Cadillac didn’t make much of a traditional effort to let the world know that it had a new sedan on display at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. Dubbed the CT5, the all-new Cadillac sedan will compete in what the brand describes as a “Lux 3” segment, pricing itself against the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and others. It’s expected to straddle the segments that the outgoing ATS and CTS occupy in terms of proportions.
Along with eliminating the two RWD-based passenger cars, Cadillac will also be phasing out a third sedan: the XTS.
One would be forgiven if they can barely picture the Cadillac XTS. The mild-mannered full-size sedan hardly saw any marketing dollars thrown its way, with the athletic ATS and CTS being hard-lined into the brand’s current narrative that it fancies itself as some kind of performance brand. As if Nurburgring times and Recaro seat bolsters are the measuring stick that Cadillac brand cachet has been measured by.
Whether the marketing team likes it or not, Cadillac remains iconic through more traditional metrics. Such as if it can supply a good hearse. So much so, that it won’t abandon the livery market.
The hang up here is that the Cadillac XTS was the brand’s solution for livery businesses during its product lifecycle. Conversions such as limousines and hearses used the XTS, while the discernible Escalade played a role in the market, as well. To maintain its place in the market, the XTS will need a replacement, and according to Jason Sledziewski, director of product marketing, Cadillac global, that replacement appears to be the XT5 crossover.
“An XTS could be turned into a hearse – that can be done with an XT5. It’s physically possible, we had people do it. So there’s opportunity for that,” Sledziewski says. “I think as we exit XTS, and position CT6 differently, it doesn’t mean our portfolio can’t accommodate those sorts of vehicles. They just might be other vehicles than people otherwise thought.”
The driving dynamics of the XTS were about as lively as the rear occupants of its hearse livery. And the XT5 isn’t any more animated (not that it necessarily needs to be), which makes it an appropriate fit in that respect.
The Cadillac XT5 was introduced in 2016 as a midsize crossover SUV, replacing the SRX in the lineup. It remained the only crossover in the brand’s lineup until the launch of the smaller XT4 in Q4 of 2018. The lineup will continue to expand with the launch of the three-row XT6 in the second half of 2019. All three vehicles are currently built/will be built in the United States.
The expanded crossover lineup is expected to give Cadillac a sales boost as the passenger car market continues to lose steam, largely at the expense of domestic marques. And while Cadillac emphasizes record sales “globally” these days, the sales numbers are reflective of its momentum in the Chinese market.
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