Globalization by Numbers

Not surprisingly, the Chinese market is worth noting for Cadillac. It was up 17 percent compared to sales in 2014.

The importance of global markets to what might be considered U.S. “domestic” manufacturers is something that can’t be underestimated.

In fact, it might be hard to overestimate it.

A case in point is the performance of Cadillac in 2015.

Cadillac, incidentally, was established in Detroit in 1902.  The company was named after Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac, a French explorer who established, in 1701, Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, which gave rise to, well, Detroit.

Anyway. . .

If you look at the U.S. delivery numbers for Cadillac for 2015, things weren’t so chaud, as Antoine might have put it.

That is, compared with calendar year 2014, the ATS was down 10.1 percent, the CTS down 37.4 percent, the ELR down by 21.8 percent and the XTS down 5.0 percent.

Simply stated: the car portfolio was down, down, down, down.

Fortunately, things were brighter on the SUV side of the showroom, with the Escalade up 9.0 percent, the Escalade ESV up 33.7 percent, and the SRX up 28.5 percent.

That put Cadillac to the positive in 2015 by 2.6 percent.

However, on a global basis, Cadillac sales were up by 7.5 percent.

For example, on a global basis (with the main factors being the U.S., China, Canada, the Middle East, the European Union and Russia, and the Rest of the World), the ATS, which, as previously stated, was down 10.1 percent in the U.S., was up 35.2 percent for the year on a global basis.

While the other cars pretty much followed the pattern in the U.S. (and it should be noted that this is a bizarre situation based on the top-notch nature of the CTS, XTS and even ELR), the numbers for the SUVs essentially track the U.S. numbers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Chinese market is worth noting for Cadillac.  It was up 17 percent compared to sales in 2014.  While on a percentage basis, that number is dwarfed by the gains in Mexico, which saw a 27.7 percent increase in 2015 compared to 2014, on a unit basis there is no comparison: in China, Cadillac sold 79,779 vehicles; in Mexico, 1,806.

The number of Cadillacs sold in the U.S. in 2015 was 175,267.

Which means that the Chinese sales are 45 percent of the U.S. sales.

Were the Chinese sales to maintain the 17 percent increase year over year and the U.S. gained 2.6 percent per year, in six years the Chinese market could pass that of the U.S. (204,646 vs. 204,448).

Yes, globalization matters.  In a massive way.

Speaking of the brand’s performance in 2015, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said, “Cadillac’s global expansion is building momentum, driven by increasing product substance and disciplined growth strategies. Not only did volume grow, but Cadillac’s transformed products earned higher transaction prices from customers, driving lower inventory levels.* This creates a strong foundation for our two all-new products launching in the first half of 2016 – the CT6 prestige sedan and the XT5 luxury crossover.”

*In the U.S., Cadillac inventories are below 50 days, and the average transaction price realized is >$51,000, which the company says is the second-highest in the industry for full-line luxury brands.