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Refreshed Cadillac XTS Spied

The folks over at GMInsideNews have caught the refreshed XTS minus the camo we saw in the prior spy shots.

Revealed is how Cadillac has chosen to combine the styling of the XTS with hints at the styling previewed in the Escala concept.  Strangely, it appears that the lighting treatments have been flopped vertically with horizontal elements of the tail lights moved to below the trunk opening vs at the upper edge of the rear deck.  Detailing and contours of the decklid do mirror those of the Escala.

Escala rear lighting
XTS Refresh rear lighting

Up front, the styling is toned down with hints of the concept’s horizontal headlight element that is also combined with the vertical lighting element that the Escala had separated.  Honestly, the lighting also has a strong resemblance to the existing lights of the CT6.

Ultimately, you can squint and see inspirations from the concept that are watered down by limitations presented by an existing car’s architecture.  We would expect a purer form of the styling to debut on the first Cadillac that is getting a full redesign or is a new model (XT3 or XT7 or the next version of the ATS or CTS would all be good bets).

Source: GMInsideNews.com

April 2017 Cadillac Sales – China #1 Again

Cadillac has announced their global sales for April.  Of note, this marks yet another month of amazing growth in the Chinese market and the second time this year where China has leapfrogged the US to be the largest market for the brand.

US sales are up over 1000 units this year (more impressive when you realize that there was one fewer ‘selling day’ in the US market this year).  China, however, had sales that were almost double the same month last year and exceeded US sales by over 1600 units.  This marks the second month this year that China has been the #1 market for Cadillac.

Both far outpace the rest of Cadillac’s markets where fewer than 2000 units were sold (more than a 12% increase, but numerically pretty small).

This does lead to the question of what this means for Cadillac.  Will US and China trade off the #1 spot or are we well on the way to the Chinese market taking the top stop long-term?  Either way, the Chinese consumer will be a discussion point for decisions Cadillac makes for future product – but beyond quirks about a higher percentage of chauffeured buyers (and long-wheel base variants that encourages) there should be a line Cadillac can walk that will provide compelling products that are shared between the markets.

 

Now, let’s dive deeper into the US sales numbers and see what is happening.

This table lists April 2017, April 2016, and % Change.

This allows us to see that all models, save the XT5 (which replaces the SRX) are suffering in today’s market.

It is clear that the sedan market is shrinking.  ATS is down the smallest percentage of the Cadillac sedans, but all are down significantly with the possible exception of the CT6/XTS where we may be seeing people moving out of the XTS market and into CT6 as they see the newer car as the ‘top’ model where the XTS was viewed by some buyers that way before. 

Given that the XT5 is up 2500 units over the SRX that it replaced – it is still clear that Cadillac can not bring the new larger and smaller XT-family crossovers to market soon enough.  But, it will be interesting to see the stories about how Cadillac has found its groove in a year or two when it is showing massive sales increases – when the current problem is just not selling products in the segments luxury buyers are interested in right now.

Cadillac Announces Availability of Super Cruise Autonomous Driving System

Cadillac announced that it will begin offering the Super Cruise technology that they have worked on for a few years.  It will reach the market as an option on the 2018 CT6 Prestige.  This technology is promoted as being the first true hands-free driving technology for the highway.  Some might question this assertion given all the press given to Tesla’s Autopilot and other self-driving systems in Mercedes, BMW, and even Infiniti – but given that Tesla terms their technology as a ‘beta’ and other luxury makers need hands on the wheel (taking your hands away will cancel other self-driving systems) – the fully hands-off auto driving is truly new.

In order to maintain a minimum level of driver engagement, Cadillac has added a monitoring system that watches to confirm that the driver is heads-up and looking at the road ahead.  This is to ensure that the driver is available to take over if the route takes the car off of a well mapped road or if the technology gets confused.

If the driver’s attention is away from the road for too long, the system will engage multiple visual alerts, the Safety Alert Seat, and audio alerts to get the driver to re-engage.  If, after all of these techniques have failed, the car is able to bring itself to a controlled halt and contact OnStar (the assumption being that the driver needs medical attention at that point).

Interestingly, Cadillac’s system relies not only on intelligent cruise sensors, GPS, and camera technology.  GM has added an on-board LiDAR system that, with a detailed LiDAR map of all limited use highways in the US and Canada – provides a level of safety and predictability missing in other systems.  Because of the LiDAR map requirement of your route, Super Cruise is only able to be activated on these limited access highways (divided highways with well-defined on and off-ramps).  However, this does suggest that future maps could increase the environments where Super Cruise can be used.

Here is a short video from Cadillac describing the system:

…and, if that isn’t enough, read on for Cadillac’s press release about the 2018 CT6 and it’s Super Cruise option.

(more…)

Cadillac Starts Sales of Hybrid CT6 in US Market

Cadillac has shipped the first batch of CT6 Plug-In Hybrids to the US and sales start this month.

The CT6 uses a lithium-ion battery pack that shares technology with the packs used for years in the Chevrolet Volt and the discontinued Cadillac ELR.  It provides 31 miles of full-electric range before the gas engine kicks in.

The CT6 Plug-In starts at $75,095 plus $995 destination (similar to the ELR) though in the much larger package of the big sedan.  This places this version of the CT6 at $15000 over the gas-only version.  This seems somewhat reasonable when you account for unique instrument cluster, inclusion of of a unique transmission that integrates dual electric motors, in addition to the 18.4kWh battery pack.

For most owners, this means a CT6 with the power of the 3.6l V6 but that won’t burn a drop of gas in most day-to-day driving.  It also provides the benefits of a gasoline powered (virtually unlimited range) for the few times when a long drive is desired.

 

For a reminder of the technology in the CT6 Plug-In- We’ve included Cadillac’s informative press release from late 2016 below: (more…)

2018 Cadillac XTS Spied – Brings Escala Styling

GMInsideNews has posted spy shots of a refreshed XTS undergoing testing.

2018 XTS Spy Shot - GMInsideNewsFrom their photos, we can see that significant changes to the front and rear ends are coming.  GMI points out the trunk lid seems extend further aft and the grill appears to adopt a look like the recent XT5 crossover.

However, they seem to have missed a key change present in the, albeit blurry, front quarter view.

This appears to be the first Cadillac that will take inspiration from the Escala Concept.  As you can see here, the vertical headlight arrangement is replaced with a thin, horizontal headlight very similar to the Escala.  It remains to be seen if this new front end will work well with the existing XTS sheet metal.  We are a bit nervous how the two themes will work together.

Certainly, the XTS won’t be the only Escala-esque Cadillac for long.  ATS and CTS are both getting close to their own mid-cycle refreshes.  The new crossovers from Cadillac should bow in the next year or two.  Even the Escalade might see a refresh in 2018 or 2019 – and bring some of the Escala design theme.

So, let the Escala-ification of Cadillac styling begin.  

The new XTS should debut by early 2018.

Source: GMInsideNews – Updated Cadillac XTS Points and Laughs at the Haters

March 2017 Cadillac Sales

Cadillac has released their March 2017 sales results.  US sales are slightly better that what we saw in February (only down 1.5% vs that month’s 8.6% drop).

Again, China and the rest of the world have more than compensated for the US drop.  China alone was up 63% and was only 492 units behind the US market.  Again we are seeing that China is nipping at the heels of the US…though we haven’t seen China as the #1 market for Cadillac since the January results (which was the first time that had happened).  It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect the two biggest markets to trade the #1 spot again and again in the future.

All other markets are also up, but are quite a bit smaller volume than the big two.  Canada is up 28% (265 units), Middle East is up 5.2% (only 16 units), and the rest of the world (ROW) is up 16.8% (92 units).

These changes represent a global increase in sales of 21.1% (almost 5000 units) vs March of last year.  Year-to-date is also up a strong 28.6%.

So, despite other reports you might see that suggest Cadillac is hurting – realize that it is a US only phenomenon that will certainly reverse once they finish development of their line of crossovers to slot above and below the XT5 (currently Cadillac’s best seller in the US market that represents over 40% of their US sales).  Imagine what sales will look like once the US market has the models from Cadillac it is craving.  The strong world sales (led by China) will help fund Cadillac’s development efforts and get us all even better models in the coming years.

 

February 2017 Cadillac Sales

Cadillac worldwide sales are up yet again in February.  Sales grew 18.6 percent year-over-year.  This represents the 9th consecutive double-digit sales growth for the brand.

Unlike January, China was not Cadillac’s largest market, but was still up 89.6% over 2016.  This growth (4268 additional sales) along with a 10.1% increase in Canada (just 69 units, truth be told), 3% in the Middle East (10 units), and 6.9% in the rest of the world (33 units) compensated for a 8.6% drop in US sales (a 1017 unit drop).

Though China was not the largest market in February, strong results in January leave China as Cadillac’s biggest market so far this year (up 106.4% vs the US drop of 6.5%).  This growth has led to a yearly sales increase of 32.3% (12,501).

It is likely that the two largest markets will trade the top spot month to month for a while to come.