By on February 2, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Okay, who’s getting all excited about the upcoming refreshed XTS? Anybody? Hello?

While the prospect of a mildly revamped front-drive holdover might not set the enthusiast blogs on fire, the sedan’s recent salvation from the Island of Defunct Models is a prudent move for the troubled automaker.

It’s also the only “new” product you’ll see between now and the middle of next year.

Cadillac is paying the price for being late to the crossover and SUV game, but the automaker wants us to know that a full crop of profit-generating utility vehicles is on the way. The swift market shift away from traditional cars caught the sedan-heavy brand off guard, and playing catch-up means rushing those vehicles to production while squeezing all the sales it can out of its existing cars.

The automaker will release a new product every six months from mid-2018 until late 2020 or 2021, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen told The Detroit News.

“The core part of our volume lineup is in the market that’s contracting while we are unable, as good as XT5 and Escalade are, we are unable to fully exploit the updraft that’s taking place in the other half of the market,” said de Nysschen.

Naturally, the first new utility model will be the XT3, a small crossover positioned below the strong-selling XT5. The existing midsize should see a design refresh in late 2018, after which Cadillac tentatively plans to release a larger crossover, filling the sizable gap between the XT5 and Escalade. A much smaller utility could appear after 2020.

But what about cars? Last year, Cadillac’s use of incentives on the slow-selling ATS and CTS diminished the models’ resale value. The models continue to languish, but the automaker is taking action on other fronts.

The XTS, originally slated for execution, was spared from the chopping block last year. A styling refresh will give the model’s buyers something slightly new to look at, while hopefully maintaining or increasing consumer interest. Despite its anachronistic layout, December was the model’s best sales month since the XTS bowed in mid 2012, and full-year tallies remain fairly strong. Cadillac would be a fool to kick 22,000 annual U.S. sales to the curb.

The larger and more technologically complex CT6 flagship, on the other hand, saw just one third of the XTS’ sales in January. While a plug-in hybrid variant will appear this spring, Cadillac isn’t done tricking out the lengthy rear-driver.

The automaker plans to find new CT6 buyers by “introducing higher positioned derivatives,” de Nysschen said. That could mean anything from new trim levels and powerplants to a long-wheelbase variant.

As for existing bread-and-butter models that no longer butter Cadillac’s bread, those will eventually be repositioned to increase buyer appeal, adding some space between, say, the ATS and CTS. Until Cadillac squeals, rumored models — such as a convertible — remain just that.

[Image: General Motors]

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46 Comments on “Cadillac Still Has a Plan for Sedans, Even as it Plays Crossover Catch-up...”

  • avatar

    XT1 – Sonic-based CUV with pleather and CUE

    XT2 – Cruze-based CUV with pleather and CUE

    XT3 – Malibu-based CUV with pleather & CUE

    XT4 – Regal-based CUV with pleather & CUE

    XT5 – existant

    XT6 – Acadia-based CUV with pleather & CUE

    XT7 – Tahoe (SWB)-based CUV with pleather & CUE


    And this thing:

    Roger Smith Arises From Grave And Brings True, Pure Badge Engineering Back, Baby!

    Mary Barra asks Johan for 12 billion that was allocated to Cadillac back, as only 1 out of 20 GM vehicles sold are Cadillacs, and Johan had “guaranteed” that all future Cadillacs would have unique platform architecture/chassis’ and be rwd or awd. Johan has Melody & Uwe take fall for spending huge chunk of that money already on social media and tweet curation, along with fashion show sponsorships.

    Cadillac: “Standard Of The World.”


    *Free latte with every $80 synthetic oil change.

    • 0 avatar

      RENCEN: Hey how did this leak?

      • 0 avatar

        Forgot a few:

        XT3C – coupe version of XT3
        XT1L – XT1, but coming with length
        XT5C – again with the coupe version
        XT5L – again with the length
        XT5P – short bed version

    • 0 avatar

      Lexus RX has been Lexus best selling model since it came out. Nothing wrong with this approach.

      • 0 avatar

        JdN wanted to go all RWD-platform based, including the crossovers (aside from the XT5 which was too far in development), but eventually got over-ruled or saw the light due to a # of factors:

        1. the Alpha platform was inexplicably not engineered for crossover-duty,

        2. which would have resulted in further delay of Cadillac’s crossovers, as Cadillac is working on the chassis for the replacements of the ATS and CTS,

        3. Cadillac, right now, probably can’t command the premium that RWD crossovers would entail (better to compete head to head with the Lexus NX and RX rather than the likes of the MB GLC and GLE).

        Down the road, Cadillac may eventually revert to RWD platforms for its crossovers as JdN wanted, and at the very least, there is still a chance for a RWD flagship crossover based on the Omega platform.

        As it is, Cadillac can’t build enough of the XT5 to meet demand (planning on expanding XT5 production).

    • 0 avatar

      I wished GM would do an MB-Tex like stuff. Their leather is ok when just seating surfaces, the Opus, fully wrapped in my XTS Platinum is the most is the most supple and soft, just not durable enough for the dog’s nails. It wraps the whole seat unlike Lexus and Acura.

  • avatar

    Just fail already so we can have the funeral and move on.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah but what is the last Cadillac you’d actually morn for?

      For me it’s the 1993-1996 Fleetwood, I know it didn’t have genuine “Cadillac” engine but it was the last Caddy I had any true desire to own. (Obviously there are far more desirable Cadillacs but as I said that was the newest one I actually WANTED.)

      If I bought an XTS it would be because it was a screaming deal used and it had more geehaws than a loaded Lacrosse or Impala. I wouldn’t be giving two shakes about the Cadillac badge.

      • 0 avatar

        I know it is far from a “real” Caddy (and maybe seen from the rose-colored glasses of a young teen who was easily impressed with such things), but the bustleback Seville is something that just always made me smile. Sure, it was a sales and performance disappointment, but it’s probably the “newest” Caddy I ever had any kind of longing for. Now the Cimarron…I just openly weep over that travesty against humanity.

        I did rent (several years ago, something like 2009 or 2010) a new STS and was pleasantly surprised that I liked it as much as I did. Not enough to run out and want a new one, but still.

        Okay, maybe…just maybe the CTS wagon…

      • 0 avatar

        No real Cadillacs after 1995.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m going to give the ’92-’02 Eldorado “real” Cadillac status.

          It wasn’t an excellent car, but it had a real name, had a V8, Eldorado was FWD since the late 60s so that wasn’t a big deal, was over 200 inches long, and it had some attempt at a formal roofline look.

  • avatar

    Automakers read too much Jalopnik/TTAC/DW pleas for attention. People DGAF about luxury sedans that aren’t the Lexus ES or by BMW/Mercedes. Cadillac, Genesis, Jaguar and all the Johnny come latelys should have LEAD with crossovers, not followed up with them. I would even argue that GM could have skipped the Alpha platform altogether………… ATS/CTS are now selling a combined ~37K, less than the old CTS did in 2009!!!!!!! Meanwhile SRX + XT5 cleared 61K last year. And now the market is contracting. They effing blew it.

    • 0 avatar

      “…they blew it.”

      And they will continue to.

      It’s one thing to have a blinged out Escalade with a throaty V8 that people want b/c it’s unique. That’s a niche where they faced little competition in turnouts or even now.

      Good luck to Cadillac not drowning now as they attempt to badge engineer every Chevy and Buick into Cadillac CUVs and give them enough differentiation whereby people care/notice and are willing to spend any significant premium on them.

      Johan is now doing a 180° so 2000-and-late, essentially admitting that he could not have misread the market more incorrectly than he did had he intended on intentionally sabotaging Cadillac (it was to be the next circa-1995-2004 BMW).

      Cadillac is already a tarnished, soiled brand, deflowered.

      Badge engineering other GM CUVs into Cadillac wouldn’t work in supporting a 900-count dealership base depending on a 30% to 50% premium in ATP over Chevy & Buick dealers even if the Cadillac name had not been destroyed, and thus most certainly won’t work now.

      • 0 avatar

        “Badge engineering” is fine and Caddy’s sharing of platforms goes well beyond “badge engineering”. Lexus’ best sellers for the last ~20 years have consistently been “badge engineered” Camrys. Audi’s revival in the 90s was built around shortened and stretched B5 Passats. Hell, Caddy’s current best seller is essentially a SWB Traverse. Consumers don’t give a crap about bespoke platforms, they just want cars that deliver a good value and experience for the price. Hell, Caddy’s “bespoke platform” cars have been in sales freefall since their debut… so what are you talking about?

        The only mistake Caddy made is getting a poor read of the market. Truthfully they could have pulled a Chrysler LX and kept the old CTS going… it sold better. They should have put that $1B solely into crossovers. It’s been obvious for decades that that’s where the market is heading and even Caddy’s own SRX demonstrated this.

      • 0 avatar

        The problem was that Cadillac has no RWD platform ready to suit a compact or midsize crossover, much less a subcompact – so that would have meant even a further delay.

        Lexus and Acura have been very successful with their FWD-based crossover offerings (and Infiniti’s best selling crossover is FWD-based as well), so it’s probably the smart choice right now for Cadillac to keep to that (as Cadillac can’t meet demand for the XT5).

        And it’s platform-sharing, NOT badge-engineering (one would have thought you would know the difference).

  • avatar

    The XTS should be a Buick. Cadillac should focus on rear-drive oriented models only and stay out of any sub-$40k markets entirely – target the big 3 Germans, Jag, Land Rover and upper Lexus. That leaves some space for Buick to offer FWD oriented soft traditional American luxury at a slightly lower price point – $25 to $50K and targeting Acura, low-end Lexus, Lincoln and Volvo. GM hasn’t had any brand discipline since the 1950s, which is why they no longer have any brand equity.

    • 0 avatar

      Buick offers an XTS called Lacrosse.

      “should focus on rear-drive oriented models only and stay out of any sub-$40k markets entirely”

      Cadillac sells mostly around or below this figure when all factors and eligible discounts are factored in. The fact is Cadillac is not a luxury brand, its semi-premium at best, and it cannot compete with zee Germans model for model in terms of prestige or snobbery.

    • 0 avatar

      The XTS IS a Buick. It’s called the Lacrosse. And Cadillac IS focusing on RWD models. Look at what that’s got them. Their sedan sales are in freefall, because luxury buyers don’t care about Brembo brakes or Ring tuning.

      Instead of throwing money down the drain on driving dynamics the bulk of buyers don’t care about, Caddy should pour all the resources they have into interior and exterior design and crossovers. Because at the end of the day the segments they operate in are pretty much commodities, and the market wants crossovers RIGHT NAO!!!! An XT5 hybrid and “coupe” (XT6?) along with an XT3 would do much better for Cadillac’s fortunes than the army of RWD sedans they already have that nobody wants. I mean GM is still selling ATS/CTSs with five figures off of MSRP. GM is doing it your way now and absolutely bombing as a result

      • 0 avatar


        That is the necessary ingredient in making structures, vehicles or brands strong.

        Many things go into creating a strong foundation.

        Cadillac’s foundation is cracked & fundamentally unstable.

        It’s not cheap to build a solid foundation, and requires a great deal of intelligent deliberation and execution, but it’s even more costly AND risky to try and repair a broken foundation.

        p.s. (Obligatory) – What is a Cadillac? (existential crisis)

        • 0 avatar

          What exactly constitutes a “SOLID FOUNDATION”? This sounds like a whole lot of nothing-speak.

          • 0 avatar

            Let’s think about this.

            In fact, let’s examine how Lexus came to be, and successfully so.

            1) They unveiled vehicle superior to Mercedes sedan of the period

            2) It was better built

            3) It was far better in terms of NVH

            4) It was approx 1800% more reliable

            5) It was as solid, powerful, comfortable and more quiet

            6) It was 35% to 40% less to purchase

            7) It was sold and serviced by dealers that gave superior service to customers

            8) It had outstanding resale value

            9) Because of 1 through 8, Lexus established a solid foundation

          • 0 avatar

            I would add #10, Lexus invested in their brand over decades, i.e., the relentless pursuit of perfection.

            But you don’t get to go to #10 unless you’ve done #1-#9.

        • 0 avatar

          Cadillac has a good foundation.

          I drive an ATS. I got it because it because it was just as good as the 2 series, but cheaper and easier to service. Also, I prefer touchscreens to that knob crap.

          Sadly, when my lease is up I probably won’t be going Caddy again. Not because the car is bad, but because it’s irritating to spend this much money and have to explain that my Caddy is fast and sporty, not old and soft.

          • 0 avatar

            Properly optioned, Caddy can rock. My 2G CTS with FE3 is right up there with any other high end car for way less money. Downsides are the GM parts bin (just did wheel bearing #3-the magnetic rings rust and you get ABS errors) and the fact that everyone STILL thinks old guy with nautically handling car, white cap’n hat and belt with matching white shoes. Plus side is that you have great stealth-300 hp RWD in a four door grey sedan and you don’t look suspicious when you come over the hill at 67/65 mph with brakes smoking when the Valentine peeps. The WRX you were running the last ten miles with gets the eye from the enforcer.

            Among my suburban volk here, Caddy is so rare my CTS is unicorn…or it was till someone up the street bought the new 2.0T version. I like the 3.6 better, but I was raised on V8s.

            Meanwhile, the shocks are gas monotubes, the chassis is excellent, and the steering gear is the same ZF part that ends up in BMW and Mercedes. I go from my e46 to the CTS and back pretty easily; on my reference roads and test on ramps, speeds are pretty much the same.

            I just had a 535 for a week. The CTS was more fun to drive-the 535 is a tank and the turbo six works too hard to move it.

          • 0 avatar

            The 2G CTS with FE3 is a fun car. For the first few years on the 2G CTS it was also possible to get an FE2 and limited slip with the port injected 3.6L which seems like a decent combo as well.

            However much like with the F41 Caprice and Y56 Buick before it, the good performing V6 CTSs are quite rare on the ground. I’m guessing that more CTS-Vs were built than FE3s.

          • 0 avatar

            I traded out a 128i because of the service cost. I don’t really regret it, except for losing the convertible top and having to explain why I have a Cadillac. People do like it when they see it, though.

    • 0 avatar

      Cadillac can’t simply not have an offering in the compact sedan (for both sedan and crossover) – which would be below the $40k price-point (starting MSRP).

      And if they want to be a global brand, would need a subcompact sedan and crossover as well.

  • avatar

    I’ve been in automotive retail over 40 years and have personally delivered over 27,000 individual units to end users. I can say with authority, hardly anyone wants a Cadillac. the name means nothing, the dealers are desperate, and the future is bleak for the brand. Buzz Lightshare from Infinity & Beyond with his Project Pinhead is nothing more than a further disruption and interference. all you’ll hear is promises followed by excuses.

    • 0 avatar

      Your reputation and sales career is well established within the US auto industry.

      • 0 avatar

        Back when president Obama caned Rick W …I offered to come out of retirement and sit in Ricks chair. $25 US K and my pension guaranteed. I was going to hire “Buickman” as marketing manager.

        Strangely, I never had a notice of rejection . Sorry Jim , if they ever take me up on it, the offer still stands.

        • 0 avatar

          I turned down that job.

          • 0 avatar

            I hear ya 28 ….sometimes if it doesn’t feel like a good fit, ya gotta walk away : )

          • 0 avatar

            28-Cars-Later. I turned it down too, for real. then they hired Ebonics. he was creepy, a very poor listener, and shady shall we say. I didn’t like the “fit” as Mikey says… the corporate suit & suite, even worse the drive from Fashionable Flint. all I want is to have them implement at least parts of Return to Greatness. within 6 months share would be 25% and we could cut the budget in half.

        • 0 avatar

          You delivered individual units to end users? Ugh. Why can’t car sales reps sell actual cars to actual customers?

          If someone called be an end user, I’d be out of that showroom before he could pronounce the ‘t’ at the end of “Wha?”

        • 0 avatar

          it was Steve who rid us of Red Ink Rick, shortly after his visit with my friend Jerry York, who shared the conversation with me in the Cap Grille lounge the day after. Jerry thanked me for sharing my top ten reasons for the axe. yes, I finally got the rat bastard.

      • 0 avatar

        as is yours on this premium automotive blog my friend highdesertcat.

        • 0 avatar

          Nice to see your comments again.

          Your decades-long expertise in sales-strategy and resulting sales records should be an inspiration to any dealership team, regardless of brand.

    • 0 avatar

      And yet, compared sales of sedans in the mid-high segments for Cadillac vs.

      and even Lexus.

      Not even close (also beats out Audi).

      As for the Escalade, the recent iteration is finally making inroads among the upper, upper crust (the previous model was just too tacky/blingy which resulted in the Yukon XL Denali being the more popular choice.

  • avatar

    Ive never been a big fan of Art and Science design on SUV/CUV bodies. I think it looks fantastic on the sedans though. Ive primarily been a Japanese car buyer over the years, but I would love to have a new Caddy. If the ATS had a backseat that allowed children with legs to sit behind an adult of normal stature, I would probably have one. Love the CTS, beautiful car, would love to own one. New CT6 is pretty impressive in my opinion.

    Anyway, just thought I would throw a varying viewpoint into this conversation. Those are still allowed right? Or am I in the wrong thread/website again? Just kidding guys, long time reader, seldom poster. Sometimes feel the need to intervene when the typical hijackers attack. Caddy is making some great cars, headed in the right thinks. That being said, some of their concepts are truly droolworthy. Elmirage comes immediately to mind. So I can agree that Cadillac could use some additional mojo (of the Elmirage sort) for the brand renaissance. But as we all know, what guys that post on enthusiast sites want and think doesn’t translate well to actual sales.

    No matter, before long, we will all be driving identical anonymous pills with useless ground clearance and or a pickup truck bed even though we have nothing to tow or haul. Embrace the horror.

  • avatar

    How many more people would buy a Cadillac if the Escalade was more attainable? Cadillac needs to go the Rover route and properly execute a plan to build an Escalade Sport on a unibody platform?

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