Cadillac Confirms 'It's On' Again

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
cadillac confirms 8216 its on again

Halfway through the brand’s decade-long turnaround plan, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle says the company is finally ready to paint the town redder than a baboon’s ass. As you’ll no doubt recall, Carlisle took over for Johan de Nysschen after a “ surprise management change” last April.

He’s addressing 900 retailers this week’s Cadillac dealer meeting in Las Vegas. The strategy? Carlisle intends to outline Cadillac’s upcoming products through 2021 — primarily crossovers. For the most part it looks to be steady as she goes, with the new president following de Nysschen’s overall strategy with a few tweaks. Those changes will likely come through the brand’s marketing efforts and some minor adjustments to the 2019 Project Pinnacle retail incentive program. But it could alter the luxury marque’s final lineup, too.

“We have an arsenal of products and technologies that will create even more differentiation for Cadillac and establish a very unique and attractive position for us in the global marketplaces,” Automotive News quoted Carlisle as saying during the 2019 XT4 launch. “Where do we go next? Well, we’re going on the offensive.”

Cadillac is in the midst of a 10-year, $12 billion turnaround plan that aims to restore the American luxury brand’s luster. It entails releasing a redesigned or entirely new automobile every six months through 2021. The XT4 was the first model of the bunch, filling a gaping void in the blistering hot compact crossover segment. The next vehicle is expected to be a large three-row crossover slotted between the XT5 and Escalade SUV. Cadillac was extremely late to the crossover party, so getting these models out swiftly is of the utmost importance right now.

However, the brand’s current obsession with crossover vehicles may not leave adequate room for everything in de Nysschen’s original strategy. The initial plan had a replacement queued for the aging ATS and CTS, followed by an even smaller sedan, and then the next-generation Escalade by 2020. Those models were to be followed by a redesigned XT5 and a fun-loving EV or more-serious sports car based on the next Chevrolet Corvette — maybe even both.

Carlisle said he’s unsure whether Cadillac needs a range-topping sports car. While it would yield some added attention, another XLR-like flagship could detract from the brand’s current set of priorities. “Now, if it were somehow a different propulsion system that might be more interesting,” he said before adding that electric vehicles still provide “really good performance.”

Ah yes, another EV is exactly what Cadillac shoppers are interested in. Just ask the 2,958 North Americans who purchased the ELR before it was discontinued after two years of production.

While Caddy attempts to figure out what type of premium electric vehicle customers want to buy (hint: look to Tesla), Carlisle says the semi-autonomous Super Cruise system will continue to improve as it works its way into more models. We’re not the biggest proponents of advanced driving aids, but we do know it’s something luxury shoppers will begin to expect in the coming years.

The brand’s shitty “Dare Greatly” advertising campaign will continue, as well, though Carlisle promised to make changes to better suit consumer expectations. “We have the opportunity to come in from a different perspective,” he said,”[adding] a little bit more fun and how the vehicle makes you feel.”

We’d recommend ditching the overwhelming focus on New York City and focus instead on product. Feel free to tap into brand heritage as much as needed, just don’t get sidetracked. You’re supposed to be selling cars, not some convoluted message about how Cadillac fits into the American lexicon. Fortunately, the company’s marketing team already seems to be doing this.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • Carguy Carguy on Sep 18, 2018

    Sometimes it hard to remember a time when Cadillac wasn't undergoing a multi-billion dollar turn around. So far, however, they are still going in the wrong direction. For a start, they could call off the relentless pursuit of the cheapest Chinese parts that they can find. This does nothing for their reputation. Then, maybe they could focus on value. The XT4 fully loaded is around $56K which is way more than a loaded X1 and about the same as a fully loaded X3 2.0T. Guess what's wrong with this picture? Stay tuned for the next CEO and yet another multi-billion dollar turn around plan soon.

  • Whatnext Whatnext on Sep 18, 2018

    Pseudo-luxury for soccer moms. Standard of the World?

  • Tassos While Acura was the first Japanese attempt to sell 'luxury' (or "premium") vehicles in the US market, and despite its original good success in the near-luxury segment with the Legend and the far smaller and less expensive Itegra (a glorified Civic), it later lost its momentum and offered a series of underwhelming vehicles. It sure is not a LUXURY maker, and as long as it offers FWD or AWD and NOT RWD vehicles, it will never be taken seriously as a serious sports cars maker. Infiniti is much worse, and if both of them go under, few will notice. Lexus was more successful, offering pimped up TOyotas for 10,000s more, but there is NO vehicle in their lineup, esp now that they scewed up the only serious entry (the LS), that I would care to consider. AND I say all this as a very satisfied owner of 5-speed Honda coupes and hatchbacks (a 1991 Civic hatch and a 1990 Accord Coupe).
  • Mike Beranek Yet another reason to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles charged with energy from wind & solar with modern, non-Monty Burns nuclear as a backup.
  • Tassos The cap the timid Western Europeans agreed to, a HIGH $60, which still lets Putin make a TON of billions of $, was way too HIGH. Ukraine correctly complained about this, it had asked for a $20 cap, I believe.
  • FreedMike "...I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath until fuel prices drop."Regular is $2.87 at my local gas station today. Considering that it was over four bucks this summer, I'd call that a drop. And it happened with the war still going on, the GOP not taking over Congress, Dark Brandon in the White House, and the Theoretical Keystone Pipeline still being canned. Imagine that. And I wonder if poor Slavuta has broken out the "will rap for food" sign yet.
  • THX1136 I would imagine the caps will have minimal impact. Putin is going to do what he wants to do regardless of how the citizens of his country fare.