Cadillac has no reservations in telling nearly everyone that it is going directly after BMW and Mercedes-Benz, or rather their customers. That much is clear. And though the brand has been and continues to improve and expand its vehicle lineup to be on par or even better than those rivals, it still lacks in other areas of the ownership experience. One of these areas is performance accessories.
It’s pretty simple, really: a subset of luxury car buyers purchase performance parts, either during their vehicle purchase or after. Though the subset is quite small, it is important due to the fan base (and ensuing word of mouth marketing) it establishes, as well as highly profitable. And for the most part, luxury car buyers are not interested in venturing out to the aftermarket to get their hands on these goods, hence the reason for luxury automakers to offer performance accessories from the factory.
These parts are designed, engineered, tested and, for the most part, manufactured in-house. Their fit-and-finish is impeccable and with a few small exceptions, they carry a solid warranty.
Currently, Cadillac offers just a handful of performance accessories for its vehicles. On the surface, it appears to be “enough”. But we are of the opinion that it needs to offer more, especially in light of its positioning as a purveyor of sport-luxury vehicles. By comparison, BMW offers significantly more genuine performance accessories that further enhance the ownership experience of its vehicles while encouraging the BMW brand values and associated sport-luxury lifestyle.
The way we see it, Cadillac needs to make available performance accessories that empower owners to further improve the following attributes of their vehicles:
- Powertrain: engine, transmission, power delivery, such as differentials, axles, half shafts and more
- Suspension, chassis, braking
- Exterior appearance, function, performance (aerodynamics)
- Interior appearance, function, performance
Cadillac currently offers accessories in the last three categories, but only on certain vehicles and on a very limited basis. And that’s really what it comes down to: if Cadillac — currently a challenger to the German luxury car stalwarts — will ever be on par with (or better than) BMW, then it needs to be on par (or better) not only when it comes to vehicles, but when it comes to the overall ownership experience, such as accessories.
That’s especially the case given that these accessories are usually very profitable for automakers, while increasing customer retention and elevating brand cachet. Growth in customer retention is the result of accessories being directly correlated to customer satisfaction (and therefore consideration after the first purchase) while the latter is a result of the”wow factor” that takes place when other drivers see a sweet-looking Cadillac on the road.
Why So Few Accessories?
Why does Cadillac not offer a significant amount of accessories with its vehicles today? The reason is that the majority of vehicle-specific accessories are usually developed in close conjunction with the vehicle program itself. If that did not take place, as is the case for the currently-available Cadillac vehicles, then developing accessories after-the-fact becomes significantly more expensive.
And, just like the lack of Cadillac crossover models in a crossover-dominant market, it would appear that someone simply messed up in strategic product planning when it comes to accessories. Hopefully, Cadillac’s newly-installed leadership will not make this error.
The Current Situation With Cadillac Performance Accessories
As we stated, the current selection of Cadillac performance accessories is relatively slim, especially compared to what’s offered by BMW, whose accessories outline you can find below.
Currently-available Cadillac performance accessories:
- Brake upgrades
- Suede steering wheels and shifters
- Ground effects and spoilers (very limited)
- Suspension (very limited)
- Black grilles
- Interior trim
What we would like to see Cadillac offer:
- Wider choice of performance steering wheels (flat-bottom and on-center stripe)
- Performance seats (Recaro units from V vehicles)
- Performance intake and exhaust systems
- Brake upgrade options, including carbon ceramic brakes
- Exterior kits that improve aerodynamics and appearance
- Powertrain items, including axles and differentials and even bundled tuning kits by stages
- Wider choice of suspension and chassis upgrades
- Cadillac, V, and V-Sport stripes/decals
Essentially, owners of “standard” Cadillac vehicles (read: non-V and non-V-Sport) should be able purchase official Cadillac performance parts in order to turn their vehicle into a V-Series model as (realistically) possible. Cadillac parent General Motors already employs a similar strategy with Camaros and Corvettes to great success.
BMW Performance Accessories
The vastness of BMW’s performance accessories catalog puts Cadillac’s to shame. Just… look:
- Aerodynamic kits
- Front splitter
- Mirror caps
- Rear diffusers
- Rear fins
- Many of these are offered in standard and carbon fiber finishes
- Performance brake system
- M Performance brake system (higher caliber than above)
- Carbon ceramic brake system
- Cross-drilled rotors
Carbon Fiber Accessories
- Interior trim
- Door pillar accents
- Mirror caps
- Front splitter
- Rear diffuser
- Performance air intake
- Performance exhaust system
- Rear diffiser
- Exhaust pipe finishers (carbon fiber and metal finishes)
- Strut braces
- Aluminum performance strut brace
- Front suspension/strut tower brace (metal or carbon fiber)
- Performance suspension
- M Performance suspension
- Control arm
- Various performance packages that bundle performance hardware with stage tunes
- Broad wheel selection of various:
Shifters & Levers
- Carbon fiber gear selector (automatic) and shifter (manual)
- Performance shift knob and gear selector
- Short shift kit
- Shift boot
- Parking brake handle
- Parking brake boot
- With and without on-center stripe
- Door sills
- Illuminated M and BMW Performance logos
- Black grilles
- Stripes and decals
- Alcantara and Carbon Fiber interior trim
- Floor mats
- Offered with BMW Performance or BMW M logos
Share your opinion about the notion of Cadillac expanding its performance parts catalog in the comments.