• Apr 10, 2009
Cadillac Converj Concept - Click above for a high-res gallery

Cadillac has a legitimate contender on its hands with the CTS. The luxury sedan is selling pretty well considering the down market, and it will soon be joined by wagon and coupe variants in the not too distant future. Beyond the CTS, though, Cadillac's car offerings have been less successful.

According to The Detroit Bureau, Cadillac is hoping to improve its standing by bookending the CTS with a smaller BMW 3-Series fighter and an all-new flagship. The website quotes Cadillac Marketing Chief Steve Shannon as saying that a sub-CTS is 24-30 months away. Cadillac designers are evidently working on sedan, hatchback, wagon, and convertible variants, although it is unclear what markets would receive what variants. Shannon believes the small Caddy could be the global sales leader for Cadillac, and diesel powerplants may be available at home and abroad. The question remains whether the sub-CTS would come in the form of the RWD Alpha platform GM is rumored to be working on, or a FWD platform in the mold of the Converj concept from the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.

For a while now, rumors have swirled that Cadillac would fold its slow-selling STS and long-serving DTS models into one new successor. The top-line Cadillac has always been too close in size to the CTS (which is itself larger than most of its cross-shops), and sales never really took off for either – at least outside of the livery market. GM is reportedly looking to change that with a new model that will better differentiate itself from the CTS in terms of size, price, amenities, and style. We've been hearing about a new replacement for some time, with most talk surrounding whether or not the project is on hold. Though the replacement sedan would be larger than the STS, Shannon insists that fuel economy would be a top priority considering the ever-tightening standards worldwide.

The real question for Cadillac is whether or not GM will be able to afford the new models. If the General goes into bankruptcy, nobody really knows what stands to get cut. Shannon optimistically says that GM's brand bloodletting could work in Cadillac's favor, though. With fewer brands to feed, GM's luxury division could finally get the attention it so richly deserves.

[Source: The Detroit Bureau]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      No brainer. Think about the players Caddy is attempting to target: Mercedes, BMW, Lexus (among others). The common elements among all three: small sedan (3/C/IS), mid-size sedan (5/E/GS), large flagship sedan (7/S/LS). There are also a smattering of purpose-built coupes (6/CLK), and a variety of SUVs both smaller and larger. So here is my proposed Caddy lineup (as I've blogged about here: http://tinyurl.com/cks7yl): BLS sedan/coupe, based on the Saab 9-3 platform w/ AWD, possibly the Volt platform (which could form the basis for the Converj, or maybe off of the RWD alpha platform or even a revised Kappa platform, positioned against the 3, C, IS, A4, et al; CTS would continue as evolving and be repositioned against the 5, E, GS, A6, et al; STS sedan would combine with the DTS and grow to compete against the 7, S, A8 and so on; SRX would be as introduced as the 2010 SRX; the Escalade would leave the GMT 900 platform and instead move to the Lambda platform, but unlike the others, the DI 3.6L would be a base engine, with the Platinum offering a version of the LS3, reconfigured for transverse duty (like was done with the Lucerne); the XLR would continue as a low volume halo car based on the Vette, with the 6.2L LS3 rated at 400 hp for the base, and the CTS-V motor for the XLR-V. Within this, there is ample opportunity to share platforms within GM and thus amortize the development costs, yet be distinctive enough to not poach on Buick's or Chevy's territory.

      My $.02.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Lucerne is powered by a DOHC Northstar. I think you're thinking of the LS4 LaCrosse which uses a transverse 5.3L truck V8. Taking Escalade off the GMT900 platform will ruin it and its image. The Escalade's draw is its brash Americana, which is very intrinsically tied to being on a truck platform.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think GM shouldn't have made the CTS larger in the first place. I don't think they were thinking ahead. Sure the CTS is a great car but I still don't think it has a great competitor, it's not a standard yet. It should still be 3-series sized. Therefore, the STS could be revised and updated with Cadillacs new styling, drivetrains and what not. The same with the DTS also. I hope GM isn't trying to scrap the Deville name also. Now with them making the CTS some "in-between" size. They' re kind of stuck.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The problem is the CTS has fantastic brand equity and Cadillac's customers bitched about how small it was, so as a solution, they made it bigger.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I test drove the CTS and I loved it, despite being from a domestic car company. I was willing to overlook my bad experiences with the Big 3 from the 80's and 90's.

      Until i found out that auto dimming side-view mirrors were not available at all, even with the most expensive option packages. I mean, I can get this option on a Camry, Mazda 6, Maxima, 3 series, C-class, ES350.

      this is the one feature I refuse to compromise. With cars getting brighter and brighter headlights, and as more older people use their highbeams without consideration for others, it makes a big difference, making driving much more comfortable at night.

      As i walked away from the caddy dealership, both the salesperson and I were saddened. I was almost ready to give the Big 3 another chance. Not anymore
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, this news is amazing. I drove the CTS-V a couple months ago, and I was completely blown away. Since then, my imaginary dream car has been a "Smaller Cadillac V". I can't wait to see how this progresses.
      • 5 Years Ago
      People need to get over Pontiac/Buick. They need to go away so GM can focus on strengthening core products.

      Cadillac should have three sedans. The mid-size they have is a success - the CTS. They now need a larger, flagship vehicle and a smaller, sporty entry-level model. All should be RWD or AWD, but not FWD.

      Cadillac could take the lead and offer a DI, turbo 4-cylinder RWD sedan to compete with the 3-series and IS starting just under $30k. If they could squeeze a diesel model in that returns 40mpg all the better.

      The flagship would of course have all the bells and whistles and would be priced from $50k up, including LWB and hybrid models.

      I like being an arm-chair CEO :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Boxer Fanatic,

        I like what you are suggesting GM do with their brands. Chevy should stop at a $30k loaded FWD Impala. Pontiac should sell RWD cars on decontented Cadillac platforms with the latest V6s and pushrod V8s and standard manual transmissions. There should be no sacrifice in performance and a $30k Pontiac should keep up with or even beat $50k+ cars. Buick should offer a small mix of products: Enclave, the new FWD SRX should be a Buick, the new LaCrosse, and a revived Buick Roadmaster RWD sedan. The Roadmaster would offer plush pillowy interior with a soft comfort-first ride and be powered by a powerful V6 with an optional pushrod V8. It also shouldn't be tech laden (that's for Cadillac) and should be relatively affordable.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Buick IS the core product. Learn your history.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why?

        Why would it be good to have only a choice between a bland baloney sandwich of a Chevy FWD mainstream car, or a Camaro/Corvette....

        OR

        A beluga-caviar bling-mobile lux-up, bucks-up Caddy?

        What If I want something in between? What if I would like to cross shop the imports with GM and Ford... What exactly would I cross shop from them, compared to a G37S 6-speed with RWD, or an A4 S-line? (and a FWD car is not considered... so no MKZ or MKS FWD... even their AWD is severely front-biased, and rear-slip-assist)

        G8 GT is good. when I shop next, I will consider it. But it has two big handicaps. 4000lb weight (which the CTS nearly matches, despite being a smaller car... what does that portend for a smaller-yet caddy?)
        and lack of a manual transmission without the $10K GXP upgrade, or the equally expensive CTS-manual, which are both ~$40k+, not ~$30k.

        Where would a model BELOW the CTS get priced? that same ~lower $30K price range. Right on top of Chevy, and crowding Pontiac and Buick out, again... still.

        Maybe Pontiac and Buick aren't doing as well in the US, because that sort of branding has actually HURT them so far. And maybe they should see to that, and continue to offer a diverse clientele a diversified product lineup... and let people choose.

        GM going from ~55 or so nameplates of all the same stuff repeated hasn't worked, and cutting down to 5 or 15 nameplates won't work either. they need to find good balance and quality in the middle ground, with enough diversity of product to actually appeal to people, without going overboard on the re-badges.

      • 5 Years Ago
      A new sedan flagship is long overdue.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I want to see a Cadillac boxster/TT/Z4 fighter based on a revised Kappa.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Won't Cadillac have a Lambda CUV too?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do you think they will revive the Fleetwood name for the large sedan? It is currently codenamed as the DT7.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Agreed that the STS and DTS need to be set aside for a new main luxury sedan above the CTS.

      But I am not sure about one below the CTS...

      Wouldn't that be Pontiac/Buick territory? or are they going to continue to languish those brands, and stretch Cadillac too far in the process?

      I would think that Pontiac for sporty variants, and Buick for more near-luxury variants of the "sub-CTS" model would make more sense, since Pontiac and Buick brands are supposed to be filling that part of the market segment, between Chevy and Caddy.

      Pontiac (as well as Mercury on Ford's side of things...) is in DIRE NEED of such middle-ground premium product, between the meat and potatos mainstream brand (Chevy or Ford), and the Champagne and Caviar brand (Caddy, Lincoln should be headed there...)

      These American brands should be dead-set on target to best Acura, Infiniti, the lower ends of BMW and Audi, and alternative to Saab and Volvo. (especially if Saab and Volvo are being dispatched from big-3 ownership.)

      Diluting their top-end brands at the expense of the middle brands hasn't worked so far, the top brands get diluted, and the middle brands get left out, along with all of the working professionals that those brands would attract as customers.

      I don't have the means, nor the taste for bling for a Caddy. I don't want a run-of-the-mill Chevy or Ford, especially not FWD. I would LOVE to have a nice premium Mercury or Pontiac (maybe Buick when I get a bit older... :D ) to put on my shopping list, amongst the Audi A4, Infiniti G37, and Subaru Legacy 3.6 or GT. Some might also put Acura TSX or TL on that list.

      Whether you dis-qualify some specific models in that market segment or not, isn't the point. The point is that GM and Ford don't have anything to really compete well there. G8 should, but for some reason isn't, and other than being too heavy and not offering a stick on the GT model (and not wanting to spend ten grand to get a GXP just to get one...)

      Lincoln is playing below it's station, and has been for a very long time... and crowding Mercury out. Lincoln should START with the MKS, and have some sort of town-car or continental car above that, the MKZ is too close to the Milan and Fusion. MKS is too soft to compare with the likes of G37 with the Sport Package 6MT/RWD, or a sporty 3-series or A4. That should be Mercury's primary target, as well as Pontiacs.

      And if GM is developing that car for Caddy, instead, they really should re-consider that branding.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Combining the STS and DTS into one model is the best plan. This could easily be accommodated by dropping the FWD DTS altogether, and stretching the RWD STS instead.

        The MSRP of the Pontiac G8 is $28,190 to 37,610.

        The Pontiac G8 seems to be reasonably priced, but not when compared to Buick's entries. There is too much conflict there. Pontiac should offer Turbocharged FWD and RWD autos.

        The Buick LaCrosse runs about $25,640 to 33,805
        The Buick Lucerne runs about $29,265 to 40,205.

        No Buick should be under the $30,000 threshold. Buick should be a step up from Pontiac with Supercharged engines and AWD.

        The Cadillac CTS runs about $36,560 to 40,670.
        The Cadillac STS runs about $46,485 to 68,285.
        The Cadillac DTS runs about $46,280 to 54,230.

        Clearly the STS and DTS are competing with each other, which is not only rather redundant, but a costly expense that could be greatly reduced. Furthermore, no Cadillac's should be under the $40,000 threshold, including the CTS. Cadillac should remain exclusively RWD.

        Now, as for a BLS/LaSalle 3 Series competitor, I believe than can work AFTER the rest of the line-up is intact. That includes the Converj and Provoq concepts as well. For Cadillac, IMAGE is everything. Therefore it must concentrate more so on public perception than the other GM brands. Therefore the BLS/LaSalle should be the last one to market for Cadillac. Cadillac does not want or need to be known as the "small luxury car manufacturer".
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jamie
        A loaded CTS can top $50K.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Boxer Fanatic: You said "But I am not sure about one below the CTS... Wouldn't that be Pontiac/Buick territory?" You may be confusing size with luxury. GM would benefit from a luxurious small Caddy. I think that one problem in previous decades was that nice cars mostly came in big packages. It also didn't help that people also equated small with cheap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the problem is that there just isn't any room for near anymore.

        Today entry brands already have good interiors, leather seats, and gadgets out the wazoo and they get better with every model. The space between luxury and not is shrinking making it difficult to have something in between.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The question remains whether the sub-CTS would come in the form of the RWD Alpha platform GM is rumored to be working on, or a FWD platform..."

      If they truly want to take the 3-series, FWD would equal instant fail.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agree! you cant have luxury and sporty car with FWD...
        Make it RWD or it will be as worthless as a G6...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why not make a Volt like vehicle their "flagship" product. This could be the game changer for Cadillac.
        • 5 Years Ago
        iToyli:

        Oh Hell NO!!

        BLS is to Cadillac as Compass is to Jeep.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hybrid is about perception and marketing. It isn't a game changer. It took Toyo years to turn a profit on the almighty Prius, and it still accounts for far less than the total billions that Toyo makes on giant SUVs and huge Lexus cars. This is the case for all other hybrids on the market.

        A flagship should be the one that people want to buy and will make $$$.
        • 5 Years Ago
        While a Volt-like sedan seems like a great fir for caddy, I don't think flagship status is at all realistic. The Volt and it's platform/drivetrain wasn't designed with that notion in mind. Between size and performance alone -- among other factors I'm sure -- no one would take it seriously as Cadillac's top-end model.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They already have a sub-CTS car, it's the BLS in the UK... bring that here!
        • 5 Years Ago
        They've been talking about a BTS for years. I hope they finally get around to it. I love the CTS and would really consider a smaller sibling to it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's just a shame according to GMI, the new flagship will be on a longer EPII FWD platform. I guess they felt the Cimmaron needed a bigger brother......
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