When Cadillac debuts the 2016 CT6 sedan this week, they won’t only be returning to their roots of making large luxury cars, but introducing an all-new naming scheme more in line with what BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi use. Some have been critical of Cadillac’s new naming convention, but the automaker sees it as a necessary change as it looks to be more competitive in the luxury realm.
As Forbes explains, Cadillac’s current way of naming cars has no real logic. The cars get bigger when the letters come later on the alphabet, like the CTS and ATS, however ELR is an outlier and the SRX and Escalade stand on their own too. To remedy this, future Cadillac sedan names will start with ‘CT’ and will be followed by a numeric representing the size of the model, while SUVs will follow the same pattern, starting with ‘XT’.
“There is a certain expectation we must meet for comparing products with one another within our brand and against our rivals,” Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus told Forbes in a recent interview. “Customers come to the Cadillac showroom and ask, ‘What’s your Audi A4?’ or ‘What’s your BMW 5 Series?’ We hate that, but because of the (Germans’) dominance, they set the expectations.”
Some have argued the alphanumeric naming scheme is a bit dry and lacks personality, however Cadillac wants the cars to attract customers, not the names. Additionally, it’s much easier and cheaper to market similar names like CT4 and CT6, rather than a bunch of completely separate names like Fleetwood or Eldorado, for example.
“How many names can we afford to communicate anyway?” Ellinghaus said. “We want the brand to be the driver of passion for Cadillac, not model names.”