2016 ATS-V, CTS-V Could Mark The Return Of Retractable Headlamp Washing System To Cadillac Vehicles24
You might not have noticed, but look closely at some photos of the 2016 ATS-V and 2016 CTS-V, and you’ll see a small cutout in the form of a square between the grille and each headlight. Those cutouts are for a set of retractable headlamp washers — a first for Cadillac’s new ATS and third-gen CTS, since the production units of each model have yet to offer the feature, and something we’re quite excited about.
The presence of the retractable headlamp washer system is important and noteworthy for three reasons:
BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz all offer retractable headlight washers on their vehicles, from entry-level compacts (like the 3 Series, A4, and C-Class) to full-size flagships (like the 7 Series, A8, and S-Class), and on everything in between.
Cadillac did offer a retractable headlight washer system on some trim levels of the first-generation CTS-V and STS-V, while the second-generation CTS-V has a non-retractable system with a nozzle just aft of the headlights. Though functional, that implementation wasn’t exactly appealing to the eyes, and definitely didn’t meet the ingenuity and engineering criteria expected of luxury vehicles.
If you’ve never experienced a retractable headlamp washer systems, it functions in a very straightforward fashion: initiating the windshield washers/wipers initiates the headlamp washers, which spray a high-pressure fluid right on the headlamps, thereby clearing any dirt, snow, ice, or anything else that might be obstructing the lights from illuminating the road ahead.
After the spray cycle, which lasts a few seconds, is finished, the washers automatically retract into the bumper. It’s convenient, and cool.
Most European Union nations require built-in headlamp washer system for vehicles equipped with high-intensity headlamps. And given that Cadillac is planning to dive into the European market around the year 2020, the inclusion of the retractable headlight washers will allow it to sell vehicles in the market.
Cadillac has yet to confirm or mention the retractable headlight washing system in the 2016 ATS-V or 2016 CTS-V. And interestingly, the cutouts aren’t present in all photos of the two vehicles, which is most likely due to the cars shown and photographed so far being pre-production units. Nevertheless, the addition of the system — if indeed a reality — would be very welcome, by making Cadillacs more competitive in light of German rivals, providing one more convenience for Cadillac owners, and allowing the brand to do business in Europe. Plus, the way these retractable system work is just downright cool.
That’s what we call a triple-win, and that’s why we’re stoked about it. Now, let’s see the headlamp washers propagate throughout the entire Cadillac lineup, to the non-V ATS, CTS, CT6, SRX, Escalade, and other future models.
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One issue with them. Winter.
Freezing rain and to a lesser extent extensive slush build-up on the front end.
That’s not an actual issue, as this has been accounted for.
The motors that eject the washers are strong enough to propel/eject though whatever rain or slush/ice is covering them.
Remember, the primary use case for these washers is winter, so there have been extensive tests, mostly in the EU, to ensure that they can “get out and spray”.
I doubt that under most freezing rain circumstances.
The motors are more likely to stop pushing at a certain load to prevent damage to the nozzle/cover door. All headlight washers I know of use the hydraulic pressure from the actual washer fluid to extend the nozzle out, these pumps will be rated to a certain kPa. Start forcing them to break through resistance and you start burning out motors; like trying to use your wipers when the blades are iced up.
Driving highways doing 120 when it’s -15 ambient creates concrete slush on the front of my truck.
I’m not saying these are a bad system. Like my first post said “One issue”. I gave a comparative downside.
I have personal experience with these in both Mercedes and BMW vehicles.
I actually shared your concern at first, but they worked perfectly during my various drives through the Swiss alps in snow, freezing rain, and sub-zero temperatures. It’s in those cases that they’re extremely useful. My friend was in a Ford Focus (doesn’t have them) and his lights were covered with all kinds of snow/slush.
So, can they freeze up? In theory, yes. But in practice, they work extremely well. And it’s much better to have them, then to not have them.
Would you rather not have them? If so, you’ll be getting out of your car quite often in the conditions we’re talking about to clear your lights… especially if you’re driving behind other cars that are backsplashing on you.
They will work fine in the winter.
If they are frozen over that much you would not get your door open anyways.
I don’t think that’s what they are. It’s only seen on the passenger side of both the ATS-V and CTS-V. It could just be the access panel for a screw-in tow hook.
You’re looking at the wrong spot. On the passenger side, there is indeed a cover for the tow hook. Look a bit higher and you’ll see what we’re talking about it, right between the headlight and the upper grille.
Keep in mind that it’s only on some photos.
Yep, I noticed that as soon as I submitted the post. I tried to delete it since I knew I was wrong, but apparently that didn’t work!
Seems like a pretty non story to me. As said in the article itself you can already find them on all modern Cadillacs sold in Europe and else where, they’re just never put on here. The reason you never see them here is because there is almost zero actual demand for them. The only reason the European makes have them here is because it’s probably cheaper to keep them there when exporting then to take them out.
Don’t expect them to be on the new v series here in North America either. They always show them in the original reveal photos but never actually put them on come production (go look at the original 3rd gen cts reveal photos) and this is probably confirmed by them not being in all photos here. Maybe they’ve changed and will start putting them on everything. But headlight washers in general retractable or not are the definition of check box features, no one actually cares about or ever really even uses them but they put them on anyway because everyone else has them. (or they’re required by law so they might as well make them look nice)
Do you have any actual proof that “non one actually cares about” this feature? And in the context of your comment, how many of such “check box” features do you find on luxury cars nowadays?
But besides all that, have you ever heard the term “competitive advantage”?
Headlight washers are OPTIONAL from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. They are usually part of a package (usually winter/cold weather package). That’s precisely how your build value into a package for which you charge more. And charging more is something that every automaker wants, Cadillac included.
Will Cadillac hurt itself for offering this feature? Clearly, the answer is no. In fact, they will only help Cadillac. Your negative point of view, now moot.
I’m not 100% sure.
Will they hurt themselves for offering this feature? Maybe. If you noticed, the Germans are breaking up their winter/cold weather packages, while the Koreans are packaging everything into one or two “packages”.
Traditionally, Cadillac has been in between. The reason why I’m not “100% sure” is because when Cadillac has the cold weather package for $1500, and Audi, BMW, and Mercedes sell heated seats for $500, that could hurt them. In fact, cadillac started offering heated-seats only just months ago.
Options cost money to develop, and they cost money to produce. The fewer they sell, the lower the opportunity to cover the investment and manufacturing costs for those options.
So “Will it hurt cadillac”? It can, which is why I think they’ve been finicky about it in the past. Force people to buy the entire “package” to help manage costs, and you shoot the cost up for your buyers compared to competitive products. Include it across the board, and you’ve increased your cost structure significantly. I read a few years ago about how GM worked hard to cut off pennies. At a minimum, what do you think the cost is for headlight washers? Including development, could it be $50-100 per set? more? at $75, thats an extra $12,750,000 in costs. Can they make that up by charging a premium to buyers? 12.8 Million dollars is enough to seriously hurt cadillac. So the last option would be to sell it as an add on, and thats where the big question comes in. Assume 10% of buyers would buy it, and to cover development costs, say it costs $300 each. Would they sell more cars to make it worth it? Would they be able to sell it for $600-800 to make it worth it?
Would BMW/Audi/Mercedes pay the development costs if it wasn’t mandated by law? Could that several million dollars go into something else more profitable? The choice to nix the manual transmission was largely influenced by an estimated 4% take rate. What would the take rate be on headlight washers?
I have them on both our BMW and Cadillac (2nd gen CTS). Do I like them? sure. Would I pay an extra $600-800? I’d probably prefer to spend that elsewhere!
I guess the short response is this: I’m not sure any of us have enough information to make a call either way… It could hurt Cadillac, it could help cadillac, or it could be indifferent, which is probably why cadillac is so back and forth on the topic themselves!
“At a minimum, what do you think the cost is for headlight washers? Including development, could it be $50-100 per set? more? at $75, thats an extra $12,750,000 in costs. Can they make that up by charging a premium to buyers? ”
Where are you getting these numbers from? Are you aware that GM itself doesn’t make the parts, and that whatever parts manufacturer is contracted to make them will usually have to boil the costs down to something the GM feels is workable: GM is notorious for their tepid relations with parts manufactures.
Furthermore, 12,750,000 / $75 = 170,000. 170,000 units is not something Cadillac is incapable of doing over time. That kind of development costs can be boiled away quite quickly over a few model years; even less when the parts are shared.
I would suggest that nothing in your math would “seriously hurt cadillac”, especially if by virtue of the whole brand being a range of luxury cars, that Cadillac could very well get away charging a premium to buyers.
This is not a big deal in the overall picture but the little features like this add up to a car that will offer all and more than the others.
Great cars are not just one part but a collection of well engineered ideas.
ahhaaa comedy.such light jet, the GM has already used the Stone Age, and the Cadillac.sorry that GM makes such a very old and boring things as a big surprise.well. nothing new to but interesting in a small mini full led lights 3d led lights
If I understand you correctly, then I’ll say that it’s all about a give and take across the board.
Cadillac does better chassis and lighter cars than BMW and Audi… but those two have more features. Cadillac adds the features. BMW and Audi improve at chassis. It’s a continuous circle of development and improvement.
old film headlamps washing
cadillac pleas use this system
The first gen SRX has those.
no what I’m talking about. I guess some kind of window wipers automaker wanted to lose. GM just needs to act quickly and keep an eye on small parts of the unit. GM has had all sorts of inventions, however, they are usually too late to come to them when they have already long been used by competitors. GM says in advance of their inventions, and at length, however, the sale of assets to arrive very late, and competitors are already using these things for a long time.
such as LED MATRIX.
I want that GM would be the best it would be better for all.
new inventions. prompt action. quality. small details and quality.
My 2014 SRX Performance has the washers . They do a nice job of keeping the headlight assembly clean in the winter . But for 2015 Cadillac does not offer it on the SRX anymore !? Last winter when we went the whole month of December below freezing , never had a problem with them working . I think it is the little things like this that add a bit of class to the vehicle and it can even be a safety issue . Driving at night on the freeway in winter you want your headlamps to put out all the light possible . JMO
Winter? Um, yeah, I expect these will see a lot of icy winter roads. It is the perfect car for such conditions after all.
I haven’t seen headlight washers from GM since the whole Trailblazer/Envoy/Rainier/9-7X/Bravada/Ascender ordeal! Saab’s offered this feature as well!
Late to the party here, but my 2014 CTS Premium in South Korea has headlight washers. In fact, it’s standard equipment on all CTS models in Korea.
You have to be able to read Korean, but here’s a screen cap from GM Korea’s official blog announcing the feature: