Cadillac rocked the automotive world yesterday when it announced a complete revamp of the way is will name its vehicles. Over the next several years, names such as the ATS, CTS, XTS, ELR, and SRX will be replaced with alpha-numeric combinations such as CT5 and CT6. Cadillac will apply the new naming convention with the launch of a new model, starting with the 2016 CT6 — the new full-size, Omega-based flagship previously thought to have been called LTS. So, what does the new naming convention do for the brand, and why is it worthy of Cadillac’s attention, investment, and effort? Here are three reasons.
1. Establish Lineup Hierarchy
The previous naming convention (ATS, CTS, XLR, ELR) didn’t have a clear hierarchy within the lineup. Without doing any research, a consumer who doesn’t closely follow the Cadillac brand would have trouble figuring out whether the ATS slotted above or below the CTS or XTS.
Contrast that with the naming scheme used by BMW, Audi, Volvo, and Infiniti: the BMW 1 Series is at the entry-level end of the lineup, while the 7 Series is the flagship. The same goes for the Audi A1 (entry-level) and the A8 (flagship), and Volvo C30 and S80. And now, Cadillac can enjoy the same luxury: the CT6 slots above the CT5, which is above smaller numbers. It’s a stair-step hierarchy even a five year-old can understand, and that’s a good thing. The Escalade is expected to retain its name.
2. Align Crossovers With Cars
Currently, Cadillac’s lineup has just one crossover — the SRX. But this will (hopefully) change over the next several years, as the brand introduces other CUVs. The new naming scheme gives the brand a chance to cohesively align the names of its crossovers with those of its sedans and wagons — something it was already doing with coupe variants of its sedans (such as the ATS Coupe and ATS Sedan).
For instance: let’s imagine that the next-gen ATS ends up being called CT4, and the next-gen CTS is renamed to CT5. Now, imagine Alpha-based crossover variants of the CT4 and CT5 called CX4 and CX5, or XT4 and XT5. We’re sure you can come up with other alphabetic designations to precede the numeric identifiers… but you get the idea.
And as luck would have it, other luxury automakers have already synced up the names of their coupes and CUVs with their sedans. Check it:
|3 SERIES:||3 SERIES||3 SERIES||4 SERIES||X3 OR X4|
|5 SERIES:||5 SERIES||5 SERIES||6 SERIES||X5 OR X6|
|7 SERIES:||7 SERIES||N/A||N/A||X7 (UPCOMING)|
|C-CLASS:||C CLASS SEDAN||C-CLASS WAGON||C-CLASS COUPE||GLC (UPCOMING)|
|E-CLASS:||E-CLASS SEDAN||E-CLASS WAGON||E-CLASS COUPE||GLE (UPCOMING)|
|S-CLASS:||S-CLASS SEDAN||N/A||S-CLASS COUPE||GLS (UPCOMING)|
3. Room To Grow
Cadillac will almost definitely have a sub-compact vehicle in the near future to rival the likes of the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA Class, Volvo S40/V40. Such a vehicle would slot underneath the ATS (as we know it today). But with the previous naming scheme, the brand would have had limited room to name the new subcompact while keeping a cohesive naming convention (what comes before A?).
By contrast, the new naming structure gives The Crest more room to go up and down the alpha-numeric lineup, almost as it pleases. The trick will be keeping the numbers uniform and relatively easy to understand.
Do even numbers denote a different kind of vehicle than odd ones, the way BMW and Audi differentiate between sedans and coupes? Would coupes be called CT6 Coupe or CT7?
We’ll have to wait to find out for sure, so stay tuned as we learn more.