QVM & CMC: Spelling Out a Safe Stretch Limousine

Posted on July 22, 2013 by - Also by this author

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The Cadillac XTS V4U stretch limousine can me modified from 18 to a maximum of 70 inches. This model is popular in both the funeral and VIP retail markets.
The Cadillac XTS V4U stretch limousine can me modified from 18 to a maximum of 70 inches. This model is popular in both the funeral and VIP retail markets.

CMC Ensures a Luxury Legacy

The Cadillac Master Coachbuilder program started in 1991 as an effort to get more involved with coachbuilders to build quality Cadillac stretch limousines, says Ray Bush, program manager for Cadillac Professional Vehicles.

“At that point there were many coachbuilders working on Cadillacs and not all had quality conversions that we would endorse, or ones befitting a Cadillac customer,” Bush says. “To improve the end-user experience, Cadillac got involved to create a program for coachbuilders that would guide and support them in making a quality vehicle better in line with the expectations of Cadillac customers.”

Under the CMC program, GM provides a specially engineered and designed chassis, known as the V4U XTS stretch limousine chassis, that is upgraded from the retail one and ready to have the middle structure section stretched from 18 to 70-inches. CMC converters may stretch the chassis up to any length in that range. [Cadillac also offers a W30 XTS-L sedan chassis that can be stretched five to eight inches].
“Prior to the program, guys who were modifying vehicles were on retail chassis, exceeding the gross vehicle weight (QVW),” says Joe Pennington, a CMC support engineer. “We took the chassis that could be modified and stayed within limits so it could be built to handle a conversion.”

Safety & Structure
The heavy duty limousine chassis has a reinforced body structure, additional parts for higher gross vehicle weight, improved front and rear vehicle suspension, a heavy duty braking system, a heavy duty steering system, a heavy duty cooling system, and an extended wiring harness. There are also specific vehicle breakouts for six-door conversion models used mostly for the funeral industry.

“We’ve created specific roof rail airbags [side impact] for CPV, and released specific calibrations for stability control and ABS based on stretch lengths,” Pennington adds.
GM does not have a CMC program for the Escalade SUV, the most popular luxury SUV model in the chauffeured transportation industry. If a coachbuilder wanted to stretch an Escalade, it would violate the CMC program. “For those who want to stretch the Escalade, they have to do it outside of the program,” Bush says.

A CMC manufacturer may not do any custom-stretch Escalades if enrolled in the CMC program. Limousine coachbuilders and operators over the years have shown some limited interest in a heavy-duty Escalade chassis to be stretched, but so far GM has not had the resources to support one, Bush says.

Since Cadillac does not actually stretch the XTS into a limousine, it does not crash test it. However, the XTS sedan is crash tested by GM based on FMVSS standards, and the individual vehicle document (IVD) that lists specifics for CMC safety compliance reflects those standards.
As with Lincoln’s QVM program, any coachbuilder interested in CMC certification must submit a business case to GM outlining its interest, provide some history about their organization and production volume, describe their facilities and the vehicles they produce, and related manufacturing details. GM then reviews the applicant company to see if it is a match for the CMC program.
“We have to be a bit selective in terms of coachbuilders and what they bring to the program,” Bush says. “We try to set a strong business foundation with a good track record for quality and be a strong partner.”

Living Documents
The CMC guidelines are a living document, consisting of a complete set of specs. As CMC specs change, GM issues bulletins as needed so CMC participants can update their e-files, Pennington says. Cadillac Professional Vehicles team members conduct onsite reviews about every 12-18 months of program members for quality and compliance.
The first CMC XTS limousine chassis were built in late November 2012 and started shipping the following month. Coachbuilders took delivery of them during the first quarter this year. So far, funeral industry clients have bought most of the XTS stretch limousines, with the VIP/limo stretch market still emerging.

Cadillac Professional Vehicles also provides advertising support for CMC program manufacturers, allowing them to promote their vehicles with references to the high-quality CMC brand.

Professional vehicle chassis also includes the Cadillac Professional Vehicles warranties:

  • Hearse warranty: 6 years or 100,000 miles.
  • Stretch limousine/XTS-L/XTS sedans: 3 years or 150,000 miles
  • Warranties are only available through the W20, W30 and V4U heavy-duty livery vehicle chassis.
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