This is how the brand becomes relevant again

When Johan de Nysschen joined Cadillac in 2014, it seemed as if the luxury brand would finally reinvent itself. Marketing operations were moved from Detroit to Manhattan, a project that cost nearly $13 million, and a new strategy was penned. Among them, Cadillac began working on new crossovers, a flagship sedan, and replacements for the ATS and CTS. Four years later and De Nysschen was sacked, a move that raises questions about Cadillac’s future.

With the man seen as a visionary out of the picture, will Cadillac remain faithful to its original strategy to roll out one new model about every six months until 2022? And if so, what new markets will the luxury carmaker enter this time? We already know that Caddy is working on a replacement for the CTS, called the CT5, as well as a smaller CT4 for the compact market, but what happens after that. It’s difficult to predict, but I have my own list of cars that Cadillac should build as soon as possible in order to become relevant on the luxury market.

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1. A Brand-New Escalade

2015 Cadillac Escalade High Resolution Exterior
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Cadillac needs to fix a lot of issues in order to remain relevant in this niche

Well, this one is pretty obvious. The Escalade is Caddy’s flagship SUV and it’s not exactly long in the tooth, but it’s almost five years old and GM shouldn’t rely on it for much longer. Lincoln launched a redesigned Navigator for the 2018 model year and BMW is about to introduce the X7, its first competitor for this niche. Not only is the competition getting a bit stiffer, but both of the Escalade’s rivals will be newer and will have better technology and drivetrains.

What’s more, the current Escalade, which retained the body-on-frame construction, is bigger and heavier than ever, while its steering and ride aren’t very comfortable. The Escalade still feels like a truck and that’s not what all customers want. The SUV also received criticism for its so-so seat comfort and cramped third-row seats, while quality is inferior to the competition, especially the German offerings.

Cadillac needs to fix a lot of issues in order to remain relevant in this niche and a redesign is a better idea than offering incentives to counter the new Navigator’s popularity. Cadillac also needs to get from under the rock it has been living in recent years and give us a modern Escalade that no longer behaves like a truck. Times are changing, you either stay on top or stick to tradition and sink to the bottom.

Read our full review on the 2015 Cadillac Escalade.

CT5 Coupe

2020 Cadillac CT5 Spied For The First Time Exterior Spyshots
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Caddy has produced some of the greatest coupes over the years and a midsize is mandatory against the awesome E-Class Coupe

We already know there’s a CT5 underway as a four-door sedan. Likely based on the Escala design-wise, the CT5 will replace the CTS, which competes against the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. While having a midsize sedan in the premium market is important, so is having a coupe. The CTS was offered in a coupe body style, but that didn’t last long. Sure, it wasn’t very successful, but a company like Cadillac is not allowed to give up.

Caddy has produced some of the greatest coupes over the years and a midsize is mandatory against the awesome E-Class Coupe. Recently leaked patent drawings suggest that GM is working on one, but it’s a concept and not a production car. It’s also based on the Escala, but it has a slightly sportier design, which also suggests a high-performance drivetrain.

Concepts are usually good news, but Cadillac has a bad habit of not moving them into production. The Elmiraj is a good example. It was elegant, gorgeous, and had a powerful engine, but it didn’t make it into production. The same could happen to the yet-to-be-unveiled CT5 coupe, but I’m hoping that Cadillac won’t make the same mistake again. With the ATS Coupe to be discontinued soon, the American brand will no longer have a two-door in its lineup. And given Cadillac’s history with coupes, it’s sad to say the least.

Flagship Coupe

2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept High Resolution Exterior
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A bigger coupe is even more important than a two-door version of the CT5. I’m talking about something the size of the CT6, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a two-door version of the said sedan. With Cadillac aiming its products at Mercedes-Benz and BMW, it needs to enter this niche to tackle the S-Class Coupe. And with BMW having just revived the 8 Series, Caddy has yet another reason to build a full-size coupe.

Whether it’s based on the CT6 or a brand-new design, it needs to be sleek, elegant, and super-luxurious inside the cabin. It also needs a hybrid drivetrain and a high-performance V-8 like the one in the CT6 V-Sport. Again, Cadillac can make use of its heritage here. This company is mostly famous for its massive coupes in the 1960s and 1970s, so it could even revive some of its old nameplates for this car.

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Whether it's based on the CT6 or a brand-new design, it needs to be sleek and elegant

Granted, the new alphanumeric naming strategy doesn’t leave much room for a model called the Eldorado or the Coupe de Ville, but they could be using in conjunction with CT6 or something, or maybe even as trim levels. Diehard customers will find that appealing and the company’s marketing division would have a solid background to work with.

Sadly, there are no rumors that a flagship coupe is going to happen soon, but maybe Cadillac is looking back on the Elmiraj and getting a few good ideas as we speak.

Flagship Convertible

2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept High Resolution Exterior
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If the coupe comes first, a convertible version won't be that expensive to develop

The flagship coupe discussed above needs a convertible version too. Mercedes-Benz made big headlines with the S-Class Cabriolet and soon the BMW 8 Series will lose its roof as well. A flagship drop-top could also enable Cadillac to compete against products from Bentley and Rolls-Royce, so it could get playing right in two different niches. Assuming that such a car would get a rich and customizable interior that will match Bentley and Rolls-Royce offerings.

Again, Cadillac built a few fantastic road yachts with infinite headroom back in the day, so this is yet another vehicle that would benefit from the Eldorado and De Ville nameplates. And if the coupe comes first, a convertible version won’t be that expensive to develop.

A Sports Car

2019 Chevrolet Camaro Exterior
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It wouldn't hurt for General Motors to have a premium version of the Chevrolet Camaro

Yes, Cadillac doesn’t have much experience with sports cars, but it wouldn’t hurt for General Motors to have a premium version of the Chevrolet Camaro. The Caddy could share underpinnings with the muscle car, and even the engine in the ZL1, but combine them with bespoke features inside and out. I’m pretty sure that Caddy’s current design language would work well on a Camaro-sized car, while a premium interior would give the brand a fighting chance against sports coupes like the BMW M4, Mercedes-AMG C63, and Audi RS5. A sports car based on the Camaro would also give GM a big advantage over Ford and Chrysler, which don’t have similar offerings. And to be honest, I don’t see Lincoln building a premium version of the Mustang anytime soon.

What do you think, should Cadillac build all of the cars above? Should it develop something else? More SUVs, a pickup truck? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Further reading

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