THE NEXT GENERATION: Cadillac reinvents itself

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    GM's luxury division stands out with an aggressive look, several new product launches

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    The powerful XLR is a radical departure from the traditional Cadillac.

    BY MARK PHELAN
    FREE PRESS AUTO WRITER
    October 23, 2003

    The hard work for Cadillac begins now.

    General Motors Corp.'s luxury division has opened a new, state-of-the-art assembly plant and launched an unprecedented spate of new cars and trucks over the last three years.

    In 2004, it must begin to repay the billions of dollars those projects cost, while launching another vital car and preparing its top-selling sedan for a chancy face-lift.

    "This is a product-driven renaissance," said Cadillac general manager Mark LaNeve. "We made a big bet with a new design and that our engineers could deliver world-class vehicles. That's starting to pay off for us, but we fully realize we have a lot left to do. We must execute the plan over time and with the next generation of vehicles."

    Cadillac has seen sales rise from a perilously puny 170,379 in 1996 to 199,698 last year. The improvement was driven by the brand's move into new market segments ranging from the Escalade luxury SUV to the CTS sport sedan. Cadillac sales rose another 5.7 percentthrough September 2003, to 153,680, as sales of the new SRX crossover wagon and XLR roadster began.

    The figure still is a far cry from Cadillac's record of 350,813 sales in 1978, but sales are headed in the right direction after decades of decline
    caused by the fuel crises, downsizing, quality problems, competition from overseas and poor performance on the road.

    The new models mark a rebirth for the brand that was once "the standard of the world" from the introduction of the first V16 car in the 1930s through the heyday of tail fin-bedecked cars in the '50s and '60s and well into the 1970s land-yacht era.

    Cadillac faces a new challenge as it prepares to introduce the all-new STS high-performance luxury sedan in 2004 and redesigning its best-selling car, the more traditional DeVille, in 2005.

    The high-performance STS sport sedan will replace the aging Seville with a somewhat softened version of Cadillac's edgy new look. The exterior will be wrapped around sophisticated technology and rear- and all-wheel-drive.

    "The STS needs to be a car that makes people say 'Wow,' " said Jim Hall, vice president for industry analysis at the Southfield office of consultant AutoPacific. "The DeVille is more of a question mark. It's not clear what Cadillac does with the next generation of that car, but they should keep making it for the people who buy them."

    A redesigned DeVille will walk a tightrope when it debuts early in 2005. It will look like the angular new generation of Cadillacs while retaining its front-drive layout and catering to an older, more-conservative customer.

    "We've got two types of Cadillac," LaNeve said. "There are the global products that can sell anywhere on Earth, like the CTS and XLR, and the North American products, like the Escalade and DeVille."

    The STS, which scraps the Seville's front-wheel-drive layout in favor of rear- and all-wheel-drive models, fits squarely in the global category.

    "The STS will be bigger than most of the cars in its segment," LaNeve said. He promised size and features comparable to a $70,000 BMW 7-series large car at a price closer to the $40,000-plus midsize 5-series.

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    Cadillac will replace the Seville, seen here, with the all new rear- and all-wheel-drive STS.

    The STS will come with V6 and V8 engines, and fully optioned models will cost more than the current Seville.

    "I'll get a monster sales lift from the new STS," said Howard Drake, co-owner of Casa Automotive Group, a Cadillac, HUMMER and Saab dealer in Sherman Oaks, Calif. "The Seville's front-wheel drive has been a giant drawback."

    Jim Taylor, chief engineer of GM's Sigma family of vehicles, said of the Seville: "The car now plays to traditional American customers, but in the future we'll leave that to the DeVille. "The STS may have the biggest challenge of any of our new vehicles," he said. "We want to keep current owners while also going after the 5- and 7-series," sedans noted for their performance and cutting-edge design and technology.

    That clears the field for the DeVille. Cadillac hopes to make the big sedan look like other models without alienating current owners. "The new body style picks up our new look, but it's recognizably a DeVille. DeVille owners are loyal, and we're going to keep them," LaNeve said.

    The model must become more modern, according to Ed Williamson, president of Williamson Cadillac-Hummer in Miami. "It needs some of the new edgy look, but keeping full-size luxury." he said. "What's wrong with having a DeVille model that's really sexy and another model for the traditional customer?"

    Without being specific, LaNeve said the big sedan's midlife face-lift will call for an exterior that's clearly related to the CTS and STS, but in a milder form. The car's name will change to DTS, but it will remain front-wheel drive and the price will remain in the $45,000 to $50,000 range, he said.

    "It will have a totally new interior and electronics," LaNeve said. The interior design will build upon the XLR roadster, a model that successfully combines Cadillac's edgy exterior look with softer and more luxurious materials than the CTS and SRX.

    Cadillac will keep its options open for the next all-new DeVille, expected around 2008. "The baby boomers will be 55 to 65 years old then, and they'll be interested in a big sedan with a lot of features and a very innovative interior with the flexibility and room of an SUV," LaNeve said.

    Like big SUVs, the front-drive full-size luxury sedan is a uniquely American vehicle, he said. That means there will be no significant export sales for either the DeVille or the Escalade.

    "We hope to sell more than a few cars outside the U.S.," LaNeve said. "We want to become a relevant and legitimate competitor, not just a curiosity."

    That's part of the reason GM engineers have spent so much time at Germany's legendary Nurburgring racetrack over the last seven years.

    "When we first went to Germany, we were laughed at," said Ken Morris, program engineering manager, Cadillac performance series.

    The 13.1-mile Nurburgring circuit runs through a devilishly challenging set of forested roads in Germany's scenic Eiffel Mountains. Automakers from Ferrari to Mercedes-Benz use the track to push their new vehicles to the limit, exceeding 200 miles an hour on the straightaways and pulling multi-G turns and braking maneuvers.

    Morris spent about a year at the track after development on the CTS began. The testing influenced everything from the car's brakes and tires to suspension design, he said.

    Even engineers from GM's German division were skeptical when Morris' team showed up with early prototypes of the CTS, he said.

    "We've gone from that to being fast enough that people pull over to move out of our way," when GM tests the 400-horsepower CTS-V on the Nurburgring, Morris said.

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    :love:
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2003
  2. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

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  3. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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  4. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

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    cts-v isnt out yet

    escalade :o
     
  5. 2DR Vette

    2DR Vette We don't freestyle the Eyes of Texas, Big Boy.

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    :werd::werd::werd:
     
  6. Mulptr

    Mulptr Guest

    1st pic looks like the s2000
     
  7. yer mom

    yer mom Pelvic THRUST

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    if you are on drugs... :ugh:
     
  8. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

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    well then, im not cool

    :sad2:
     
  9. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    rear wheel drive STS? :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit: :eek3::wackit:
     
  10. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

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    i dont ball like that


    20's are fine by me (although I want some 22's)
     
  11. Supertrapped

    Supertrapped President of 2:73

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    W-E-R-D!!

    It gives me a raging boner :wackit:
     
  12. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    do we know what the new STS will look like? I liked the way the old fwd ones looked.
     
  13. RandomDead

    RandomDead Have your pets spayed or neutered

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    I fixed it for you



    :wackit: :drool:
     
  14. DefBringer

    DefBringer Guest

    no turbo no care


    :fawk:
     
  15. RandomDead

    RandomDead Have your pets spayed or neutered

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    Displacement+technology=Win

    :bigthumb:
     
  16. K Tizzle

    K Tizzle Guest

    Escalade is begging for a refresh. CTS-v is slightly overpriced. The next STS looks amazing, and is priced well. The way they talk about the DTS makes me envision it will suck. The XLR roadster is nice, but again, slightly overpriced. The SRX crossover wagon is more like a rebadged Envoy XL. It's too big. The long tail makes the whole "truck" look ugly (Nice look otherwise). It should be the size of others in the same segment (X5, FX, etc.).
     
  17. K Tizzle

    K Tizzle Guest

    Looks really good. There are spy pics out there.
     
  18. Torch

    Torch Guest

    What is the overhead on a CTS-V ?
     
  19. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

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    THANK GOD, finally some aggressive styling.
     
  20. Ruination

    Ruination New Member

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  21. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Yeah, they are nice cars. :)
     
  22. RenaultFreak

    RenaultFreak OMG

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    I like Cadillacs too much :sad2:

    Seville = teh win :o
     
  23. RenaultFreak

    RenaultFreak OMG

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    :o I'd drive it too, my dad owns a 93 STS and its a really nice car... :bigthumb:
     
  24. Nyce

    Nyce .

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    i cant wait until all of these currently fast ass cars lose some value and sell for 20k or so in a few years..

    i'll have many cars to chose from :big grin:
     
  25. Pro Street

    Pro Street New Member

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    holy shit

    wow


    :wackit:
     

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