Don Butler, Cadillac's vice president of marketing, says Cadillac will to return as the No. 1 luxury brand in the United States, some day.

"It's my goal that we're the No. 1 luxury brand in the U.S.," Butler said. "I'm not going to say when we hope to achieve that, yet, but there's no reason to aim for anything less."

Cadillac certainly has reason to think it's moving up. The all-new 2013 ATS arrives next month to directly compete with the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C300. The larger Cadillac XTS launched last month, and next year, the third generation CTS arrives and new Escalade will also roll into dealerships.

"We've gone nearly three years without new product," Butler said. "Now we're bringing in some great vehicles."

Currently, Cadillac would need to add more than 100,000 units to take the top spot from Mercedes-Benz, which sold 261,573 units in 2011. Cadillac sold 152,389 vehicles in 2011. And that's just to top Mercedes. Lexus, which lost its top spot last year, has vowed to recapture it and Audi recently said it plans on becoming the No. 1 luxury brand in the world.

Cadillac sales are currently down 18.6 percent for the year, according to Autodata Corp. though that number will likely change dramatically when the ATS hits showrooms. Luxury vehicle sales are up 12.8 percent and luxury car sales are up 16.8 percent.

Butler readily admits that Cadillac has a lot of work to do to get back on top. The brand's name used to be synonymous with luxury; it was the Cadillac of luxury brands. But it hasn't been that for decades.

"We used to be up on a pedestal," he said. "Now, we're not."


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  • 84 Comments
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      Am I the only one who doesn't like this plan? I've siad it before, I'll ay it again. Companies is pursuit of the #1 lose their enthusiast credibility. Take a look at Toyota. They got to #1 and that was no small feat, but they did that by taking the soul out of their vehicles. A slightly less extreme variation is going on over at BMW: they are softening up their cars in order to beat Lexus and MB. Pursuing the almighty dollar isn't the way to go, Cadillac. Just do what you've been doing so far with the ATS and CTS-V. Find a way to appeal to enthusiasts (and might I say, younger people as well), and at the same time, make your cars competitive with the likes of the Germans.
        Mondrell
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        "I've siad it before, I'll ay it again. Companies is pursuit of the #1 lose their enthusiast credibility." They stand to lose more than that if Toyota is any indication. Toyota (and Lexus) also cranked out some of their flimsiest, least-reliable vehicles in decades in the years leading up to becoming #1 admittedly because quality control became perceived as a hindrance to obtaining the necessary volume.
        artandcolour2010
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        They're not just talking about being #1 in sales. They are talking about becoming the "Cadillac" of prestige, as well. They want to regain their reputation for being the best luxury car out there. That is an admirable goal to set.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @artandcolour2010
          [blocked]
      Renaurd
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm waiting on the new CTS(2014?), that's where we will see the direction Cadillac is really going, they've had time to make changes, correct mistakes, and make improvements. I expect the CTS to be a spectacular automobile, really showing the world what Cadillac is capable of doing. I have always said, when American companies make a decision to be the best, they'll be the best..........I hope by that time I can buy a new CTS.
      Jake
      • 2 Years Ago
      1. Design and produce the best cars 2. Market them well 3. Operate the business efficiently without bean-counting The market share will come naturally. I share the same concern with all those below who said that aiming to be the biggest isn't the best idea.
      Teleny411
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like his attitude and admitting the obvious. But GM needs to take that approach with ALL of its vehicles. There's still too much cost cutting bargain leader badge engineering going on.
      postpast
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's amazing how many cars Caddy sold in the 80's. In 1984 Caddy sold more Fleetwood Deville's( a single model) then Mercedes sold in total last year. In the US at least.
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @postpast
        Those were completely different times. Not only was the economy better then, but a greater portion of the loyal customer base that the Cadillac and Lincoln brands had established over the previous decades, when the Big 3 dominated this market, were still alive and buying cars then. Meanwhile, the German makes were still trying to establish themselves in this market. When you consider that, and the fact that there are a lot more big players in the luxury segment today than there was 30 years ago, it's easy to understand why Cadillac sold so many more cars in the 80s.
      Dayv
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Don Butler, Cadillac's vice president of marketing, says Cadillac will to return as the No. 1 luxury brand in the United States, some day." Do you even read your articles before posting them?
      Ernie Mccracken
      • 2 Years Ago
      "next year, the new Escalade will also roll into dealerships." They haven't put out the new silverado yet. Will it be a simultaneous thing, or are they going to make it out of the old silverado? A new silverado, tahoe, yukon, suburban, avalanche, and escalade all at the same time is impossible, but they need a new version of all of them very soon.
        muspod
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ernie Mccracken
        big deal! Some chromed up pickup gas guzzler that no one needs. That thing needs to go away
          mikelee
          • 2 Years Ago
          @muspod
          Agreed. Those huge vehicles are idiotic!
      breakfastburrito
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they make a mean-looking car, sell it for $30k, make financing easy for low-income folks - then it will follow the success of the 300c. Chrysler proved that LOTS of buyers just wanted to feel a bit more gangster, and would wreck their credit to get it. The current range of Caddies are just slightly unobtainable, by the thugs who want them most.
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @breakfastburrito
        That generalization is a little dated, to say the least. There may only be one vehicle in all of Cadillac's lineup where that still applies, the Escalade. The rest of the urban crowd seems to have moved on to other brands, such as Chrysler, Dodge, and to a lesser extent, Mercedes. Older Chevy Caprices and GM G-Bodies seem to be pretty popular among those folks as well.
          HUMANMPC2000
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Chris
          Isn't it funny, but the so-call thug's around my way drive Ex Cop car's, police interceptors..!!!
      muspod
      • 2 Years Ago
      maybe # 1 US manufacturer in the US.. Tough to get there with a Cadillac'ed up Malibu. They need to come up with the're own designs on their own platforms
        Brex
        • 2 Years Ago
        @muspod
        Dude, you need to update your calendar... by about 20 years. You know not of what you speak.
        JJ
        • 2 Years Ago
        @muspod
        what are you talking about? a cadillac'ed malibu? the ats is rear wheel drive and shares nothing with the malibu
          caddy-v
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JJ
          Malibu is on the Epsilon II platform, the ATS is on an all new Alpha platform. If you were to be able to distinguish yer poop shoot from a door knob you'd know this.
          Julius
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JJ
          muspod: 1) shape does not constitute platform. And a vehicle that's primarily RWD has precious little in common with one that's solely FWD. 2) the fact that two cars share a motor is irrelevant - otherwise, the fact that VW and Audi have been sharing the same 2.0T and narrow-angle V6 motors for forever must also be a point of contention for you.
          muspod
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JJ
          i'm talking about the ATS. Malibu shape = same platform. so they twist the SAME motor and make it rwd, should be an improvement. My point is it's the same crap GM has been doing forever. Raid the chevy parts bin and put some cadillac chrome stickers and a grille on it. I wish they could make something good but it seems to never work out.
          HaterSlayer
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JJ
          He's talking about the XTS I think. He's not really accurate there either, but closer.
      MacProMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lip service is all I hear, but I would like to see them be a stronger competitor because I am American. I can't seem to forget most of the cheap interiors I have seen in GM vehicles no matter how good the new ones LOOK, let's see how well they hold up in five years time.
      - v o c t u s -
      • 2 Years Ago
      Quit posting Onion articles!
      Black Dynamite
      • 2 Years Ago
      Penn State will be eligible for a bowl game before Cadillac threatens #1 again..... BD
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