• Cadillac Offers Buyouts To Their Smallest Dealers


    • Cadillac gives their smallest dealers a way out of project pinnacle

    Cadillac is offering 400 of its smallest dealers a buyout if they don't want to be part of the ambitious and contentious Project Pinnacle.

    Automotive News reports the offers will range from $100,000 to $180,000. The dealers eligible for the buyout sold less than 50 new Cadillac models in 2015. While the 400 dealers make up 43 percent of Cadillac's total number of dealers in the U.S. (around 925), this group only made up 9 percent of total sales last year.

    Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said the buyouts is to give those an alternative who don't want to forward with the new program.

    “This is going to be a long, arduous and challenging journey and certainly not one for the faint-hearted. Some people may choose to make life a little easier than what lies ahead,” said de Nysschen.

    de Nysschen did say while Cadillac has too many dealers compared to their rivals, the buyout program isn't meant to be seen as a way to get rid of low-volume dealers. 

    Project Pinnacle is a new incentive program that will separate dealers into five tiers based on sales volume. Each tier offers a varying level of customer perk along with different requirements for services and facilities. For example, small stores cannot stock vehicles on site. Instead, they would offer a virtual showroom for customers to explore and order a vehicle. This program has gotten backlash from dealer groups, saying it would violate franchise laws and be unfair to the smaller dealers. 

    Those who have been offered the buyout have until November 21st to either take it or move forward with Project Pinnacle, which is expected to begin January 1st.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

     

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    It is a bright idea.  Dealer franchise laws do need to go.  Cadillac can survive if not thrive on about 500 dealers.  The little guys need to disappear.

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    This is a long over do move. 

    If you want a stronger dealer network you must make them stronger. 

    GM has too many dealers period and Cadillac was one that was the most effected.  To make them stronger you must weed out the weak and under performing dealers. In many cases selling Cadillac's was apart time job as they were also selling Chevy and Buicks. 

    The dealers here all sold less than 50 cars a year. In many cases some were selling one to two a month. 

    Cutting the number of dealers will move more sales to the stronger dealers and make it easier for more stand alone dealers going forward and for them to be able to better take care of the customers. 

    Most metro areas only need one dealer and an area like LA could use a couple but there are many places there is just no need for a dealer. Also if customers are remote and not close to a dealer GM can fall back on the other dealers to fix cars if needed. In a pinch they can help arrange a customer repair at a dealer that is local if the customer is ok with this. 

    This is not unlike the Chevy dealers now taking care of the Hummer Customers now. 

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    As a simple engineer far removed from sales, can someone please help me to understand how eliminating dealers will increase sales?  This does not sound like a smart plan.  How does GM suffer if some dealers sell far less than others?

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    This is a great plan as we need to dump the little dealers who do not have the cash to invest in a luxury dealership, does not have the sales to support a luxury style of dealership and does not offer the service one would expect of a luxury dealership.

    In a span of 18 miles, I have the one big dealership that I go to as the service is far superior and two small ones that usually only carry a couple cars, an escalade, etc. These two small dealerships are also part of a mega Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Saturn mega store concept from the 80-90's that are very dated and clearly not a place that Luxury buyers would go to.

    This is about giving the buyer the buying experience they expect. We have a MB dealership on the north end, one on the eastside, one in the south end. Total of 3 MB dealerships, same with BMW and they service the greater Seattle Tacoma area. 3 Counties and are very successful. Cadillac on the other hand has 12 dealerships servicing this same area. Most look like dated tear downs from the 70-80's and clearly we only need 3-4 at most.

    This is about changing to insure that the buying experience is what one would expect of a luxury dealership. Not trying to be all things to everyone out of one lot. GM does not need that unlike MB or BMW.

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    Hmmm.  I wonder how many Cadillac owners would be happy that their local dealership that is only 5 miles away, will close because the owner can't meet the renovation timeline demanded by GM.....and they then have to drive 100 miles to find the next nearest dealership.

     

    I know I would be pissed, and I could care less that my dealership did not decorate in time.

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    12 hours ago, Wings4Life said:

    As a simple engineer far removed from sales, can someone please help me to understand how eliminating dealers will increase sales?  This does not sound like a smart plan.  How does GM suffer if some dealers sell far less than others?

    It is simple. 

     

    You can have  bunch of dealers that sell a few cars and make for a weak network system of dealers competing for a fewer number of cars. 

    Or you can have a fewer number of dealers selling more cars and making more money being able to better serve customers with better facilities and better staff as they will be more profitable to provide this. 

     

    The 400 dealers here sell much less than 50 cars a year and only account for 9% of sales. The for the most part are not making money and can not provide the service standards Cadillac would like to see their dealers supply. Also the small number of sales would go to the stronger dealers and provide more income to the strong dealers that can serve the customers better. 

    It is more not so much about decoration as it is level of service and the ability to afford it.

    The weak dealers selling 1-2 cars a month are a parasite that hurt the entire network vs. helping it. 

    Ford and GM both have way too many dealers than they need. Years ago you could get away with multiple dealers on every corner but no longer. There are strenght and  profits in larger dealers with volume and less competition between dealers on transaction price. 

    Even at Chevy vs Toyota the Chevy stores per small metro area can number 5-10 and Toyota 1-3. 


    Ford in out area has helped cut the number of dealers with buy outs from Super Stores that own dealers in many cities. Some stores closed and others were enlarged but are part of a network that is working under one owner. This has helped their stores be more profitable. 

    While some may not be happy driving farther it has not hurt the Mercedes, BMW and Audi dealers in out area. The numbers even low have declined here too. There is now only a couple in the Cleveland. Akron, Canton area. They are all large new dealers with top level service vs. the past where they were just tagged in with another brand and only selling 1-2 cars a month as a part time dealer for all intents. 


    GM would like to kill off about 1/3-/1/2 of the Chevy dealers too but the cost would be too great to buy them out. 

    This is not much different than the killing of Pontiac and Olds. GM also had too many divisions for the number of cars they sold. With cost going up it was more and more difficult to make so many models and market them at the lower numbers and show a profit. 

     

    Ideally today one volume brand and one Luxury division is appropriate. In the Case of GM Buick is a non factor since China keeps them alive. The key for them is to use them for the low end Luxury and not let Cadillac worry about that. It is a case where a liability can be turned into an advantage as BMW and Benz try to work for more numbers with lower end cars in North America. 

     

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    I woudl agree with hyper, but our dealership experiences are now very different. Kind of interesting in a way.

    When i was a kid we took our Ford Country Squire wagons to a small town Ford dealer, town was no bigger than 500 people and the sales and service departments shared the same counter.  The owners two hunting dogs usually slept in front of that counter.  You would be hard pressed to find 30 cars on the lot, new or used.

    Took my MINI Cooper S in for a recall on the power steering pump, went to Midwest Auto Group here in Columbus for the work and an Oil change. they are one of the largest European car dealers in the world, and have perhaps several thousand cars on hand. Pulled in next to a black on black 2017 Rolls Royce in the service bay, after pulling past several Ferrari's, Lotuses, Jags, Volvos and the like.

    Very, very different dealership experience!

    Thankfully, both dealerships offered free coffee...

    ...and GM's weak link is their dealer network.  Dealer network is also holding back VW and to a lesser extent FCA and a few others.

    Will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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    14 hours ago, Wings4Life said:

    As a simple engineer far removed from sales, can someone please help me to understand how eliminating dealers will increase sales?  This does not sound like a smart plan.  How does GM suffer if some dealers sell far less than others?

    I don't think it will increase sales but there is no way a dealer selling less than 1 car a week is making enough on it's own to profit so I'm assuming they're getting money from the mother ship therefore is they decrease their sales slightly by closing doors they will increase their margins and profits with lower total sales. That's just my guess.

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    To anyone questioning this move as non-effective or illogical.. in terms of gaining more sales..The level of customer experience from one portion of a divisional dealership.. Chevy/Cadillac does not translate into a positive one in relation to proper customer relations. As much as I love GM.. my Chevy dealership experience is no way no how as rich as my experience at the Cadillac dealership I deal with. The dealership is a Cadillac-Only store.. and based on customer treatment.. it benefits greatly from not being associated with the Chevy store.

    It pretty much boils down to U will not get Ritz Carlton treatment at the Hilton. That carries over in sales.. PERCEPTION of luxury has to start out where U buy and with the people U deal with along the way of purchase. A person used to selling, trained to sell a Chevy Sonic or Silverado pick-up should have nothing to do with a sales of a $95K CT6. Let me make it even crazier in clarity.. A PERSON SELLING A TAHOE DOES NOT HAVE THE TRAINING TO HANDLE A SALE TO SALE OF AN ESCALADE. And yes the Tahoe can hit $70K.. but the mentality of that buyer simply is different. It is the reason why a Chevy buyer will spend $70K on the LOADED Tahoe but not feel up to spending $70K on the base Escalade.. and vise-versa. Luxury is a state of mind.. and JDN seems to have a handle on it. There is a direct correlation as to why Cadillac ATPs are up, and leading the segment... and it is not only because Cadillac sells Escalades. The CTS, XTS, ATS, and XT5 are moving, some slower than others, without massive incentives being lobed at the customers.

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    Thanks hyper, pretty much what I expected in terms of their thinking.  I am just not sure it will matter much, while absolutely inconveniencing some current and future customers who have to then seek out and drive to further to a dealer.  And the justification to those customers, is that their long time dealer did not live up to standards set.  Hmmm.  I doubt one customer will ever think or say, ‘yeah, get rid of them.  I will drive elsewhere.’  But I digress.

     

    Oh, and I completely disagree about your similarity analogy to GM killing off redundant brands, which has a direct and hard impact on profit, complexity, product planning, etc.  At least from the corporations POV.  The customer just sees another loss.  Or perhaps that’s what you meant.

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    Cadillac currently has 3x as many dealers as Benz, for instance, yet sells about a 1/3 as many cars. There is also a measure of desirability viewed from simple things as foot traffic in and out of dealership. Having less dealerships also means U can have the best personal condensed into one dealer as opposed to spread all over the place

     

    vz8p3n.jpg

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    6 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    I woudl agree with hyper, but our dealership experiences are now very different. Kind of interesting in a way.

    When i was a kid we took our Ford Country Squire wagons to a small town Ford dealer, town was no bigger than 500 people and the sales and service departments shared the same counter.  The owners two hunting dogs usually slept in front of that counter.  You would be hard pressed to find 30 cars on the lot, new or used.

    Took my MINI Cooper S in for a recall on the power steering pump, went to Midwest Auto Group here in Columbus for the work and an Oil change. they are one of the largest European car dealers in the world, and have perhaps several thousand cars on hand. Pulled in next to a black on black 2017 Rolls Royce in the service bay, after pulling past several Ferrari's, Lotuses, Jags, Volvos and the like.

    Very, very different dealership experience!

    Thankfully, both dealerships offered free coffee...

    ...and GM's weak link is their dealer network.  Dealer network is also holding back VW and to a lesser extent FCA and a few others.

    Will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

    See I like the small town service where you can wonder back to the back of the shop and really talk to the guy working on your car. Few dealers will let you wonder anymore.

    Today many customers are all about get me in and get me out while giving me a Danish and few WiFI.

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    4 hours ago, Wings4Life said:

    Thanks hyper, pretty much what I expected in terms of their thinking.  I am just not sure it will matter much, while absolutely inconveniencing some current and future customers who have to then seek out and drive to further to a dealer.  And the justification to those customers, is that their long time dealer did not live up to standards set.  Hmmm.  I doubt one customer will ever think or say, ‘yeah, get rid of them.  I will drive elsewhere.’  But I digress.

     

     

     

    Oh, and I completely disagree about your similarity analogy to GM killing off redundant brands, which has a direct and hard impact on profit, complexity, product planning, etc.  At least from the corporations POV.  The customer just sees another loss.  Or perhaps that’s what you meant.

     

    The fact is times have changed, cost are higher than ever and the way of doing business has to change or you will be out of business. We have yet to see the last automaker fail and we will see more. Development cost are so high we are seeing things like Ford and Chevy working together on transmissions not because they want to but because they have to.

    Companies just can't offer 14 variations of the same kind of car any longer as it is too expensive unless it is sold globally. Volume of each model needs to be high today as it is difficult to survive moving forward selling only a small volume at a low cost.

    Generally customers and even people here on the web sight do not understand the cost of doing business today in making autos. They may see a loss of a division but a Corporations see it as a way to make more money and cut cost.

    Profits have to be up to pay the bills and to develop new and competitive product. If not you die.

    I am still a die hard Pontiac fan but I fully understand why from a business standpoint why they were killed. knowing how the new global market works Pontiac fell too far behind not going global and holding volumes much too small.

    The inability of GM to understand how to Run Pontiac caught up to them. In the end they got Pontiac to a point in 2003 with no real RWD performance option for the GM performance division. Yet we had the Aztek? 

    Globally Pontiac was a mystery to most and really had no global market outside the Holden based cars that came way too late to help.

     

    As to back to the topic. Driving farther is not going to be an issues as most customers will have to drive as far to find a Audi or Benz dealer as it is.

    My buddy had to drive over an hour to a Porsche dealer and that was not an issue to him as it was a good dealer {Penske} and he was willing to do it because he wanted a Porsche.

    We had a local one but the market was so small it was removed and placed in Cleveland with the existing dealer as even Porsche cut the number of dealers. This is not just a GM thing. Our Benz dealers also merged or sold out too.

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    17 hours ago, Wings4Life said:

    Hmmm.  I wonder how many Cadillac owners would be happy that their local dealership that is only 5 miles away, will close because the owner can't meet the renovation timeline demanded by GM.....and they then have to drive 100 miles to find the next nearest dealership.

     

    I know I would be pissed, and I could care less that my dealership did not decorate in time.

    Cadillac is not FORD, Chevy or DODGE, they are a Luxury brand that should have world class service and dealerships. Simple, you cannot sell enough to justify the luxury line, then you do not have it.

    Many Ford Dealerships have Lincoln and they do Lincoln a dishonor by having them in the same show room.

    Luxury is Luxury and deserves to have it's own place.

    Fact of life is that while many rich people will go to Walmart to save money, They still do not want their luxury products on the same shelf there.

    Same with Cars, People who buy fords and Chevy's for the most part stay with those dealerships and rarely move up to the luxury line if it is shown there. Luxury buyers expect a much higher level of service and dealership.

    Ford would be wise to make this change if they want Lincoln to Compete with Cadillac, MB, BMW etc. Otherwise accept that Lincoln is a Buick competitor.

    Just how I see it and I think many others do also.

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    5 hours ago, Wings4Life said:

    Thanks hyper, pretty much what I expected in terms of their thinking.  I am just not sure it will matter much, while absolutely inconveniencing some current and future customers who have to then seek out and drive to further to a dealer.  And the justification to those customers, is that their long time dealer did not live up to standards set.  Hmmm.  I doubt one customer will ever think or say, ‘yeah, get rid of them.  I will drive elsewhere.’  But I digress.

    Wings, I am one of those customers that with 3 cadillac dealerships in my general area, 15 mile circle, the two closest to me are terrible and deserve to be closed down. I now drive to the farthest dealer who has outstanding service, attention to detail, etc. In fact I take my Trailblazer SS there to get the synthetic oil changed as the service is that much better and the price of the oil change between Cadillac and Chevy is nothing since it is synthetic. 

    I am a customer who does drive a little farther for better service yet same price.

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    40 minutes ago, hyperv6 said:

    See I like the small town service where you can wonder back to the back of the shop and really talk to the guy working on your car. Few dealers will let you wonder anymore.

    Today many customers are all about get me in and get me out while giving me a Danish and few WiFI.

    Agree completely.  Part of my Mustang fetish comes from this dealer in 1971...We got a new Country Squire wagon that was blue....there was a blue Mach one in the service bay next to our wagon when we picked up our nice new wagon.

    7 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Wings, I am one of those customers that with 3 cadillac dealerships in my general area, 15 mile circle, the two closest to me are terrible and deserve to be closed down. I now drive to the farthest dealer who has outstanding service, attention to detail, etc. In fact I take my Trailblazer SS there to get the synthetic oil changed as the service is that much better and the price of the oil change between Cadillac and Chevy is nothing since it is synthetic. 

    I am a customer who does drive a little farther for better service yet same price.

    I am the same way.  I have a regular independent mechanic who works on my cars and he is a bit of a hike but worth it.  And for dealership service, i sue a dealership on the far side of town, as their service is excellent.

    The dealer nearest me is god awful.  My former boss Eric had to show them how to use their alignment machine to get a proper alignment on his teenage daughters car. They were literally clueless on how to operate their own equipment.

    15 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Cadillac is not FORD, Chevy or DODGE, they are a Luxury brand that should have world class service and dealerships. Simple, you cannot sell enough to justify the luxury line, then you do not have it.

    Many Ford Dealerships have Lincoln and they do Lincoln a dishonor by having them in the same show room.

    Luxury is Luxury and deserves to have it's own place.

    Fact of life is that while many rich people will go to Walmart to save money, They still do not want their luxury products on the same shelf there.

    Same with Cars, People who buy fords and Chevy's for the most part stay with those dealerships and rarely move up to the luxury line if it is shown there. Luxury buyers expect a much higher level of service and dealership.

    Ford would be wise to make this change if they want Lincoln to Compete with Cadillac, MB, BMW etc. Otherwise accept that Lincoln is a Buick competitor.

    Just how I see it and I think many others do also.

    One reason that I am thinking of buying a used Luxury car with my next automotive purchase.  The bar really is set much higher.

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    2 hours ago, dfelt said:

    Wings, I am one of those customers that with 3 cadillac dealerships in my general area, 15 mile circle, the two closest to me are terrible and deserve to be closed down. I now drive to the farthest dealer who has outstanding service, attention to detail, etc. In fact I take my Trailblazer SS there to get the synthetic oil changed as the service is that much better and the price of the oil change between Cadillac and Chevy is nothing since it is synthetic. 

    I am a customer who does drive a little farther for better service yet same price.

    You are lucky to have the dealers close. I was referring to those in rural areas perhaps, that don't.  

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    Makes sense to do this, if a dealer is selling 3-4 cars per month, that isn't a viable dealership.    Better to buy those out and make the remaining dealerships nicer.

    As far as travel goes, once you buy the car you don't really need to take it to the dealer for service.  Aside from the independent shops, and Midas and Mienke and Monro type places there are a lot of service options.  Plus you could take your Cadillac to any GM dealer to fix since the 2.0T, 3.6 V6 and 6.2 V8 are GM corporate engines, nothing in there that a Chevy mechanic couldn't fix.

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    Cadillac will come to you to get your auto, take it, service it, wash it, vacuum it and return it in clean condition to your home or work.

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    town where my mom lives, 50k pop in a rural midwest area......huge GM dealer that's been a regional pillar for decades.  They have all the GM brands.  I bet they don't sell a ton of Caddies, and it is one of the nook in a corner stores.  Closest other GM dealers at least an hour away i think.

    No Lexus or Infiniti or Audi for an hour away.  Conservative buyers there like their GM's and even if they don't buy in big number the Cadillacs, they are still aspirational there.  Lots of SRX's sold.  Maybe they sell (purely a guess) 50-100 caddies a year.  But their same buyers buy lots of pickups and have money and when they want a car they may want a cadillac too.

    Cadillac should be analytical on which of those smaller dealers they try to cut out.  Part of GM's success over history is because they are in these smaller town midwest pockets no other dealers are.

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    7 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    town where my mom lives, 50k pop in a rural midwest area......huge GM dealer that's been a regional pillar for decades.  They have all the GM brands.  I bet they don't sell a ton of Caddies, and it is one of the nook in a corner stores.  Closest other GM dealers at least an hour away i think.

    No Lexus or Infiniti or Audi for an hour away.  Conservative buyers there like their GM's and even if they don't buy in big number the Cadillacs, they are still aspirational there.  Lots of SRX's sold.  Maybe they sell (purely a guess) 50-100 caddies a year.  But their same buyers buy lots of pickups and have money and when they want a car they may want a cadillac too.

    Cadillac should be analytical on which of those smaller dealers they try to cut out.  Part of GM's success over history is because they are in these smaller town midwest pockets no other dealers are.

    This makes sense and I would have to think they would have some common sense about this type of dealer. The focus needs to be on areas like where I live where you have two small towns with a single store approach like that and the service sucks, sales have to be insignificant and you can drive an extra 15 min to a much bigger dealer with much better service. No need for a dealer between Seattle and Tacoma or Seattle and Everett here that cannot offer a true luxury experience.

    They need to focus on these small dealers that just do not make sense any longer.

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    On 9/27/2016 at 4:21 AM, hyperv6 said:

    It is simple. 

     

    You can have  bunch of dealers that sell a few cars and make for a weak network system of dealers competing for a fewer number of cars. 

    Or you can have a fewer number of dealers selling more cars and making more money being able to better serve customers with better facilities and better staff as they will be more profitable to provide this. 

     

    The 400 dealers here sell much less than 50 cars a year and only account for 9% of sales. The for the most part are not making money and can not provide the service standards Cadillac would like to see their dealers supply. Also the small number of sales would go to the stronger dealers and provide more income to the strong dealers that can serve the customers better. 

    It is more not so much about decoration as it is level of service and the ability to afford it.

    The weak dealers selling 1-2 cars a month are a parasite that hurt the entire network vs. helping it. 

    Ford and GM both have way too many dealers than they need. Years ago you could get away with multiple dealers on every corner but no longer. There are strenght and  profits in larger dealers with volume and less competition between dealers on transaction price. 

    Even at Chevy vs Toyota the Chevy stores per small metro area can number 5-10 and Toyota 1-3. 


    Ford in out area has helped cut the number of dealers with buy outs from Super Stores that own dealers in many cities. Some stores closed and others were enlarged but are part of a network that is working under one owner. This has helped their stores be more profitable. 

    While some may not be happy driving farther it has not hurt the Mercedes, BMW and Audi dealers in out area. The numbers even low have declined here too. There is now only a couple in the Cleveland. Akron, Canton area. They are all large new dealers with top level service vs. the past where they were just tagged in with another brand and only selling 1-2 cars a month as a part time dealer for all intents. 


    GM would like to kill off about 1/3-/1/2 of the Chevy dealers too but the cost would be too great to buy them out. 

    This is not much different than the killing of Pontiac and Olds. GM also had too many divisions for the number of cars they sold. With cost going up it was more and more difficult to make so many models and market them at the lower numbers and show a profit. 

     

    Ideally today one volume brand and one Luxury division is appropriate. In the Case of GM Buick is a non factor since China keeps them alive. The key for them is to use them for the low end Luxury and not let Cadillac worry about that. It is a case where a liability can be turned into an advantage as BMW and Benz try to work for more numbers with lower end cars in North America. 

     

    This because its sales 101. This is a long overdue move by GM. If the small dealers can't keep up with the changes then it is better to just buy them off and put those resources into the larger dealerships. 

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    Note too where there is a German dealer there will be a Cadillac close by. No one will have to drive farther due to less dealers. 

    If your customers only buy from you for convenience they are not spending enough. 

     

    Here are the types of customers that will be affected. 

     

     

     

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      Now we come to the successor of the SRX, the 2017 XT5. Those who were hoping for a change in the priorities will be disappointed as the XT5 doesn’t mess with the SRX’s recipe. But is that bad thing?
      Evolution is the impression you get when walking around the XT5. Cadillac’s designers didn’t make any drastic changes to the design profile aside from softening the Art & Science design language. The front now features a comically-large grille and headlights with a strand of LEDs that run into the bumper. Towards the back is an integrated spoiler that extends the roofline, a set of large taillights, and a rear bumper that comes with chrome exhaust ports and a faux skid plate. The XT5 does lose some of the polarizing details that made the SRX stand out, but it still stands out slightly in what is becoming a crowded class.
      Cadillac has been stepping up its game in terms of their interiors with their new models. Case in point is the XT5. Our top-line Platinum tester featured faux suede, leather, and wood trim on a number of surfaces that make it look and feel quite luxurious. We’re glad to see the removal of the Piano Black panel for the center stack as it looked out of place and was a magnet for fingerprints. One design idea we’re not so keen on is the gear selector. Instead of a lever, Cadillac went with a joystick controller to engage the various gears. The controller isn’t intuitive as you’ll find yourself going into the wrong gear or not going into one at all on a somewhat regular basis. You will get the hang of it after a bit, but you can’t help but wonder why Cadillac decided to change this in the first place.
      The leather used for the seats feel quite supple and help fix the issue of uncomfortable seats in the SRX. Interior space has grown, thanks to a two-inch increase in the wheelbase. Rear legroom has grown 3.2 inches and it allows anyone sitting back there to stretch out. Headroom is still slightly tight thanks in part to our tester coming with the optional panoramic sunroof. But this can be alleviated by recalling the rear seat slightly. Cargo space in smack dab in the middle - 30 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 63 cubic feet when folded.
      Cadillac User Interface (CUE) has been one of our least favorite infotainment systems to use since it was introduced a few years ago. The litany of problems ranging from a touch sensitive buttons not responding to inputs to the system crashing have dragged Cadillac down. But the system has been getting a number of changes and updates over the past few years. For starters, Cadillac has removed most of the touch-sensitive buttons from the system. Being able to press an actual button to turn on the heated/ventilated seats or adjust the temperature is really nice. It is a shame Cadillac didn’t bring back an actual volume knob for CUE - the touch-sensitive strip is still there. But at least there are volume controls on the steering wheel that allow you to avoid it. The system itself has been overhauled with a faster processor and a slightly improved interface. The changes make a difference as the system is snappier and a little bit easier to understand. If you still find CUE a bit overwhelming, you’ll be happy to know that CUE now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
      Cadillac bucks the trend in the midsize luxury crossover class by only offering one engine - a 3.6L V6 producing 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque (@ 5,000 rpm). This comes paired with an eight-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The V6 is the weak link in the XT5. When leaving a stop, it takes a moment for the engine to realize the accelerator pedal has been pressed before it starts working. This is even worse when you’re trying to make a pass as it seems the engine was busy taking a nap before it was hastily woken up. Once the engine is awake, it takes its time to get up to speed. There is a positive to the V6 engine and that is the stop-start system. Unlike some previous systems that are slow to restart the engine or do so in a very rough fashion, Cadillac’s system is quick and smooth when you let off the brake. The eight-speed automatic seems reluctant to downshift at times. We’re guessing this transmission was calibrated for fuel economy. At least the eight-speed automatic delivers smooth shifts.
      Fuel economy figures for the 2017 Cadillac XT5 all-wheel drive stand at 18 City/26 Highway/21 Combined. Our average fuel economy for the week landed around 22.3 mpg in mostly city driving. 
      One characteristic we liked about the SRX was its comfortable ride. Yes, it flies in the face of Cadillac’s message of beating the German’s at their own handling game. But buyers loved the smoothness on offer. Sadly, the XT5 loses a bit of the smoothness. Despite our tester featuring an adaptive suspension system, the XT5 wasn’t able to fully iron out bumps. Some of this can be attributed to 20-inch wheels fitted to our tester. At least the XT5 keeps road and wind noise out of the interior. Like the SRX, the XT5 isn’t sporty. Body motions are kept in check, but the light weight and nonexistent feel from the steering puts a halt to that idea. 
      An item Cadillac has been touting on the XT5 is the Rear Camera Mirror. Available only on the top-line Platinum, the mirror can stream the view from the rear camera by flicking a switch. We found this to be really helpful when backing out of parking lots as it gave a view that isn’t hindered by the thick rear pillars. Hopefully, Cadillac spreads this feature down to other trims of the XT5. 
      In some respects, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 is a step forward. The model improves on certain parts of the SRX such as a more luxurious and spacious interior, improved CUE system, and sharper looks. But in other respects, Cadillac messed up with the XT5. The 3.6L V6 needs to be shown the door and a new engine that offers better low-end performance to take its place. The loss of the smooth ride that the SRX was known for hurts the XT5 as well. Finally, there is the price. Our XT5 Platinum tester came with an as-tested price of $69,985. It is a nice crossover. But if we’re dropping close $70,000 on a luxury crossover, we can think of a few models that would be ahead of the XT5.
      It should be noted that the Cadillac XT5 has taken the place of the SRX of being the brand’s best selling model. At the end of 2016, Cadillac moved 39,485 XT5s. But unlike the SRX which we could recommend without hesitation, the XT5 comes with a number of caveats that we cannot do the same.
      Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the XT5, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Cadillac
      Model: SRX
      Trim: Platinum
      Engine: 3.6L V6 VVT DI
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 310 @ 6,700
      Torque @ RPM: 271 @ 5,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/26/21
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Spring Hill, TN
      Base Price: $62,500
      As Tested Price: $69,985 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Assist Package - $2,340.00
      20-inch Wheels - $2,095.00
      Trailering Equipment - $575.00
      Black Ice Body Side Moldings - $355.00
      Compact Spare Tire - $350.00
      Black Ice License Plate Bar - $310.00
      Black Roof Rails - $295.00
      Black Splash Guards - $170.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Cadillac has been trying to position itself being as an alternative to German brands with models that offer exemplary handling characteristics and sharp designs. But the brand has the issue of models that don’t quite fit the image being presented. The SRX is the poster child for this. Yes, it had the sharp looks the brand was getting known for. But you wouldn’t call it sporty. It was more along the lines of a Lexus RX where luxury and comfort were the main priorities. Enthusiasts and critics were not pleased with this, but consumers gobbled them up. The SRX for a time was Cadillac’s best-selling model.
      Now we come to the successor of the SRX, the 2017 XT5. Those who were hoping for a change in the priorities will be disappointed as the XT5 doesn’t mess with the SRX’s recipe. But is that bad thing?
      Evolution is the impression you get when walking around the XT5. Cadillac’s designers didn’t make any drastic changes to the design profile aside from softening the Art & Science design language. The front now features a comically-large grille and headlights with a strand of LEDs that run into the bumper. Towards the back is an integrated spoiler that extends the roofline, a set of large taillights, and a rear bumper that comes with chrome exhaust ports and a faux skid plate. The XT5 does lose some of the polarizing details that made the SRX stand out, but it still stands out slightly in what is becoming a crowded class.
      Cadillac has been stepping up its game in terms of their interiors with their new models. Case in point is the XT5. Our top-line Platinum tester featured faux suede, leather, and wood trim on a number of surfaces that make it look and feel quite luxurious. We’re glad to see the removal of the Piano Black panel for the center stack as it looked out of place and was a magnet for fingerprints. One design idea we’re not so keen on is the gear selector. Instead of a lever, Cadillac went with a joystick controller to engage the various gears. The controller isn’t intuitive as you’ll find yourself going into the wrong gear or not going into one at all on a somewhat regular basis. You will get the hang of it after a bit, but you can’t help but wonder why Cadillac decided to change this in the first place.
      The leather used for the seats feel quite supple and help fix the issue of uncomfortable seats in the SRX. Interior space has grown, thanks to a two-inch increase in the wheelbase. Rear legroom has grown 3.2 inches and it allows anyone sitting back there to stretch out. Headroom is still slightly tight thanks in part to our tester coming with the optional panoramic sunroof. But this can be alleviated by recalling the rear seat slightly. Cargo space in smack dab in the middle - 30 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 63 cubic feet when folded.
      Cadillac User Interface (CUE) has been one of our least favorite infotainment systems to use since it was introduced a few years ago. The litany of problems ranging from a touch sensitive buttons not responding to inputs to the system crashing have dragged Cadillac down. But the system has been getting a number of changes and updates over the past few years. For starters, Cadillac has removed most of the touch-sensitive buttons from the system. Being able to press an actual button to turn on the heated/ventilated seats or adjust the temperature is really nice. It is a shame Cadillac didn’t bring back an actual volume knob for CUE - the touch-sensitive strip is still there. But at least there are volume controls on the steering wheel that allow you to avoid it. The system itself has been overhauled with a faster processor and a slightly improved interface. The changes make a difference as the system is snappier and a little bit easier to understand. If you still find CUE a bit overwhelming, you’ll be happy to know that CUE now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
      Cadillac bucks the trend in the midsize luxury crossover class by only offering one engine - a 3.6L V6 producing 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque (@ 5,000 rpm). This comes paired with an eight-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The V6 is the weak link in the XT5. When leaving a stop, it takes a moment for the engine to realize the accelerator pedal has been pressed before it starts working. This is even worse when you’re trying to make a pass as it seems the engine was busy taking a nap before it was hastily woken up. Once the engine is awake, it takes its time to get up to speed. There is a positive to the V6 engine and that is the stop-start system. Unlike some previous systems that are slow to restart the engine or do so in a very rough fashion, Cadillac’s system is quick and smooth when you let off the brake. The eight-speed automatic seems reluctant to downshift at times. We’re guessing this transmission was calibrated for fuel economy. At least the eight-speed automatic delivers smooth shifts.
      Fuel economy figures for the 2017 Cadillac XT5 all-wheel drive stand at 18 City/26 Highway/21 Combined. Our average fuel economy for the week landed around 22.3 mpg in mostly city driving. 
      One characteristic we liked about the SRX was its comfortable ride. Yes, it flies in the face of Cadillac’s message of beating the German’s at their own handling game. But buyers loved the smoothness on offer. Sadly, the XT5 loses a bit of the smoothness. Despite our tester featuring an adaptive suspension system, the XT5 wasn’t able to fully iron out bumps. Some of this can be attributed to 20-inch wheels fitted to our tester. At least the XT5 keeps road and wind noise out of the interior. Like the SRX, the XT5 isn’t sporty. Body motions are kept in check, but the light weight and nonexistent feel from the steering puts a halt to that idea. 
      An item Cadillac has been touting on the XT5 is the Rear Camera Mirror. Available only on the top-line Platinum, the mirror can stream the view from the rear camera by flicking a switch. We found this to be really helpful when backing out of parking lots as it gave a view that isn’t hindered by the thick rear pillars. Hopefully, Cadillac spreads this feature down to other trims of the XT5. 
      In some respects, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 is a step forward. The model improves on certain parts of the SRX such as a more luxurious and spacious interior, improved CUE system, and sharper looks. But in other respects, Cadillac messed up with the XT5. The 3.6L V6 needs to be shown the door and a new engine that offers better low-end performance to take its place. The loss of the smooth ride that the SRX was known for hurts the XT5 as well. Finally, there is the price. Our XT5 Platinum tester came with an as-tested price of $69,985. It is a nice crossover. But if we’re dropping close $70,000 on a luxury crossover, we can think of a few models that would be ahead of the XT5.
      It should be noted that the Cadillac XT5 has taken the place of the SRX of being the brand’s best selling model. At the end of 2016, Cadillac moved 39,485 XT5s. But unlike the SRX which we could recommend without hesitation, the XT5 comes with a number of caveats that we cannot do the same.
      Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the XT5, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Cadillac
      Model: SRX
      Trim: Platinum
      Engine: 3.6L V6 VVT DI
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 310 @ 6,700
      Torque @ RPM: 271 @ 5,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/26/21
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Spring Hill, TN
      Base Price: $62,500
      As Tested Price: $69,985 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Assist Package - $2,340.00
      20-inch Wheels - $2,095.00
      Trailering Equipment - $575.00
      Black Ice Body Side Moldings - $355.00
      Compact Spare Tire - $350.00
      Black Ice License Plate Bar - $310.00
      Black Roof Rails - $295.00
      Black Splash Guards - $170.00
    • By William Maley
      Cadillac is going to have a quiet 2017, but 2018 looks to be a blockbuster year as the first of their needed crossovers will launch - the compact XT3. Thanks to a spy photographer, we have gotten our first look at it.
      General Motors' camouflage department did a really good job of covering up the XT3, so we can't really tell much about the design except that it looks like an even smaller XT5. One detail they weren't able to cover up is the intercooler, leading us to believe that the XT3 will come with turbocharged power - most likely the 2.0L turbo. A nine-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive is likely. Platform-wise, expect the XT3 to use the underpinnings of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.
      Source: Car and Driver

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Cadillac is going to have a quiet 2017, but 2018 looks to be a blockbuster year as the first of their needed crossovers will launch - the compact XT3. Thanks to a spy photographer, we have gotten our first look at it.
      General Motors' camouflage department did a really good job of covering up the XT3, so we can't really tell much about the design except that it looks like an even smaller XT5. One detail they weren't able to cover up is the intercooler, leading us to believe that the XT3 will come with turbocharged power - most likely the 2.0L turbo. A nine-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive is likely. Platform-wise, expect the XT3 to use the underpinnings of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.
      Source: Car and Driver
    • By William Maley
      Smart already finds itself in a small niche by selling small city cars in North America, but a new letter reveals that the brand will be entering an even smaller one.
      Automotive News obtained a letter from Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA which says the brand will cease sales of gas-powered models by the end of this year, becoming an electric-only brand.
      “Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current Smart product portfolio. Therefore, with the launch of the fourth-generation Smart ForTwo electric drive this summer, the Smart lineup will consist exclusively of the zero-emissions Smart electric-drive coupe and cabrio in the U.S. and Canada,” Exler said in the letter. 
      Mercedes-Benz spokesman Rob Moran tells Automotive News the plan at the moment is to stop production of the gas model for North American in April and continue sales until all of the models are gone.
      Smart has never done well in the U.S. Their best year was in 2014 with 10,453 models sold. Since then, sales have been steadily declining thanks to low gas prices and consumers going towards crossovers. In 2016, Smart only sold 6,211 models.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
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