A representative speaks to one of the industry’s biggest selling points.
Cadillac’s new generation luxury sedan has made strong first impressions on Boston Coach clients and chauffeurs alike during its first few months on the road.
The first XTS sedans, which debuted at the 2012 International LCT Show in Las Vegas in February, entered fleet service in mid- to late-July. Leading limousine operations deployed a few to serve top corporate clients to see how the high-tech successor to the DTS sedan would perform.
Boston Coach put eight XTS sedans into its fleet on July 15; two each in Boston and New York, and one each in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia and New Jersey, said Marc Martine, senior vice president of operations for Boston Coach. As of early December, the highest accumulated mileage on some of the XTS sedans was above 50,000 miles.
Chauffeured runs on the XTS sedans so far have broken down at about 75% point-to-point trips and airport runs, and about 25% hourly rentals and/or as-directed (A/D) trips.
The company used an electronic survey among clients and chauffeurs to measure key fleet metrics of the XTS, including ride, comfort, visibility, accoutrements and general impressions. Clients and chauffeurs scored the vehicle on each metric on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 as the highest. The collective XTS score based on all the surveys was 4.6 out of 5, among the highest ever rankings for a Boston Coach fleet vehicle. No vehicle has ever scored a perfect 5, Martine said. Vehicles must rate at least a 4 to remain in the Boston Coach fleet.
“Everything we’ve experienced has been a green light full go on the car,” Martine said. “We are continuing to run the car aggressively and see how it responds at higher mileages.”
So far, there have not been any maintenance problems, as the XTS is a new model and it will take a few more months to get to 100,000 miles-plus, when operators can accurately assess the maintenance and mechanical quality of a high-usage fleet vehicle. Routine repair work has been covered under Cadillac’s plan, Martine said. “It’s been a pleasure to have in the fleet so far.”
Compared to the former Cadillac DTS sedan, which was built on a larger platform and retired in May 2011, the XTS is a bit smaller, Martine said. But the combination of advanced European styling, innovative technology and efficient design make up for the smaller platform size. “This vehicle has a European appearance in the exterior and interior; it’s very plush,” he said. “What shocked most people is that the footprint would make the trunk appear small, but the trunk is rather cavernous considering how it appears. It has a short deck lid, so it does not at first appear [as if] it has as many cubic feet as it does.” [The XTS trunk can accommodate four full-size golf bags].
“The XTS is just fine for two people arriving on an international flight with luggage,” Martine said. “It does well and fits the needs of business.”
While the XTS is not better than the DTS, the vehicle is “certainly a suitable replacement,” he added. “It doesn’t look like a standard box limousine. It’s a lower key car. The technology and the overall styling has been a big hit; the CUE system is easy to use and the integration is great. I think our clients were happy with the DTS because they were used to it, but they feel [the XTS] is the perfect replacement.”
The XTS was designed with open sight lines and enough glass to give passengers an inside illusion of riding in a larger vehicle. Some clients as tall as 6-feet 4-inches have fit in the back seat without any problems.
As of November, Boston Coach was still going through its annual budgeting and planning process, evaluating fleet vehicles and projected expenditures. Martine expects the company to eventually replace most of its 360 luxury sedans with the XTS, starting in larger numbers this year. Boston Coach for the last seven years has run a corporate level sedan fleet of about 80% Cadillac DTS models and about 20% Lincoln Town Car models. Before 2005, Boston Coach ran a sedan fleet of mostly Town Cars.
“We switched seven years ago because of a relationship with Cadillac and that program made sense for us,” Martine said. “At the time we switched there were strong fleet programs that we negotiated and that made it the right car for us.”
While Boston Coach does not mandate the XTS for its 300 U.S. affiliate partners, it does extend to them its special fleet program for the XTS from Cadillac Professional Vehicles. Beyond the XTS, affiliates may choose other fleet vehicles only if they are on the approved list from Boston Coach.
“There are a lot of different cars coming into the marketplace,” Martine said. “People still want a luxury nameplate.”
One Boston Coach affiliate that deployed six XTS sedans in August, Integrated Transportation Services of Los Angeles, has chosen the model to replace its Lincoln Town Car sedans. ITS was among the first limousine companies in California to buy the XTS livery sedan.
“We are happy with our choice of the Cadillac XTS sedans because our customers are pleased with them,” ITS President Jonna Sabroff said. “We have more on order and expect them to become one of the mainstays of our Cadillac fleet.”
XTS-L To Debut At 2013 International LCT Show
Limousine operators will get a first sample of an extended model version of the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan during the Show Feb. 5-7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Manufacturer Lehmann Peterson, based in Arlington Heights, Ill., will display an XTS-L sedan stretched seven inches, said Bill Kennedy, vice president of Lehmann Peterson. Kennedy and company founder Earle F. Maloney will be on hand to answer questions and take orders. Lehmann Peterson was still working on final photos and pricing as of January issue deadlines. LCT will have more coverage of Lehmann Peterson and its new XTS-L in the February issue.
Cadillac Professional Vehicles opened order banks on Oct. 18 for the (W30) XTS-L Extended Sedan and the (V4U) XTS Limousine. A recent poll of CMC coachbuilders indicates it is highly unlikely that one of them will be able to complete a finished prototype of the XTS stretch limousine in time for the ILCT Show, according to Cadillac Professional Vehicles.
The XTS-L can be extended five to eight inches, according to Cadillac Master Coachbuilder guidelines. It will provide added legroom reminiscient of the retired Lincoln Town Car Executive L, which was stretched an additional six inches.
The XTS Limousine, ideal for corporate and funeral markets, can be stretched up to 70 inches. Production on extended XTS livery models started in mid-November. First deliveries and the start of fleet service are expected during the first quarter of 2013.
Related LCT article: Behind The Wheel of the 2013 Cadillac XTS Sedan
Related LCT article: 2013 XTS Vehicle Review
Related LCT article: Cadillac XTS Read To Debut At 2012 ILCT Show
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