Cadillac had somewhat of an off year in 2014 in its home market. Despite selling the best vehicles it has ever produced, a bevy of new product launches, and notable endorsements for the new third-gen CTS, Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, plenty of ATS, CTS, and SRX models sat on dealer lots unsold as U.S. sales dipped 6.5 percent. But that wasn’t the case for the all-new 2015 Escalade, which shined during 2014 with a 149 percent year-over-year sales gain.
The luxurious aura of the mighty Escalade has followed the nameplate since its introduction in 1999, despite being a (perhaps not-so) cleverly-hidden badge-engineered Chevy Tahoe/Suburban or GMC Yukon/Yukon XL. The Escalade is also enabling GM and its dealers to make boat-loads of money on each and every sale, since the vehicle is in extremely high demand (which is great for dealers) and has very fat profit margins (which is good for GM.) All that has prompted Cadillac to decide to leave the Escalade name, rather than giving it a new name per its new vehicle nomenclature.
Cadillac’s new vehicle naming scheme assigns CT followed by a number for cars (starting with the Cadillac CT6 sedan) and XT followed by a number for crossovers and SUVs (starting with the SRX-replacing XT5 crossover). In fact, the Escalade will be the only vehicle in the Cadillac portfolio to wear a non-alphanumeric name.
“It’s a brand in itself,” Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus said of the Escalade in a new report from Forbes. “And it’s a great vehicle to have.”
The move makes sense, as Cadillac doesn’t want to lose all of the value behind the Escalade name. In fact, Ellinghaus says that having the successful Escalade on the brand’s side is an advantage that will help it launch future SUVs and crossovers. According to the CMO, the Escalade is “too polarizing” to serve as a halo vehicle for the brand, which is placing increased focus on its passenger car lineup like the upcoming CT6. However, Ellinghaus also credits the luxury SUV with giving the brand future credibility in the SUV space.
“We’ll have an easier time selling a small SUV,” Ellinghaus promised, “because of Escalade.”
The GM Authority Take
Ain’t that the truth.