By on September 10, 2015

2017 Cadillac XT5

If you looked into the Manhattan skyline last night, you may have caught a glimpse of Cadillac’s newest crossover flying through the air like a Swiss cow airlifted out of the Alps.

That was for fashion writers to see the car’s style (and aerodynamic properties?) and to announce Cadillac’s new partnership with design firm Public School, an Austin, Texas-based studio that’s probably hopelessly cool.

The car didn’t touch the ground, no one drove it, its powertrain is still somewhat of a mystery, and here’s why (via AdAge):

Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus said the goal is to gain the attention of fashionistas, rather than cater to car buffs, auto journalists and other petrolheads. Because in his view, younger customers are less interested in the technical details of cars, and don’t read car magazines as often as they used to. But “they are very interested in fashion. They are very interested in design,” he said.

As we know already, the XT5 will make its first world appearance in Dubai at Public School’s fashion event, before the car makes its way to Los Angeles for the auto show reveal.

That’s where we’ll learn if the car, built on the new Chi platform, has four or six cylinders, turbos or not, front- or all-wheel drive, Super Cruise or telekinesis. Basically, what we’re saying is, there’s not a lot we know about this car other than it has some quotient of “style” and can be airlifted.

Only a few months into Cadillac’s residency in New York City, and it seems like the brand is running as far away from Detroit as it can.

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76 Comments on “Everything But The Car: Here’s The New Cadillac XT5...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    How does Pen Boy still have a job?

    Chief Marketing Officer [Pen Boy] said the goal is to gain the attention of [idiots], rather than cater to [customers], [the media] and other [people interested in cars].

    Whats the over under of the brand surviving beyond say 2021?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Melody wrote this response for him. He didn’t wanna say it but she giggled at him, so he decided to.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      ” Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus said the goal is to gain the attention of fashionistas, rather than cater to car buffs, auto journalists and other petrolheads. Because in his view, younger customers are less interested in the technical details of cars, and don’t read car magazines as often as they used to. But “they are very interested in fashion. They are very interested in design,” he said.”

      And-

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cadillacs-director-brand-reputation-strategy-dont-want-automotive-brand/

      Thus spake Melody Lee:

      “I’ll often say, ‘Well, do you want a millennial’s perspective?’ You have one right here.”

      “Everyone in New York is always just a little bit ahead of everyone else and we need to be the brand that stands for that.”

      “I don’t buy products, I buy brands. I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

      “We want to be a global luxury brand that happens to sell cars. We don’t want to be an automotive brand.”

      Cadillac is SOOOO FUBAR’D with these absolute morons at the helm.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        DW, that’s just standard marketingspeak nothing. It’s no different at Caddy than it is anywhere else. I once worked for a very large liquor company. My first month, I was invited to a meet-and-great/Q&A with the CEO for new employees. With about 75 of my new colleagues looking on, I asked the CEO something about our mission statement, which was something like “building brands people want to talk about” and it’s (hopefully intentional) clear omission of the concept of “good products”. I was looked at like I had 4 heads and offered the CEO the chance to hump my dog. I never did get a clear answer why a consumer products company might not want to have something about “product excellence” in its mission statement, but that’s how marketeers work.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Cadillac is a schizophrenic, floundering mess, however, not being able to stay on the same message for more than an 18 month period, and going from a “best (alleged) products [in the BMW space],” with the ATS & CTS put up to to head to head with the 3 Series and MB E Class, to now LAME A$$ Melody Lee fashion shows & aerial helicopter stunts (per lame “Public Schoolhouse” marketing firm) over Manhattan.

          Touting the alleged merits of the product has resulted in year over year drops, for at least 3 years, for every Cadillac save the Escalade (with the ATS, CTS and XTS absolutely plunging), and now their going to go fruity arthouse viral marketing.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            You really have no clue who buys/leases $50k crossovers do you? Women who make good $$ or those who are in households that do.

            Cadillac does ok in some southern and midwest markets with the current SRX. This is an effort to get better in the New York, Miami, LA, Atlanta etc. markets where a ton of these vehicles move.

            These efforts don’t happen easily or overnight. You don’t use the same strategy for a lux compact sedan as a crossover.

            Not saying all is great, but just addressing some of your annoying b!tching.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Sunridge. Cadillac will make zero inroads on the lexus rx leasing soccer moms. If thats the market they are chasing, Cadillac is done.

            They need two models that start at 80.000 AND UP. The Fleetwood and the Escalade. Cadillac can only turn it around by becoming the American Bently or Rolls Royce and again establishing their chops. Competing with bmw with cars that should be Pontiacs is destroying the brand, and so is lessor models which no one cares about.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            nickoo

            You seem to be missing the point as well. I’m not talking about the Cadillac brand or a sedan strategy…I’m talking about the new XT5/SRX.

            If you think a luxury brand shouldn’t have crossovers, I don’t know what to say. Cadillac does ok with the SRX. Look at the sales within the segment. They are trying to expand those sales. This has nothing to do with long term vehicle strategy and everything to do with increasing sales in a growth segment. How is that a bad idea?

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Its a bad strategy because it leaves no middle ground for Buick and because its not good enough to sway rx loyalists who wouldnt consider a cadillac if the choice was between cadillac or the bus. Cadillac isnt going to win over lexus shoppers by simply being present they need to step up their game and go after the S class and GL. If they want to establish a brand like they keep saying they do, then they need to make exclusive world class products. To sell to image concious women, vapid celebuslutz need to be driving their products. Women have a herd mentality and will not deviate in the slightest no matter what the product is bringing to the table, they want to be seen in what their peers and celebrities are driving.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I detest the predator maw of the new Lexus design, including as it’s incorporated into their CUVs.

            Cadillac always misses any opportunity to set itself apart from the pack, in a positive way, even when their purported competition leaves them a wide open door to do so.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Maybe I’ve been in the flatlands (Chicagoland) too long, but around here people have no problem with Caddys, and are perfectly happy to chose them over, or at least compare them to, Lexuses and lower-level BMWs, MBs, and Audis. You couldn’t throw a dead cat without hitting a then-new CTS here from about 2008-2012.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Badge fail: the 5 is so squished that it looks like an S and the badge reads XTS.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      Another observation: why is the rear bumper black plastic; is this the poverty spec trim perhaps? Tick the painted bumper option for only 1,995$ or 55$/mo!

      This plastic bumper with white paint will look incredibly cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        It is black plastic to hide the visual heft of the car, although it doesn’t work as well when the car is painted blank and when you make the black plastic too large.

        Look at most CUVs from any automaker and you will see it.

        • 0 avatar
          Cactuar

          Yes it’s a trick used by everyone, except on the XT5 the plastic area is too tall. It should have stopped at the same height as the faux skid plate. It would also have allowed the thin chrome strip to be embedded in a paint colored panel instead of sharing space with plastic. Chrome on plastic just looks odd and tacked-on.

    • 0 avatar
      Loki

      Good eye. I bet my lunch that this was done intentionally such that Caddy’s core audience (blind old men) would still see this as the XTS they’ve been tooling around with the past few years.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Lumberjack hipsters everywhere are running to Cadillac dealerships as we speak.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Prediction: as meh as this is, it’ll pick up market share, because the new Lexus RX is HIDEOUS.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I don’t think so. The Lexus badge carries about 2.5lbs of prestige on top of it, and Cadillac has about .68lbs. Also build quality, refinement, comfort, reliability, standard V6.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1
      As awful as the marketing drivel may be, the XT5 still looks a lot better than the new RX.

    • 0 avatar
      Loki

      And the Lincoln MKX is actually a really solid car.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        That too, Loki.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          As MKX competitor rather, this falls down quite quickly. Especially when considering the new availability of Black Label or whatever.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I think the MKX will definitely pick up market share, but I don’t see it outselling the Caddy…at least not yet. Why? Because the MKX nameplate has never been much of a player in this segment – it’s always been a redecorated Edge, and never made much of a dent for Lincoln. Casual buyers wouldn’t know the SRX was based on Equinox (Cadillac did an excellent job differentiating the two), and the SRX has been a strong seller for a long time now. It has built up a market for itself, where the MKX really hasn’t.

            But that Gawdawful looking RX has just opened up the field for its competitors, either way…Lexus rep or not, that thing is HIDEOUS, and that alone will be enough to turn plenty of buyers off (I’d be one of them).

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      People don’t buy Lexii for the looks.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        True, but most Lexii aren’t outright ugly, though. This one is. It’ll be interesting to see if the brand carries it (my bet is that sales on this model are about to drop, though).

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          @ FreedMike – Sample size of one, but my father is the happy owner of a ’10 RX 350. As of about two years ago, he’d been planning to trade it in for a ’16. The faultless reliability of the ’10 and the hideous looks of the 4th-gen are making him reconsider, however.

          I’ll also note that he’s a member of the Silent Generation, which makes him poison to Boomer- and Millennial-focused marketing types.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    This type of marketing isn’t going to fly with the stodgy stuck-in-old-Detroit types.
    And, yes, intended.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The reverse indicator location is no. Don’t put a plastic lens at primary contact area of sharp crap, dirt, boxes and bumps. They should have integrated a little white LED strip at the base of the tail lamps.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      Agreed. See the silver trim on the tail gate? Imagine if the triangular shapes at the ends of the trim would instead be two reverse lamps, similar to the 05-10 Legacy wagon tailgate. Make the lamps intricate with jewel-like details to make it look real expensive and it would add a nice touch of brightwork to the rear.

      The best solution is still to integrate them to the tail light cluster so you can see the car is reversing even if only the corner of the car is visible.

      • 0 avatar
        Cactuar

        I already had Photoshop open … so here’s my take on it: “http://tinypic.com/r/1f8vpv/8”

        Painted rear bumper and reverse lights on the tailgate. Fun fact: the shape of the rear license plate opening + silver trim is the same shape as the Cadillac logo.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Hideous vehicle, stupid marketing campaign, incompetent management of an unprecedented level at Cadillac.

    FUBAR Brand.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The outgoing SRX looks better, by far.

      This thing has ungainly proportions and is just hideous:

      http://i.imgur.com/y2AnxLi.PNG

      Good luck salvaging Cadillac using “Public School House” ad/marketing agency & “fashionistas.”

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I hate the outgoing SRX because of the wedge shape it has, the ridiculous side profile angling up at the back, and the forced plankton strainer grille which is awful.

        As far as general shape, this XT5 looks better than the SRX.

        Also yesterday I saw a Mary Kay SRX on the highway.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        I really think the outgoing SRX model looks terrible. A Saturn view with angles and tall grill. In my eyes, the least attractive vehicle Cadillac has made in recent years.

        This looks better, at least a bit. It looks like it was designed as a single vehicle not with Cadillac styling grafted on to a volume crossover. Still, I just don’t think Cadillac’s styling language fits on this shape. It doesn’t look great whereas the CTS, ATS look fantastic in my opinion.

        I also have to admit that I was under the impression that this was a refresh. Surprised that this is a new vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        fincar1

        Hey, someone has to market to the fashionistas, why not Cadillac?

    • 0 avatar

      Really? To me this looks far better than the outgoing SRX, and does exactly what it needs to for great sales: (presumably) nicer interior, RX size, refined design that won’t offend anyone while looking modern. The recipe is basic, and early signs say that Cadillac hasn’t gone crazy and will do well with this model.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The rear wheel placement and tire size make this look like one of the cheap euro-junk cars from the 90s. It is very unbefitting of even a economy car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    So is Cadillac supposed to be a sporty brand all about great driver involvement or is it a fashion brand based on fetching design and unique image?

    Whatever GM is trying with the label, not enough people care about the former and the vehicles don’t look good enough to pull off the latter.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      In this particular market segment, it’s a fashion brand, for sure…because the average buyer for this type of car is female, has money, and is probably forty-ish. That kind of person tends to be into fashion, so yes, I’d say basing this model’s marketing on fashion makes all kinds of sense.

      Now, whether it makes sense for the rest of the brand is another question. We haven’t really seen this type of marketing on any other models, aside from teasers. I’d expect a different approach on the models that skew more towards male buyers.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Another classy, understated design in a segment led by a Predator-esque nightmare sled. Caddy needs an SRX replacement (not to mention slightly larger and smaller versions of it) yesterday, so the XT5 is a good start. There’s no sign of CUV sales dropping off anytime soon, so hopefully they can get an XT3 and XT7 on the market while the gettin’s still good. Because the fact of the matter is, Caddy’s sedans can’t compete and aren’t competing, and can’t be called on to pick up any kind of significant luxury market share. It has to be done with trucks and trucklets.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The more the see, the more I think the problem with Cadillac’s sedans isn’t that they’re uncompetitive – more accurately, the sedan market itself is beginning to shrink. Sales on many of the mainstays in this segment, like the E-Class Benz, are down, and the reason is CUVs. Plus, Cadillac is a new player in this segment, and doesn’t have all that much cred. And some of the failure is self-induced (mainly CUE, which needs a revamp badly).

      Now, if the market for sedans had been as good as it was years ago, then we’d be having a different conversation. But CUVs have really done a number on the whole sedan market, be it high-end luxury models, or even midsizes. Cadillac is not exempt.

  • avatar
    musicalmcs8706

    I see a lot of the former generation Kia Sorento, especially in the greenhouse. Now, I like the Sorento, but a Cadillac shouldn’t be copying a Kia…

  • avatar
    cartunez

    This is not class leading at all. Someone from GM need to head over to Hyundai and see how to built attractive cars.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    I just don’t get why this bends everyone out of shape. Ever heard of Mercedes Benz fashion week? It’s smart business to cater to NYC tastemakers – no matter now nauseous that makes you feel.

    Yeah, it would be great is Cadillac made a car that was truly the standard of the world. Truth is, that’s really hard and expensive, and still doesn’t guarantee sales success. Appearing to be premium is the same thing as being premium for a lifestyle brand. You can buy a lot nicer watch than a $150 gold Michael Kors watch at Macy’s. But if every girl in the sorority has one, I guarantee the new girl is getting one – she isn’t going to be walking around explaining why she bought a $3000 Omega because of the quality of a mechanical watch, blah, blah, blah (if anyone even notices the difference).

    Cadillac is trying to expand their market. It’s rarely fun for enthusiasts to see “their” brands sell out. That doesn’t make the marketing bad.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    The pinnacle of Tracy Thorn is Massive Attack’s “Protection.” I suddenly feel the need to listen to it.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Pssssst (whispers) It will look a lot better in real-life, especially the front end. It will sell like crazy. The marketing position/them is correct for this car.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I like it. A lot. They fix CUE yet?

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Those plastic panels that wrap up from under the rear end on these suv’s; they look like diapers.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Just another example of how difficult it is to style a fat and dumpy vehicle of the two-box variety. Most of them look like warts of one kind or another, not as good-looking as the 4-4-0 standard American steam loco of the 1870s. That’s when American style made European locos look like prats.

    Today, Cadillac dared, but not greatly. Unfortunate.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    Wow, a lot of typical internet negativity. I think it’s a nice design. You internet bullies just like to crap on anything and everything.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      That’s unfair.

      Here’s what I said about the SRX in a column about the XT5 yesterday:

      “The outgoing (and now very dated) SRX was competitive in this segment, and among the most competitive Cadillacs, which isn’t hard to achieve as even the premium Japanese and German CUVs are really nothing to write home about, especially at their respective price points.

      The CT5 should at least be able to keep this competitiveness alive, assuming Caddy has tastefully upgraded the interior in terms of materials and fit/finish, while keeping the ride composed and quiet.

      I’m not crazy about the exterior, but then again, most CUVs are relatively homely or benign in the exterior looks department, IMO.”

      Bit that was before I saw this side-angle of the actual XT5, which can only be described as ungainly:

      http://i.imgur.com/y2AnxLi.PNG

      Cadillac is just incompetent, top to bottom.

      They tease cars like the Elmiraj, and then come out with the CT6.

      They used up a ton of capital investing in vehicles they promised would dethrone BMW and Audi, and now that those vehicles (ATS & CTS) have tanked, they go all fashionista, arthouse, hipter-ish in SoHo, and they do so unveiling the CT5, which is anything but attractive (again – that’s diplomatic).

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Somebody pays you to write about cars? I mean, your writing is fine, but you must have an alternate personality that doesn’t double as a broken record out there in real-world-land.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          You can follow all my thoughts at http://www.CadillacDeathWatch.com

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You need to actually set that up.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It would be cathartic, and maybe I could get a petition/movement rolling to sh!tcan Johan before it’s truly too late.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m all for catharsis, but more need to go beyond JdN. I say sh*tcan the whole office and start over.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            28 cars. I’d rebrand the SRX, ATS, and CTS, as Pontiacs, without changing anything but the badge, charging PONTIAC PRICING for them, and then giving them REAL names, such as grand prix, grand am, Bonneville, tempest, vista cruiser, what-have-you. Three letter naming schemes simply do not work, and auto makers who go to three letter naming schemes have had sales flops from it.

            I’d make Cadillac a two model line-up: Keep the Escalade and build a Fleetwood that aped the Escalade’s style themes and roominess but in sedan form. Fleetwood and Escalade would come in SWB, LWB, and Limo, there would be one fully loaded trim level: super luxury, and Fleetwood would start at 79,999, Escalade at 89,999 with prices going up as wheel base goes up. Riding in a Cadillac would be like riding first class in a 747.

            The goal would be to rebuild the brand by making it into the rich toy-to-have so that the rich flavor-of-the-day is seen driving it and hence it becomes all the rage among flavor-of-the-day chasing yuppies. The perception of exclusiveness, and truly being a car that turns heads and creates envy, just out of reach of lower and middle income, is where Cadillac needs to be in order to thrive. It’s working for Tesla like no other and it will work for Cadillac.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    General observation: some have commented on the target market being women of a certain age. However I look at this and SRX and I say the both look bloated and ungainly. Why would any woman want a car which looks “fat”?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’ve defended the SRX here before, despite my antipathy towards almost all CUVs.

      The SRX actually has a segment competitive interior (with modern gauges! – in stark contrast to the ATS and CTS), ride (as good as the more pricey Audi Q5), power (GM’s DI 3.6 liter is standard) and level of overall quality, IMO.

      Cadillac also priced the SRX, on both real world purchase prices and ESPECIALLY LEASE PRICES in a competitive manner ($299 to $369 on 24 month leases) unlike almost all of their other vehicles.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    My perspective on all this…

    http://www.autoblog.com/2015/08/31/why-cadillac-needs-real-truck-opinion/

    The article brought out an arsenal of ugly and hateful responses by a person who shall hereafter be called the ‘Lead Cadillac Pavlovian Lapdog Of Hallucinogenic Propaganda’ along with a few pearls of wisdom from Johann himself.

    Cadillac needs a truck folks. A real premium full-sized truck that isn’t a lipstick Chevrolet.

  • avatar
    John

    I wonder if Cadillac will ever act it’s age. It’s market is not “edgy urban hipsters”, as depicted in the ad – it’s fat old people, like me.

  • avatar
    Fred

    OK I’m going to be politically incorrect here. Fashionista = chick car. Which makes sense to me, because I’m guessing most SUV/CUVs are bought primarily for and by women.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Selling upmarket cars to people who don’t care about cars is the END GAME of an established luxury mark. Cadillac has not come to terms with its current reality and continues to stumble blindly around the ring. The financial, automotive, and style worlds will step in and deliver a coup de gras soon; its going to leave the most cynical of us a little sickened, the rest of us wishing we hadn’t seen it.


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