SUVs are still good business, though, as the brand readies itself for EVs.
Head over to your local Cadillac dealer and you’ll notice that most – if not all – of the new vehicles on the lot are SUVs. Currently, GM’s luxury brand offers the XT4, XT5, and XT6 crossovers, as well as the flagship Escalade SUV, and combined they represented 81 percent of Cadillac’s overall sales in 2020. Although dealers are mostly satisfied with the lineup, some have expressed interest in other types of vehicles, namely a convertible.
Speaking to Automotive News, Cadillac National Dealer Council Chairman David Butler said that retailers were pleased with the success of the company’s crossovers, recalling the period between 2004 and 2019 when SUV shoppers could only select between two Caddy-branded machines, the Escalade and the XT5 (neé SRX). Still, there’s room for improvement in the company’s SUV-centric offerings. Pointing to the Blackwing family, Butler said that additional variants of the CT4 and CT5 might bolster their success in dealer showrooms, adding, “We’d always like to have a convertible.”
Whether that means he’d like to see a four-seat convertible in the brand’s lineup – which would be Cadillac’s first since the 1985 Eldorado – or merely additional trim levels of the CT4 and CT5 sedans is unclear. Droptops are a huge part of Cadillac’s heritage, from the 1929 Dual-Cowl Sport Phaeton and the 1959 Eldorado Biarritz to the Pininfarina-constructed 1987-1993 Allante and the athletic 2004-2009 XLR.
Despite its history, Cadillac hasn’t offered an open-air vehicle since that edgy hardtop roadster went out of production. The company has expressed some interest in building a flagship-oriented convertible before – witness the gorgeous, four-seat Cadillac Ciel concept for proof – but nothing has come of it yet. For our part, we’d love to see the Ciel reborn as an all-electric, peerlessly luxurious soft top (perhaps a convertible variant of the upcoming Celestiq EV).
Speaking of electrics, Butler spoke highly of Cadillac’s approach to integrating EV charging and repair infrastructure into its dealers. GM will require dealers that want to sell Cadillac EVs to invest upwards of $200,000, adding charging stations and training workers on how to repair electric cars. However, as Butler noted, dealers in rural areas (where internal combustion is still king) might not have the capital or the expected payoff to spend six figures on their facilities.
“The message is, ‘Here is where Cadillac is going 10 years out. [If] you sell eight vehicles a month, and EVs are not even on the radar for your area, we’d be glad to have you come on board. But in the event you don’t think you want to make the investment, here’s a way that you can graciously exit the business,’” Butler told Automotive News.
The Cadillac Lyriq, which will be the brand’s first dedicated EV, is expected to arrive at dealerships in 2022.
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