Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen Confirms XTS Will Get ‘A Major Refresh’55
In a recent comment on the interwebs, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen provided a brief synopsis of future Cadillac product plans, which include a major refresh for the XTS large sedan. The news is somewhat surprising since the XTS large sedan was expected to be discontinued in the 2018-2019 timeframe, despite reports to the contrary.
We should pause for just a minute and consider whether JdN was actually referencing the XTS sedan as being earmarked for the refresh, rather than the new Cadillac XT5 crossover. After all, the nomenclature and associated spelling of both models is quite similar, with the the XTS reflecting Cadillac’s outgoing naming structure, and the XT5 (X-T-five) being representative of Cadillac’s new nomenclature. So for the sake of sanity, let’s assume that the XTS is indeed the one getting the refresh, not the XT5 CUV.
Mr. de Nysschen states that the programs referenced in his comment, including the XTS refresh, “are secure and development work is well underway, with very substantial costs already committed.”
As such, it would appear that the XTS will stick around for a while longer than the 2018-2019 end-of-life time frame initially earmarked for the model. Exactly how much longer, when the refreshed vehicle will arrive, and what updates will contain, however, are unknown at this point.
The XTS was introduced in 2012 for the 2013 model year and is underpinned by a stretched, premium variant of GM’s front-drive Epsilon II platform internally referred known as Super Epsilon. The architecture is shared with the second-generation Buick LaCrosse and tenth-generation Chevrolet Impala.
Have thoughts on the move to refresh the XTS and keep it around longer? Then share them in the comments just below.
Further Cadillac XTS Information
- Cadillac news
- Cadillac sales numbers
- Cadillac XTS sales numbers
- Future Cadillac products
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
The recently updated styling changes has caught my attention and I’ve been considering the purchase of a new Cadillac for past year or so. Recently rented an XTS for a week (2nd time) and again found it to be a pleasure to drive…even above 100 mph this time. I enjoyed it so much that I later signed up and attended a recent Cadillac Dare to Compare drivers event in Arlington, TX. Had the opportunity to ride in and/or drive multiple models. Thought I would enjoy the ATS-V the most, but found that the CTS and CT6 really caught my attention the most. The XT5 would be awesome for my wife who is fond of SUVs and I my opinion may be different if I had the opportunity to drive a CTS-V. Nevertheless, I’ve been a Corvette/Buick/Chevrolet fan for decades…but Cadillac has really begun to sway me to purchase something different. Who knows, with the XTS’ price-point maybe it could be a different variation on ‘mid-life crisis’ 🙂
Wow the link to Cadillacs past is selling more than sufficient quantities to contribute to the bottom line.
Undoubtedly all the existing investments have been “paid for” and even though it didn’t fit into managements plans, it definitely appeals to the old Cadillac base! Shouldn’t require much to update either!
My dad loves his XTS. He’s 86. He tried so many other brands and hates them because they are too small with tiny trunks. Even the CT6 has a tiny trunk compared to the XTS. He’s gone to dealers everywhere, and finally said he’s going to buy a new XTS right before they discontinue it and try to make it last forever.
As much as us enthusiasts LOVE 35 year old’s power and performance, we forget that more than 16 percent of the country is over the age of 62, and a lot of these people have money to spend. thats more than 50 million people.
No one caters to them any more. So while Cadillac is smart in working on bringing on board the younger buyers, if you have a cash-cow, high margin boat that appeals to 75 year olds (Who may still have 2-3 more purchases left in them), why would you kill it? It doesn’t make sense.
Its all around a good car, and the only “car” that still feels like a “cadillac”.
Thrilled to hear the XTS is getting a refresh rather than being discontinued. My ’13 XTS Platinum is a pleasure to drive, especially on the many road trips I take. There’s a market for a smooth ride and big trunk with luxury inside and out. How about a convertible XTS model? Those big Continental rag tops were fabulous! ?
Cadillac cars are still soft.
no V8 engine.
soft and boring styling.
most of Caddys are sedans and not
most Caddys are FWD and the XTS is going to continue.
Most Caddys are FWD?? All Caddy sedans are RWD except the XTS.
this is an odd statement.
“Cadillac cars are still soft”- Unfortunately my CTS was very firm, but “Soft” is what most people loved about Cadillac, so I believe that is still a compliment?
“No V8 engine” – once again, is this a positive or negative sentiment? Cadillac has pretty solid engines, and a V8 doesn’t make much sense anymore. It barely make sense even in cars like the Corvette, so once again I believe this is a compliment?
“Soft and boring styling”- these seem contradictory, and also odd. As far as boring styling, they are the least boring in the segment, so I don’t know what that means.
“Most of caddys are sedans and not enough SUVs” – Not sure about that. GMC is the Cadillac of SUVs, so any SUV cadillac launches needs to be small and car-based. true SUVs fit better under the GMC brand.
“Most Caddys are FWD and the XTS is going to continue” – The XTS is the last FWD left, and many sold are AWD. I hope the XTS does continue.
So in short, 75% of what you said is in support of cadillac and 25% is confusing so I’m a little off on what you were getting at.
It’s best not to even engage rye… he has proven time and time again that he is significantly out of touch with the automotive industry at large, and blatantly out of touch with Cadillac, be it the brand’s design, product lineup or custom base.
“Cadillac cars are still soft.
no V8 engine.”
Shut up. You know nothing.
Dude please at least take 5 mins to get your facts right before you post. Outside the XTS name one other FWD Cadillac Sedan. I’ll wait.
I really think this is a move to give GM the Volume they want and still build the cars they need.
Most of these cars are sold to livery and service industry as this is where most of them are going.
With the tooling paid and the the fleet sales will affect the owners resale little as most of them are owned by fleets.
There are many positives here but the one negative is they will add nothing to Cadillac image much like the Town Car did nothing for the Lincoln image.
Most of them are NOT being sold to livery and service industries.
There probably is more opportunity for fleet sales — taxis and livery service type vehicles …. some of those airport limo Lincoln Town Cars are getting long in the tooth.
You remove the Service Car and Fleet sales this model would drop from a top seller to below the CTS an ATS.
Also China sales are in play here too. This car is more popular in China.
As for here it is a rare sight in my area and if it is the owner is north of 70.
the real issue is Oshawa. #1 if they chose to close the plant where will they move this car. Second the platform is old and I expect the Impala to be replaced with a new model in the next couple years what happens here.
There is more we need to learn before we sell our souls on this car. Much more is in play than it just being popular with private American buyers.
The growth of the Service car and Livery here is prime as there are so few other cheap choices. Also the FWD makes limo and hearse conversions cheaper and easier.
I don’t think so, here in Maryland around Fort Meade I bet there are about 30 of them. Plus right before all that talk about them being discontinued they were selling all twice as fast as the CTS an almost even with the ATS. I traded my 2013 XTS for a Equus Ultimate, I got tried seeing one every time I went or out the gate.
I seriously doubt that that XTS and XT5 were being confused – after all, it’s not like the “S” and the “5” on the keyboard are close to one another.
Very smart move on Cadillac’s part to do a major refresh on the XTS. It still sells well and there is a market for a large, luxurious, smooth riding vehicle, that has been a Cadillac hallmark for years. And especially in light of the new Lincoln Continental. The Continental is not competing with the CT6. It is FWD, with AWD available, just like the XTS. It is also priced to compete directly with the XTS. Why should Cadillac give up this market, in which they are pretty much the experts at? A major update will put them ahead of the Continental.
With “development work well underway”, I’m curious as to the timetable of the updated XTS. Could it be as soon as the 2018 model year? Or 2019?
The only purpose this XTS refreshing has to serve is to provide a strong fleet vehicle option. Otherwise it makes no sense to offer the full-size CT6 and the large FWD XTS on the market at the same time! I suppose it is quite a successful car, since Cadillac is willing to keep it on the market, but I still stand by my assertion that the XTS does not belong in the Cadillac lineup! The Buick LaCrosse, and, to a lesser extent, the Chevy Impala have the large, FWD premium sedans from GM covered!
If you check out the sales stats, the XTS is outselling even the Escalade. This is a real cash cow (no pun intended…no, really) for Cadillac in the large scheme of things. This car is a perfect replacement for those DeVille/DTS lovers (read mature Cadillac owners and buyers). This is also a good financial move for Cadillac IMHO. After spending some time behind the wheel, I find it a comfortable car to drive with a nice interior. Those that are used to the FWD architecture will tend to stay there. It will be interesting to see what Cadillac will do with it. With the HyPer Strut setup from Buick, torque steer is minimal. The V-Sport is a muscular option for this platform. I see this continuing to bring dollars and success to the Shield brand (although I miss the Crest)….
Obviously most are not paying attention to the sales performance of the XTS in China. Sales are at 18,500 units thru July making the XTS the top selling Cadillac sedan there. #2 is the ATS-L at about 16,750 units. Many assumed once the CT6 was launched in China that the XTS would no longer be needed? Not the case at all. So far the CT6 is selling at about 400 units per month in China, while the XTS is at about 2500/mo. If anything the XTS is getting stronger? If you combine US and China sales (thru July), the XTS is Cadillac’s #1 selling sedan, edging out the ATS/ATS-L by a few hundred units.
Are they going to move it to new platform of 3rd gen LaCrosse with extended (with respect to the 2nd gen LaCrosse) wheelbase? I guess, no technical info on this yet?
Everyone is saying the XTS refresh is for fleet sales. Do you think Cadillac would do a MAJOR refresh just for fleet? I highly doubt that. I have always had a eye for the XTS myself and still might get one next year. The car is selling good enough and as much as Cadillac and its terrible millennial marketing team hate it, its keeping Cadillac sales going even if its small amounts. And we all know Barra and the Board can overturn Uwe and JDN.
The more interesting thing to see is what will the XTS name turn to,, CT5 maybe. I can’t see XTS name staying around to keep confusion between it and the XT5. And I think we all can figure CTS will become CT4. I also think GM looked at the Continental and figured with no XTS they would lose a decent amount of sales to it. Most XTS buyers will look at that before the smaller CTS or the more expensive CT6.
The naming represents an opportunity. Cadillac has said — at least at one point — that the Escalade name is staying. Maybe the XTS is renamed Fleetwood to attract traditional buyers and there is a dual marketing strategy
Probably a CT7 or CT? with FWD with AWD option powered with the 2.0, 3.6 LGX and the new 4.0 V8. This car should use the new E2xx platform and as the XTS could be sold as limousine.
Well, a V-8 will never grace an Epsilon vehicle. That 3.6L V-6 LF3 Twin-Turbo is already pushing the weight (balance) and space limitations of the architecture to limits initially not planned.
Also, this will be a refresh… meaning that it will stay on Super Epsilon (Epsilon II). Going to E2XX would count as an overhaul (redesign and re-engineering).
Alex, can you see GM keeping Epslion around just for the XTS? We don’t even know if the Impala will stay around. I personally think it makes more sense that the new XTS share its platform with the new Lacrosse. As then it will be more updated with a much more advanced platform.
Yup, I fully expect the XTS to remain on Epsilon and not switch platforms. Everything for the car is already in place, amortized and paid for, including:
– Development and design
– Supplier structure, agreements, throughput
At this point, I expect that the car is becoming increasingly more profitable quarter after quarter, and the refresh will only add a minor one-time “sunk” investment in development, tooling, and potential set-up in supply chain/logistics. By comparison, moving it to a new platform would mean developing an all-new vehicle and thus representing a multi-million-dollar investment.
It just doesn’t make sense to do that when the XTS’ variant of Epsilon II is the best version of Epsilon there ever has been. And while the new E2 architecture is better, it’s not light ages ahead… more like an iterative improvement in weight, electronics, and platformization flexibility.
The important thing to note here is that Cadillac doesn’t believe that the XTS factors into its future. Yes, it’s keeping it around to appease a subset of customers and keep sales volume… but it does not make sense to develop an all-new version of it (a vehicle that doesn’t factor into the brand’s long-term future), especially when a lot can be accomplished in a “heavy” refresh for much less.
So, I think that we will see the XTS being “milked” with a major refresh and other model year updates/changes for years to come. If they can update the design to make the car (especially the front end) more attractive and less awkward, I see no reason to switch platforms until the entire program is sunset/EOL.
Cadillac needs a FWD car in its portofolio, as there is a market for this kind of cars. Un other Hans a FWD can ne used as a limo. So, I think that Cadillac need to develope a car basée on the E2XX un the near future.
The impala will be around.
I owned an early CTS (2003) and thoroughly enjoyed it. But I live in northeastern Ohio, where snow reigns supreme much of the winter. The rear wheel drive was a challenge. I have a Corvette Grand Sport that is fun in the summer, but I prefer front wheel drive in this climate for the winter. My daily driver is an Equinox LTZ but I would consider this roomy sedan. The XTS is a good-looker and, from the reports I have read, drives very competently. It is not floaty or soft. It is tight and firm. It has a ton of back seat legroom and a huge trunk. The interior styling is excellent and the 3.6 performs well in this car. Really, what’s not to like?
Rich, just throw a solid set of winter tires on that CTS and you’ll be good to go in that snow. Living in Denver, I swap the 19-inch Cadillac accessory wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sports for the stock 18-inch wheels wearing Bridgestone Blizzaks every October on my ATS 2.0T RWD. Of course, the tires don’t give you the same grip as an AWD car off the line, but they do help significantly in starting and stopping.
Alex – the CTs is long gone, but later I had a Pontiac G8 GT with the big V8 and RWD and it actually made it through 3 winters (it was a lease) on all-season tires. The traction on that car was much better than the CTS. I enjoy my Corvette in the summers but we average about 100+ inches of snow in the Lake Erie snowbelt and I just find FWD a simpler solution than buying, swapping and storing extra tires and wheels. There’s not much performance driving opportunity around here about half the year.
Rich, I’m in N. E. Ohio too. This past winter was mild but my 16 CTS AWD is not a winter car. It goes in snow. Getting to stop is tricky. My last Cadillac was FWD and nature never served up a winter it didn’t roll right through safely. Miss that car!
I hope Cadillac is not silly enough to kill a good seller because of some silly image nonsense. There is a market for real Cadillacs. If Cad does not serve that market someone else will.
In my opinion I think this is a smart move. Especially if they pull off the refresh right. There is a reason why Lexus has not cancelled the ES. There is still a market for luxury cars that completely focus on luxury and not so much sport. I love the CTS myself however in reality I would probably prefer the ride of the XTS especially living with the God awful streets of Houston. To me there was nothing ever wrong with the XTS. It effectively replaced the DTS which in its self sold well during it’s life time. So I am excited to see what they are going to do next.
I’m so tired of the NASCAR-wannabe drivers trying to kill off any cars with FWD and a nice comfortable ride. Not everyone is a hyper-aggressive driver that insists on cars that excel at jackrabbit starts and hairpin turns at 75 MPH. Not everyone wants a hard-riding feel-every-pebble-in-the-road “enthusiasts” car where you feel “connected” and “excited”, including with your low-profile, high-maintenance, hard-riding tires. Not everyone is willing to be stuck in the snow for the sake of supposedly “superior” RWD.
The Deville and DTS (virtually the same car) were awesome cars. Comfortable, roomy, well-cushioned rides at a fair price, with plenty of luxury in the leather seats and Bose sound system. And you didn’t get stuck in the snow. The XTS is the successor car, not quite as nice a ride as the DTS but close. Yet the NASCAR-wannabe crowd wants to kill it, simply for the sake of making Cadillac exclusively a hard-riding RWD sedan maker? Despite the high profits made from the XTS/DTS/Deville in the past, and the potential for much more as aging baby boomers realize that a nice cushy ride is great if you’ve got back/neck issues, etc.?
This has really gotten too silly; the “Cadillac ride” was built on cars like the DTS and XTS, not the Euro-wannabes that get stuck in the snow. But for those who do want a hard-riding RWD sedan, there are plenty of other offerings from Cadillac that suit this mentality. Leave at least one traditional “Cadillac ride” car within the Cadillac line-up, don’t kill the XTS!
Drew — I’d like to address a few items, if I may:
As you seem to understand from your comment, RWD is a superior layout when it comes to handling performance. But it’s not about “hyper aggressive” driving, “jackrabbit starts”, or “hairpin turns at 75 MPH”. It’s about raising the “fun level” in the overall driving experience to a level expected by most luxury car buyers from today’s luxury cars. Sure, very few take their cars to the track or will push their Cadillacs to the limits… but the majority of these people will appreciate the benefits that a properly-balanced RWD chassis enables on a daily driving basis, like turning, accelerating and turning, braking, etc. The point is that you don’t need to push a properly-balanced and well-engineered car to its limits to enjoy it on the daily in a safe manner. That’s why BMW became so popular… because the cars are simply “fun” to drive on the daily, not because all BMW owners take their BMWs to Laguna Seca or the Nurburgring.
Now, are you concerned about snow performance with a RWD car? Quite valid. There are options. Either get a set of snow tires or get the AWD version of the same car. An AWD version of a car that starts life in RWD delivers a much better daily driving experience (“fun” described above) than a car that is only FWD, or one that starts life in FWD and then gets AWD added. To wit, each RWD Cadillac in production today offers an AWD version.
Lastly: RWD does not automatically mean hash, hard or sporty driving experience. It’s all about how the car is configured, and so much of it is in the wheel/tire combination, as well as the suspension setup. Let’s remember that arguably the “softest-riding” modern car ever is the Lincoln Town Car… and it was exclusively RWD.
As I have mentioned in an earlier comment: equip the new CT6 with a set of 17-inch wheels wrapped in a soft, high-profile (high sidewall) tire, and it will drive as “soft” as the XTS.
Alex, thanks for your thorough response to my post. First off, I was not making the case that RWD cars are necessarily hard-riding, what I meant was that Cadillac (other than the XTS) is apparently trying to establish a brand that is both RWD and hard-riding. I should have put a comma after “hard-riding”, so that it read “for those who do want a hard-riding, RWD sedan…”. Is that more clear? Of course the Cadillacs of old were RWD but softer riding, until 1980’s when FWD became big in the USA. And yes the soft riding RWD Lincoln Town Car (of the past) also, to your point. Again, my mistake not to put a comma in place there. Two different things are being pushed on Cadillac buyers, if the XTS is dropped, RWD AND a hard ride.
Now when you talk about a “fun level” for a RWD car, you sound like an auto writer, not a typical consumer. Only professional car writers and a small band of so-called “enthusiasts” use words like “fun” and “engaging” to describe driving a car, and those absolutely ARE the people who are wannabe NASCAR drivers. But the average person who wants to get from point A to point B in comfort, safety, and style is not about “having fun” by immaturely changing lanes, dodging in and out of traffic, trying to “run down” others like overgrown boys with their latest set of Hot Wheels.
Furthermore, I would maintain that it’s a lot more “fun” to travel in the traditional Cadillac “magic carpet ride” or “riding on a cloud” (i.e. DTS most recently, or XTS to a lesser extent), than in the bump-impacting, back-breaking hard ride of Euro-feel cars. You have your definition of “fun”, I have mine, but don’t assume that your definition of “fun” is universal. It is not. Furthermore, when will Cadillac offer a convertible again? That’s another level of “fun”, not generally a big seller, but still a nice product for a brand pushing “fun”, as well as a big part of Cadillac history. When I hear the Tom Petty song “The Same Old You”, I think of a ’62 Cadillac convertible (DeVille or Eldorado, take your pick), not a sedan. So let’s have some “fun” out there that everyone can enjoy, not just the jackrabbit jackasses.
As to your point about someone buying a full-size CT6 and giving it high profile tires (with smaller diameter wheels), who is going to do that? Again your “car enthusiast” side is showing. Changing the wheels may be 100% possible (not sure because the brakes might be too big for the smaller wheels), but very few people are going to bother to buy a CT6 with the vision of going to a smaller diameter wheel size with higher profile tires. They are just going to test drive it and not like the ride, therefore no sale. Plus if someone changes the wheel size, what does that do to the resale value? Sure someone could plan to own it for life, but Cadillac is absolutely not meeting the market if they drop the XTS – but then assume they have it covered, because someone could always customize it with after-market wheels, and put snow tires on it every winter. Yeah that makes a lot of sense for a market that is largely for 60+ aged people (sarcasm).
As I’ve said, there are various types of drivers and various definitions of “fun” driving. You insist that driving a RWD car is “fun”, I say that 75% of the public has no idea whether they are driving a FWD or RWD car UNTIL they encounter snow, wet leaves (and yes I have done an unintentional 180 on merely wet leaves in a RWD car), then the DO know when they lose traction. You say that the option of AWD has this covered. I say no it does not – for one thing AWD does make the ride harsher than either FWD or RWD, for another AWD adds several hundred pounds to the car, reducing the net power (which is why sometimes going to AWD forces an engine upgrade, but other times this is not an option). Furthermore, AWD raises costs – not only the additional cost of AWD, but also tire replacement as generally all 4 wheels must be replaced when there is a bad tire in an AWD configuration.
“… but the majority of these people will appreciate the benefits that a properly-balanced RWD chassis enables on a daily driving basis…”. WRONG, I completely disagree. While there’s no way of knowing exactly what is in the heads of drivers, I seriously doubt that “the majority of people” have any clue whether they are driving a FWD or RWD car (except as mentioned, on slippery surfaces). They want to get from here to there. At least that’s my un-scientific feeling based on my experiences with others, both men and women; and you don’t have any better stats on this than I have. Again my main point being, why kill the XTS, why kill FWD and a cushy ride? Cadillac already has 3 other sedans that fit YOUR profile; do they really need to kill the one that fits mine, that also built the brand in the first place?
well said. Cadillac should keep at least one car that goes back to their roots of “couch cars”.
I could NOT agree more. Cadillac USED to be the standard of excellence in defining luxury, but at some point the concept of “luxury” began to be defined as “Autobahn ready with minimal power steering boost and a rock hard ride”. I remember being so impressed in the 70’s when my grandfather would spin the steering wheel of his Fleetwood several times around with one sharp flick of his finger. I grew up wanting that and the soft cloud like ride and now that I can afford it, they don’t make it.
I’m ok with some luxury models being performance oriented, but can’t we agree that luxury brands should predominantly sell LUXURY CARS…?
I don’t know what the roads are like in Germany near the Autobahn, but on my 50 mile daily commute to work and back in Michigan we have pot holes, wide expansion joints, and uneven pavement. Who are these people who desire to feel EVERY imperfection in the road every day?
Let BMW and Audi have THEIR version of luxury. Those cars may be fast, have tight suspension systems, low profile tires and what feels like manual power steering, but they are NOT luxury.
I hope that the refresh will involve lengthening the front a bit. Overall the car is oddly proportioned. The back has a long elegant almost fastback look which carries well through thr front doors, but the front just looks stubby. If they can pull off a front end restyle as effectively as Buick did with the LaCrosse for ’17, the car will sell even better.
I lowered the rest of my XTS VSport so now it looks like a long S-class.
What bugs me about Cadillac is that they don’t respect their own history now, and they don’t really know what the brand is about. Instead of being the best American car brand, they are trying to be a somewhat cut-rate German brand. Despite the car critic so-called “driving enthusiasts” who prefer a harsh “connected” European style ride to the traditional American one, a lot of people have always preferred the aims of American cars – which has meant a roomy interior, powerful engine, and a well-cushioned ride.
When people started turning away from American cars for Japanese imports, it wasn’t because they preferred cars with smaller dimensions, underpowered motors, and slightly harder rides – it was because they preferred the reliability of those cars. At the same time, European cars became popular to a smaller segment, as car writers sold the public on the “benefits” of a “feel the road” experience, which I’ve frankly never understood. Cars designed for the speeds and smoothness of the Autobahn never made sense in the USA, but many people were sold on the appearance and status symbol value of these cars – and still are. That’s fine, but if it takes a European badge to deliver status for some people, then an American car will never make it for those folks. And that’s fine, because it’s a small segment of the public anyway.
What GM should be doing, instead of trying to make Cadillac into a Euro-wannabe, is to embrace it’s American roots and fit into a segment that is not fulfilled by hard-riding “sports sedans” of the German variety. I thought it was a mistake to bring in a German as chief marketing officer (Uwe Ellinghaus) for Cadillac, nothing against Germans but how can a German (especially one in his mid 40’s) understand Cadillac as an American brand? Frankly Cadillac went the wrong way as far as the DTS to XTS, because the DTS had that beautiful “riding on a cloud” feeling (and the DeVille even more so), and the XTS has harshened that a bit. Stylingwise, the DTS was outdated, though I actually liked that it had somewhat of a throwback look to the old Eldorado (which was once considered “edgy” when introduced). There’s no reason however that Cadillac can’t have a modern looking sedan that is also FWD and has the cushy traditional Cadillac ride, or at least was considering completely abandoning that segment when thinking about dropping the XTS.
Bottom line, Cadillac does a poor job of marketing itself, and doesn’t know what to be, doesn’t know it’s own history. When did Cadillac ever advertise the DTS or XTS? It’s as if they were embarrassed to have those models, and only kept them so that they could make money in order to justify the cars they REALLY wanted to make, the hard-riding RWD Euro-wannabes. Why didn’t they ever have a clue that their best-selling, most profitable models that did so well even without advertising, could do even better with some modern styling and proper advertising – embracing the AMERICAN and traditional CADILLAC aspect of a nice comfortable ride, instead of trying to say the “our cars are almost as good as the European ones, but cheaper”. Why not OWN a large segment, instead of being second-rate in a smaller one? Especially when a lot of retiring baby boomers would appreciate a nice cushy ride for their aging bones. And believe it or not, a lot of young people like a nice roomy, cushy ride too.
By the way, Cadillac had a great tv commercial in 2007 called “Roll” (with a song sung by Iggy Pop, backed by the Teddy Bears) which seemed to show that Cadillac understood and appreciated it’s own history. Too bad they actually don’t.
Drew, there is a defining reality that you are not considering. The most crucial element that needs to be understood is that the overall size of the market (people/buyers) looking for the “traditional Cadillac experience” of soft-riding luxury barges has been diminishing over the last 20 years to a very small market subset.
That segment has now diminished to the volume represented by the Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln MKS/Continental, Cadillac XTS, Buick LaCrosse, and Lexus ES. If Lincoln could get the MKZ and MKS away from that experience, it would in a heart beat… but it can’t since it doesn’t have any “sporty” platforms on which to base such vehicles on, hence you get such cars as the MKZ 3.0L TT. Heck, even the LaCrosse, XTS, Lexus ES, and MKS are pushing the limits of a front-drive platform in order to provide a driving experience that is sporty and not as “soft” as could otherwise be.
Not only has the market for “soft luxury” vehicles been diminishing, it is continuing to diminish until it simply won’t make sense to serve any longer… much like “ute” style car-based pickup trucks (Chevy El Camino).
All in all, this is not about history or heritage… or understanding it. It’s about reality, which is that the luxury car market has shifted from floaty barges that Cadillac, Lincoln and Buick were known for decades ago to sporty, engaging, athletic cars heralded by the likes of BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz… even Lexus and Jaguar. That’s where the overwhelming majority of luxury sales volume exists right now. What Cadillac is doing is responding to that colossal market shift by providing cars today’s luxury car buyers actually buy en masse.
In fact, I would argue that Cadillac understands its history and heritage so well, that it knows that if it doesn’t change and adapt, it will die… much like Lincoln is dying (or perhaps withering) right now and much like Oldsmobile did 20 years ago. And knowing its heritage well while making a market shift means keeping cars like the XTS around to appease the “transitioning set”, those who fail to accept the modern realities of today by wanting the car they bought in the 60s and 70s, in a modern package. That’s what the XTS is… and in that regard it serves its function very well.
Personally, I would say that Cadillac is actually responding to the market shift I describe extremely well given how big of a change this really is: it is entering segments where it traditionally has never been part of the conversation or on buyers’ shopping lists. And in some cases, it’s winning against segment stalwarts like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. To do that is no small feat.
So, Cadillac is not about “being as good as European cars buy cheaper”. It’s also not about disrespecting its heritage or not being in touch with its history. Instead, it’s about keeping up with the market, changing and adapting to it. And then winning. But currently, what we see is a brand in the midst of a huge transition, the likes of which are not easy to make, but which Cadillac is pulling off quite successfully.
If Cadillac continues down the product-focused path it is currently on with the likes of the ATS, CTS, CT6, etc, I have no doubt that in 20 years’ time, it will have established itself as the new leader in the automotive luxury space. By that time, perhaps Lincoln will be gone… and the Lexus ES will be too… as will the entire “soft luxury” segment that those brands and vehicles currently represent.
I would also challenge the notion that the ride of the new CT6 is in any way inferior to that of the XTS. If you want a soft ride that the XTS provides, equip the CT6 with smaller wheels and large-sidewall rating tires with soft rubber. Then set Magnetic Ride Control to touring/comfort… and what you have is a car that soaks up road imperfections very well, while also being capable of cornering in a manner that can be described as “halfway decent”. Better than the XTS? You bet.
Alex agree with 99% of your post but will take issue it is “winning” against the segment stalwarts–sure not happening with any regularity from a sales perspective.
And I should clarify my statements about winning: I was saying that the goal is to win. But even so, the fact that the new breed of Cadillac vehicles are winning some notable comparison-style shootouts against the Germans and Lexus is quite impressive, and could be characterized as winning.
That said, Cadillac is certainly not winning the sales race. Outside of product-related issues (there are some but they are not huge/to the extent that they were 15 years ago), I believe that the reason for this is the brand’s image and perception, which lacks “reality” in the eyes of most consumers. A couple of decades of solid product substance should cure that. In that, Cadillac is most definitely a long-term investment.
Alex, you talk about “changing tastes” as if human beings are different today than they were 20, 40, 60 years ago etc. Now obviously people do expect a car to be more reliable than in the past, with more technology, and more of what is considered modern style. But I don’t believe that people have changed in their appreciation of a nice cushy ride vs. a hard jittery one, or that there is a huge increase in those who put a premium on jackrabbit, NASCAR-like moves at the expense of a nice ride. After all, SUVs are a huge part of the market now, and you can’t push them into corners like a Corvette or you’ll roll them. So clearly not everyone is a NASCAR-wannabe, even if you are.
What’s happened is that the professional auto writers have forced their personal taste onto the public, to the point where the public merely accepts these views as gospel rather than making up their own minds. The car reviewers call cars with a cushy ride “boring”, “numb”, “unengaging” and the public buys into this thinking without another thought. It’s the same with today’s low-profile tires, the car writers claim these “look cooler” than high profile tires – what they won’t tell you is that your tires will cost more, your ride will be harsher, and your maintenance costs will be higher as low-profile tires stress your suspension more. Yet the public today doesn’t even have a choice – move up in trim levels on most models, and you get bigger diameter wheels, lower profile tires, and a harsher ride with each bump up in trim. Does the guy who can afford and is willing to pay for leather seats and premium audio, really want his car to corner better than the guy with the cloth seats and cheap stereo – at the expense of a harder ride? Not in my case; to me more luxury means a better ride, not a worse one.
But you are right that even modern Lincolns and Buicks and the XTS vs DTS has firmed up the ride recently. Why? To appeal to the auto writers, who will dock them points for a “boring” ride if they sacrifice jackrabbit maneuvering ability for a more supple ride. So Joe Q Public just looks at the overall rating, without understanding the inherent bias of the reviewer. Hence the move to harder and harder riding cars, with lower and lower profile tires (and maybe the dealers like all those extra trips to fix the suspensions caused by those “cool” low-profile tires). Personally I think the high-profile tires look plenty cool, in addition to offering a more comfortable ride with lower maintenance costs. Look at the F1 and Indy 500 cars, what do you see? Big fat high profile tires – would those finicky auto writers tell me those cars aren’t cool?
The BIG PROBLEM with Cadillac is that they are becoming followers, rather than creating the demand for their own brand. They are letting the Germans and the auto writers dictate the market, rather than appreciating their own history and actually trying to SELL the public on their own unique feature history. When was the last time Cadillac actually advertised the benefits of their soft-riding classic cars (i.e. most recently embodied in the DeVille, DTS, and XTS? When do they advertise those cars at all? They just assume that the only people who would ever buy those are at least 75 years old (and dying off), and apparently don’t watch tv. There’s no reason a 35 year old wouldn’t love the “classic Cadillac ride” if they experienced it. I can’t tell you how many people have ridden in my DTS and told me how much they loved the ride, and more specifically that they didn’t even know that such a great ride was possible. Well sure they don’t know about it, because no one tells them, especially not Cadillac itself. That’s a big mistake IMO.
As Cadillac GMO Uwe Ellinghaus has said, Cadillac should not be trying to “out-German the Germans”. It should embrace being an American car company, and at least offer ONE car with a traditional American, Cadillac ride. And a convertible, but that’s another matter, as stated above. Cadillac sales are DECLINING and that’s the fault of the strategists and marketers, who don’t know how to position or sell these cars. Despite what Ellinghaus has said, they are acting exactly as a Euro-wannabe, and it’s NOT WORKING. But would killing off the one model that actually resembles a classic Cadillac, and ignoring a large segment of the public, a way to make sales better? I don’t think so!
By the way, see my answer above as to why expecting a customer looking for a cushy ride would buy a CT6 and then customize it with smaller wheeled, high profiled tires – is not going to happen. It is really crazy to think that the typical car buyer is going to have the vision to buy a hard-riding car and customize it for a better ride. But I know – the “enthusiasts” think RWD is the only way to go, they think people should learn how to drive better in snow rather than give up the “fun” of RWD, etc.
It all reminds me of the people in the early days of the personal computer, the true tech-heads thought that anyone who couldn’t build their own computer from parts didn’t deserve to own or operate one. Steve Jobs stepped in and said that for every one person who was willing to build their own PC, there were 99 who just wanted to run them without any bother (and he should have said 99,999 because that’s closer to reality). Yes I realize that a high percentage of people who write on car blogs are “enthusiasts” like Alex, but that’s simply not representative of the car-buying market, IMO. Now imagine if there were 3 models of “build it yourself” PCs and one “already built” model, and the “enthusiasts” tried to kill off the one prebuilt model, because they thought it was hurting their brand. That’s the mentality of the people at Cadillac who want to kill off the XTS, instead of actually trying to sell its advantages to the public.
“But I don’t believe that people have changed in their appreciation of a nice cushy ride vs. a hard jittery one, or that there is a huge increase in those who put a premium on jackrabbit, NASCAR-like moves at the expense of a nice ride.”
If you think that an S-class has a ride that is “hard jittery”, then you have never been inside an S-class.
The S-class is more cushiony soft than even the best soft-riding Cadillac that were ever made. It is a fallacy of your own doing to think the Germans cannot make a soft riding car, preferring only to make Nurburgring track stars.
Luxury consumers simply want the best of whats coming, not a salute to the 70’s that you’re suggesting.
Graw, no I have never been in an S-class Mercedes. Good to know that they offer a great cushioned/isolated ride that’s as good or better than the plush classic “Cadillac ride” of the past. Hopefully there will always be room in the Cadillac line-up to pursue “that” ride.
My point though was that the powers that be in Cadillac seem to be pursuing the “typical” hard/sporty “feel the road” Euro-ride, even if Mercedes makes a nice plush ride with the S-class. There should be room for both types or cars, so I’m tired of the hardcore “sports ride” guys wanting to kill the last vestige of a smooth ride as represented in the XTS. Enough said about that by me.
I don’t see why Cadillac cant have both sporty European like cars and old school american cars. I wasn’t even around in the 60s/70s/80s when Cadillac was known for land yachts but I still enjoy a nice soft ride. Instead of having six or seven awkward “in between” cars and CUVs that appeal to few, Cadillac should invest in 2 or 3 old school cars to appeal to the (mostly) older customer base, 2 or 3 “European” sedans to appeal to the younger generation, and a decent full on sports car for performance drivers (AMG/V-series buyers). As for the CUVs and SUVs Cadillac should keep the escalade but other than that, let GMC lead the way in the luxury CUV/SUV segment. If cadillac were to do that, then they would have a car for virtually everyone.
You re spot on. Cadillac already has the XTS. Keep it in the showroom and updated for people who desire that ride. I drove the Cads of the 60s/70s/80s/ that you missed. Great cars. Nice that you appreciate them.
It’s imperative that Cadillac build cars that the younger people buy. If they rely on my generation we will eventually not be here to support the product. Not good at all. Keep something for everyone.
I understand and appreciate a fun car. I have a RWD convertible. It’s an import and seasonal in this area. It was a blast to drive it to the shop for the spring inspection. I love it in mild weather. When the snow flies I need a real car. That’s always been Cadillac for me.
I bought the wrong car last year. The CTS caught my eye. Didn’t care for the front end on the XTS and I regret that each time I drive over a dime and know the date.
I’ll take a look at the refreshed XTS when it is in the showroom. If it looks good I’ll test drive it in winter. No more summer Cadillac test drives for me. It snows here and that will never change.
hopefully Cadillac well build a big RWD car the is roomy, powerfull and the softest riding…just like the golden years. the problem with the current RWD Caddys is that the ride is too harsh and the cabin is cramped….the length of the cars tend to go the front and the hood…since the hood takes space away from the cabin…..they should trade hood length for rear interior space in future RWD Caddys.
The XTS is a fine car. Ride is great, get compliments on cars appearance, inside is very nicely done, and CUE is improved and is a joy to use now. Cadillac could refresh with RWD, etc., but discontinuing the model would be a mistake. For a FWD the handling and ride are excellent, but most things can always be improved while keeping the price point where it’s at. They have the CT 6 for the European crowd, but the XTS is very appealing to those of us who want a quiet, smooth, efficient ride with a V-6 that has plenty of power for what the car is designed to do.
I agree. I get tons of compliments on my ’13 XTS Platinum. And every time I take it to the car wash, other customer ask to look inside, and the guys argue over who is going to do the finish work when it comes out of the wash cycle. I don’t want a sports sedan. I don’t want to feel every pebble on the road. I don’t want to sit 6 inches off the pavement. I don’t care if it doesn’t reach 60 mph in 4 secs or 10. Been there, done that. And that’s not what the XTS was designed for. The auto writers might call it boring, but they need to understand the majority of big sedan customers want a luxurious, elegant, spacious, car that uses regular gas and gets decent mileage. I miss the traditional Cadillac crest, which was more more elegant than the sportier new logo. Why not keep the older badging for the XTS as a way to distinguish it from its sports models? And lose the bulky front end. Go back to the front end on the ’13s, keep the roofline, and offer more color choices for the interior with all the new tech updates. Rear seats with heating, ventilation, massage and reclining function would be great a la Jaguar XJL. Just sayin’ ….
I have had a 2016 XTS and now a 2017 XTS. A 2018 XTS is on order. I used to drive Lincoln LS (2), Lincoln Town Car (1) and MKS (4). Before that it was Olds Toronado (2), Buick Riviera (3) and Park Avenue (1) and prior to that a host of Cutlass , Grand Prix and Mustang. The XTS is better fitted and more reliable than Lincoln (though unquestionably they were great cars too). I looked at the CT6 but for $10K more it was not persuasive and it sits lower than the XTS (which means getting in and out is somewhat more convenient in XTS). The XTS doesn’t have the BMW/Mercedes/Audi aspirations which seemingly appeal to drivers younger than I. The XTS accomplishes what I want in a car; viz., “boulevard ride”, well-appointed interior, comfort, quiet and current technology (cameras, blind spot, cruise warnings, lane-keeping, self-parking, Bluetooth and Sirius XM). I believe the safety features of XTS are good as well.
Always thought it was a bit of a mishmash. Profile is nice — back half very modern, then they put the Cadillac egg crate grille on the front and it seemed to not know what it was. Current front end is much more appealing — hope the refresh improves that further — but product offering requires simplification — too many packages for such as small volume.