Vehicles

Cadillac XTS Unveiling Packs A Powerful Preview Of Limo Sedan

Posted on November 17, 2011
Dav El CEO Scott Solombrino, pictured here at the Los Angeles Auto Show  on Nov. 16, 2011, plans to add the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan to his  nationwide fleet next Spring as its leading vehicle.

Dav El CEO Scott Solombrino, pictured here at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 16, 2011, plans to add the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan to his nationwide fleet next Spring as its leading vehicle.

Dav El CEO Scott Solombrino, pictured here at the Los Angeles Auto Show  on Nov. 16, 2011, plans to add the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan to his  nationwide fleet next Spring as its leading vehicle.
Dav El CEO Scott Solombrino, pictured here at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 16, 2011, plans to add the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan to his nationwide fleet next Spring as its leading vehicle.

LOS ANGELES — Cadillac made a major move this week toward a younger, broader customer base with a radically redesigned sleek premium luxury sedan that sheds the boxy DTS baggage of yore and cuts a bold path in advanced onboard technology.

At a glitzy stage presentation during the Los Angeles Auto Show Media Days on Wednesday, top executives exposed and hyped the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan set to start production by April 2012. The sleek, aerodynamic shape glides in stark contrast to the former Cadillac DTS sedan, a more formal, stodgy, “Grey-Pouponish” looking vehicle that became synonymous with senior citizens and was a consistent but distant No. 2 in the luxury chauffeured transportation sedan market behind the Lincoln Town Car Executive L.

LCT CADILLAC XTS LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW PHOTO GALLERY HERE

UPDATE: Cadillac details XTS specs

Cadillac hopes the advent of the XTS will shake-up the traditional buying hierarchy of the chauffeured transportation industry which for the last two decades has mostly followed the predictable pecking order of Lincoln Town Car, Cadillac DTS, Mercedes-Benz, etc. A livery version of the XTS, now in the finishing stages of production, will debut on Feb. 13, 2012 at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. The formal introduction of the XTS to the limousine industry is expected to drive an unusually high volume of traffic to LCT’s global annual trade show. Ford Fleet/Lincoln has come out with a cross-over styled 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car which debuted at the ILCT Show in February 2011.

For the first time ever, operators worldwide will have a chance to make physical side-by-side comparisons of the two vehicles positioned to lead chauffeured luxury fleets into the long-term future.

“We got a lot of questions on the XTS at the last Show,” said Ray Bush, program manager for Cadillac Professional Vehicles, who was on hand for the press conference Wednesday morning. “We talked to people at the Show who were asking about it that we have never talked to before,” Bush told LCT in an interview after the XTS debut.

Cadillac is banking on a “wide open” market in the limousine industry, said Elliott Eichenholz, fleet account executive in the New England division of GM Fleet & Commercial Operations. “We have never seen as wide open a field with new players, with new opportunities, with new vehicles. This (XTS) is a true sedan that provides a real opportunity for Cadillac to reclaim its heritage within the industry.”

Exact specs on the XTS livery version have not been officially released, but Bush said the “W-20” XTS will include an amenities package suited to limousine/livery service, a 3-year/150,000 mile warranty package, heavy-duty mechanical enhancements, and a completely new transmission system different from that of the DTS. The platform of the XTS is slightly narrower than that of the former DTS, which ended production in May.

During the unveiling performance, a series of GM/Cadillac executives referred to the XTS as leading a vehicle “renaissance for Cadillac.” Redesigned from the inside out, the XTS is clearly pitched toward a “next-generation” auto marketplace and clientele. The longer wheel-based sedan features genuine leather and real wood interior trims “surrounded by luxurious materials and layers of details,” one vice president said. The XTS is “supple and quiet” with a responsive “Magnetic Ride Control” and virtual bumpers that can alert chauffeurs of obstacles while the vehicle is moving. It also features Cadillac’s signature CUE (Cadillac User Experience) technology system that facilitates use of GPS navigation, laptops, tablet computers, smartphones, iPods, and DVD viewing. One executive said the XTS has more luggage space than "any Audi or BMW sedan."

Executives from two of the top four chauffeured transportation companies — Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network and Boston Coach — were on hand at the unveiling to endorse the XTS, Eichenholz said. As major transportation networks with hundreds of global affiliates, Dav El and Boston Coach have the potential to influence buying decisions in favor of Cadillac among many smaller limo fleet operators nationwide. Dav El has exclusively used Cadillac vehicles for most of its fleet since 2000, and Boston Coach since 2003. “A lot of the local industry looks up to them,” Eichenholz said.  

One executive, Dav El CEO Scott Solombrino, who was present at the unveiling, told LCT that he is confident the XTS will be a winner in the limo marketplace. Solombrino said he believes any difference in legroom between the DTS and the XTS is negligible, since the interior has been redesigned in a way to maximize space, comfort and use of amenities. He plans to add the XTS to his fleet next Spring as soon as vehicles become available.

— Martin Romjue, LCT editor

Related Topics: Cadillac, Cadillac XTS, ILCT 2012, Los Angeles Auto Show, new vehicles, Scott Solombrino, sedans

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