By on April 6, 2017

2017 Cadillac CT6 - Image: Cadillac

Cadillac is in a curious state.

Many would rightly argue that Cadillac’s products are more competitive now than they’ve been in decades. Cadillac is making headway in China, a market which accounted for slightly more than half of Cadillac’s global volume in the first-quarter of 2017. Cadillac’s average U.S. transaction prices are also above the norm thanks in part to a high percentage of its sales being produced by the high-dollar Escalade.

But sales in Cadillac’s home market continue to slide. U.S. volume has fallen by a fifth over the last decade and has decreased in two of the last three years, falling to a four-year low in 2016. More recently, U.S. sales at Cadillac are down 5 percent in early 2017 after decreasing on a year-over-year basis in six of the last twelve months.

Long gone are the days when Cadillac could sell new vehicles in America at the same rate as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, or Lexus. Indeed, Cadillac is well back of Audi now, as well. To put an exclamation point on Cadillac’s difficulties, little ol’ Infiniti — also historically reliant on the U.S. market and rather weak globally — outsold Cadillac by a margin of more than 40 percent in March.

What’s next? Which brands will be outselling Cadillac in ten years, or even five, or even two?

What does the next decade hold for Cadillac?

Besides crossovers to slot in above and below the XT5, Cadillac’s most popular vehicle.

Besides increased strength in China.

Besides high-power V versions that stand in stark contrast to Cadillac’s historic mission.

How will Cadillac fare in the U.S. market in 2027? Or even in 2021?

In 2003, Cadillac was selling twice as many vehicles in the U.S. as Infiniti. Yet, while Cadillac’s focus on passenger cars is evident, with an expanding sedan portfolio, Infiniti’s headway has been made on the crossover side of the ledger where the brand’s five nameplates outsold the XT5, Escalade, and Escalade ESV by more than 6,700 units in 2017 Q1.

Infiniti isn’t the only premium brand attempting to take over territory in the United States while Cadillac struggles. Acura, with its own difficulties, isn’t far behind Cadillac. Lincoln is trending in the opposite direction, up 9 percent so far this year. Jaguar-Land Rover is up 21 percent in 2017 and is quickly catching up to Cadillac in total volume.

Today, Cadillac isn’t the top-selling luxury brand in America. It doesn’t rank second or third or fourth, either. Indeed, Cadillac isn’t even inside the top five now.

Where will Cadillac be a decade from now, or even five years from now? Behind Genesis, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo, too?

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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120 Comments on “QOTD: Where Will Cadillac Be A Decade From Now?...”


  • avatar
    Speed3

    Behind Genesis, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo, too? Ha, trolling much?

    On their current trajectory, they will probably be outsold by Genesis. Isn’t Cadillac already well on its way to being GM’s copy of Acura? Throw some content on a Chevy and see who is dumb enough to buy it? Who buys a Chevy over Honda? It doesn’t bode well for Cadillac.

    What GM should really do is divest Cadillac to somebody with the capital and skill-set to make true luxury cars.

    Or who knows, maybe in 10 years all vehicles will be autonomous ride-share and the luxury market as we know it will be entirely disrupted. It’s possible for them to make a comeback under those circumstances.

    The core problem is that GM continues to make mediocre products almost across the board. They are neither as reliable as and well put together as Japanese cars or drive and look as good as European counterparts. Too many corners cut, and parts and design value engineered.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Throw some content on a Chevy and see who is dumb enough to buy it?”

      So Escalade buyers are dumb? Besides the XTS, that’s the only Chevy in their lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Where is the glorified Honda, Acura death watch?

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      You have it backwards, Chevy based chromed up land yachts are the ones selling, as its been since the 70’s. The bespoke rear wheel drive sports sedans are the ones falling flat on their face.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Where is my RWD small Chevy sedan? I’m so relieved that all this time, they have had their own cheap version of the ATS and CTS. Sure beats the hell out of a Malibu or Cruze.

      So, where can I see one?

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Like Hollywood, GM’s product focus is on China. The successful Cadillac product here is the Chevy based Escalade.

      I think Cadillac will continue to erode in the US as they focus their efforts on China. Europe will never buy Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Sitting here eating popcorn at 830 in the AM and waiting for DW to show up..lol

  • avatar
    MaxPower405

    Cadillac’s main problem can be summed up in one word – “Vaporware.” We took a chance in 2013 and purchased an XTS. I know it’s not the ‘enthusiasts’ choice, but for what we wanted (big, quiet, comfortable and able to be serviced in a small town in the Midwest) it checked all the boxes. Plus, unlike what you would read on the internet, we thought it was a nice car with a beautiful interior. Shockingly, we received lots of compliments on it, from day one till we traded.

    In 2015, we started talking about replacing it with something else, as we usually do every two to three years. Seeing pictures of concept cars, we became excited for the CT6. Would this finally be a return to “real” Cadillacs? The Cadillacs that were beautifully styled and had true presence. American Cadillacs that weren’t afraid to be American. We were hopeful and put off the upcoming replacement purchase to see what it would look like.

    Alas, as you know, it was NOTHING like the concept cars. So, we chose something else.

    Cadillac can debut stunning concept cars. Truly. Unfortunately, they can’t build them. When the last concept car debuted recently, I didn’t pay it much attention. Why? Because, I know they won’t build the thing.

    Until Cadillac finally builds what they show as concepts, they will continue to fall behind and lose market share.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    Here we go again…

    I’d just like to preemptively complain about all of the GM-bashing that goes on here at TTAC. I don’t see similar articles panning Ford, and we know why – the Baruth brothers, whom I respect in many other ways, are shills for Ford (and Honda, if you just count Jack since Bark supposedly left).

    There, I said it.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      Ford products are not that great either. I sat in a Volvo S90 and Lincoln Continental – not that impressed with the Lincoln and would definitely take home the Volvo, well V90 that is.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      There’s really not a conspiracy against GM and in favor of Ford here. Not at all.

      But you have to admit that Cadillac’s choices are strange. In a world where the Escalade and XT5 sell like hotcakes, rather than double down on crossover / SUV models since those are—you know, successful—Cadillac chooses to market these germanic sedans that no German-car-loving person would condescend to buy. Cadillac is the only luxury brand that does not have a compact, or subcompact crossover (the XT5 is firmly in the midsized arena), and they’re also one of the only luxury brands or conglomerate not to have a three-row crossover. There’s a lot of pricing space between the XT5 and the Escalade. You could almost buy two base XT5s for the price of a base Escalade. So something could fit there as well, maybe something Q7-sized.

      Their next model needs to be a crossover or SUV. And fast.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I don’t think they really saw the small-lux-crossover boom coming, Kyree. That, or they didn’t have a platform to make that work for them.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          You’re right, but they have had, what, almost 20 years now to figure it out (Lexus RX300 came out in 1998)?

          And they could have built on the Opel platform just like Buick did.

          So no excuses, really. I was one of GM’s biggest fans for years, having had over a dozen of their vehicles from a 1941 Chevrolet to a 2001 Buick, but when you see these kinds of decisions being made, all I can conclude is that they really did deserve to go out of business.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Mike, The Lambda triplets were a staggeringly successful 3 row crossover for GM.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Right, and in the context of 2007, I understand why Cadillac wouldn’t want a variant (it’d steal some Escalade sales). Today, I think a Lambda based Caddy would be a great idea.

            I was talking more about Caddy missing the compact/subcompact SUV boat.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Base it on the new “big Delta” used for the 2018 Equinox. Differentiate it with a standard 2.0T and optional V6, an AWD system that doesn’t feel like FWD, more sound deadening, nice interior materials, and bling out the wazoo. The lack of platform isn’t the problem so much as the lack of good product planning.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Kyree, sounds like Acura.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Here we go again…

      Lets deflect from Cadillac, who’s sales are falling, by claiming bias for Lincoln, who’s sales are rising. Many a word has been written here about awful Lincolns and how they are just rebadged terrible Ford’s. Wait. That doesn’t fit your hypothesis. Lets just ignore it then.

      Its a conspiracy! Made by Bark who *supposedly* left. Since his articles are still published here daily, its right to be suspicious. After all, he bought a Focus RS instead of the equivalent Cruze. Nevermind that there isn’t an equivalent Cruze, he’s a SHILL!

      Oh, and someone owns a Honda. SHILL! He should have bought a Camry coupe to prove he isn’t a Honda shill! Wait, there isn’t a Camry coupe, not since the blue-hair-lady special Solara was mercifully killed. That doesn’t matter. HONDA SHILL!

      Where is my tin foil hat? People buy cars I don’t like so its a big conspiracy!

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I’ll have to disagree in the sense that GM has fallen much further than Ford in the past 10 years. And Ford’s been doing a better job at meeting market needs. The bankruptcy hurt GM in a ton more ways than they would imagine, especially in the minds of many Americans. For a company that pressed the reset button, GM’s products should be so much better than they are.

      Ford was very wise to pawn everything they owned to avoid bankruptcy.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Besides F150, Ford and Lincoln accel really at nothing. They never win a comparison of an car or cuv/suv and are usually at the bottom in these tests.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Most of ford’s current lineup is objectively good compared to the competition, that’s why. They’re not being paid by the blue oval as far as I know, and have actively chosen to put them in their driveways.

      As for Lincoln, aside from the Continental I believe most of the coverage here has been “it could have been great if…”, and “there isn’t much reason to buy this over a [insert ford model] titanium.” After going to the DC auto show, on that thought I agree. The continental was awesome, and I would take it long term over a S90 just to avoid the twin-charged engine and the potential future maintenance nightmare it could present.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    Over time, I believe Cadillac will recover. As the economy hopefully gets healthier, profits for the big 3 will rise and, with that extra money, it will be pumped into making great cars again.

    Cadillac has come a long way. From once producing classy ‘boats’ to a grandfather’s car with the older DTS, to something which in my opinion is more modern which was exemplified with the 2nd gen CTS.

    I remember the first time I got to sit in a 2011 CTS-V Wagon while my father test drove it. The feel made me rethink what I knew about the brand.

    Now, since crude oil is cheap, SUV’s and CUV’s are dominating the market. If Cadillac plays its cards right, It can work out the reliability issues with its models (GM in general) and overcome the stereotypes associed with them breaking down.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’m going to predict that in 10 years Cadillac will be an SUV/CUV only brand with maybe one sedan geared towards the Livery business and those 2 or 3 traditional buyers a month that don’t like buggy Bimmers or weird looking Mercedes sedans.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll just throw my same old Caddy comments in once again:

    1) More CUVs
    2) Improve the infotainment systems
    3) *More* performance. Why not?
    4) Improve the interior of the XT6 (it’s a problem when the interior on the old-man-mobile XTS has far nicer styling and materials than the one in your $80,000 flagship).
    5) Stop putting the same motor you can buy in a Malibu into $55,000 luxury sedans – at the very least, modify the lesser engines so thoroughly that they’re exclusive. Yes, I know, Audi and any number of other premium brands stick family-sedan engines in their vehicles. It works for them. It won’t work for Cadillac. They need to do better.

    What won’t work?
    1) MOAR BROUGHAM, and cushy V8s. Sorry, fellas, that market’s dead. If it weren’t, Lincoln would still be making the Town Car.
    2) Getting rid of the alphanumeric names. No one outside this website cares.
    3) Getting rid of the hipster dou*hebag ads. If the product’s right, it’ll sell.

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      I’ll Agee on item #3 for ” what will not work.” The hipster ads make me ill. They remind me of TV shows that are supposed to be in Denver, yet you see a palm tree in the background.

      While the Brougham thing may be dead, the interest in full size BOF with a proper V-8 will work. Just look at King Ranch, Denali, Raptor and Longhorn sales. When men buy a vehicle, they want something bold. Men don’t want a silly little beemer. Beemers are for brand / prestige chasers and the wife.

      The alpha-numeric names do not work, including those outside this website. “I just took the keys for a new CT-6”. Huh?

      Ford canceled the Town Car because the capital to redesign the platform was not justifiable. Ford took into account the trajectory of the political climate and the associated MPG requirements, emissions etc of the past and possible administrations. It was going to be a downsized country fearful of its own greatness. The continental is the big luxury car that was designed for the America that almost happened.

      In 10 years, Cadillac will survive because of the Escalade and will have small sales after Buick has been 86’ed in the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Men don’t want a silly little beemer.”

        To defend BMW a bit, they make something with a 6.6L V12. Cadillac offers a $75K 4-cylinder that was built in China.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Ford canceled the Town Car because the capital to redesign the platform was not justifiable. Ford took into account the trajectory of the political climate and the associated MPG requirements, emissions etc of the past and possible administrations. It was going to be a downsized country fearful of its own greatness. The continental is the big luxury car that was designed for the America that almost happened.”

        So much silliness here…yes, there IS a Town Car buyer today. But he’s not buying Town Cars, and he stopped buying them when they were still being made. He’s buying a Navigator, or an Esclade (or a duded-out full size pickup). And given that Navigators and Escalades are far bigger, more powerful, and more blingy than any Town Car ever made, I’d say your “downsized country fearful of its’ own greatness” line is silly, at best. No one downsized. They upsized instead.

        The market for big, in-your-face blingmobiles has shifted from sedans to trucks and SUVs. That’s what killed the Town Car (and the DeVille).

        And as far as the “real men don’t drive little Beemers” crack is concerned…whatever. Any man who thinks someone else’s ride makes him less manly has his own manliness issues.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          That’s true. The BOF SUVs and trucks of today are the B-bodies, M-bodies and Panthers of yesterday. In fact, it’s funny, but a lot of the people who drove those big wagons and sedans when they were new aren’t the ones clamoring for them now. Their needs are served just fine by an F-150 Platinum or a Yukon XL Denali.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “…a lot of the people who drove those big wagons and sedans when they were new aren’t the ones clamoring for them now.”

            And as one of the people who was brought up with any number of these cars (including two Caddies and a Toronado), I can tell you there’s a reason for that: they sucked. They were glorified Caprices or LTDs, and they were awful to drive, not particularly quick, and poorly built. That’s why Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, et al were able to walk in and eviscerate the market share for big BOF sedans in the first place.

            The driving experience offered by something like an Escalade is light-years better in almost every conceivable way than one of those wheezing, rattletrap pimpmobile sedans from the “good old days.”

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I don’t want a Malaise Era garbage car dropped out of the 70s or a zero-feel parade float.

            What I do want is a 6.2L Omega platform vehicle that looks like a 1967 Eldorado.

          • 0 avatar
            gottacook

            Are we forgetting that the reason trucks and truck-based SUVs became popular in the first place was because they were classified differently under CAFE? If thy’d been regulated the way cars have been (fleet mileage standards etc.), today’s level of decreased dependence on oil imports would have happened a lot earlier.

            As for the supposed glories of the V-8: I’ve been driving for many years, and circumstances took me from 17 years of driving a 1966 389 4-barrel Bonneville (whose only emissions control was a PCV valve) directly to an ’83 Honda Civic 1300 4-speed – with 12″ wheels! – which turned out to be just as much fun but in a totally different way. These days I’ve come back toward the middle but still drive 4-cylinder cars (Subaru boxers). A V-8 means extra mass, no way around it. Give me agility any day.

            And “American greatness” does not require V-8s – or, at least, does not require new vehicles with V-8s. Plenty of classics are still around and waiting to be restored or restomodded.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Maybe they do need to dump the alphanumeric names, because I’m not sure what you’re talking about with XT6. CT6? Or is Cadillac putting out a new SUV?

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Call this number 4a under “what Cadillac needs:” REAL MODEL NAMES.

      Thus to avoid confusion (even among knowledgeable auto enthusiasts, never mind potential buyers) between your ostensible $80K flagship sedan with an as-yet nonexistent crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbo1126

      There’s no XT6. (That was a Subaru.) Alphanumeric is confusing and that goes for all automakers. Maybe they *should* go back to good ol’ words.

  • avatar
    Michael Haz

    Cadillac is morphing into the new Oldsmobile. It offers geezer mobiles, luxury mobiles, hot rod mobiles and a couple of trucks.

    Until it figures out what it wants to be, it will continue to face dwindling sales in each of those categories.

    • 0 avatar
      Click REPLY to reload page

      Cadillac has suffered the effects of free market competition. Too many other manufacturers offer better products. That’s good for the consumer, but bad for the way things used to be. GM has to innovate or die, and Cadillac has been on a downward trend for decades. It’s no longer what people aspire to. If they can figure out how to make a Caddy what it used to represent, then it will eventually go the way of Oldsmobile and Mercury.

      And the snarky answer to the question posed by the article: in ten years, Cadillacs (of today) will be at the Buy Here, Pay Here lots.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “Cadillac has suffered the effects of free market competition. Too many other manufacturers offer better products. ”

        That’s exactly the reason why the Caddy brand took a dump. Only die-hard fans and disciples of Cadillac continue to buy them.

        Maybe GM should focus the Cadillac and Buick brands to the Asian market, and import them into the US for those NA buyers that just gotta have one.

  • avatar

    Will the Ciel, Elmiraj or Escala see production?

    Answering those questions provides the answer for where the brand will be in 2027. Escalades and other crossovers aren’t enough.

    If the people running the division in 1960 were around today and in their prime, what would they do?

  • avatar

    Can’t see how Cadillac should ever recover. The brand got stigmatized in a way I haven’t seen before. It’s a slow death. For instance, you’d say that VW’s luxury brand Audi got a bad rap since Dieselgate. The scandal didn’t hurt sales one bit in Europe, and probably not as bad as Cadillac is hurting in the U.S. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Cadillac will always hang on, living on the profits generated by GM pickup trucks.

      GM should have been given away to China or India in 2009, like Chrysler was given away to Italy, along with a $1.3B bribe.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    In 10 years? Udders up, a bloated corpse in GMs graveyard of dead brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

      Cadillac will be around for as long as GM is in the US. The GM execs and their SOs don’t want to drive Chevys. That’s what is saving Lincoln. RHIP

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    I recently promised my wife a new car when she retired. We drove BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Kia Cadenza, and Cadillac. All of the first three had DIT4 engines that rattled badly when the start/stop engaged. None really impressed me that much, with the C300 coming out on top. (Want more lux then handling, but still a competent driving car) That said, the cost of the vehicle was inflated by options as the base model is a stripper in all cases of the first three. Just too much money for the car. The Kia drove well and had good 6 power but was front wheel drive and did not have the handling I desire. Due to the poor sales of Cadillac sedans lots of money on the hood, in fact, about a third of the retail. The CTS also has a DIT4 with S/S which is annoying but was better then the Germans. The Camero underpinnings gave the handling a real boost and the styling is handsome but not pretty. It is well equipted and this generation interior is improved over the early efforts as shown in the first gen ATS. Power is good with only a little too much noise from the 4. I do think this car as well as the current ATS deserves more credit (check out the V series) but the dealer system is still stuck in 1960 and need great improvement. In the end, I am happy with the Cadillac for my wife. In full disclosure, I also own a C300 manual, a Jaguar Stype and a 2008 HHR dog and garden center car.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Cadillac’s problem is simple. They are not a luxury brand anymore.

    As far as younger buyers are concerned,Cadillac is shorthand for an ugly Buick with a higher price tag. Even if the cars were up to snuff with other brands it wouldn’t matter,because whatever prestige Cadillac had was pissed away by junk product (thanks Northstar!) and badge engineered garbage.

    They have to reboot in the marketplace,and in the fashion of Lexus in the 90’s. Everything they sell needs to embarrass an LS500’s interior -at the price of a loaded Impala. Once they get quality product back into the marketplace and rebuild a reputation for making quality cars,then the prestige of the brand will return and then they can compete in the luxury space. Right now the ATS’ competition really isn’t BMW or Mercedes-it’s the loaded Camrys,Impalas and Accords.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      An ATS is much smaller than a Camry, Impala or Accord. An ATS buyer doesn’t care about back seat size unlike those buying the other cars mentioned.

      For all intents and purposes, an ATS is a 2+2.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      That’s a good plan, but I’m not sure if even that can save it.

      Cadillac’s biggest problem is that GM views it seriously as an aspirational brand, but what little market it has is among decidedly non-aspirational types whose dreams of ownership are only fulfilled through the BHPH lot.

      With only the occasional Buffett-esque exceptions, most of today’s HNW individuals will never own a Cadillac.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “With only the occasional Buffett-esque exceptions, most of today’s HNW individuals will never own a Cadillac.”

        …and that’s because today’s HNW folks remember how bad Cadillacs were. Thus, the emphasis on younger buyers. It makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        But Cadillac really is an aspirational brand, just not in the US. That’s what Cadillac is in China, and GM knows that’s where all the growth is going to be. They’re not going to wage a campaign to win back North America when all the money is overseas. Any such effort would only hurt them in China.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      @LS1Fan
      I think you nailed it right there. Offer something so superior to the competition at a ridiculously low price and that may save them. I think a reputation is hard to rebuild and GM ruined theirs for so long it could take forever to get back.

  • avatar
    JimBot

    Cadillac will exist, and I think it will thrive. The model names will change, probably in the next 3-5 years.. GM takes a very long time to move things around. They are re-branding, and they are re-crafting their entire lineup. The cars of the 2010’s were what I would consider mid-changeover .. gearing up to where they are now.

    I don’t know why they don’t build the concept cars – and I don’t know why they show them in the hipster ads. The ads don’t bother me that much, but I think they SHOULD get back to basics in a few ways.. agreeing with several of you here.

    1. Partially revert to their old naming conventions;
    2. Allow for more factory customization around available powertrains, interior options, technology, etc.. a la Bentley / Rolls, but to a lesser degree of course. This is luxury that $100K + car buyers want. They want to be EXCLUSIVE.. nothing wrong with that, no judgements here, just observation.

    3. Find a new marketing firm or have them re-do what they have now. Their base are not Manhattanites.. I lived there for many years, and I can tell you that people who live in Manhattan don’t need cars and generally don’t care about them. Stop working from a design studio there, and stop filming your commercials there. They aren’t connecting with ANYBODY. Want to inspire your designers? Send them to Palm Springs.

    4. BUILD THE CONCEPT CARS. You need a flagship Cadillac… not a Phaeton or other such failed (but cool) idea.. a real flagship that is EPIC…

    Anyway my 2 cents…

  • avatar
    65corvair

    Once you lose your reputation, it’s hard to get it back. The people who see Cadilac as a name that is respected is a shrinking population,

    I see them moving down market, taking sales form Buick and even Chevy.

    I liked the idea from a few days back about making Corvette a brand. Drop Caddy completely.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    There is a lot of focus on what is wrong with it. Let’s count it
    1. Poor brand perception
    2. Sedan focused
    3. Interiors do not hold up to imports in terms of detail and quality
    4. Huge price increases lately
    5. Income decline of the traditional buyers, midwest aging middle class.
    6.DW doesn’t like it

    Here are the positives
    1. Significant capital commitment from GM $12b
    2. SUV’s/crossovers in pipeline finally.
    3. Overall better management of the parent GM.
    4. New focus on marketing. Jack did a piece on it earlier and it was spot on. Marketing of course does not mean advertisements only.
    5. Presence in rural areas (can be asset or liability with unprofitable dealers)

    Outlook
    I think current management team is going to make or break the brand. They have spent enough time at the helm to understand the brand and figure out the path forward. If they can’t make it work with the money and freedom they are given it is on them.

    On the product side crossovers will bring much needed volume and cash. Transaction prices are already good. If they fix interiors of XTS and CT6 they should sell in enough numbers to be viable, and they will also lift CTS. If SUV’s can bring expected volume, the brand will have more money to do flagship models like a mid engined coupe or a super sedan, but in my opinion easier to do would be a range rover autobiography rival on CT6 chassis.

    So in short Cadillac will be in a better shape in 10 years. Johan might not be able to pull an Audi but my expectation is that Cadillac will be in top 4 brands in sales, and may continue to be among top 2 in ATP.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    I say: it’s time for a Cadillac Death Watch!

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    I wonder what percentage of Americans under 40 know they still make Cadillacs.

    Maybe they’ll just have a slow, mostly unnoticed demise like Packard or Studebaker.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      None. That’s why the current marketing makes sense.

      Look, anyone’s over 40 who knows a Cadillac as either a) an Escalade, which is for gangsta wannabees, b) a CUV for fashionista soccer moms, or c) an old guy’s car. Anyone over 50 who’s familiar with the brand knows that “back in the day”, all they made was horrid junk (like our ’75 DeVille, which came standard with a bent frame, and an ’80 Eldorado, which quit on us on I-70 outside of Muncie, Indiana).

      So…yeah, chase the under-40 crowd, because the over-40 folks probably aren’t giving the brand a first or second look unless they’re in the market for an Escalade.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        I think yours is the only comment I’ve seen agreeing with their skinny-jeans marketing approach.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Maybe it’s because I fit in skinny jeans now?

          (Hehehe)

          No, seriously, I don’t think the marketing is the problem. As silly as their ads are, compare it to other incredibly silly lux-car ads. I mean, you have Land Rover putting out ads depicting some rich-millenial guy trolling around the Arctic Circle in his (immaculately clean) Land Rover, wearing a light winter coat, where he comes on a hot light-coat-clad chick with a team of sled dogs. And then he packs them all in the Land Rover, which then does a Jesus and goes over water. Oy vey.

          Or Infiniti’s ad showing a Q50 like a jetplane.

          And don’t even get me started on how stupid the Matthew McConaughey Lincoln ads are.

          There’s nothing wrong with Cadillac’s ads. The problem is that there’s only so much advertising can do for you.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            Yeah, I don’t know nothin’ about the luxury market beyond what I see on the roads and I’m greatly daring the conclusion that not seeing many Cadillacs except Escalades might mean the brand isn’t in the best of health.

            I just am tickled to see someone go 180 degrees against the TTAC flow :-)

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, s**t, someone’s gotta do it.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            “And don’t even get me started on how stupid the Matthew McConaughey Lincoln ads are.”

            Check out the youtube video of the Saturday Night Live sketches with Jim Carrey.

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        I think this sums up Cadillac precisely. I am 48 so old enough to remember the junk of the 80’s and the crap of the 90s like the Catera. Even in the 80’s people refereed to Caddys as “grandpa mobiles” Growing up on the East Coast I saw Escalades as gansgter mobiles

        Cadillac is the peak of GM Badge engineering. Back in 2008 or 2009 I had a rental Chevy Malibu on business trip. I went to visit a good friend who had just purchased a new Corvette. He was excitedly showing it off to me when I commented that the Corvette had the same steering wheel as the Malibu. He quickly replied “think of the Malibu as having a Corvette steering wheel”

        After that I just shook my head, all that money and you get the same steering wheel as the rental fleet Malibu. How special could that car be?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Cadillac is the peak of GM Badge engineering. ”

          The irony of that statement is that the truly successful Cadillacs are all based on Chevy trucks and SUVs. All of their sedans except the XTS (which came out a long time before the current Chevy Impala) ride on unique platforms.

          So…I think you’re actually arguing for more badge engineering, versus less…

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            Well I am not really arguing for or against badge engineering. The fact that people continue to buy Esclades baffles me but it’s their money so good for them. When I look at any modern Caddy all I see is a tarted up Chevy but I guess enough people see something else….

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          If the Malibu steering wheel is functional and looks/feels nice why go through the effort and expense to design multiple versions.

          “Different” does not inherently mean “special”.

          If I bought a Corvette I’d much prefer GM put their resources into more worthwhile pursuits than modifying the steering wheel just for the heck of it.

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            “If the Malibu steering wheel is functional and looks/feels nice why go through the effort and expense to design multiple versions”

            If I am dropping serious cash on a Corvette it better damn well have a different steering wheel than the rental fleet bottom feeder Malibu…..

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            If Mazda can make a unique wheel for the Miata, a Corvette that costs twice as much should have one too.

          • 0 avatar
            Middle-Aged Miata Man

            Corvette buyers in the mid-70s may have felt the same as you… until they realized their new dream machine had the very same steering wheel as a lowly Vega.

            Different does not mean inherently special, true; at a certain price point, though, it’s reasonable to expect some modicum of effort to differentiate the product.

      • 0 avatar
        ttiguy

        Im 40 years old, my wife is 32. We just bought our 3rd brand new Cadillac last week. A 2017 ATS-V Coupe 6MT. It’s a fantastic car that can compare to anything in the world. Couldn’t be happier.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          I was mid-30’s and had a CTS-V back in the day after my AMG blew it motor to the tune of $30,000+ for replacement (luckily for warranty).

          Currently have a ATS and XTS Vsport. They are more sport riding than the 60-70 year olds remember Cadillac but the handling, technology, and power, beat anything from their era. They are an excellent deal on the used market with styling that is not Lexus offensive but does stand out.

      • 0 avatar

        He’s right. I’m over 40 but not yet a senior (despite the discount the guy at Dunkin Donuts gave me yesterday), and my peeps get in my Caddy with surprise. If they have any brand image at all, it’s “uncle Charlie had a huge Fleetwood when I was growing up”. Caddy really has NO image, positive or negative, for the under 50 folks…those who are at least close to buying your cars.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          The black XTS Vsport with dark tint, along with my wife’s long blonde hair, have people on the highway pulling ahead of us trying to see into the front window like a paparazzi. I sure they are surprised to see us in our 40’s rolling in a big Caddy. Her coworkers call it old money, my pre-teen nieces think it dope to have control of the climate control and seat heaters and love the nightime led piping through out the car and their very own window shade.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I am old enough to remember when Cadillac was truly an aspirational vehicle. And when those driving D3 luxury cars, looked down their noses at most European sedans as being too austere, too small, too unreliable and/or underpowered.

    Have owned/leased Caddy’s and still own one of the leather coats that came with one.

    Watched them change their image and now to be honest watched their traditional customer base, disappear either through age or economic changes.

    Although I still love a large, soft, quiet, V8 powered traditional luxury car, I realize that I am a small minority.

    So will have to admit that Cadillac will have to change (again) their image, their product mix and how they do business. Time to compete with Range Rover/Land Rover and create the ultimate SUV/CUV (and perhaps pick-up) model mix. Make them big, overbuilt, overpriced and overpowered. Spend the first few years over engineering them to make the required changes in reputation. Provide the Lexus style ownership experience.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Or just realize that it may be time to die in the hole they’ve dug and from which they’ll never emerge.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Well……., maybe if GM started putting Corvette powertrains in Cadillacs, maybe that would revive some interest by true car aficionados.

        Does anyone remember the 500-cube Cadillac V8? Lord have mercy! Whatta machine!!!

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          “Does anyone remember the 500-cube Cadillac V8? Lord have mercy! Whatta machine!!!”

          All 190 hp of it? It’s an embarrassment that something so large should be so inefficient.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Americans drive torque, not horsepower.

            I bet if someone dyno’d that 500 it would show a lot more than 190hp.

            I read an article some time ago that engines back then were downrated on purpose on paper but put out a lot more power to where the rubber meets the road in the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The Escalade Power train doesn’t appeal to me as 400+ horsepower can be had in a mid sized sedan for $45K. Maybe the BOF is not advanced to handle magnetic shocks and 500+/500+ horsepower/torque, but Cadillac needs to at least keep up with 450 horsepower Ecoboost.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        No it doesn’t, nor can a truck effectively use 400+ horsepower and zip around curves like a Porsche. Those figures are simply about measuring sticks.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    In short, Cadillac will be fine a decade from now.
    And so will we.

  • avatar
    Ianw33

    Here is my non-snark answer.

    I believe Cadillac’s success is tied to them finding their own identity. Their legacy was always about being comfortable and luxurious. They have gotten side tracked trying to chase BMW’s M division.

    I think the CT6 is the best car they have as far as road presence goes. It looks low, big, and wide. what they need to do is pour more money into an E class/S class type of interior and make a top trim v8 option available (not for the hooning crowd, but for the high earners that want the most powerful/expensive trim of a car to go 10mph under the speed limit.

    There is no reason they can have two different flavors of caddy’s available. The sports version for drivers, and the luxury flavor for the rest.

    the last gen CTS had some swagger in the styling, looked low and wide with a little aggression. the current CTS, while probably a better car in all respects, just looks plain…no statement what so ever. people spending $50k+ on a luxury are usually want to make some sort of statement

  • avatar
    jkross22

    GM’s “Real people, not actor” commercials is indicative of the big problem. GM is trying to convince us to believe what they believe – that they make great products. Unfortunately, touting the first 90 days of ownership experience doesn’t tell me much about what the car is like in 4 years.

    GM’s best at building trucks and SUV’s, so why does their luxury brand have 2 of them when they really should have 4? The CT6 isn’t what they need. They need a great 3 row crossover (and a small 2 row) that is styled like the Escalade with a Corvette engine.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I was a GM fan in the sixties, seventies and eighties, and I cannot remember ever that GM made great products.

      I remember a lot of tooling and wrenching I had to do to keep them running. But that was a different time. And I was a lot younger then.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      In the last few years they are building and designing some of the best vehicles probably in history and they have the sales and awards to prove it.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    Cadillac has been trying hard to change its image since the introduction of the CTS in 2002. The Art & Science look and all, with a Led Zeppelin soundtrack. But you still know that when you pick up a copy of Motor Trend or Automobile and check out a Cadillac review, it’s going to open with three paragraphs of snark regarding their Uncle Hank’s ancient El Dorado. Since a 40-year-old buyer today was born in 1977, I don’t know if he really remembers those 1960s land yachts. But, you know, the magazine reviewers still remember.

    I like the CTS. The V-Sport version was actually too taut on a bumpy back road, but I could see its heart was in the right place and if I lived in a place with flowing sweepers like you find out west, I’d have it on my list.
    More recently I had a week in the CT6 with the 3.0 twin turbo 400 horse engine, and found it a fine, responsive machine that pushed all my buttons. I wanted to drive one cross country.

    If there was anything weird about it, it was the name. Who puts out two distinct models called the CTS and the CT6? That’s just nuts.
    But as others have pointed out, Cadillac is battling for the heart of the customer who has likely driven German cars. Is the CT6 better than the Audi A8? No. But it’s less expensive. But but but…..but what about reliability? Resale? This where the buyer feels safe with the German car, even if the car might become a maintenance nightmare when the lease runs out. With CT6s marked at 80 grand, the consumer has some heavy questions.

    But I prefer cars. What do I know about a market that seems to be going relentlessly towards crossovers? As Kyree pointed out, GM should have spotted the trend towards fancy fast compact crossovers. Jeez, that all started 15 or 20 years ago. The success of the XT5 will probably get them off their tushes. (Although the vehicle that preceded it, the SRX, was also the best-selling Cadillac.)

    Cadillac now has three ranges of sedans, and a fourth — a longer CT8 type — is in the works. That’s a lot sedans in a market that doesn’t want them. But since these sedans make money in China, they’ll keep making them.

    If Cadillac nets $1 billion for GM — and it might — then it’s earning its keep. That’s the only real question to be answered.

    • 0 avatar
      MaxPower405

      Great point on the A8 and CT6 comparison.

      As a matter of fact, although the ’17 CT6 Platinum was cheaper than the ’17 A8 4.0 Sport, the same terms on a lease (zero down, 36 months, 15k/year) the CT6 ran about $200 more a month. It may seem insignificant at first, but it adds up to a big deal – $7,200 over the life of the lease.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That’s nuts, given that the CT6 is priced straight across from the A6 (trim for trim) and the A8 is a good deal more expensive to buy. But most of these buyers lease, so to compete with the Germans GM would have to massively subsidize leases, which few companies do this high in the price universe.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Sounds like you’ve identified why the CT6 isn’t moving. It’s priced where most can’t afford, and most who are able to swing a payment that size wind up leasing anyway.

          • 0 avatar

            Lease numbers drive pricing at this level. The lease just has to be a bit cheaper than the time payment price, so the car worth $25k at the end will be priced to $60k-but that number reflects the ultimate lease payments, not a “what the market will bear’ price, because few folks are actually buying the car. Many of the target buyers are also involved in their own businesses, and the IRS likes leasing but if you buy, will give just enough for the power company to buy and write off a Chevy Captiva…not your near-lux ride….so that $600 per month lease is often pre tax dollars from the business, not after tax W2 net. When that lease is up, this buyer can flit over to the next flower. Brand Loyalty doesn’t mean much if your car is never more than 3 yrs old or out of warranty.

            A friend has an X1 that is end of lease. His residual is much higher than the asking retail prices for the same car CPO. A BMW dealer told me that they just give most of the off lease cars back to BMW Financial, and “I have no idea what they do with them”. Someone guessed wrong three years ago, but BMW should offer him the car for the actual market price. Instead, he is moving to X3, a lease of a “dealer demonstrator” for a very good price. How many financial machinations did this car have ? Sold to dealer…resold with 4k miles as “dealer demonstration” Leased. Yeesh.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Either bankrupt or Chinese.

    No marque for old men.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    In a decade Cadillac, Lincoln and Buick will be gone domestically. They will, however, be marketed in China and reunited Korea as premium products.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” reunited Korea”

      I bet that’s a hot topic of conversation at Mar-A-Lago today.

      Personally, I believe it’s long overdue. A cease-fire agreement since 1953? It needs to be settled, once and for all.

  • avatar

    Cadillac is doing better this year. Alas, poor Buick is having a nightmare of a year. When I go to the library later this week I will check out autonews and see the statistics. I was shocked last week to find Cadillac is outselling Buick. Lincoln and Buick are at the back of the pack in sales. Cadillac is still out selling Lincoln by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.

    Time for a Buick death watch. Lincoln is already pretty much brand dead with slower sales than Acura.

  • avatar

    Buick can’t even out sell an expensive brand like Cadillac in the US.

    Sad news for Buick. The deathwatch starts.

    Buick’s sales were weighed down by big slumps for its Regal (down 36%) and LaCrosse (down 49%) sedans. The handsome LaCrosse was all-new last year and received positive reviews, but big sedans are a very tough sell right now.

    It is time to ditch Buick and put more resources into Cadillac. American has clearly stated they hate rebadged Opels. Even GM hates Opel.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Cadillac will continue to slowly shrink during the next 10 years. Why? Because the competition is just too good. M-B, Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus were all able to take huge share away from Cadillac and Lincoln during the 70s-90s because Cadillac and Lincolns of that era were absolute junk and only came in king-sized. Someone that wanted quality or a handier size couldn’t find what they wanted at the Cadillac dealer, so they went over to buy that new 3 series or 300TD. Where are the exploitable niches where a brand can expand easily today? The Germans have every single one covered with some excellent products – 5 door hatchback with coupe styling and AWD? yep we got it. 5 door hatchback with SUV styling and RWD? yep we got that also. etc, etc. The Japanese and Koreans and minor Europeans cover the durability or value or “not German” parts of the market, while Lincoln (and Buick) is basically doing what Cadillac lived off during the decline period – moderate priced traditional American luxury. Plus Cadillac has a weak dealer network, a poor brand reputation, and continually tries to price themselves as if they were the equals of MB and BMW. I see no way this reverses unless the Germans and Lexus start making a lot of bad mistakes to create an opening. Yet even if such mistakes occur, I think it is more likely that Lexus or Acura or Volvo or Hyundai will be much faster at filling the void than Cadillac. Cadillac currently makes some nice vehicles, but they are a dead brand walking.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Not to mention brands like Genesis are offering much more car for a lot less money than Cadillac. If you’re luxury buyer with $45K to spend and adults to haul around, do you look at a big Genesis or a tiny ATS? Not so far off, price-wise, because the Genesis is much better equipped.

      And Cadillac has about the same name value as a Korean luxury brand that’s a year old.

  • avatar
    denster2u

    Cadillac can’t compete with the Germans, plain and simple. Don’t get me wrong, I think Cadillac offers bold design and impressive performance and driving dynamics, but what is the target market? I think Cadillac is chasing a buyer that doesn’t exist – a conquest sale to a loyalist of German engineering that’s likely owned generations of BMW, Audi, or Mercedes products. If you want German Luxury and Performance, you shop German marques. Cadillac has been on this untenable mission since way back in 2003, with the introduction of the first-gen CTS, and it’s been a futile struggle ever since. In the latest desperate marketing ploy, new Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen thinks he can reinvent the brand yet again, by rearranging letters and numbers on the deck lid, from ATS, CTS, SRX, etc. to names like CT6 and XT5. What does this accomplish, other than confusing buyers and perpetuating Cadillac’s identity crisis? But what is the answer for Cadillac’s future? I think the right formula is already being executed successfully by Cadillac’s old cross-town rival, Lincoln, which is bringing back ostentatious American luxury and a classic nameplate – the Continental. Cadillac has had a halo vehicle for almost two decades now, that embraces this very concept – Escalade. Hell, EVERYONE knows an Escalade is a Cadillac, and yet it contradicts everything that the rest of Cadillac’s model lineup aspires to be. Who knows a CT6 is a Cadillac? Even when I look at Cadillac’s “Beast” presidential limousine, I think -they need to build a shorter wheelbase version of that car, less the armor, and resurrect the Fleetwood. Here is my formula for Cadillac: 1.) Become more of a niche brand, with fewer models. 2.) Don’t sell any cars without an actual name. 3.) Embrace your American heritage, because it’s cool again – more plush, more overhang, more grille, and more vertical taillamps.

    • 0 avatar
      Wodehouse

      Well said, er, written! The current lineup of passenger cars, excepting the under appreciated and poorly named XTS, is a confusing mess of “not quite there” imitations of the German and Asian luxury brands. That these cars sit “cowering” in the presence of the iconic Escalade is laughable.

  • avatar
    ehaase

    10 years from now, all Cadillac and Buick sedans will be sourced from China. The only Cadillac and Buick products made in the US will be crossovers.

  • avatar

    I’m always amazed how few Cadillacs I see. Most of my driving is around NYC, so every sort of expensive or unusual car is sorta common in the “demographically desirable burbs”. Cool kids drive Audi, and the 3 series is now pretty much a Corolla. I see a lot of interesting stuff, reflective of our insane property prices and the income you need to live here. (Typical property tax is $12k for a normal 3 bed two bath-nice homes run up to $25k)

    I can honestly say that I see more Tesla (and even a few X) than I see Cadillac, if you filter out XTS being used commercially. Tesla is what, a rounding error for the big three ?

    My second gen CTS is maybe one other car a day. I’ve seen maybe two second gen CTS-V. I’ve never seen a VSport in the wild. ATS are becoming more common-the two door seems to be selling well. The attempt to become an American ///M is missing the mark. Most folks are surprised at the ability to move of my second gen CTS…with 300 hp and RWD, I consider it the best Camaro GM ever made. I recently had a (redacted) run with a fellow boring sedan guy in a Dinan badged 5 series where we (redacted) on the (redacted) parkway near home. He, like many others in performance cars, was shocked to see a Caddy hanging with him. Of course, FE3 spec is probably more rare than the legit V cars.

    Other factors are at work too. Picking around a used car website, I was floored to see lightly used off lease 3 and C class cars, for under $25k. These are CPO no less, not some dodgy salvage title. The automakers have watered down the brands to the point that you can have a new Accord or a Mercedes-Benz with 20k miles on it, and it isn’t that trash CLA. I saw the X1 for 19k, which has to be some sort of record. The wife thought that would be a nice replacment for our truck wihen the time comes. I could be a hero and get the M Sport version I saw for $24k !!!

    I’m thinking that the market is glutted. Used values will continue to drop. Into that, the old brands, the cachet, are also changed. What was “Mercedes” 15 years ago requires you to buy a Maserati or Bentley now. (Not talking objective quality, taliking curb snob appeal)

    Cadillac needs to come out with a line of SUV/CUV that are a class above the price point. The old brand constellation has moved in the interim. The prestige labels are mostly gone because they all chased volume, and you can’t put that Genie back in the Bottle. Likewise, Caddy can’t be Mercedes circa 1985..that target has moved.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The brand has little relevance to most and maybe it is time for it to die. Buick has more relevance in that it is big in China and the Enclave and Encore are very successful. I don’t think a V-8 powered rear wheel drive car will help Cadillac especially since buyers are going away from sedans in favor of SUVs and crossovers. Cadillac for many years has been a brand seeking a market that has gone to its competitors. Cut Cadillac and put more resources into Buick.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Caddy in 2027? A trim level.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Where Will Cadillac Be A Decade From Now?

    Under Chinese ownership.

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