Three of these venerable vehicles are former limousine/ livery industry stalwarts.
Cadillac jump-starts a changing limousine vehicle market next month with a long-awaited sedan it hopes will catapult it ahead of longtime livery luxury rival Lincoln.
Once unveiled Feb. 13 at the 2012 International LCT Show in Las Vegas, the Cadillac XTS will go head-to-head with the crossover-styled Lincoln MKT Town Car as the two flagship livery vehicles enter a new round in their decades-long industry legacy brand match.
While a successor to the former DTS/DeVille line of luxury sedans, the XTS heralds a revamped design ethos at the storied automaker that emphasizes a sportier, younger luxury image suffused with technological gadgets and amenities. Cadillac is positioning the XTS, its largest sedan, as the latest entry in an invigorated product line-up that joins the popular Escalade and CTS models in capturing a much broader buyers’ market beyond Cadillac’s traditional niche of older luxury customers.
“This new vehicle will help dispel some of the myths out there about Cadillac,” said Ray Bush, Cadillac Professional Vehicles Program Manager. “The Cadillac of old was from the standpoint of large, floaty vehicles. Cadillac has moved away from that with its new products launched over the last 10 years. The XTS will further that with outstanding ride characteristics that compare [favorably] with Cadillac vehicles of the past. This is a great improvement over the DTS.”
The XTS “W20 livery package” sedan to be unveiled at the Show will virtually replicate the XTS sedan that debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 16, 2011. It features the same V-6/300hp engine, interior dimensions, and amenities, including Cadillac’s signature CUE onboard technology and navigation system. A final price was not available before this article went to print, but Cadillac officials strongly hinted that it will be “extremely” price-competitive with E-Class Mercedes, the Audi A6, and Lexus GS sedans — somewhere in the low $50,000s.
Cadillac Professional Vehicles, the limousine/livery arm of GM-owned Cadillac, also has announced two other versions of the XTS that Cadillac Master Coachbuilder (CMC) licensed manufacturers can build for the chauffeured transportation market by the end of 2012:
The V4U and W30 will not be on display with the XTS base model at the International LCT Show. Both chassis — to include mechanical enhancements that accommodate heavier loads — will be available for prototype construction and general production in the fourth quarter of 2012.
There are four key differences in dimensions of the XTS compared to the former DTS that are of particular interest to chauffeured transportation operators:
The XTS livery warranty plan remains unchanged from that of the DTS: 3 years/150,000 miles. The XTS livery version will not offer an AWD feature, but that option is available on the XTS retail version.
LCT held a roundtable interview in December with the three Cadillac Professional Vehicle executives overseeing the introduction of the XTS sedan: Ray Bush; Pat Nally, XTS and Professional Vehicle Marketing Manager, and Craig Stumpf, Specialty and Professional Vehicle Engineering Manager.
The managers all emphasized that the overall ride quality of the XTS will be smoother and more comfortable than that of the DTS, thanks to Cadillac’s new Magentic Ride Control (MRC) computerized suspensions system. “The MRC will be the same as on the base car and offer superior ride, performance and comfort that in this livery market no one has seen before,” Stumpf said.
Other mechanical improvements on the XTS include: Better engine performance and fuel economy; a unique V-6 powertrain; a six-speed transmission that is stronger than that of the DTS and enhanced for the Cadillac Professional Vehicle chassis; and a more responsive braking system than the DTS. “It will have its own unique suspension, brakes, and body structure additions, all of which ultimately contribute to ease of secondary manufacturing, a better ride, and better handling performance,” Stumpf said.
The XTS interior will feature premium materials and accessories for a customized, luxury feel, including top leather brands, natural woods, and a handcrafted, finished look overall, Nally said. “The interior is getting great reviews from customer clinics and early media reports.” Rear seat controls for clients will allow them to set interior temperature and audio levels.
From an overall competitive standpoint, the Cadillac brand does not compare itself to Lincoln, opting to play in a different league, Bush said. “We benchmark ourselves against the best German makes such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi.” Cadillac is not divulging its internal goals for industry vehicle market share, said Bush, adding only that it wants “more.”
“The Town Car has been the workhorse of the industry for so many years, so we see the XTS as an opportunity to get more of the industry into Cadillac,” Bush said.
Since 2007, Cadillac’s share of the limousine/livery sedan market has averaged 35%, while its predominant Escalade has reached 65% of the SUV maarket. Historically, the DTS and prior livery sedan models have been a distant second seller to the front-runner Lincoln Town Car Executive L. Lincoln overall has been the limousine industry leader since the early 1990s.
“We certainly are hoping to get a broader spectrum of people to think about Cadillac on their next purchase,” Nally said. “Large luxury sedans are a proud heritage at Cadillac. We see the XTS as the next evolution of what large luxury sedans should be in the market. We are changing the perception of what large luxury is. We are 10 years into the reinvention of the brand. The SRX crossover has been a huge success in terms of volume in changing perception. The XTS is a very critical next step.”
Cadillac has been noted for its “art and science design language,” in styling and engineering its vehicles, Nally said. Those values are reflected in the XTS via vertical head lamps, sleek lines, and the hint of tailfins and a fin spoiler along the trunk.
“The rest of it is all about designing an interior for what the customer wants. . . making a whole interior that has an aesthetic appeal.”
Although the XTS has a slightly smaller platform than the DTS, it was designed to maximize efficient use of space, with only nominal reductions in key dimensions. The trunk can accommodate up to five full size suitcases and some additional bags, or five full-size golf bags. “We’re going to highlight the trunk space which is very good for this vehicle,” Bush said. “It can accommodate what people need in this industry. We’re going to show that with luggage pieces and a loading and unloading demonstration [at the Show].”
Cadillac invites all operators to see their local Cadillac dealers for a test drive when the XTS is available in Q2 2012.
Cadillac 2012 Calendar
MORE CADILLAC XTS FACT BOXES NEXT PAGE!
CADILLAC XTS FACT AND INFO BOXES FROM LCT MAGAZINE:
XTS Sedan General Specs
XTS Sedan Key Dimensions
XTS Sedan Amenities
XTS Sedan Mechanics
What is CUE?
CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, will pair entertainment and information data from up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players with a vehicle infotainment system that reduces complexity through customized information, natural voice commands and fewer buttons and larger icons.
Three of these venerable vehicles are former limousine/ livery industry stalwarts.
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