Cadillac Planning CUV Blitz

Latest addition will target downsized imports like BMW X1.

by on Nov.19, 2015

The Cadillac XT5 at its LA debut, along with Caddy Pres. Johan de Nysschen and GM global product development director Mark Reuss.

With the official L.A. Auto Show debut of the Cadillac XT5, the Detroit luxury brand plans an unprecedented assault on the booming utility vehicle market, with three other crossover-based models under development.

That’s one more CUV than Caddy officials had previously confirmed, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned, the latest planned addition meant to target the likes of the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. It will enter one of the world’s fastest-growing vehicle segments, senior company officials said.

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“We keep expanding the plan,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of the Cadillac brand. The decision was made because such compact utility vehicles are experiencing “strong growth in China, and as more Millennials enter the luxury segment that will expand growth in the U.S., as well.

Currently, Cadillac has just one crossover-utility vehicle on the market, the aging SRX, as well as a conventional SUV, the big Escalade. That has put it at a disadvantage in a market that has been moving rapidly towards the “truck” side of the equation. In fact, industry data show that SUVs and CUVs collectively will outsell sedans in the U.S. market this year, and demand has been booming everywhere from Beijing to Berlin, as well.

(Live from LA! Click Here for full coverage of the 2015 LA Auto Show.)

The Infiniti QX30 -- here at its LA debut - is one of the growing list of small luxury crossovers.

The first of the new Caddy CUVs, the XT5, will replace the old SRX just below the full-size Escalade. But among the new crossovers to come will be one slotting in-between Escalade and XT5. A second new model will be sized and priced just below the XT5.

The fourth Cadillac crossover will be even smaller and will serve as an entry-level draw for the brand.

The concept is no surprise, according to several industry observers. The segment is growing both in terms of sales and entrants. That includes such players as the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Infiniti QX30, the latter making its debut at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Toyota’s youth-oriented brand Scion is, meanwhile, showing off a potential offering of its own in L.A., the C-HR Concept.

(Click Here to check out the new Infiniti QX30.)

Small crossovers, in general, are gaining ground around the world as the utility concept goes mainstream not only in the U.S. but in markets such as Europe and China.

The hope is that the small ute will play well in both the U.S., where Cadillac is struggling to regain its once-lofty standing, as well as China, which is expected to soon become the world’s largest luxury car market.

“It isn’t an either/or thing,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors’ global product development chief. Cadillac “has to be successful in both.”

Both the betting at Cadillac is that the small offering will have demographic, as well as geographic appeal.

Younger buyers are showing the strongest interest in small utility vehicles. Meanwhile, Millennials also are moving up into luxury brands in larger numbers than prior numbers in past generations. The availability of new, lower-cost offerings, such as that Mercedes GLA and the BMW X1, have given them a path not available in years past.

(Click Here for a first look at the Scion C-HR concept.)

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