Cadillac Aims for Full Showroom With Expansion Plans | Edmunds

Cadillac Aims for Full Showroom With Expansion Plans

Just the Facts:
  • Cadillac tells Edmunds it is aiming for a "full showroom," as it has more vehicles under development than at any time in General Motors' history.
  • The brand will add two new vehicles in the next 18-30 months.
  • Cadillac wants to attract buyers of German luxury cars, but it has no intention to compete nameplate-by-nameplate with Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

CHICAGO Cadillac tells Edmunds it is aiming for a "full showroom," as it has more vehicles under development than at any time in General Motors' history.

Although Cadillac plans to expand its vehicle portfolio this decade, the luxury automaker has no intention to compete with each BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

"Just look at just how broad Mercedes and BMW are," said Robert E. Ferguson, senior vice president of Global Cadillac in an interview at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. "Their portfolio is really, really wide. We have no aspirations to get that broad."

The Cadillac brand is currently in an expansion mode.

The redesigned 2014 Cadillac CTS went on sale this past fall, followed by the 2014 Cadillac ELR coupe in December, a plug-in hybrid.

Shipments of the redesigned 2015 Escalade will start shortly.

Additionally, Cadillac offers the XTS, ATS, and the SRX crossover SUV. In all, Cadillac offers six nameplates. When studied by model, meaning coupe, wagon and high-performance V-Series derivatives, Cadillac offers 12 models for the 2014 model year.

By contrast, Mercedes-Benz offers 13 nameplates (CLA-Class, E-Class, etc.) and 65 models for the 2014 model year. This does not include the full-sized Sprinter van that is sold by many Mercedes-Benz dealers.

GM insiders and industry sources say the number of nameplates sold by Cadillac could rise to nine later this decade, still far short of Mercedes-Benz.

Ferguson would not say how many nameplates will be added this decade, but he does provide a rosy prediction: "I was taking to Ed Welburn and he said there are more Cadillacs under development than at any time in General Motors' history."

Welburn is General Motors vice president of global design.

"We want a full showroom for our consumers and our dealers," Ferguson said.

But a lineup similar in size to Mercedes-Benz is not in the plans.

"I don't think we need one," he said. "I think we can satisfy the markets that we are in by doing an excellent job with what I would call a full portfolio but not an excessive portfolio."

GM sources say that over the next 18-30 months, Cadillac will add two vehicles, bringing its nameplate total to eight, five short of Mercedes-Benz's current lineup.

The additional nameplates will include a $100,000-plus, rear-drive flagship that will take aim at the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS. Cadillac has invited owners of these high-end luxury sedans to clinics to review the Cadillac Elmiraj coupe concept. Additionally, Cadillac is trying to determine in these clinics what it would take to get these luxury car owners into a future six-figure Cadillac.

A small crossover SUV will be added that will be positioned below the SRX. Ferguson suggested that a vehicle about the size of the subcompact Buick Encore might be a good fit for Cadillac, especially for sales outside of the United States.

A third nameplate also is being studied, a crossover SUV, industry sources say. The vehicle would be positioned below the Escalade and above the SRX. The vehicle likely would be developed off the next-generation Buick Enclave vehicle platform. If that vehicle is developed, Cadillac's nameplate total would rise to nine.

Edmunds says: It is an interesting product strategy, but the fickle-minded public and unexpected trends might force Cadillac to be closer in alignment with the German brands by the end of the decade.

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