Cadillac Still Has a Plan for Sedans, Even as It Plays Crossover Catch-up

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Thegamper Thegamper on Feb 02, 2017

    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.

    • See 2 previous
    • Jmiller417 Jmiller417 on Feb 03, 2017

      The ATS's legroom is small but not that small. It's comparable to a previous-gen C-Class and way bigger than the IS and CLA.

  • Spartan Spartan on Feb 02, 2017

    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?

    • See 1 previous
    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Feb 03, 2017

      @sportyaccordy They could pull a "GMC" - DENALI ALL THE THINGS! Have a top trim "ESCALADE PACKAGE" for every Cadillac - sedan, SUV, CUV...

  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
  • Foo Eh. Net present value is in the red, once you add in rapidly rising insurance, late by months basic repairs-and-no availability, battery replacement, future hazmat recycling fees, and even faster depreciation. Wait until litigants win for "too heavy" in accidents... The math is brutal but if you value virtue signalling, some will pay anything.
  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.