The recently appointed Cadillac executives and the General Motors manager are hard at work reshaping what was once the mightiest luxury auto brand in America. They do have one problem – the hulking Escalade.
The brand is reworked around a fresh new string of performance sedans, an upcoming SUV offering, a recently introduced naming scheme and the introduction of a topping flagship model. All that amounts to a total reshape of the Cadillac credo – except with one major glitch: the Escalade model. The 5,500-pound SUV is actually dominating sales in America’s new found (all over again, actually) large-luxury-SUV segment like it’s a brand new introduction – bringing huge profits for GM and its dealers alike. The company now has issues with manufacturing – they can’t produce enough to cope with demand – as the model also benefits from the recent plunge in gasoline prices.
But Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen and CMO Uwe Ellinghaus have actually decided to leave it alone and allow it to go about its business undisturbed. The Escalade is not part of Cadillac’s plans for $12 billion investments in new-product introductions over the next several years and won’t enter the new nomenclature – which new sedans will bear the CT (and a number to designate their size) moniker and SUVs the XT designation. “It’s a brand in itself,” Ellinghaus commented on the model’s success. “And it’s a great vehicle to have.” The model has jumped 149 percent in last month’s delivery data over the same period of 2014 and lifted the brand to an overall positive performance of 3% for January. In 2014, while the brand further dropped 6.5% in sales while the overall luxury market rose, the Escalade alone posted a 55% surge over 2013 figures.