If there is one theme in the modern automotive business, it is that the concept of vehicle ownership is shifting. Services from startups are offering some people the option to pay only of the use of a car when they need it (for instance ZipCar). Other services jump off of the concept of a taxi by allowing you to call for transport from one place to another (think Lyft or Uber).
All of these concepts fundamentally shift the relationship a car and its driver/owner have. So, it is irresponsible for any automotive company to not be investigating ways that they can own some part of this changing relationship. Holding onto the traditional model and ignoring this shift would be a quick way to irrelevancy.
So, it should come of no surprise that Cadillac has announced their own, unique, take on providing mobility to their customers.
Today, Cadillac rolled out their new service ‘Book by Cadillac’ which can most easily be described as a vehicle subscription service. Initially rolling out in New York City, subscribers will pay $1500/month (with no contract commitment) and, in return, get access to any Cadillac they want (as long as they want an Platinum trim XT5, CT6, Escalade or V Series) for as long as they want. Need an Escalade for the weekend – request it and wait for delivery. Want a CT6 after that to drive for the next 6 weeks? You only need to request via a dedicated app (and keep paying the monthly fee).
The subscription service not only includes the vehicle (with no mileage limit), but also includes ‘white glove’ delivery to locations picked by the subscriber, insurance, all registration fees, taxes, and maintenance. Subscribers are merely responsible for gas and, certainly important in a city like New York, parking.
The good guys over at MotorTrend got some time with Cadillac’s head honcho Johan de Nysschen about recent Cadillac moves and what is next. It’s a great read that you can find over here.
For those of you not wanting to take the time to ready the entire interview, let us give you the high points:
The Escala Concept Built by GM’s production studio and much more production ready than any of the past concepts we have seen (Cien, Elmiraj, to name but two). This could mean the Escala is a strong indicator of a flagship that would sit above the CT6 in the lineup. Mr. de Nysschen had criticisms for the past Cadillac concepts in that they showed design themes that were not part of Cadillac’s plan – so were ‘not a smart move’. This seems to be admission that Cadillac fans fell hard for these prior concepts which made the lack of production versions sting all that much more.
Changes are coming for CUE Recognizing that the current CUE system has not met with wide acceptance, Cadillac will be bringing a physical controller to the system, in line with what we see from Audi, BMW, etc. This will prevent the touch screen from being the primary interface (which is largely where most of the criticisms for CUE center).
Escala’s 4.2l twin-turbo V-8 He isn’t yet ready to announce the engine for production (though this seems like less of a ‘will they’ but rather a ‘we’ll announce it when the product it will live in is ready to be announced’)
Product mix – Crossovers The market has moved to crossovers in a big way and Cadillac is readying offerings between XT5 and Escalade (XT7?) as well as below the XT5 (XT3?)
Product mix – platform sharing with the rest of GM 75 percent of luxury buyers will be Gen X and Gen Y customers by 2020. Millennials are also important to the brand and Cadillac (and their competition) are moving to catch these buyers as they get into their first luxury product. Dedicated platforms in these lower price points are not profitable – forcing some level of platform sharing. (more…)
Our friends over at The Detroit Bureau recently posted a story claiming program cancellations at Cadillac that had them worried about GM not supporting their development into a global luxury player.
In an unexpected turn, Cadillac’s head Johan de Nysschen posted an extensive rebuttal where he only confirmed that a flagship ‘4-door sedan’ had been adjusted. The flagship Cadillac will not be a sedan due to movement in the market away from traditional sedans.
Additionally, he gave these product details:
We ARE planning a Cadillac flagship which will NOT be a 4 door sedan
We ARE planning a large crossover beneath Escalade
We ARE planning a compact crossover beneath XT5
We ARE planning a comprehensive enhancement to CT6 later during life cycle
We ARE planning a major refresh for XTS
We ARE planning a new Lux 3 sedan entry
We ARE planning a new Lux 2 sedan entry
So, what we see here are a large crossover between Escalade and XT5 (XT7?) and a smaller “XT3”. This will go a long way to improving Cadillac’s revenue and should be considered great news to have confirmed so strongly.
It isn’t completely clear if a new Lux 3 sedan is an ATS replacement or an offering below ATS. But, certainly a Lux 2 sedan could be the oft rumored sub-ATS car to compete with the Mercedes CLA, BMW 2-Series, and Audi A3. This would make a great entry point into the brand if done correctly.
The other surprise here is the news that the XTS, expected before to be cancelled at the end of this product cycle, will see a major refresh. This is almost certainly to keep dealers and GM’s financial types happy as the XTS is the last ‘old-school’ product that appeals to the “Deville, DTS” buyers that continue to come back again and again for this very specific kind of Cadillac. A CT6 or CTS are both too sporty and expensive for their tastes and their money is looking to still be welcome for the foreseeable future.
It looks to be an fun time to be a Cadillac fan for the coming years.
Cadillac debuted a concept today that previews several new items for the Cadillac brand.
At 6″ longer than the recently released CT6, this car likely hints heavily at the new Cadillac flagship that is in the works.
Additionally, the car contains a twin-turbo 4.2l V-8 that is expected to reach production in the coming years. This engine may be related to the power plant that was shelved during the days of the GM bankruptcy and was intended to replace the 4.6l Northstar engine. Given recent power output from Cadillac’s turbo V-6, this engine will likely put out massive power when finalized.
But, perhaps the most significant aspect of the Escala concept is that it previews a significant shift in Cadillac design. Gone are the vertical headlights replaced by slender horizontal lights flanking the recently debuted shield-shaped grill seen in recent Cadillac models. Vertical tail-lights remain, but blend more directly into a softer overall design theme. We see hints of the old Mercedes Maybach rear end in this concept.
It does appear that the rumors that Cadillac was allowing the Chinese market’s desires help shape the future of Cadillac design were true. Gone are the sharp-edged look of the Cadillac’s we have come to know since 2003’s debut of the original CTS.
Only time will show how true new models will be to this new concept and how warmly the global market will accept this new look.
Cadillac has been teasing their latest concept that will debut in several minutes on their Facebook page. They have just recently let slip the name of the concept will be the Escala which may suggest a tie to the Escalade. Though the swoopy front-end styling suggest a car or crossover more than the truck-based Escalade.