Edmunds - Will The Next CTS-V Save Cadillac Performance Cars?

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Cadillac Struggles To Gain Traction With V-Series Performance

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    The 2007 Cadillac CTS-V has been priced at $52,170, some $21,500 more than a conventional CTS.

    By Paul Lienert, Contributor
    Date posted: 11-28-2007

    Cadillac boss Jim Taylor is getting ready to watch his cars, the Team Cadillac CTS-Vs. We're at Road Atlanta for a round in the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT. As is often the case with the peripatetic Taylor, he's working a mobile phone and — no surprise — chatting animatedly about the V-Series production cars and their impact on the Cadillac brand.

    "Cadillac has had an enormous hill to climb in terms of perception," he says. "But the V-Series is doing its job. Our initial focus was on young males. That has mushroomed, mostly by word of mouth. Like this weekend at Road Atlanta — we're building the buzz, one track at a time."

    In fact, the buzz already has been mounting about the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V, which breaks cover in January at the Detroit auto show. The '09 V-Series CTS hits the street next fall with a supercharged version of the Corvette's LS3 6.2-liter V8 under the hood. Expect output to top 500 horsepower and torque to climb to nearly 500 pound-feet.

    Sounds great, except the Cadillac V-Series concept has been a flop so far.

    Credibility, Maybe; Volume, No

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    Fewer than 1,000 examples of the Cadillac STS-V have been sold since its introduction.

    The V-Series cars have garnered mixed reviews since Cadillac introduced the original CTS-V in 2004. The V-Series idea began with the Cadillac Northstar LMP racing sports car that went to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000 - 2002, and then found its expression in the CTS-V that entered the SCCA's Speed GT racing championship in 2004 and then won the championship in 2005-'07. Yet for every person who wanted the V-Series to be a racing car, another suggested that a luxury car in the style of a Mercedes-Benz AMG might be a better answer.

    And despite being supported by a lavish advertising and promotion budget, the cars haven't been selling, and Cadillac isn't really sure why. While the division has sold an average 230,000 vehicles a year since 2004, annual sales of the V-Series have dwindled to around 3,000 units, including fewer than 1,000 STS-Vs and fewer than 500 XLR-Vs. In comparison, the pricey BMW M5 alone outsells the entire Cadillac V-Series range.

    "To be honest, when you're only selling 3,000 cars a year out of a total volume of 200,000-plus, the actual impact is limited," says Taylor. "But I like to use the camera reference. If you want to buy a good camera, you go ask someone who's really into cameras what they'd recommend.

    "Same thing in the car business. You get into this luxury space, and a lot is done by word of mouth. People want a reference point, and the go-to guys are the enthusiasts. They cast a huge shadow on regular customers and influence their purchase decisions."

    Outgunning the Competition?

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    The Corvette-based XLR-V joined the V-Series lineup in 2006; fewer than 500 have been sold.

    What the enthusiasts have said, in print and cyberspace, is that the V-Series cars generally stack up well against the competition. The CTS-V has outgunned its German rivals, the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG, in terms of engine size, horsepower, torque, acceleration and top speed.

    On the downside, Cadillac's hot rod last year carried a suggested retail price of $52,170, well above the M3's $48,900 sticker and nearly as steep as the C55 AMG's $54,450 price tag. What may have given prospective buyers even greater pause might have been the $21,500 premium the CTS-V carried over the base '07 CTS, which listed for $30,670. The '08 STS-V and XLR-V carry similarly stiff price premiums of $24,745 and $19,100 respectively over the standard versions of these cars.

    Simply put, Cadillac has demonstrated that it doesn't have the cachet with enthusiasts to pull off that sort of price premium on its high-end models.

    Cadillac certainly hasn't achieved the success of BMW, which has had its M Division engineering high-performance parts and vehicles for three decades. The mystique of BMW M is daunting. Jack Pitney, marketing vice president at BMW North America, observes, "Great driving dynamics have always been a cornerstone of BMW. The purest expression of that is our M brand.... It's the epitome of BMW."

    But this mystique hasn't stopped General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, a former BMW executive, from tossing down the gauntlet. The redesigned '09 Cadillac CTS-V, Lutz proclaims, will not only dust the M3, it will also "put the M5 on the trailer."


    What's Next?

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    After winning the Speed GT Challenge for the third time in a row in 2007, Cadillac has withdrawn from racing to "concentrate on its core business."

    We think big questions loom regarding the future of the Cadillac STS-V and XLR-V, although Taylor says that prospective successors for one or both models are "on the radar."

    He also suggests the division could expand the V-Series sub-brand to one or more future products that will broaden Cadillac's portfolio after 2010. "A series can't be a series with only one model in it," says Taylor. "So we fully intend to extend the V-Series brand to other models. But they have to be credible and perform like a V, otherwise they won't make the team."

    Candidates for the V-Series treatment include an ultra-luxury XLS flagship sedan to square off against the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class that might be built on the same updated GM Zeta platform as the Pontiac G8. There might also be a rear-drive compact sedan based on the upcoming Alpha platform that would slot below the CTS in the Cadillac lineup.

    Meanwhile, Taylor describes the forthcoming 2009 Cadillac CTS V-Series as "a CTS on steroids [with] a power-to-weight ratio that will give it phenomenal performance. We're preparing to raise the bar significantly. It will be much more spectacular — and it should help us build even more credibility."

    Taylor also reveals that the 2009 CTS V-Series will offer a choice of six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes — a move that could double CTS-V sales from the meager 2,000-plus V-Series units that Cadillac sold in 2006.

    Can This Child Be Saved?

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    Though the V-Series is struggling, Cadillac believes there's light at the end of the tunnel.

    Given the generally positive response from enthusiasts, but only modest success on the retail side, is the V-Series concept still valid for Cadillac?

    "Look what's happened to the perception of the brand," observes Jim Hall, vice president of industry analysis for California-based consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc. "Cadillac's consideration among younger buyers is way up from just three years ago. And the median age of buyers continues to come down."

    Heritage and brand-building over the long haul are issues, too. It has taken BMW 30 years to establish its M series at the top of the performance heap. Says Hall, "The true payoff for Cadillac won't come quickly. You have to look at the potential return over maybe a decade."

    The final frontier for Cadillac may involve better communications with prospective customers.

    Says Taylor: "The original mission for the V-Series hasn't really changed. But we realize we're still only reaching a relatively small portion of the general luxury population. So part of our marketing challenge is to let more people know that we have a V-Series. We need to broaden that message beyond the alpha-male gearhead crowd."

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  2. Quagmire

    Quagmire New Member

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    Too boring of a car. Plus, the Cadillac name hasn't been known for high performance racing :o
     
  3. MrBonus

    MrBonus Et Tu, Brute?

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    BMW established themselves at the top of the performance heap with the E30 M3. The only reason the M1 didn't receive notoriety is because it was built to adhere to rules that made it obsolete for homologation by the time the car was ready for production.
     
  4. MrBonus

    MrBonus Et Tu, Brute?

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    God, Edmunds writes some stupid articles.
     
  5. Quagmire

    Quagmire New Member

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    30 years :rofl:
     
  6. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It's obvious you've never driven a CTS-V. I'd call it boring if you're daily driver was a dedicated drag or lightweight track car.
     
  7. Ricey McRicerton

    Ricey McRicerton New Member

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    I'd love to have a CTS-V, but they're too expensive for me. :hs:
     
  8. MrBonus

    MrBonus Et Tu, Brute?

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    30, 9, WHATEVER.
     
  9. Quagmire

    Quagmire New Member

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    I was more referring to the styling of them, but yeah. They're capable cars, but Cadillac hasn't been much known for that. The XLR V blows though.
     
  10. Read more...

    Read more... SPQR

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    It's the Caddy that ZIGS!
     
  11. mhrc4

    mhrc4 New Member

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    i love my CTS-V...
     
  12. MrBucket

    MrBucket OT Supporter

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    ive been in a sts-v and it was a nice car, best american car ive ever been in
     
  13. michelin man

    michelin man IDB Construction

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    love the cts-v but i like my vette better
     
  14. huge

    huge OT Supporter

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    I think GM fucked up by trying to make caddilac a high-performace company. They should have focused their efforts into one brand... Pontiac. They're trying to do it with both and they're not having very much success.
     
  15. mhrc4

    mhrc4 New Member

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    oh, and having driven an 08 CTS last week, i cannot wait for the 09 V to come out, i WILL be trading in my car
     
  16. Big country

    Big country New Member

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    I really like the XLR-V. but it is kind of a old mans car.
     
  17. frinky23

    frinky23 Bangle Sackrider

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    When it comes down to it, I just don't have any interest in a car like that.
     
  18. Ingen

    Ingen New Member

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    I really want to see nurburg times for the new CTS-V
     
  19. MrBonus

    MrBonus Et Tu, Brute?

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    I don't doubt it's a belligerently fast car. The problem is that Porsche and BMW (Who ultimately are their main competitors) built their heritage up from a small, cult following who enjoyed the synergy between their on-track heroics and the close translation of the road cars. Both manufacturers still maintain some connection between their track and road cars but it's far more separated than the RS or ///M cars of two decades ago but from the select true enthusiasts, both names were able to grow.

    Cadillac thinks they can simply build a monster, throw a special badge on it, and expect to sell cars with a bunch of impressive figures but the fact remains that the people who have $50,000+ in hand will ultimately stray to the cars that they hung on their wall as a child.

    Cadillac needs to hire me as their marketing executive.
     
  20. gimpshiznit

    gimpshiznit OT Supporter

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    :werd:

    i thought they were done with the "V" though
     
  21. gimpshiznit

    gimpshiznit OT Supporter

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    i think you'd be surprized. there are MANY ppl out there who would like to buy a Lincoln or Cadillac.
     
  22. Read more...

    Read more... SPQR

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    GM needs to start the fuck over.


    Just sell SUV's and Corvettes for a year or two, while redesigning their whole marketing/R&D/dealership/brand/pricing systems.
     
  23. MrBonus

    MrBonus Et Tu, Brute?

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    Did you even read the article?

    And despite being supported by a lavish advertising and promotion budget, the cars haven't been selling, and Cadillac isn't really sure why.annual sales of the V-Series have dwindled to around 3,000 units, including fewer than 1,000 STS-Vs and fewer than 500 XLR-Vs. In comparison, the pricey BMW M5 alone outsells the entire Cadillac V-Series range.
     
  24. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    LESS THAN 1000 STS-Vs SOLD?
    :bowrofl:
    All aboard the failboat (caddy heh)

    the next CTS-V will be the real thing.
     
  25. Quagmire

    Quagmire New Member

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    no road feel FTL .
     

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