QOTD: Cadillac's Bringing Back Names, So Now What?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd cadillacs bringing back names so now what

Cadillac may be embarking on a nail-biting journey with its electrification plan, but its naming strategy could prove considerably less rocky. Or not. Announced Thursday in Detroit, the premium brand’s evolution to emissions-free status will coincide with a return of actual model names for new vehicles — a move many Cadillac watchers have long hoped for.

Yes, the alphabet soup that comprised all but one member of the Caddy clan will fall by the wayside, replaced by real words. Names that mean something, that stimulate emotion. Ford thought it necessary. Can you guess what we’re going to ask today?

“The rollout of the electric vehicles is the time we’ll start to move back toward naming,” Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said, as reported by Automotive News.

Like Lincoln, Cadillac’s naming strategy for the new Millennium, which applied to all but its grandfathered full-size SUV, sought to emulate European prestige, but only ended up confusing regular people. Talk to your coworker about the XT6 and CT6 and they’ll likely have no idea what model you’re referencing. Sedan, SUV, who knows? Same goes for the MKX and MKZ (add the XTS in there while you’re at it).

Things got even weirder at Cadillac when the brand decided to differentiate power outputs by assigning models a rounded-up torque designation, thus saddling vehicles with even more head-scratching numbers and letters. To make matters worse, that torque figure is in Newton-metres. For the past month, Detroit denizens have spotted CT6 sedans tooling around with “800T” badges.

Tell that coworker you’re now driving a 2020 CT6 800T and see their reaction.

Lincoln eventually came to its senses, replacing the MKC and MKX with Corsair and Nautilus, and resurrecting the Aviator nameplate for good measure. Starting with the yet-to-be-named electric crossover appearing in 2021, Cadillac will do the same.

While many of you disagreed with Cadillac’s (or GM’s) decision to dive whole hog into the world of electrification, this latest tidbit is worthy of its own discussion. Should Cadillac return storied nameplates to the lineup, or forego name recognition and heritage for something more modern?

Fleetwood or Eldorado as an EV utility vehicle?


[Image: General Motors]

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  • Akear Akear on Dec 15, 2019

    Since Johan de Nysschen left Cadillac the division is releasing one turkey after another. The worst of all is the XT6, which does the impossible by being over styled (front) and under styled (side) at the same time. The entire V-series has literally been castrated. I think Acura and Infiniti now may have a better performance lineup than Cadillac. What does Cadillac gain by producing lackluster cars and SUVs. As for Cadillac being primarily a EV producer by 2030 it is so absurd it is not even worth comment.

  • Bobby Bobby on Dec 15, 2019

    For what it's worth I think Cadillac should do one of two things; My first proposal wouldn't exactly bring back "names" but I think it could represent a happy medium between the traditional (i.e. real words) and the modern (the current fad for sterile alphanumerics). Waaay waaay back, Cadillac used names like Series 60, Series 61, Series 70, etc. for their models. For many years their most prestigious "owner" driven model was the Series 60 Special. So for example, if the CT6 still has a future (or a similar replacement model is planned) I'd use the name "Series 60" for it. And while there never was a "Series 50," I'd hastily re-badge the planned CT5 as "Series 50" And the CT4 could be called "Series 40" So for Cadillac's Cars: Series 60 (nee CT6) Series 50 (nee CT5) Series 40 (nee CT4) For Crossovers, I'd go back to calling Caddy's midsize model SRX instead of XT5- (for Sport Recreational Crossover) and maybe XT4 could be called "CRX" (Compact Recreational Crossover). But that would leave the issue of what to rename the new XT6... However, if Cadillac's really looking to go full old-school with its nomenclature, the only ones that would word in the 21st century IMO would be: "Escala" "Talisman" "Eldorado" "Fleetwood" and maaaybe "Seville" "Catera" isn't as tarnished as Cimarron, nut even that ight be a bridge too far for some. Anything "Brougham" or something-De-Ville just sound too pretentious and old-fashioned.

    • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Dec 16, 2019

      Reviving the "Series" moniker is an interesting middle-of-the-road approach since it adds context which makes the number more comfortable -- in US English, at least. Unfortunately, such a move would satisfy almost no one. How about Calais? As an exercise, I flipped through my list of GM nameplates looking for names which are fallow but don't seem *too* evocative of the old brand. Like, I don't think you'd see a Cadillac Bel Air or a Cadillac Cutlass, for example. All I could find were a couple of old Pontiac badges. Catalina? Parisienne?

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