Cadillac Refined and Redefined

“No one needs a CTS-V Wagon,” Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing says, then adds, “But those who get them are really passionate about them.” And one of the more interesting stories developing in the auto industry right now is the transformation of Cadillac, something that has been going on for a while now, arguably back to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in 1999, when the Evoq concept car was revealed.

“No one needs a CTS-V Wagon,” Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing says, then adds, “But those who get them are really passionate about them.”

And one of the more interesting stories developing in the auto industry right now is the transformation of Cadillac, something that has been going on for a while now, arguably back to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in 1999, when the Evoq concept car was revealed. At the time, then Cadillac general manager John F. Smith said, “Evoq illustrates our vision for the global luxury market, to create vehicles that blend elements of art and science for the benefit and pleasure of its drivers and passengers. With its combination of individual style and driver-focused technology, Evoq is a forerunner of what you will see in future Cadillacs.”

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1999 Cadillac Evoq Concept

And with that debut of the “art and science” approach to design and engineering, Cadillac has been morphing its offerings to be far more forward and aggressive than some of the floating broad-sided boats of days of yore.

So today Butler talks about how the brand needs to be offering “vehicles with dramatic presence and performance.”

And not all of them are 556-hp station wagons.

He cites a pair of forthcoming models that will flank the CTS in the showroom. On the small side there is a compact luxury vehicle that will be launched in 2012. When revealing its existence publicly, Mark Reuss, GM North America president, said, “The car we codenamed ATS is being developed to be a driver’s car on an all-new Cadillac-specific RWD-AWD architecture. We have extensively and exhaustively studied the competitive segment, and we have benchmarked the best. And when this car comes out, that will be readily apparent.”

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Forthcoming Cadillac ATS shrouded in mystery

The other car is the Cadillac XTS, a large sedan that is predicated on the XTS Platinum Concept that was unveiled at the 2010 NAIAS. The XTS is a large car, but again with the design cues that hearken back to the Evoq in many ways, with the strong creased body panels and vertical lighting fore and aft. This car will be built at the GM plant in Oshawa, Ontario and is scheduled for sale next year.

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Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept will be the basis of the. . . Cadillac XTS

Meanwhile, there is still another car that is in the making, this one based on the Cadillac Converj Concept, which was unveiled at NAIAS ten years after the Evoq. This new car is going to be known as the Cadillac ELR. This will be a 2+2 that will deploy a version of the electric propulsion system that is being deployed in the Volt, although the ELR will be tuned dynamically and otherwise for a Cadillac experience.

And at Pebble Beach earlier this month Cadillac unveiled the Ciel concept, a large four-seat convertible—and that’s large as in an overall length of 203.7 in. and a wheelbase of 125 in. About the concept, Clay Dean, global design director for Cadillac and head of GM North America Advanced Design, said, “Large, expressive luxury is innate to Cadillac and the Ciel recalls that heritage, while suggesting where the brand can go in the future.”

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Cadillac Ciel Concept

Dean insisted that one of the things that Cadillac is known for is products that exhibit “beautiful, expansive, large luxury,” so that is something that they’re going to be embracing, not shying away from, as the brand refines and redefines itself.