such good Euro cars on offer. As the auto industry rationalises globally, Caddy has only one way to go. That's down. I do read some comments alluding to; "it's apple pie" in effect, big fncking deal. How many customers really give a sh!t. This is illustrated in Caddy's sales performance against it's peers. If Caddy wanted to be realistic it would produce a genuine globally attractive vehicle and not a vehicle that is appealing to less and less people as time goes by in the US. Maybe what GM should do with it's Andy Warhol/Kinks/Soho management team is look at the latest Mustang. What a refreshing American vehicle. It will sell well globally. The Camaro would sell globally as well, but we all know it's based on an Aussie design. Maybe GM should also ask it's "trendy" Soho managers to look at FCA. Why is it that Jeep is acceptable globally. The current Cadillac team needs to be replaced or sell Cadillac to the Chinese.

    • See 3 previous
    • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Feb 20, 2015

      @Lie2me Nothing worse than two UAW Trolls making comments, collectively they make less sense than one

  • Stanczyk Stanczyk on Feb 20, 2015

    So these mooroons at GM got the massage .. ?!? They should built .. big, elegant, luxurious , opulent , excentric, oryginal .. cars, and not thy to 'copy and chase' Germans .. ?!? Cadillac needs people like Bob Lutz .. : Make a good car and people will follow .. -- 'Cadillac should focus on its Americanness... and yes, they would sell them('unique cars') in Europe ..`'

  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.
  • FreedMike How about the “Aztek” package? Wait, this car already has that…Said it before and I’ll say it again: they need to restyle the hind end on this car, stat.