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Happy New Year

It’s been quiet on the CaddyEdge front, largely due to holiday obligations.

Expect more of the Cadillac news you expect from tCE in the coming days.

I hope you have all had a great holiday season and here is to a great 2013 (and new Cadillacs like the ELR, new CTS, and a new Escalade as well as perhaps a surprise concept or two).

How Will Cadillac Expand its Lineup?

Cadillac has mentioned, through their North American head of Marketing, Don Butler, that they plan to continue to offer coupes and wagons (sticking with some of the expansion they started with versions of the CTS in the past few years). What isn’t completely clear is if coupes and wagons will be versions of the CTS going forward.

Since this opens the floor for us to play what-if, let’s look at what Cadillac has said and what they may be doing to meet the competition head-on in these and other segments.

2013 Cadillac ATSFirst of all, we have a Cadillac that is moving to a brand new rear-drive architecture for most of their mainstream cars. Alpha is the new chassis that underpins the ATS as well as (in stretched Alpha+ form) the CTS. So, no matter what Cadillac decides to do, these will all live on the same basic architecture (a boon for volume/cost). This also marks the end of Sigma, the platform developed in the late 90′s and early 2000′s as part of Cadillac’s first re-birth. Continue Reading →

GMI Re-Envisions the Cadillac Lineup – Part I

If you don’t already follow the folks over at GM Inside News, you should. In a world where GM product often gets a barely concealed sneer from critics and the press – these guys love the company and their products deeply.

However this doesn’t mean that they don’t see plenty of room for improvement – witness their recent ‘Revitalization in Action’ series where they not only describe, but design their dream lineup for each of GM’s brands.

Up this time around is Cadillac – which is what gets our attention. This is the post we would make if only we had the ability to render our dreams of a future line of cars that we think would put the brand firmly on top.

So, in the truest expression of the critique – we here at the CaddyEdge.com will give our 2¢ on all their hard work without actually creating anything ourselves. ;-)

Seriously – great work guys.

Ideas for the brand:

Continue Reading →

What it Will Take to Unseat BMW

Peter M. De Lorenzo at autoextremist.com is never one to pull his punches when talking to power in the auto industry.

In a world where journalists are all to happy to talk up the latest shiny offering from anywhere in return for junkets to far-off lands, he calls things like he sees them and is often more right than most people care to admit.

In this installment, he goes on about what it will really take for the Cadillac ATS to unseat the king of the sport sedan segment, BMW’s 3-series.

We agree that it is a long and uphill climb to be considered in the same breath as BMW.

What is often overlooked is that there is more to this business of selling cars than just making the best product and advertising well and pricing it competitively. Ultimately, success comes not only from that but from doing it consistently year after year after year.

The grumps might say that BMW buyers are simply after a badge – but that overlooks something significant. What does that badge represent to those customers?

BMW of today isn’t exactly the same company it was a decade or two ago but it has consistently offered true sporting sedans for so long that their name and their old tag line ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ are etched into the psyche of the customer.

Until an only slightly engaged consumer of luxury sports sedans can tell you with no deep thought what a Cadillac -is- then it will continue to be an up-hill battle to unseat the 3-series.

Cadillac is certainly capable of this – but only if leadership at GM is willing to take their lumps and continue to offer ATS-grade hardware and execution for generation after generation. Then, after the 3rd or 4th consecutive ATS generation that is better than the 3-series will the story truly start to change.

The question is if GM has 15-20 years worth of patience to become the new benchmark in sports sedans.

Certainly a good read over at Peter’s site:

AutoExtremist.com

What Power Train Changes Will the Cadillac ELR Have?

Cadillac ELRAt this point, we are at least a year from getting any seat time in the extended-range electric Cadillac, the ELR.

Over at GM-Volt, they have an article that performs some analysis on what to expect from the ELR enhanced Voltec power train.  They go on at length about more powerful electric motors, bigger and more efficient batteries…all with one thing left out:

Where are they getting their assumptions?

They seem to have convinced themselves that the ELR is gunning for the Tesla Model S.

If we were to bet money on this – I’d expect something close to Volt levels of performance with a more powerful range extending gas engine that will allow a smaller reduction in performance when the battery runs out of power.

Extra power from the electric drive or contained in the battery pack will likely be shared with the Volt either at the same time or the Volt will pick up the changes/upgrades less than a year after the ELR goes on sale.

What are my assumptions?

That GM will behave like they have traditionally.
That the ELR is more a sexy 2-door version of the Volt that will come closer to making a profit than the Volt.
That GM isn’t aiming the ELR to be a Tesla killer.

I guess we’ll all know after the ELR debuts at next year’s Pebble Beach Concours.

Source: GM-Volt.com

ATS By the Numbers – Automobile.com

2013 Cadillac ATSThe good folks over at Automobile Magainze have put together a comparison table that shows how the ATS matches up against the rest of the segment.

Now, while I might wonder in what parallel universe the Automobile folks live in that has the Buick Regal, Acura TSX, and Lincoln MKZ as competitors to the rear/all-wheel drive segment the ATS plays in – it’s easy enough to ignore those columns and see how things stack up.

As it is, Cadillac did pull a rabbit out of their hat with the lightest product in the segment (always a great place to start for dynamics)…but if you are looking for the most rear-seat room, you might have to go elsewhere.

Personally, this is a sport sedan segment – if you want rear seat room as your primary consideration…maybe you are looking at the wrong kind of car.

RANT-ON

Automobile calls out as a shortcoming that the ATS is down on interior volume to the current 3 series (by 5.3 cubic feet) but I would respectfully say they miss the point. The automakers have been progressively making each generation of their cars bigger, arguing that that is what buyers want. However, when asked, don’t most consumers ask for their car to be ‘more’ than the one they replace? More room, more power, more, more, more…

This is how we get a Ford Taurus that is the size of the old Crown Victoria. How the Civic is bigger than the Accord I knew growing up. There is something lost with these ‘more = better’ product decisions. More size = more mass. More mass is going to often equate to duller responses as well as needing more power and worse fuel economy to get equal performance.

I commend GM for not aiming the ATS to be the biggest car in the segment at the expense of driving dynamics…and not only because they seem to have hit a size that reminds me of the sport sedans I grew up with but for making a decision that competes by letting the competition beat itself. The 3-Series is heading in a direction not in keeping with their “Ultimate Driving Machine” roots. This leaves space for another brand to take up that driving-enjoyment torch and poach buyers that feel that BMW has gotten too soft for their tastes. Not being as ostentatious as something with the Roundel or 3-pointed star is icing on the cake (yep, I just said that the wreath and crest isn’t as smug and self-important as the German makes…sue me).

I hope the ATS and Cadillac turn out to be the brand that takes over the pure sport sedan turf while we watch the 3-series get softer with each generation.

RANT-OFF

For the full comparison table, see the link below:

Source: Automobile.com

Guest Commentary – GMInsideNews.com’s Mark Bono – Part 2

Originally appeared at GMInsideNews.com on March 1, 2010.

GM: Give Cadillac The Product it Deserves or Kill it.
Another commentary on what Cadillac should be
by Mark Bono (ChevyRules), GMI Staff Writer

…continued from Part 1

Keep Cadillac Focused on RWD and the Germans

Now this is Cadillac’s 2004 mission statement. Focus on going out and beating the Germans.

This means the SRX needs to return, as a rear-wheel drive vehicle on the Alpha platform and the XTS needs to move to the Zeta platform. Though I have little faith that they will do this. With the new SRX’s success, I am concerned they will go and think, “ See front-wheel drive is the answer to Cadillac’s troubles” and continue on with front-wheel drive and accept Cadillac being a volume luxury brand. I have been hearing as well the biggest drawback to a Zeta based Cadillac is that, while the vehicle itself would be profitable, the required investment into making a proper full size Cadillac would result in GM never seeing a return on investment with the vehicle. I find this reason to be full of crap. The typical life of full size luxury sedans is seven years with a mild refresh three to four years into it. Is GM really saying that they will not see a return on investment with a vehicle that has a life span of seven years? Even if it is the case, GM should go through with it because the vehicle itself will be profitable so it isn’t a total money loser.

Now I know this is where it gets hard for GM. Trying to keep two premium brands separate from each other. But, it is easier then it looks GM. You already have the vehicles needed to complete Buick’s line up. You just need to transfer over the current SRX and XTS over to Buick. Buick should be a front-wheel drive based brand to go against the likes of the lower end Lexus, Acura, Lincoln, Volvo and now Saab models. While Cadillac is rear-wheel drive based and goes after BMW, Mercedes, Infiniti and Audi.

Kill Cadillac

GM, if you cannot do the other two options listed above, I really do have to suggest just killing Cadillac. I wish it would be Buick that would be killed instead, but we all know Buick is already established as a global brand and is highly successful in China, while Cadillac is not. So it comes down to Cadillac now being the weaker of the two luxury marques at GM.

If you continue on the paths you have chosen for Cadillac and Buick, they will continue to trample on each others toes. You have the SRX and XTS going after models GM has given aim for Buick to take on. We also have rumors of the US getting the next generation Park Avenue which will trample on Cadillac’s feet by having a full size RWD sedan. Cadillac’s image will not recover where you want it to be if Cadillac goes after the volume market.

Conclusion

Those are the best options that are presented to me for Cadillac. If it were up to me, in a perfect world I would have Cadillac go after Rolls Royce and Bentley. But, the world isn’t perfect and I seriously doubt Cadillac will be able to climb that high on the ladder again. So realistically, I would have Cadillac go after the Germans, which was its original mission statement. Cadillac does have the ATS coming, which rumors say it will crush the F30 BMW 3 series. GM does have the DT7 on the shelf and just needs to dust it off and GM needs to make the decision now to move the SRX over to Alpha for the third generation to make the lineup complete with proper Cadillac’s.

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