Cadillac has released their January 2017 sales numbers and a surprising shift in sales is apparent.
As in the 2016 numbers we recently discussed, US sales are down yet again. However, China sales are up a whopping 116%. This leaves the US with just over 10,000 sales in January which pales in comparison to China’s 18,000 sales. So, while 2016 had China at 68% of US sales volume, we could be witnessing the US becoming Cadillac’s second largest market.
In other news, this represents Cadillac sales, globally, being up 44.2% – almost exclusively due to this Chinese market growth. This is the 8th consecutive month of double-digit sales increases.
Again, increased sales, no matter where in the world, will help Cadillac fund its moves to grow into new segments and make even better products in the years to come.
Cadillac sales in 2016 were up, globally, by 11.1% since the prior year. This reflects an increase in sales in China of 45.9% and the ‘Rest of the World’ (ROW) by 8.7%. These gains offset losses in Canada by 0.7%, the US by 3%, as well as the Middle East 17.8%.
Some of these markets are small, so the gains or loss percentages are somewhat deceptive.
The US loss of 3% is a drop of over 5000 units. Canada’s drop is a mere 87 units. The Middle East drop is just over 900 units lost vs 2015’s numbers.
Similarly, the ROW gain of 8.7% represents a 472 unit gain.
The big gain is in the, still developing Chinese market…which is 68% the size of the US market in 2016, up from about 45% last year, represents increased sales of over 36,600 and handily wipes out the small losses elsewhere.
So, sales are ramping up rapidly in China. It would be reasonable to expect that China could become Cadillac’s biggest market within the next few years if sales growth continues in this way. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially as the sales growth can help fuel increase product investment that the rest of Cadillac’s markets will get to enjoy as well.
Starting with the 2017 CTS, Cadillac is bringing their latest infotainment features to market.
As we can see on product update pages at GM, this coincides with a similar update to CUE that is debuting on the 2018 CT6.
Important is that Cadillac is de-emphasizing the CUE name in favor of calling it the Cadillac user experience (note the loss of the capitals that gave us the U and E in CUE). This is, no doubt, in response to bad press that the original CUE system received in some circles.
Key features of the new infotainment are:
Personalized Profiles (allowing personal settings to be uploaded to Cadillac servers to be used on the next Cadillac you drive – this will be helpful as the Book service rolls out)
Predictive Navigation (frequent destinations and traffic-sensitive route suggestions will improve the navigation’s usefulness)
Collection (an internet connected app service that uses the 4G LTE data link)
Teen Driver (provides owners the ability to set limits on features that can be used and safety technologies that can be disabled)
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.