Cadillac Seeks to Reverse Slump With a New SRX and Flagship Sedan

2013-Cadillac-Elmiraj-Concept-001-medium

This year was supposed to be a sales bonanza for Cadillac (NYSE:GM). And while it hasn’t been bad, per se, Cadillac — and others — were hoping that the immense overhaul of its products would have stimulated sales more. Last year was a terrific year for the brand, but it seems that despite the arrival of the new Escalade, as well as updates to other models, the excitement has worn off, to a degree.

But executives are already moving on, and stating that 2015 will be Cadillac’s year. “[2015] is going to be a fantastic year for Cadillac,” Bloomberg quoted Dave Leone, Cadillac’s chief engineer as saying just ahead of the Pebbles Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Cadillac’s sales have fallen by about 2 percent this year, and the brand hopes to reverse the trend by introducing a new range-topping sedan (based in part on the popular Elmiraj coupe, pictured above), as well as a hefty overhaul of the SRX crossover, one of the only models in the stable that hasn’t seen a recent redesign. It’s arguably the most important too — crossover sales are setting the pace for the auto industry, and other luxury firms are betting big with their small SUV offerings. Sales of the ATS and XTS had crumbled by more than 20 percent through July, Bloomberg said.

Without an updated SRX, Cadillac risks losing ground to Lincoln’s completely new MKC, which is based on the Ford Escape crossover. At just over $33,000, the MKC is also competitively priced against the $37,000 SRX, and it also looks considerably more modern too, as the latter is still running on Cadillac’s old design language, although SRX sales have surged 16 percent possibly due to increased promotional activity.

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The new sedan will be placed above the existing XTS, and be meant to compete with the likes of the Audi A8, Mercedes S Class, and the BMW 7 Series. What will be interesting, though, is to see where the so far unnamed large sedan will fall in terms of fit-and-finish and pricing.

Cadillac’s pricing schematics have been rather interesting. The new XTS starts at a tad over $44,000 — on par with the Audi A6 and a bit less than the BMW 5 Series. The CTS, however, starts at $45,000 and change despite being a smaller car. The league that the new sedan is set to play in generally starts in the mid- to high-$70K range, and if it were on a level playing field, that implies a $30,000 pricing differential between the XTS and its next largest sibling. BMW and Audi at least have some models in between, in the form of the A7 and the 6 Series Gran Coupe.

Overall, though, Cadillac has been pushing upmarket, with the inexplicably priced $75,000 ELR and trims on the Escalade that start in excess of $90,000. A Cadillac sedan could conceivably be sold in the $70,000-$80,000 window, and it wouldn’t be completely out of place. But to justify that tag, it will need a guarantee of things first.

First, this sedan can’t be an environmental statement like the ELR is. A V8 option is a must — the 3.6 liter twin-turbo six is probably fine as standard, but in order to effectively compete with the A8 and 7 Series, GM’s gonna have to spring for the 6.2 liter out of the CTS-V or Escalade (in 556 horsepower and 420 horsepower trims, respectively; likely the latter). Lincoln is trying out the zero-V8 thing, but for a Cadillac flagship, that would not be a sound business strategy.

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