General Motors Co.’s Cadillac brand is off to its best start in the U.S. since 1976, with the all-new ATS and XTS sedans fueling sales growth.
Sales for the luxury brand are up 38 percent year-to-date and Bob Ferguson, vice president of global Cadillac, said he’s optimistic U.S. sales for the brand will jump by 30 percent for all of 2013. The brand has its sights set on more growth in the years to come. Cadillac has a pipeline of new products to help accelerate its growth here in the U.S. and globally, including the 2014 CTS that goes on sale this fall. The plug-in 2014 ELR coupe also will start production late this year, followed by a fresh ATS compact coupe and a revamped Escalade coming next year, Ferguson said in an interview.
Ferguson said Cadillac customers want a two-door option for the entry-level ATS sports sedan and the brand is delivering.
“The broader point here is you can go into a Cadillac showroom in the middle of 2014, and you look left, and you look right, and the entire product portfolio will be new,” he said.
While Cadillac’s growth has exploded this year in the U.S., its sales still lag luxury leaders Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus and are lower than historical figures for Cadillac.
The brand has its challenges. “The biggest glaring hole in their lineup is a three-row crossover,” said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for AutoPacific Inc., in a phone interview.
Cadillac likely will have new product offerings annually for the next few years beyond that, Ferguson said, adding the corporation is “very committed to expanding the Cadillac product portfolio.”
“If you look at what our competitors offer, whether it’s Mercedes, BMW or Lexus, Audi, Acura, they have a broader product portfolio than we do currently,” Ferguson said. “So we want to win the in the marketplace and that will mean expanding our vehicle lineup.”
Ferguson said there is still “active consideration” for a new Cadillac flagship sedan and he hinted that a new SUV or crossover offering also may be in the works. SUVs and crossovers are popular in places such as China, where Cadillac wants to triple its sales by 2015.
Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs said the luxury crossover segment likely is a top priority for Cadillac. Competitors such as Lexus with its RX, and BMW with the X3, are posting strong sales in the U.S. and the vehicles appeal to consumers in other markets, Krebs said.
One product customers won’t find for long is the Cadillac Escalade EXT, which it recently stopped producing. The EXT represented just 10 percent of Escalade nameplate sales, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said.
GM wants to establish Cadillac as a global brand and a comprehensive review of the luxury company — from where it sells vehicles and who sells them to how it is promoted and managed — is under way. The review is being led by Don Butler, the former Cadillac marketing executive who in April GM named as global Cadillac strategic development vice president.
Cadillac sells vehicles in 40 countries, though 75 percent of its volume today comes from the U.S. Cadillac sales in the U.S. last year totaled just less than 150,000 vehicles, down 1.7 percent from 2011. Globally, the brand sold about 200,000 vehicles last year.