During the first six months of 2015, the Cadillac CTS was responsible for 9,689 sales. That’s a 39 percent decrease compared to the 16,008 units sold during the same time period in 2014. But is the drop as bad as the numbers would suggest?
Midsize Luxury Passenger Car Sales - June 2015
|Vehicle||June 2015 / June 2014||June 2015||June 2014||H1 2015 / H1 2014||H1 2015||H1 2014|
|Midsize Luxury Sedan Segment||-38%||13,022||20,924||-20%||83,757||105,064|
|BMW 5 Series||-63%||2,965||7,940||-15%||23,581||27,617|
Other segment contenders also experienced drops: the Mercedes-Benz E-Class — the segment’s perennial best-seller — saw sales drop 36 percent to 22,252 units during the first six months. Meanwhile, the BMW 5 Series was off 15 percent to 23,581 units, the Acura RLX/RL was off 42 percent to 1,200 units, and the Audi A6/S6 was down 4 percent to 11,409 units. Taken as a whole, the midsize luxury passenger car segment was down 20 percent during the first six months of the year in the United States.
But two models came away as notable winners during the timeframe. Specifically, the Infiniti Q70 recorded a 65 percent sales jump to 4,484 units, while the Lexus GS recorded a 10 percent sales increase to 11,142 units. As such, it’s worthwhile to note that the midsize luxury sedan segment is experiencing a decline as a whole, though CTS sales are falling faster (39 percent) than the segment average (20 percent).
Repositioning The CTS
We should also note that Cadillac is still repositioning the CTS as a true midsize luxury sedan, compared to the second-gen CTS’ tweener positioning — one where it wasn’t really a compact sport-luxury car nor quite a midsize luxury entry. Keeping this in mind, the sales results aren’t as bad as they could have been. After all, the CTS is the fifth best-selling vehicle in the segment out of a total of nine (Volvo and Maserati are not included in the chart).
To illustrate the benefits of repositioning the CTS, we present the following graphic.
- On the one hand, the third-generation CTS has a higher starting price than the last-, second-generation model, allowing Cadillac to make more per unit, enabling it to maintain healthy model line profitability at a relatively low volume.
- On the other hand, the brand is also maintaining sales volume of the last-gen CTS thanks to the ATS.
Going forward, we can see CTS sales climb at a slow yet steady pace, due to the following circumstances:
- Cadillac has already added some healthy incentives to the 2015 CTS for the summer, which were not around in 2015. These should make the vehicle much more attractive to “on the fence” buyers.
- The third-gen CTS has established and is continuing to establish a customer base at the new, more expensive price point and feature/content level. Going forward, it should build on this by taking customers from the competition. Doing so won’t be easy, but it is possible one day and one sale at a time with the following elements:
- Class-leading product: the CTS is close, but isn’t best-in-class quite yet, in our opinion
- Catchy and effective marketing: this needs a lot of work, not only for the CTS but also for Cadillac as a whole
- Cutting-edge luxury car brand image: existent, but must be improved; the CTS-V should help but is far from the end-all, be-all solution
- Responsive, friendly, and customer-focused retail network: room for improvement on this as well, as evidenced by several first-person accounts
Ultimately, Cadillac has a lot of work to do to increase CTS sales to the levels of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, along with boosting sales of other vehicles in its product portfolio. But the task is by no means impossible to accomplish.
About The Numbers
- Figures provided by each respective automaker/brand
- Volvo S80 and Maserati Ghibli not used in comparison since neither Volvo nor Maserati provide model-per-model sales results