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    Cadillac's Marketing Boss Isn't A Fan Of The Three Letter Names


    • Count Cadillac's Marketing Chief As A Critic Of The Three Letter Naming System

    For almost a decade, Cadillac has been using a three-letter naming system which is (insert letter here) followed by T and S. Small sedans such as the ATS start towards the beginning of the alphabet while larger sedans such as the XTS go towards the end. However, not all of Cadillac's vehicles follow this. For example, the SRX crossover and Escalade.

    Many complain that Cadillac's nomenclature is confusing and will only get worse when more models are added. Cadillac's marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus is one of them.

    "There's no doubt with an expanding product portfolio we need to revise our entire nomenclature," Ellinghaus told reporters at Geneva.

    How Cadillac plans to change their nomenclature wasn't hinted at by Ellinghaus. The only thing he said is that it would not copy BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

    "I'm on the case. We are aware that this is currently a weakness of the Cadillac brand."

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    And the naming convention no longer makes sense either.

    CTS the S stood for "sedan" until the CTS Coupe and CTS Wagon came out, but CTC and CTW don't roll off the tongue well. Now there is an ATS Coupe coming out.

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    I don't mind the letters, except that they never meant anything. If Sedan, Crossover, SUV, Coupe, and Wagon each had a unique letter in the 3rd position, a T or another letter to denote Touring (i.e. Base) and Performance (like a V) and the first letter was a general "Size" class, that would have made some semblance of sense.

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    While I agree with need for proper names for Cadillac. In someways I am a little concerned. Especially for the CTS, all that positive and brand image it has garnered over the three generations will disappear with a new name.

    This strategy is nothing different than naming a Cobalt a Cruze, Aveo a Sonic and list goes on. All the value that name has generated over the years suddenly becomes useless. For one at least ATS and CTS should not change. GM apparently is packaging the same wine in different bottle, i.e. from names to alphanumeric to names. Spend that amount of time, energy and efforts to make those vehicles stronger. Like replacing the weak 3.6 compared to the competitors' offerings, improving flaws of the ATS, etc.

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    What about the Sport sedans like the ATS and CTS remaining named as they are with the coupe versions getting C and wagons getting W at the end? Then a next gen smoother riding XTS and the upcoming large Luxury sedan getting real names? XTS could become the DeVille with the upcoming premium sedan becoming Fleetwood! That way the sportier Europien like modes and the Traditional American Luxury Models could be named differently like two distinct Cadillac lines?

    Europien Inspired Line.

    ATS Sedan.

    ATC Coupe.

    CTS Sedan.

    CTW Wagon.

    Traditional American Line.

    Sedan Deville replaces XTS.

    Coupe Deville.

    Seville as a stretched version of the CTS.

    ElDorado as a Seville Coupe.

    Fleetwood Large Sedan.

    Broughm as the Top Version of the Fleetwood!

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    What I hate most about this is GM's lack of naming consistency. Pick something and stick with it for crying out loud!!! Why do the names have to change every generation or two? There is no brand equity built up with this lack of consistent naming over time. Now that the product is better and there hopefully is no negative stigma associated with a name, STICK WITH IT, whatever it is. Just make up your damn mind already.

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    • Of course there's "doubt" the names need to change- changing names is what GM does bestest... but seldom the 'wisest'.

    • 'CTS' has only been defined as denoting 'xxSedan' by extension of other, earlier models. It has never been marketed that way. We're going on 12 years with the CTS now, it's simply "C T S", everyone should be on-page with it... about 11.5 years ago at this point.

    • I ABHOR naming system's dumbed down to grade school levels. '1,2,3,4,5,6,7' has got to be the most moronic, "instantly understandable" system in auto history. Blech, and who asked? And taking the Exact Same Vehicle and changing its name for every engine fitment is likewise "confusing".

    • 'Not copying mercedes' - too late. That's already an inaccurate, non-linear and "non-logical" system, and here we're being told Cadillac needs to get away from being that. Which is it? And if you are looking to point out confusing, go straight to mercedes. The weakness there is epic. Jumbling 'S', 'C' and 'W' into the 'CTx' mix is even more confusing.

    Name the model, build various styles and call them the same name. "The Cadillac CTS, available in Sport Sedan, Sport Coupe, convertible and Sport Wagon."

    Edited by balthazar
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    Name the model, build various styles and call them the same name. "The Cadillac CTS, available in Sport Sedan, Sport Coupe, convertible and Sport Wagon."

    This.

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    Name the model, build various styles and call them the same name. "The Cadillac CTS, available in Sport Sedan, Sport Coupe, convertible and Sport Wagon."

    This.

    Would like to add that maybe the Omega sedan should not be named LTS but instead get a 'real' name. Escalade and the Omega woulg get 'real' names, the others would stick to 3-letter names (though I personally might favour a 4 letter naming for the crossovers - ATS-X and CTS-X)

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    Name the model, build various styles and call them the same name. "The Cadillac CTS, available in Sport Sedan, Sport Coupe, convertible and Sport Wagon."

    This.

    Would like to add that maybe the Omega sedan should not be named LTS but instead get a 'real' name. Escalade and the Omega woulg get 'real' names, the others would stick to 3-letter names (though I personally might favour a 4 letter naming for the crossovers - ATS-X and CTS-X)

    I totally agree with this, use X to refer to AWD Crossovers and then keep the name for Escalade and the Omega.

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    Amen. You can't be a follower and call yourself "The Standard of the World" at the same time (more like plain standa

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    I think Cadillac should use names not alpha-numeric. Lincoln and Acura are a disaster of names because none of them mean anything. You'd think MKC is a coupe, but it is a crossover, like MKX is a crossover, yet MKT is not a truck, but a crossover. MKZ is midsize, MKS is larger, it is just all random. Cadillac is heading that direction. BMW naming makes sense, 1 is small, 7 is big, although I am not a fan of odd number for sedan and even number for coupe. What has thrown BMW and Mercedes off a bit is changing engine sizes and not wanting to change all the numbers every few years. The Mercedes letters have meaning in German words, SL is "sport liecht" SLK "sport leicht kompact" etc, it isn't random.

    Other luxury makers stared using alpha numeric just because BMW and Mercedes did and they thought since they sell and Lexus copied Mercedes in 1989 and by 1999 they were #1 so Acura, Lincoln and Cadillac figured let's copy what Lexus did, and it didn't work for any of them. And Lexus has been able to use names like RX350 because they haven't made a new engine in 10 years.

    For Cadillac I think the whole lineup should be names, and they should stick with it. Names like Seville, Eldorado or Fleetwood weren't hurting Cadillac sales, crappy cars were. The average joe doesn't know the difference between an RX, SRX, MDX and MKX, and they may not have ever heard of an XTS, but I bet they know "Eldorado" is a Cadillac.

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    Gotta love too how Cadillac executives for 10-15 years have been stating that they know the weaknesses of the brand or places they need to improve, yet it doesn't happen. You have to wonder if the people that run this brand get it, every 5 years they want to blow it up and start all over, because the last 5 year plan didn't get them caught up to the Germans.

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    I completely agree with smk4565 that GM embarked on the same disastrous path that Acua and Lincoln charted when they began with the 3-letter nomenclature. People just don't seem to have the same affinity for abbreviations that don't have an obvious meaning that they do for richly poetic adjectives and nouns. Good article and great discussion. Thanks guys.

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    Ditch the letters. I own a Cadillac and will buy another Cadillac. I think ATS is a terrible name. SRX sounds cheap. The only name that has any clout is CTS but i would love to see that name go. I'd prefer to be driving a Seville, Deville, Eldorado, etc over any of these dumb sounding alphabet names. If I wanted a German car I would buy one. Please go back to naming your cars Cadillac.

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    I'm 100% on board with the flagship getting a real name and not three letters - especially not LTS. That sounds like a F'ing Chevy. Cadillac LTS.

    I'm still amazed that Cadillac dumped STS and DTS names. The XTS should have been a DTS (really, is it not a DTS?) and the new, larger CTS should have been STS. The ATS should have been the new CTS (entry level). This way, at the very least, Cadillac COULD have used real names ALONG with the current names. Seville STS, DeVille DTS, and I hate to say it, but Catera CTS. Eldorado ELR.

    When all is said and done, the vehicles Cadillac is making are excellent - so the names aren't a huge problem to me. Though I'd like to see they set something SOLID in place that STICKS for awhile. I THINK they can still use DeVille with the XTS if they really wanted to. I'm sure an upcoming four door coupe (Mercedes CLS) can be called Seville STS. I guess I just like the old names and feel they can still be utilized if marketed properly...

    But the flagship MUST not be named LTS and really, REALLY needs an classy name...

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    Good move to pay a person for their time and hope to conquest them with a new auto purchase.

    Now we just need to get them to realize that owning a Deville, Eldorado, Escalade, is a superior thing over the ATS, CTS, XTS, SRX crap.

    Really when you think about it, you can envision a two door Eldorado today, a luxury Deville and a Extended platform Deville like in China as well as an Escalade and Escalade ESV.

    Current naming does not stick nor have any history to really make me think luxury.

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    I think we all have the dictionary definition of Arts and Science, but it would be interesting to hear from the Cadillac Division on what they think it stands for. :P

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