That Brief Spell in Which America Was Cadillac's Biggest Market Ended in September 2017
By the slimmest of margins, Cadillac’s U.S. operations put an end to China’s repeated dominance of Cadillac’s sales charts in August 2017.
But after Americans acquired two more Cadillacs than the Chinese did in August, normal order returned in September 2017. 49 percent of the Cadillacs sold around the world last month were delivered in China, where volume rose 38 percent, year-over-year.
Perhaps of greater consequence to Cadillac’s New York HQ is the fact that September sales not only increased in China but also in the U.S., Canada, and in its rest-of-the-world markets.
September was the 16th consecutive month of global Cadillac sales improvement. Naturally much of the credit belongs to the Cadillac XT5.
Of course, Cadillac remains an exceptionally low-volume automotive brand, not just by the standards of Ford or Toyota or Chevrolet, but even compared with top-tier luxury marques. Cadillac’s global volume soared in September 2017 to 35,020 units.
By comparison, Mercedes-Benz sold 36,559 vehicles (excluding commercial vans) in the U.S. and Canada alone, another 100,000+ in Europe, and 51,127 in China. The E-Class, on its own, accounts for nearly as much global volume as the entire Cadillac brand. Mercedes-Benz’s SUVs produced more than twice as many global sales in September as the whole Cadillac brand. Moreover, Cadillac’s global streak of improvement pales in comparison to Mercedes-Benz, where global records have been broken in 55 consecutive months.
Part of the reason for Cadillac’s comparative global weakness is its dearth of passenger car demand. 40 percent of the brand’s global volume stems from the XT5. In the U.S., two-thirds of Cadillac’s sales come from the SUV/crossover department. Meanwhile, Cadillac’s U.S. passenger car volume plunged by nearly a quarter through the first nine months of 2017, a loss of nearly 12,000 sales for the brand. As a result, despite the 9-percent uptick in utility vehicle sales, total U.S. Cadillac volume is down 5 percent this year, slowing at more than twice the rate of the overall industry.
But China is providing the necessary boost to inflate Cadillac’s numbers and confidence. Cadillac’s 38-percent China improvement equalled 4,709 additional sales — for 17,248 in total — last month, driving the brand’s volume up to 124,625 through the first three-quarters of 2017.
While the U.S. has lost 5,440 Cadillac sales so far this year, China has added nearly 48,000.
[Images: Cadillac; Chart: The Truth About Cars]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.
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