Within the next year or so, Cadillac will be launching its fourth-generation Escalade, and the SUV will be entering into a very different market than the one its predecessor first encountered in 2006. Over its history, General Motors' most expensive SUV has carved out a high-profile, highly profitable niche for itself as a larger-than-life, flamboyant style statement. But the next Escalade will dial back the chrome and the overtly conspicuous design that made it popular among attention-grabbing celebrities. Instead, General Motors' North American President, Mark Reuss, says the 2014/2015 Escalade will be "much less ostentatious" to be better in-step with the times.
At a media roundtable held earlier today at GM's downtown Detroit world headquarters, Reuss told Autoblog that Cadillac is changing its design tack with the next Escalade because there has been a "permanent mindset change about what luxury looks like." The new luxury, it follows, is more substantive and less showy, with a greater emphasis on efficiency. As a consequence, the Escalade will be "understated yet elegant," though Reuss was quick to assert that the SUV's new design "is not feminine." Indeed, spy shots of the next Escalade suggest that the truck's design will still have gobs of presence, including a massive front grille and an intimidating stance marked out by large wheels.
Reuss cautions that even though GM is targeting a more refined visual and driving experience, the Escalade will still hold appeal for current owners, with a much more upscale interior and the same high ride height that buyers have come to know and love. And as the Escalade will remain a body-on-frame truck with V8 power, it should still maintain its workhorse capabilities for those who tow regularly, despite posting sizable efficiency gains.
The Escalade will be "understated yet elegant," though Reuss was quick to assert that the SUV's new design "is not feminine."
At the same roundtable, Cadillac's new Global Vice President, Robert E. Ferguson, noted that the current Escalade has a surprisingly diverse ownership base, with clusters around both single males and mothers with young children. The next-gen Escalade will look to better leverage that spectrum of buyers, with GM hoping that its "audience will expand significantly." In order to court that broader consumer base, Reuss points out that the new Escalade also "won't be marketed the same as we did five years ago."
Of course, GM isn't looking to abandon core customers that helped make Escalade one of the industry's most recognizable nameplates. To that end, Reuss assured Autoblog that "there will continue to be a place and trim" for the model's traditional customers who were drawn to the current Escalade's splashier style.