Cadillac Takes a Sales Dive in December; All Models Drop

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Christmas was in the air, but Cadillac’s last sales month brought anything but good cheer. General Motors’ luxury brand saw sales of every last one of its models fall, year-over-year, ending December as the worst-performing division in the GM fold.

Total U.S. Cadillac sales fell 28.6 percent last month, year-over-year, with 2017 volume down 8 percent compared to all 12 months of 2016 — a loss of 14,566 sales. Hardly a brand reaching its pinnacle. However, as bad as Cadillac’s numbers look, there’s a couple of unavoidable factors working against the brand.

We’ll get to that in a bit. In terms of individuals models, the worst nosedive was the 60.9 percent drop in year-over-year sales experienced by the XTS. The CTS and ATS followed close behind with sales declines of 52.6 and 52.3 percent, respectively. Demand for the flagship CT6 fell 35 percent.

Among utility vehicles, long-regarded as a license to print money, even the Escalade and XT5 couldn’t top previous December performances. Escalade sales fell 15 percent, year-over-year, with Escalade ESV volume down 24.6 percent. The XT5 came closest to beating its December 2016 tally, logging a drop of 7.4 percent.

Now, let’s take a look at why these numbers are not as awful as they seen. For starters, December 2017 brought 26 selling days. December 2016 had 27 days where the public could drive home a new Cadillac. That has the potential to leave a mark.

The larger factor at play is that, for almost all automakers, December 2016 was an absolute dynamite month for auto sales. In that particular month, U.S. buyers took home 21,446 Cadillacs — the highest monthly volume since before the recession. Only one other month came close to this tally — the previous December. A month after those end-of-year deals dried up, volume was down to 50 percent of that level.

Looking at last year, in which the industry as a whole declined 1.8 percent (the first drop since the recession), December 2017 was Cadillac’s second-best sales showing of the past 12 months. Still, there’s no denying that any model with a trunklid seems doomed in today’s buying climate, Cadillac’s sedans especially.

This year, the brand plans to firm up its sedan-heavy lineup with the addition of a compact XT4 crossover, giving Cadillac a much-needed presence in one of the industry’s hottest segments. Another crossover, this one bigger, should follow the XT4 by a year, with the possibility of an even smaller crossover arriving after that.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Mjz Mjz on Jan 05, 2018

    Perhaps if they priced them realistically to begin with, sales would not be down so much. All of the sedans need immediate $5 to $10K price reductions. Their current pricing strategy is laughable.

    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jan 06, 2018

      The problem isn't the pricing so much (which does undercut MB and BMW), but rather JdN wanting to be disciplined about discounting (rather lose some sales than go the discounting route). The other problem has been the combination of packaging and interiors not quite being up to snuff (in particular, the ATS and CTS), but that should be rectified by the upcoming Cadillac sedan lineup.

  • Bd2 Bd2 on Jan 06, 2018

    For all the repeated gnashing about Cadillac... "Significant growth in China propelled Cadillac to its second-highest annual sales tally in the brand's 115-year history. The General Motors luxury brand on Friday said it delivered 356,467 vehicles worldwide in 2017, a 16 percent increase over 2016. Cadillac's global sales peaked at 360,825 in 1978, with most of the volume in the U.S. China, which overtook the U.S. as the brand's top market in 2017, led the way with a 51 percent increase in sales, to 175,489 vehicles, followed by a 10 percent increase in other international markets. In the U.S., volume dropped 8 percent to 156,440 units last year." Yes, US sales have been in the doldrums, but that should start to change when the XT4 hits the lots and as Cadillac adds more CUV models and makes major changes to its sedan lineup (for instance, the ATS replacement will be much larger - going back to the size of the 2G CTS). The XT5 makes up 40% of Cadillac's total global sales; imagine of Cadillac had another CUV, much less 2 or 3 more.

  • Zipper69 Current radio ads blare "your local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer" and the facias read the same. Is the honeymoon with FIAT over now the 500 and big 500 have stopped selling?
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  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.