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The Future of Cadillac - Autoweek

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Cadillac's Sporty Future?
'Luxo-barges' a thing of the past
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2009 Cadillac BRX Sketch by Zulehan
Link to Original Article @ AutoWeek | Published 07/30/07, 9:44 am et


AT A GLANCE:
FUTURE PRODUCT PLANS
2008
CTS restyled, re-engineered
STS refreshened

2009
CTS-V restyled, re-engineered
CTS wagon possible
XLR refreshening
BRX crossover likely

2010
CTS coupe expected
CTS sedan refreshening likely

2011
Small rwd sedan likely
Large rwd sedan possible
Rwd flagship sedan or coupe possible
SRX re-engineering, restyling possible

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Cadillac is convinced it has found a winning formula: sporty handling rear-wheel-drive cars that can compete with European luxury sedans. Gone are the luxo-barges of old - at least in Cadillac's car lineup.

The bigger-is-better crowd can always buy an Escalade, a vehicle that has brought new meaning to the word "bling."

Small Cadillac: Expanding the rear-drive lineup is a key to boosting sales in North America and abroad. GM executives have said Cadillac will get more products, but sources inside the automaker say the front-drive BLS sedan sold in Europe is not destined for the United States. The BLS shares parts with the Saab 9-3.

A small rwd sedan built on GM's new Alpha architecture will join Cadillac's U.S. and global lineup. That car probably will debut in the 2011 model year, at the earliest.

CTS: GM is getting serious about competing against BMW and Mercedes-Benz and may take on the Germans with a family of CTS-based Cadillacs.

The restyled, re-engineered 2008 CTS sedan will be in dealerships by year end. Styling and performance are greatly refined. The bold exterior has dramatic lines, a large grille, sculpted fenders and a wider track. Inside, an all-new interior mimics European luxury models.

The high-performance CTS-V will skip the 2008 model year. When it returns as a 2009, expect a big horsepower boost tied to GM's six-speed automatic transmission.

Also for the 2009 model year, a wagon variant is being considered. For the 2010 model year, a coupe variant, called the CTC, is expected to debut. And GM likely will freshen the CTS sedan.

DTS: The current generation will be the last fwd Cadillac.

New sedan: With the eventual demise of the DTS, Cadillac likely will develop a large sedan on a premium version of GM's global rwd architecture. The car could arrive as early as the 2011 model year; it will be priced to attract DTS and DeVille owners.

STS: Sales have been sluggish, and the more stylish 2008 CTS won't help. GM insiders say the STS probably will be dropped. But the final decision has not been made, and no time frame was available.

For the short term, the 2008 STS will be freshened. Its grille, inspired by that of the 2007 Escalade and adopted for the 2008 CTS, features a detailed chrome treatment that includes subdued mesh housed within individual grille slats.

Flagship sedan/coupe: This 2011 vehicle has been on GM's wish list for a few years. Given the success of the BMW 7 series, the Mercedes-Benz S class and the considerably more expensive Bentley Continental GT, GM continues to study developing an ultraluxury rwd sedan or coupe for Cadillac, priced around $120,000.

Production is penciled in for April 2010, but GM executives admit the vehicle is a low priority because the automaker's engineers and money have been refocused on achieving the expected boost in corporate average fuel economy standards.

XLR: A freshening is scheduled for the 2009 model year; a redesign is planned for the 2012 or 2013 model year.

BRX: Cadillac plans to market a small, five-passenger crossover, probably as a 2009 model. GM plans to develop the BRX on a blend of GM's next-generation Theta and Epsilon vehicle architectures.

SRX: GM insiders say Cadillac has delayed plans to re-engineer and restyle the SRX, blaming disappointing sales.

Three options for the crossover are being considered:

1. Restyle and re-engineer it for the 2011 model year.

2. Redesign it using GM's global rwd architecture, called Zeta.

3. Keep the current SRX until the BRX debuts, then drop it.

Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT: The vehicles will be restyled and re-engineered for the 2012 model year.
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Front drive or anything with a transversely mounted engine and all wheel drive has to go. If they build that, they are making an Linclon MKX, MKX or Buick style car.

Demand for big mushy ride cars is dropping fast, it shows in Cadillac's poor resale values. Luxury buyers now want performance and technology and status/image and the imports are delivering on that. I like Cadillac's shift toward BMW, I hope they go full force this time, in 2003-2005 they wimped out. Cadillac probably isn't going to steal away a lot of long time import buyers, but they could get first or second time luxury buyers (people 30-50 hopefully) and then they'll have a customer base that can be there for 30 years to come, rather than a 70 year old to buying a DTS.

The XLR needs a far better interior, it is only marginally better than the Corvette's with a big drop in performance, that isn't worth $80,000. They need more power too, the ultra V8 can't get here soon enough. The exterior look is good, needs a more expensive looking grill and slight refresh.

They desperately need a $75-100,000 sedan. BMW, Mercedes and Lexus all have one, and the top end car boosts their image. Lexus advertises the car that parks itself, and people think the brand is so technologically advanced, and ignore the Camry based cars. Cadillac still isn't taken seriously by long time import buyers, and they aren't thought of as a truly high end brand. A legit super sedan (LS460 or 7-series size, smaller than the DTS) could be used as a marketing tool and restore image. Even if they lose money on the car, they will make it up elsewhere, Toyota did that with the Prius at first.

SRX looks like a station wagon, that is why it doesn't sell. Thus a CTS wagon will sell even less, waste of time. BRX is a bad idea, sure it will sell some, but selling an upgraded Vue doesn't make them "standard of the world." SRX needs 3 inches less length, 2 inches more width and height and new grille and sheet metal, then it would look like a truck, not a wagon, add the DI engines and I think they could turn it into a winner. It is one of few GM vehicles that are class leading, I'd hate to see them bail on it.

CTS is too big right now, so it will have to gain in price around 2010 to around $44,000 base. So the interior will need an upgrade, far more standard equipment, maybe a 2.8 DI V6 + hybrid, 3.6 DI, and Ultra V8 for engine choices. Then they will be closer to the E-class, 5-series, Lexus GS, Infiniti M.

BTS (which I would call CTS, and rename CTS to STS) should be about 182-183 inches long and cover the $32-42,000 price range the current CTS is in. A 2.8 DI V6 could work well here too as gas mileage concerns grown, then the 3.6 DI V6 as an option, hybrid or turbo V6 as well. There should be a coupe version of this car as well. They need to make this car fast enough to hang with the 335i and G37 coupe.

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Don't kill the FWD DTS. They still need some FWD products. Get working on a new platform.

:scratchchin::scratchchin::scratchchin: U'mmm NO, I disagree gm4life. The DTS has had it's time and while the sales have been solid, most people I truly believe will be happy to move from a FWDS DTS to a RWD DTS Equal. Caddy should be only RWD. Leave the FWD for Buick, the luxury entry level market for those that can not afford Caddy.

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CTS wagon is unnecessary. Wagons rarely find many buyers in this segment.

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CTS wagon is unnecessary. Wagons rarely find many buyers in this segment.

It's for markets outside the US, where wagons are quite popular. Part of the push to make Caddy a worldwide lux brand.

I'm encouraged that the GM overlords are even considering the development of such a vehicle at all.

The SRX failed because in an attempt to be something for everyone, and although a great product, it could not establish a healthy niche, nor could it out-bling the Escalade, thus, failure.

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It's for markets outside the US, where wagons are quite popular. Part of the push to make Caddy a worldwide lux brand.

I'm encouraged that the GM overlords are even considering the development of such a vehicle at all.

The SRX failed because in an attempt to be something for everyone, and although a great product, it could not establish a healthy niche, nor could it out-bling the Escalade, thus, failure.

The CTS wagon will not be strictly for outside markets. We will get it here in limited numbers.
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The CTS wagon will not be strictly for outside markets. We will get it here in limited numbers.

I was explaining the justification for its development is outside markets, I wasn't disputing that it would be available here.

If the US was its primary target, they might as well keep the SRX in production and not bother.

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These cars should be sold until they have like no-low sales. Traditionally these have been good sellers for Cadillac. Bring out a new RWD car priced about the same with that much room and I'll consider.

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The CTS wagon is only being made for sales outside the US, as enzl said, though it will be sold here as well. There's no reason to not sell it here if they're going to produce it anyways.

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FWD isn't needed, because rear drive handles better and rides better. They can make a rear drive car just as roomy too. The BMW 7-series and Lexus LS460 are both 9 inches shorter than a DTS, yet to me they are equally roomy inside. The DTS's platform doesn't use space that well. A smaller in dimension, modern rear drive car makes much more sense.

I don't think they should make any wagons, even for outside the US, unless they have a BTS/BLS wagon for Europe. The Escalade pickup should get canceled too, I don't think that helps the overall image of the brand, and they need to sell image. Which is the reason they need high end cars over $55,000 too.

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I agree with some of what you said. The DTS doesn't make the most of its space. Nor does my Bonneville that rides upon a G. My lil W Impala has more room.

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I'm so surprised that the SRX is experiencing poor sales.

You wouldn't know it here, they are a common sight on the road.

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I'm so surprised that the SRX is experiencing poor sales.

You wouldn't know it here, they are a common sight on the road.

The SRX is a bit out of date. On an absolute scale, it's not that bad, but there's too much competition in that market for it to seriously compete.

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>>"Demand for big mushy ride cars is dropping fast, it shows in Cadillac's poor resale values."<<

You typed "Cadillac"; did you mean the DTS? because Cadillac sales rose steadily from IIRC 2000 thru 2005. Clearly the demand for Cadillacs in general is on the increase. Either they don't have "mushy" rides or ride quality has no bearing whatsoever on resale value. Pick one.

>>"Lexus advertises the car that parks itself, and people think the brand is so technologically advanced, and ignore the Camry based cars."<<

Not in the showroom; the lexus camry is the volume leader among their cars. Lexus is predominantly a truck seller by volume, anyway.

>>"Cadillac still isn't taken seriously by long time import buyers, and they aren't thought of as a truly high end brand."<<

Targeting the die hard import loyalist is a waste of time & money- these people are badge slaves who will never let go of 1980s imagery RE Cadillac. A 'super sedan' will NOT change their minds either. Kinda like how toyota has wasted 15 years going after the big pick-up market :wink:.

>>"CTS is too big right now, so it will have to gain in price around 2010 to around $44,000 base. So the interior will need an upgrade, far more standard equipment, maybe a 2.8 DI V6 + hybrid, 3.6 DI, and Ultra V8 for engine choices. Then they will be closer to the E-class, 5-series, Lexus GS, Infiniti M."<<

It's far easier marketing-wise to shrink the CTS 3 or 4 inches so it's "competitive" with the import small fries :rolleyes:, than bump the price by a whopping 25%.

BTW- anyone know the next largest 'small fry' competitor in the CTS's segment- is it also 'too big to be competitive'? What's the official overall length range for competitiveness: is it a 3" window, or 4"? And the window is always moving; how big was the '80s 3-series-- was it too small to compete then?

Hey; remember when we all erroneously thought 'competitivness' was based on a cornicopia of factors such as price, performance, vehicle type, features, quality, etc... when the only important factor is overall length!! God, sometimes we're all such noobs!! {falls off chair in peals of embarassed laughter}...

Edited by balthazar
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To answer Balthazar,

Demand for soft riding huge cars has dropped because Town Car, DTS, and cars like it have had sales drop to about half what they were 10 years ago. The Toyota Avalon has increased, but it isn't a huge seller for them. Many import luxury cars and the Chrysler 300 still ride smooth, but they don't float like an 80s car. Most buyers are choosing that, except for the 70+ crowd that buys a Buick because they want a car from the 80s.

Cadillac resale values are bad. I just saw an 07 STS-V new, for $60,000, 06 STS-V for $50,000, same with the XLR, those drop really fast into the $50k range for an 2005-2006. An 05 STS V6 can be had for about $28,000. Conversely a 2006 BMW 550i still sells for about $55-59,000 and it only cost about $63,000 new, not $78,000. If you search for 2003-2006 used cars the Cadillacs usually run about $5,000-10,000 less than a Lexus or BMW of the same original price, which is great if you are buying a used car, but not great for new Cadillac owners.

Cadillac has to bury the stereotypes people have about them, a lot of baby boomers still think they are an old geezer car with poor quality. My parents are like that, and I know many other boomers that think the same and won't even test drive a Cadillac, and will go spend more money on something European, solely because of image with their baby boomer friends. Cadillac might not ever win those people back, but they have to get the 30-49 year olds now so they have a customer base and restore image for the future.

Size matters a lot, which is why I think many of GM's models have struggled. Someone who is 55with grown up kids (or a 30 year old with no kids) and drives alone or only with their spouse doesn't need a 210 inch long 4200 pound car that gets 18 mpg. The midsize and smaller luxury cars give better handling, better fuel economy, easy to park, etc.

I too wish they shrunk the CTS, but they made it bigger and heavier for some reason, so it seems that they will have to add features, V8/hybrid and add price to put it where it belongs. And they need a smaller car for sure.

The G35 is about 187 inches long, G37 coupe is 183, that is the second biggest car in the small class. The C-class, A4, X-type (I know nobody buys it) and 3-series are all about 179-183 inches long. The MKZ and Acura TL are about 190 inches long, but I put them with the Lexus ES350, those are just fancied up front drive family sedans, not the market Cadillac is shooting for. More importantly all those cars are in the 3400-3700 pound weight range and get decent gas mileage, the CTS is over 4000 pounds, more than a V8 Mercedes.

Plus if Cadillac wants to sell cars in Europe, they need to downsize, and get better gas mileage. Cars are much smaller there, and in Asia as well. BMW has 50+ mpg cars in Europe, 4 cylinder diesel, but that is what sells there when gas is $7 a gallon.

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>>"Cadillac has to bury the stereotypes people have about them, a lot of baby boomers still think they are an old geezer car with poor quality. My parents are like that, and I know many other boomers that think the same and won't even test drive a Cadillac, and will go spend more money on something European, solely because of image with their baby boomer friends."<<

Obviously, that's not based in reality. How does a corporation go about countering the irrational and the unfounded, and is it worth the cost? What do they do- triple ad budgets, quadruple the hyperbole and pay to place the product everywhere to the point of saturation?

>>"I too wish they shrunk the CTS, but they made it bigger and heavier for some reason, so it seems that they will have to add features, V8/hybrid and add price to put it where it belongs. And they need a smaller car for sure."<<

EVERYTHING has gotten bigger over time/each generation: the toyota xb just gained 600 lbs- what's the percentage weight gain there? Mini is getting stretched, current civic is the weight of an accord of 15 years ago, s-class is nearly a limousine. Same with the camry- slowly swelling like a puss-filled boil. :D Cars & truck grow because that's where the demand leads them.

>>"The G35 is about 187 inches long, G37 coupe is 183, that is the second biggest car in the small class. The C-class, A4, X-type (I know nobody buys it) and 3-series are all about 179-183 inches long. The MKZ and Acura TL are about 190 inches long, but I put them with the Lexus ES350, those are just fancied up front drive family sedans, not the market Cadillac is shooting for."<<

Ahh good: hard data. So when the bulk of the crowd was 179-183 and the g35 was wallowing around at 187, was it 'competitive' ?? I never heard the tl was 'uncompetitive' due to overall length @ 190" (FWD; of course), and it's the same length as the 1st gen CTS. CTS is only 3 inches longer than the g35... so there has to be an exact specific overall length measurement that divides the 'competitive' from the 'uncompetitive', and apparently it's either 188" or 189" overall.

Wait- the proof: 3-series is the shortest and sells the most... because it's the shortest. Gotcha.

>>"More importantly all those cars are in the 3400-3700 pound weight range and get decent gas mileage, the CTS is over 4000 pounds, more than a V8 Mercedes. "<<

Not this V-8 mercedes:

Posted Image

Curb Weight AT : 4365 lbs. And with all that plastic....

Edited by balthazar
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Mirror, mirror on the wall: any chance we'll see hood ornaments and whitewall tires again? :neenerneener:

Edited by ZL-1
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The CTS is too big to compete with the 335i, the 335i has the same 0-60 time as an Aston Martin, the CTS can't run like that. A lot of buyers like the size the CTS is, E-class, 5-series and the front drive cars are all about that size and sell well. But there is that smaller class like the 3-series and A4, and people that have a Civic or Mini now and are looking for a luxury car and still want a small car. Cadillac needs a small car to get those people.

I agree that they can't triple ad spending and try to convert boomers, they have lost most of the baby boom generation to the imports. That is why they need to focus on people that have a small to midsize mainstream car now and will look for a luxury car next time. With great cars they can get the 30-40 year old first time luxury buyers, and have customers for 30 years. That is kind of what BMW did starting in the 80s-early 90s, they got the young people and they are set now. The younger buyers seem to buy in the 180-192 inch length range. The STS and DTS are 196 and 207 inches long, and up there with the Buicks, Avalon, Impala, the Ford Panther platform junk (well those are really huge). But those big cars are usually fleet or older buyers, they aren't selling to the younger crowd.

The Mercedes SL550 is a big load. The E550 is about 3900 pounds though. The SL65 does have a 600+ hp twin turbo V12 though, Cadillac doesn't need that, but I'd love to see a 5.6-5.8 liter V12 with DOD and maybe light hybrid for their top end cars.

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I really hope they 1) Don't let the SRX linger until 2011 without updates or attention and 2) that the XLR update is actually news worthy and not just semantics.

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>>"the CTS is over 4000 pounds,"<<

According to yahoo.autos, '08 CTS manual starts at 3509lbs and the automatic starts at 3568 lbs.

Motor Trend spec box says '08 weight starts at 3850.

Edited by balthazar
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They can make a rear drive car just as roomy too. The BMW 7-series and Lexus LS460 are both 9 inches shorter than a DTS, yet to me they are equally roomy inside. The DTS's platform doesn't use space that well.

Really?

First off, let's address the weight issue as you so kindly harped on the CTS about.

'07 745i: overall length: 198", weight: 4376, 22.1 lbs/inch of length

'08 DTS: overall length: 207", weight: 4009, 19.4 lbs/inch of length

Why is the bmw so overweight ??

745 wheelbase: 118", DTS wheelbase: 116"

'07 745i: ft/rr headroom: 39.2"/38.5"

'07 DTS: ft/rr headroom: 38.3"/38.4"

'07 745i: ft/rr shoulder room: 59.3"/58.7"

'07 DTS: ft/rr shoulder room: 60.0"/59.2"

'07 745i: ft/rr legroom: 41.3"/37.2"

'07 DTS: ft/rr legroom: 42.5"/42.0"

'07 745i: trunkroom: 18.0 ft3, interior volume (mfr) 104

'07 DTS: trunkroom: 19.0 ft3, interior volume (mfr) 115

BMW 745 has 2 more inches of wheelbase but 7.2 inches less legroom!!

Also note that while legroom & headroom can be power-adjusted (legroom at the expense of the rear passengers), shoulder room cannot be varied. Interior & cargo volume are also larger on the DTS. Looks to me the DTS is utilizing it's space very well, certainly no worse than the 745.

Edited by balthazar
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