At his Houston Cadillac store last weekend, Carl Sewell had an unusual experience: He helped a mother secure a baby seat into a car she was considering. Young-shopper sightings were once a rarity for Sewell.
“It’s a pretty diverse group that’s coming through the door now,” said Sewell, who owns four Cadillac dealerships in Texas, all part of the Car Pro Show. “The new ATS is bringing in the ideal buyer: younger and better educated.”
Cadillac’s $33,095 ATS small model drove a 49 percent rise in sales last month for General Motors Co.’s luxury line, outpacing a forecast from researcher Edmunds.com that the brand would grow by 37 percent. It was the sixth consecutive month of gains for Cadillac, which is rolling out 10 new models by 2015 and building on buzz it earned at the New York auto show last week for the debut of the stylish redesign of its CTS sedan.
“Cadillac’s performance certainly exceeded expectations, and the ATS was the driving factor,” said Jeff Schuster, auto analyst with LMC Automotive in Troy. “They have a lot happening with their lineup and the vehicles are hitting with consumers.”
Cadillac’s strong showing came as U.S. automakers rode a newfound success in sedans to their best monthly sales in more than five years. With Detroit’s best car lineup in decades, GM’s sales rose 6.4 percent; Ford Motor Co. gained 5.7 percent on the strength of a record month for its Fusion family car; and Chrysler Group LLC jumped 5 percent.
“Cadillac is doing well,” said Christian Mayes, a St. Louis-based analyst with Edward Jones & Co. “They’re in the process of refreshing the brand and that gets some more interest.”