Cadillac Touts Global June Sales "Surge" Amidst 2016 Global Sales Decline
Cadillac detailed the sources of its so-called global sales surge in June 2016 in a press release yesterday. In so doing, Cadillac called attention to its first-half global sales decline and the global rarity of the wreathless crest.
Cadillac has reason to pursue ( and then tout the results of its) increased global strength (or diminished global weakness). In the United States, Cadillac isn’t doing enough. The three top-selling Cadillac rivals — BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus — generate more U.S. sales than Cadillac does around the world. Globally. Everywhere.
Roughly 13,000 monthly sales in Cadillac’s historic North American market is a figure simply insufficient to secure a bright future for General Motors’ premium brand. Thus, Cadillac now intends to be a global luxury brand, and is in fact making inroads leading toward that goal.
China, for instance, now accounts for 35 percent of Cadillac’s global volume, up from 30 percent at this stage of 2015. In the European Union and Russia, home turf for top-tier luxury brands, Cadillac says a 41-percent year-over-year increase in the first-half of 2016 resulted in only 991 sales.
Perspective? In the United Kingdom in June alone, Mercedes-Benz sold 4,112 copies of the C-Class. Just the C-Class.
Moreover, even in China, where Cadillac’s global effort shows signs of increasing strength, Audi sold 5,190 more new vehicles in June than Cadillac sold in the first-half of 2016.
Cadillac’s lack of presence in the global marketplace isn’t surprising. GM’s efforts to expand the brand’s reach have at varying times been intermittent and half-hearted. The renewed focus we see now will not return instantaneous results.
Thus, Cadillac’s goals are modest. Said Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen in the Cadillac blast yesterday: “We can truly earn incremental volume growth as we build brand prestige.” As we build brand prestige. As opposed to being prestigious.
In its home market, however, Cadillac is neither a new entrant nor a foreign upstart. Yet Cadillac’s recent U.S. sales performance isn’t entirely out of sync with Cadillac’s dearth of global success. Just as the ATS, CTS, and futureless ELR are in decline around the world, they’re failing in the United States. U.S. ATS volume is down 22 percent to 9,764 units in 2016. CTS sales are down 18 percent to 7,906. The ELR is down 16 percent to 496. Combined sales of the XTS and its indirect CT6 successor are up by just 1.5 percent to 11,766. Admittedly, it’s early days for the CT6, but with more than three months of U.S. sales in the bag, fewer than 2,000 have been sold.
Cars, therefore, remain a small part of Cadillac’s U.S. business, forming just 41 percent of the brand’s U.S. volume, compared with 62 percent in the rest of the world. The blissfully profitable Escalade is a larger part of the U.S. equation than it is in global markets: 83 percent of global Escalade volume is U.S.-derived, compared with 52 percent for Cadillac’s other models.
The strength of Cadillac’s utilities, of course, brings up the subject of the ongoing SRX-to-XT5 transition. Excluding this top-selling Cadillac entrant from the equation shows Cadillac’s other models saw global first-half sales growth – albeit by a scant 65 units. It’s the XT5’s late first-half ramp-up that prompted Cadillac’s June surge. Global SRX/XT5 June volume rose 15 percent to 9,637 units, equal to nearly four out of every ten Cadillacs sold around the world last month.
In the U.S., meanwhile, the SRX and XT5 combined for 26,282 first-half sales, enough to claim second spot among premium brand utility vehicle sales so far this year. In June, even without the SRX’s contribution, the XT5 ranked fifth among luxury utility vehicle sales, a clear sign that Cadillac is set to reclaim its status as the prime challenger to the Lexus RX’s throne.
Unfortunately for Cadillac, cars still matter — even as the passenger car market is shrinking and the impact of SUVs and crossovers is being felt outside of America. Cadillac is woefully ineffective in the passenger car market.
Cadillac’s cars earn ride and handling plaudits from the enthusiast press, but when given the chance, the overwhelming majority of buyers still choose a 3 Series, 5 Series, or 7 Series; a C-Class, E-Class, or S-Class; an A4, A6, or A8. Much though that may appear to be the case in the United States, it’s an outcome far more evident around the world.
[Images: Cadillac, Chart: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.
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