May 2017 Cadillac Sales – Guess Who is #1 Again

Cadillac has announced their worldwide sales for the month of May.

This month, sales were up 33.8% vs the same month in 2016. This is the 12th consecutive month of double-digit growth for the brand.

This marks yet another month where massive growth in the Chinese market has made it the largest market for the brand.  This year, the May sales in China are up 65.2% (5586 sales).  Even with US sales up 9.2% (an increase of over 1100, this has China overshadowing the US sales by almost 1000 in May.

Cadillac has decided to report all other markets together as ‘Rest of World’ (ROW) this month – which shows an increase of 51.62% (an increase of 808 units).  This allows them to report an increase in sales in all markets.

A deeper analysis of the US sales shows that ATS (357 units), CTS (228), and XTS (431) sales are down yet again.   Even an increase in CT6 sales of over 300 units doesn’t overshadow how soft sedan sales have become.  

The bright spots are XT5 (3033) and Escalade (604) sales.  So, yet again we can see how Cadillac is in serious need of more crossovers and SUVs if they want to grow their sales further.

Even in the face of this outlook, Cadillac is doing some smart things with how they position their models and are not chasing unit sales to vs profit.  They have maintained a higher transaction price than all but one of the major luxury brands in the US.  This is no doubt helped by XT5 having an average selling price over $3000 up from the SRX that it replaced.

Overall, Cadillac is doing well by becoming more of a global brand.  This strength will help it buy the time needed to add additional product that will likely allow the US market to take back it’s #1 position for the brand.


Cadillac Adds to its ‘Vehicle to X’ Developments

Recently, Cadillac added Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) capabilities to the CTS (with the mid-2017 refresh).  This technology uses dedicated radio frequencies (5.9GHz Dedicated Short-Range Communications – or DSRC) to communicate with other, similarly equipped vehicles, to share information about road hazards.  This might appear in equipped vehicle instrument clusters as warnings that vehicles nearby are braking rapidly – allowing for reaction before a hazard is visible.

Additionally, Cadillac is testing using the same technology for Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I).  This variation on the technology would see an equipped car receiving information from traffic signals.  This would allow the car to ‘know’ that it will not make it through an upcoming intersection before the light is red and alert the driver – even before the light changes to yellow.

The technologies operate with a range around 1000 ft, and do not transmit identifying information (so a municipality would not be able to use it to ticket a an equipped car if it happened to run the red light, for instance.  Also, effort has gone into ensuring cyber-attacks are prevented through use of firewalls and other techniques.

With these V2x technologies, Cadillac is working toward a safer environment for drivers.

Walk-Around of the CT6 Plug-In Hybrid 

Cadillac’s CT6 Plug-In Hybrid has gone on sale and this video from their launch manager gives some highlights of the unique features of the car. 


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).


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.


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…)