dwightlooi

A Plan for Cadillac - A RWD Compact is the KEY

59 posts in this topic

The way I see it, while Cadillac may be leading GM's brand renaissance it has two problems:-

(1) Lack of a Globally relevant, unified product portfolio.

(2) Lack of a Compact Luxury (3-series/C-class) offering.

The first is quite apparent. You have the Escalade which is a US Suburban derivative. The SLS which is a China only S-class competitor which Caddy won't bring to the US and EU because it believes that it has decided to surrender to the S-class and the 7-series rather than risk additional funds to try and market a so-so product. The BLS is yet another derivative, this time an Opel, and a flop in the EU where they just wanted to bring out something for the sake of having something, anything in its segment. The DTS is, well, a last generation straggler renamed.

The second is a Critical Problem. The luxury compact is the key bread and butter car Caddy has to have, yet it has nothing in the US and the lack luster BLS in Europe (which is a joke). It is a Critical problem because this is where the money is! If you look at BMW sales figures (for cars; not including SUVs), the 3-series is 60.2% of the sales volume, the 5-series 29.8% and the 7-series a mere 10%. To have nothing in the compact luxury segment is suicide. This should be Caddy's priority, not a flagship, not another V-car, not anything else. A world class flagship won't make a lot of money, neither will a dominating sports sedan. What these thing do very well is elevate the brand prestige and image and help to sell the rest of the portforlio. But, that is all moot if you have nothing to sell into 60% of the market!

The RWD Alpha (or whatever it ends up being called) should be the #1 thing on Cadillac's plans. It'll do well to produce an approximately 3350 lbs car with an ~108" wheel base and an interior volume very much like the departed W203 C-class or E46 3-series. The engine can be as simple as the excellent 270hp (LF1) 3.0 V6 or the 260hp (LNF) 2.0 I4. The transmission can be the 6L45 6-spd auto. The platform can be relatively unsophisticated -- maybe the Kappa's unequal length arms out back with struts in front. Just keep it relatively light, keep the interior at the same grade as the CTS and get it out on the market FAST! FAST is key because Cadillac is not in the game until the Alpha is on the market -- when you cede 60% of the market, even if you are competitive in the remaining 40% you are still nowhere.

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Yeah, I see Alpha as Cadillac's most critical program right now. The program NEEDS to be accelerated.

On a side note, the sooner Cadillac gets it's Alpha products (they have priority), the sooner we get a smaller, lighter, 6th gen Camaro.

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>>"If you look at BMW sales figures (for cars; not including SUVs), the 3-series is 60.2% of the sales volume, the 5-series 29.8% and the 7-series a mere 10%.

...But, that is all moot if you have nothing to sell into 60% of the market!

...when you cede 60% of the market, even if you are competitive in the remaining 40% you are still nowhere."<<

As you stated it, the 3-series represents 60% of the non-SUV volume of BMWs sales volume. That's fine, but where does it state that everyone else has to follow BMW's exact car line sales volume breakdown (and how has that changed in light of a triplet of SUVs)? 3-series is 60% of all BMWs- what does this tell us about BMWs's competition (Cadillac here)? Nothing.

But the 2nd & 3rd lines I quoted seem to reference segment marketshare- not the same unit of measure.

The entire ideal that the CTS cannot compete with the 3-series is unscientific. Has it ever been documented via consumer polling??

It is far more logical to assume price plays a primairy factor rather than a 10" difference in overall length.

I've still yet to see anyone on a car lot with a tape measure, and a 3- & a 5- both fit in any garage anywhere.

What would be very interesting to see, and AFAIK has never been compiled.... is to look at the 3-series segment's marketshare breakdown before the CTS and what it is currently.

I would also be very interesting to learn the fleet percentages of the CTS & 3-series (the latter which is heavily fleeted in Germany at the very least).

All that aside- I like & endorse the proposed 'RTS'- I like the rendering, the specs, and agree with the need for a 'sub-CTS' primairily because I believe the CTS can grow a tiny bit more dimensionally and price-wise; it's that good.

Edited by balthazar
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>>"If you look at BMW sales figures (for cars; not including SUVs), the 3-series is 60.2% of

All that aside- I like & endorse the proposed 'RTS'- I like the rendering, the specs, and agree with the need for a 'sub-CTS' primairily because I believe the CTS can grow a tiny bit more dimensionally and price-wise; it's that good.

I like the rendering and specs too. I hope the real product(s) can reflect pretty closely to that - especially the specs.

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I just wish that they'd get on with it, so I can see what else Alpha will bring to GM - Caddys aren't on my radar.

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A small Cadillac should have been a priority a few years ago, especially once they planned to make the CTS a couple inches larger in each direction. It isn't just the 3-series, it is the C-class, A4, IS, and to some extent the G37 which is 183-188 inches long. Some people just don't want a car as big as the CTS, so that is lost business if Cadillac doesn't offer a small sedan/coupe, especially in overseas markets.

This car should be turbo 4, 3.6 V6, and twin turbo 3.6 V6. The 3.0 V6 has no torque and isn't fuel efficient. I almost think they should develop an Inline 6 for Cadillac use only, but GM is probably too broke to do that. Plus they'll need a 7 or 8-speed transmission for the CTS and up, the compact car could get away with 6-speed. CTS should not grow in size at all, and it needs to lose weight. Same with the SRX, the new, smaller, front drive SRX weighs more than the old rear drive V8 model. That isn't progress, it is bad engineering.

Cadilac's problem is they are building cars of already existing platforms, engines, transmissions in the GM parts bin, and what is in the parts bin isn't good enough. They need to develop a 100% new chassis, a new engine, new transmission, new technologies, etc. It will cost well over $1 billion to do this car correctly, I don't see GM committing that much money to one car model.

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A small Cadillac should have been a priority a few years ago, especially once they planned to make the CTS a couple inches larger in each direction. It isn't just the 3-series, it is the C-class, A4, IS, and to some extent the G37 which is 183-188 inches long. Some people just don't want a car as big as the CTS, so that is lost business if Cadillac doesn't offer a small sedan/coupe, especially in overseas markets.

Agreed. If they're gonna expand overseas, a wagon may not be a bad idea either.

This car should be turbo 4, 3.6 V6, and twin turbo 3.6 V6. The 3.0 V6 has no torque and isn't fuel efficient. I almost think they should develop an Inline 6 for Cadillac use only, but GM is probably too broke to do that. Plus they'll need a 7 or 8-speed transmission for the CTS and up, the compact car could get away with 6-speed. CTS should not grow in size at all, and it needs to lose weight. Same with the SRX, the new, smaller, front drive SRX weighs more than the old rear drive V8 model. That isn't progress, it is bad engineering.

For weight savings, I'd say let's use the 3.0 V6TT instead of the 3.6. Unless you were thinking of a V-series application... which would be somewhat innovative for luxury performance lines in the sense that "everything old is new again" (think previous BMW M cars).

But yeah, that's a definite problem with GM's new offerings. I wonder how much it would cost them to cut weight... I did read that Jaguar is going to all aluminum, which is pricier.

Cadilac's problem is they are building cars of already existing platforms, engines, transmissions in the GM parts bin, and what is in the parts bin isn't good enough. They need to develop a 100% new chassis, a new engine, new transmission, new technologies, etc. It will cost well over $1 billion to do this car correctly, I don't see GM committing that much money to one car model.

All of the luxury marques that are part of larger corporations (Lincoln, Infiniti, Lexus, Acura, even Volvo) share platforms and engines with their mainstream counterparts. There's not some endless money vault that any company can draw from to create completely differentiated parts; if they could, they would have already.

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I like it, and Alpha does need to gather some steam.

BUT.............

This is an RTS:

MTA_Bus_Company_Nova_Bus_RTS_9311.jpg

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A small Cadillac should have been a priority a few years ago, especially once they planned to make the CTS a couple inches larger in each direction. It isn't just the 3-series, it is the C-class, A4, IS, and to some extent the G37 which is 183-188 inches long. Some people just don't want a car as big as the CTS, so that is lost business if Cadillac doesn't offer a small sedan/coupe, especially in overseas markets.

.

It should have been a priority years ago. It could have been and should have been, but was killed by shortsighted politics. In retrospect (or even not in retrospect), it was foolish to think that the CTS could compete in the 3/C/A4/IS segment. Now, we still have to wait years for the first direct competitor from GM.

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All of the luxury marques that are part of larger corporations (Lincoln, Infiniti, Lexus, Acura, even Volvo) share platforms and engines with their mainstream counterparts. There's not some endless money vault that any company can draw from to create completely differentiated parts; if they could, they would have already.

Infiniti and Lexus don't really share too much with Nissan and Toyota, at least not here in the US. G35, RWD, Maxima and Altima are FWD, FX series, RWD compared to FWD for the Murano. M35/45 isn't shared with any Nissans. The only one shared is the platform used in the Armada. Lexus only shares platforms on the ES and RX. The rest aren't shared with any Toyotas here in the US. BMW doesn't share any, and Mercedes doesn't either. BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, and Infiniti are all Cadillacs top competition too. Unless they want to compete with Lincoln and Acura only, they need to start basing cars on Zeta, and hurry up with Alpha instead of basing cars on Epsilon.

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Infiniti and Lexus don't really share too much with Nissan and Toyota, at least not here in the US. G35, RWD, Maxima and Altima are FWD, FX series, RWD compared to FWD for the Murano. M35/45 isn't shared with any Nissans. The only one shared is the platform used in the Armada. Lexus only shares platforms on the ES and RX. The rest aren't shared with any Toyotas here in the US. BMW doesn't share any, and Mercedes doesn't either. BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, and Infiniti are all Cadillacs top competition too. Unless they want to compete with Lincoln and Acura only, they need to start basing cars on Zeta, and hurry up with Alpha instead of basing cars on Epsilon.

Even if the Japanese platform-sharing vehicles aren't sold in North America, the point is that they still do so to reduce costs anyway.

Still, fast tracking the Alpha program is vital to improving Cadillac's brand positioning for future developments.

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This car should be turbo 4, 3.6 V6, and twin turbo 3.6 V6. The 3.0 V6 has no torque and isn't fuel efficient. I almost think they should develop an Inline 6 for Cadillac use only, but GM is probably too broke to do that. Plus they'll need a 7 or 8-speed transmission for the CTS and up, the compact car could get away with 6-speed. CTS should not grow in size at all, and it needs to lose weight. Same with the SRX, the new, smaller, front drive SRX weighs more than the old rear drive V8 model. That isn't progress, it is bad engineering.

IMHO the 3.0 (LF1) is in many ways a better engine than the DI 3.6 (LLT). Specific output is higher (90 bhp/liter), refinement is better (shorter stroke = lower 1st order vibrations) and compression is higher (11.7:1 vs 11.3:1) meaning that thermal efficiency should be slightly better. The engine also has various innovative features like an exhaust manifold that is integrated into the cylinder head. Fuel economy numbers are expected to be ~ 2mpg better on the freeway and 1 mpg better in the city.

I do not know if a 7 or 8-speed is warranted at this point. The 6-speed has a 6~6.1 ratio spread. That is plenty. Too much shifting actually slows you down. What I'll focus on is doing something different for the segment -- like mounting the transmission under and in between the rear seats for better weight balance. The hardware is already in the parts bin. The Corvette uses a rear mounted transmission arrangement.

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>>"Some people just don't want a car as big as the CTS, so that is lost business..."<<

Statistically irrelevant. Some people just don't want a car as small as the 3-series either, so that is lost business for BMW also.

Can't please everyone all the time.

You seem to imply that the 8 or 10 people who absolutely find the CTS too large are automatically defaulting to the 3-series, when you have zero authenticated information that that is so.

Edited by balthazar
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>>"Some people just don't want a car as big as the CTS, so that is lost business..."<<

Statistically irrelevant. Some people just don't want a car as small as the 3-series either, so that is lost business for BMW also.

Can't please everyone all the time.

You seem to imply that the 8 or 10 people who absolutely find the CTS too large are automatically defaulting to the 3-series, when you have zero authenticated information that that is so.

I think that is besides the point. The point is that the 3-series sell very well. The C-class sells very well. The IS250/350 sells very well. They are all smaller than the CTS. And, the buyers chose these vehicles their respective manufacturers also have larger offerings. It shows that taken as a whole, there is a big market for compact luxury cars. This market is -- overall -- larger than that of the mid-size or full-size luxury cars combined. To not have an offering in this segment is a huge mistake, and Cadillac should make bring out an compact entry a higher priority than a new full-size, mid-size or exotic sports car.

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In the US, entry-level luxury cars can do well regardless of size. The ES, TL, and G37 are all huge, like the CTS, and they seem to be doing fine. Size might even be viewed as an advantage here.

The lack of a competitive small RWD compact is hurting Cadillac in Europe, however, where you have older, narrower streets in built-up areas. As the CTS moves up in price, quality, and prestige to 5-series territory, I see room for a new compact entry-luxury Cadillac.

Bearing in mind Cadillac has zero brand presence in Europe, where there's already a huge number of established luxury makes, and considering how strapped for funds GM is, perhaps it would be better to ignore the European market altogether and invest in emerging markets.

Edited by pow
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IMHO the 3.0 (LF1) is in many ways a better engine than the DI 3.6 (LLT). Specific output is higher (90 bhp/liter), refinement is better (shorter stroke = lower 1st order vibrations) and compression is higher (11.7:1 vs 11.3:1) meaning that thermal efficiency should be slightly better. The engine also has various innovative features like an exhaust manifold that is integrated into the cylinder head. Fuel economy numbers are expected to be ~ 2mpg better on the freeway and 1 mpg better in the city.

I do not know if a 7 or 8-speed is warranted at this point. The 6-speed has a 6~6.1 ratio spread. That is plenty. Too much shifting actually slows you down. What I'll focus on is doing something different for the segment -- like mounting the transmission under and in between the rear seats for better weight balance. The hardware is already in the parts bin. The Corvette uses a rear mounted transmission arrangement.

The LaCrosse is rated at 17/26 with the 3.0 liter, but a CTS with a 3.6 liter is rated at 18/27. And the weights of both cars are somewhat similar. That 3.0 offers zero MPG advantage. The Genesis and 5-series are getting an 8-speed next year, Infiniti and Mercedes already use 7-speeds. If everyone else does it, and Cadillac doesn't, it will look like they are old school, and not cutting edge.

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>>"Some people just don't want a car as big as the CTS, so that is lost business..."<<

Statistically irrelevant. Some people just don't want a car as small as the 3-series either, so that is lost business for BMW also.

Can't please everyone all the time.

You seem to imply that the 8 or 10 people who absolutely find the CTS too large are automatically defaulting to the 3-series, when you have zero authenticated information that that is so.

Some may find the 3-series (or IS or C-class or A4) too small, but BMW makes the 5-series, and the 7-series. They cover each market segment, and aren't losing any business if someone that likes BMW but thinks a 3-series is too small, because they can step up to a 5. I am just saying that some people, (especially those in Europe) will find the CTS too big, and want a smaller car, and Cadillac has nothing to offer them, so they'll go to Lexus or one of the German brands.

BMW outsells Cadillac 6 to 1 globally, BMW isn't perfect, but they have a pretty good idea what they are doing.

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Infiniti and Lexus don't really share too much with Nissan and Toyota, at least not here in the US. G35, RWD, Maxima and Altima are FWD, FX series, RWD compared to FWD for the Murano. M35/45 isn't shared with any Nissans. The only one shared is the platform used in the Armada. Lexus only shares platforms on the ES and RX. The rest aren't shared with any Toyotas here in the US. BMW doesn't share any, and Mercedes doesn't either. BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, and Infiniti are all Cadillacs top competition too. Unless they want to compete with Lincoln and Acura only, they need to start basing cars on Zeta, and hurry up with Alpha instead of basing cars on Epsilon.

Infiniti shares the VQ engines between brands but differentiates them with different tuning (and direct injection). Also, all of the Infinitis besides the QX56 sit on the same platform as the 370Z (called FM platform).

Toyota/Lexus shares the GR engines, especially the 2GR-FE and -FSE, between the brands much like Infiniti (the direct-injection FSE going into the Lexus models). The Lexus GX sits atop the same platform as the 4Runner and FJ Cruiser. Don't forget about the blatant rebadge that is the Lexus LX.

By your own logic, though, you say Cadillac shouldn't share platforms, but then you want them to share a platform with the G8 (may it rest in peace) and the Camaro. Which is it?

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I like the size of my 3-Series. I've always found the CTS too big for what I was looking for...it's the size of a 5-Series, which I didn't want either.

I'll be interested to see what Caddy comes up with...hopefully they offer it with a stick and sweat the small details.

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I can conceed the argument for Europe, but of course, the CTS barely has it's pinkie toe in there... so there's no scenario there currently to discuss. But the repeated dead-horse-beating on the CTS's size in the U.S. has no merit, IMO (no disrespect to BigPoncho).

"CTS isn't competitive because it's larger than the 3-series." Bull&#036;h&#33;. The numbers DO NOT bear this out.

3-series is the absolute smallest in the segment @ 178". Where is the supposed line drawn as 'uncompetitive' ?? If there was any legitimate correlation to size = sales, one would think the average size would be best, not either extreme. If there was any legitimate argument along those lines, we'd see a sliding decline in volume the larger each car got.

Lexus is the #1 seller in the U.S., the IS is nearly identical to the 3 (180"), but the 3 outsells the IS 6:1. No one buys them. Too big ?? :wacko:

How about 185" ?? Audi A4 measures that, no one bemoans & hand-wrings over it's sales numbers, yet the 3 outsells it just about 3:1. Uncompetitive because of size ?? :wacko: :wacko:

M-B c-class is a whopping 4" bigger and that costs it circa 32,000 sales per year ??? :wacko: :wacko: :wacko:

Thru June '08 YTD:

BMW 3-S - - 178" - - 59908 units

Lexus IS - - 180" - - 11554 units

M-B C-cl - - 182" - - 43603 units

Audi A4 - - 185" - - 23291 units

Infin G37 - - 187" - - 24904 units

Lexus GS - - 190" - - 9059 units

Cad CTS - - 191" - - 31990 units

Lexus ES - - 191" - - 33156 units

BMW 5-S - - 191" - - 23096 units

No correlation from size alone. Easy to say the CTS would sell better if smaller... just as easy to say the 3-series would sell better if it was larger; closer to the mean size of the segment.

There's a LOT more to being successful in the segment than size alone- it's overall product & price WAY before size. So please, let's drop the whole fantasy that size is holding the CTS back. In '01 Cadillac had NOTHING in this segment, now it's a major player, absolutely competitive, and can anyone deny it's taken marketshare from the 3-series ?? And I'd far rather see Cadillac maintain its aspiration & exclusivity in the U.S. rather than fleet the CTS out to 50% volume like BMW does with the 3 in Germany just to pump up it's numbers.

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I am not saying that if the CTS were smaller, that it would sell better. What I am saying is that Cadillac needs BOTH, small and midsize and the CTS is a midsize. Because some buyers will only look at small, some will only look at midsize, some will only look at large. So Cadillac has to offer a car in every segment, just as BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Lexus do.

And FYI, Cadillac has sold 22,942 CTS in 2009. The aging 5-series outsells it.

http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet...amp;docid=55983

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exactly as smk says... CTS' size is no hindrance, however it captures a different audience. clearly there is a large market for large entry level luxury, but most of those models have migrated to a higher price class, with CTS leading the pack there. average transaction price for CTS is in the low 40's, and there's no reason it can't go higher with upgraded powertrain, upgraded stock suspension/handling/weight, and upgraded materials and features in the interior. CTS is midsize, and compact cars also sell as luxury cars, so long as they represent a large list of luxury qualities.

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>>"What I am saying is that Cadillac needs BOTH..."<<

OK- gotcha. And like I said- I do agree with the 'RTS' idea

But I have without a doubt read that sentiment from you and others here, more than once.

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