Cadillac EV

Cadillac continues to chase a luxury buyer it can’t define

It’s easy to tread back on the times when Cadillac was considered the “standard of the world”. Those days have been over for decades though. Cadillac struggled through the Malaise era with its emissions-choked land barges to arrive in a new time of Art and Science. It was then that renewed interest was created in the brand thanks to sharp new designs, solid offerings, and a little help from Led Zeppelin. Still, absolute sure footing has never really been discovered. It seems Warren, Michigan’s own automaker takes a step forward while rock and rolling a few steps back.

Aspirational names have given way to bland alphanumerics. The Germans do it that way, so Cadillac thinks why shouldn’t we. Because the Germans have been doing it for long enough that people understand what it all means, even if they’re currently muddling their own alphabet soups. No one longs to put an XT4 in their driveway. While we don’t need the brand to bastardize past glory, some creativity in the marketing department could go a long way.

Now comes a new shot at confusing mediocrity. According to Car and Driver, Cadillac is rolling out a new naming scheme related to the output of its engines. The first model to wear this new badging is the upcoming XT6 crossover.  Out back, you’ll find a badge that reads “400”. That is in reference to the torque output of the 3.6-liter V6 mounted up front. Said torque output is being delivered in newton meters, which is a figure we don’t typically see here in the States. And the actual output is 367 newton meters. Which means Cadillac is rounding up this torque figure to the nearest 50.

We’re as perplexed as you are here.

Why this, now?

The amount of meetings, emails, and conversations that have led to this point is likely enough to make your scalp itch in places you can’t reach. Perhaps better time could be spent advancing the cause of Cadillac’s future electric platform direction. Examining more closely why the ATS isn’t a hit among potential customers that flock to the 3-Series, C-Class, A4, and IS seems a smart play. And offering up information on what Cadillac plans to do with its shrinking coupe and sedan offerings.

It’s odd that Cadillac is so late to jump into the EV space. General Motors has been playing with R&D here for quite some time. Despite that, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi are all beating Cadillac to the EV punch. Hell, Hyundai has a rock solid electric offering currently available in the Kona. Instead, Cadillac is chasing luxury buying targets it can’t seem to properly define.

Like its Michigan counterpart Ford, Cadillac appears eager to chase down the shifting whims of the luxury car buying public. This leaves the automaker making short-term decisions in an effort for a few more customers right now. When it could be charting a course that leads it into the future, and gets the competition (and those who own those vehicles) to take notice and follow suit. To become a new standard of the world.

That’s not the Cadillac we see today though. This is one happy to stick a dishonest badge on the tail of crossover, touting a figure that’s not even terribly impressive.

For those of you wondering, the XT6 makes 271 pound-feet of torque.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

28 responses to “Cadillac continues to chase a luxury buyer it can’t define”

  1. mdharrell Avatar

    “Aspirational names have given way to bland alphanumerics.”

    Yup, combining letters and numbers is a mistake. Cadillac never should have given up on single-letter model names.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Yeah yeah, I figured someone would bring up the truly old Cadillac models.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Well, I mean, they only made it as far as “T” over the course of about five years or so (depending on how one wishes to come to terms with the controversial retroactive naming of the very early cars) before switching to the “Thirty” so they didn’t exactly give the initial lettering method a fair shake.

      2. mdharrell Avatar

        Well, I mean, they only made it as far as “T” over the course of about five years or so (depending on how one wishes to come to terms with the controversial retroactive naming of the very early cars) before switching to the “Thirty” so they didn’t exactly give the initial lettering method a fair shake.

    2. Alff Avatar

      Really want a K with an H swap. That would be hiller.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Throw in a set of lamps and you’d really have something.

  2. outback_ute Avatar

    The ‘400’ is far to reminiscent of Audi’s recent move of assigning their different engines a non-specific ‘power’ value, but multiplied by 10. Why would you do something so blatantly copycat? Then again same could be said for the actual model names.

    Or have they learned nothing from the positive reaction to the Lincoln Continental name returning?

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Eh, the standard for years was set by using displacement as shorthand for power, and given the current tactic of either prorating to whatever hypothetical displacement would make the same power with natural aspiration (because no one wants to admit how many use 2.0T’s), or just rounding to whatever number sounds good for heritage reasons (Mercedes has been guilty of this on a few occasions, either with the actually 6.2L 63’s, or how they’re determining their artificial displacements, seeing as you have the option for an S450 or S560 this year), just going for straight power figures seems like a natural evolution.

      That said, using metric torque is a little devious (if admirably devious).

      1. nanoop Avatar

        20 years ago ‘s BMW 316, 318, 320 come to mind, all sharing the same displacement.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Was the 535i the first one to lie? It had a 3.4 litre engine.

  3. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    I have looked at Cadillac past and present and concluded their buyer profile is resoundingly “not me”, except for the M5 light tank, I’d really like one of them.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      That’s it, to this day I haven’t fully understood who buys Cadillacs – and why. What makes a Cadillac better than the competition? And when we go down that marketing slope head first, who wants to project the “I am a Cadillac person”-thing in their neighbourhood?

  4. Zentropy Avatar

    I wish automakers would get away from badging cars according to trim and output altogether. All of those details can be provided in the VIN and on the data plate. Your neighbors, co-workers, and guy driving behind you on the interstate honestly don’t give a damn if you have leather or cloth, or the V6 or twin-turbo four. And if they do, they can ask. All of this gratuitous badging is like wearing neon t-shirts that advertise your salary, your IQ, or your penis size.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      The 1959 Ford Select-Aire air conditioning unit isn’t as intrusively obvious as many of the earlier factory air conditioners, so Ford indicated its presence via a badge on the front passenger door, easily viewable from curbside by admiring pedestrians:×421.jpg

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        Ha! Despite being an immodest display of wealth, at least that badge is tastefully executed.

  5. kogashiwa Avatar

    If Cadillac were to bin every single model they have, and replace them with all the concept cars they’ve done over the past several years, they’d be in great shape. Why do they so consistently come up with great concepts and then chicken out?

  6. nanoop Avatar

    Using torque as a comparison or distinction makes sense across all the drive train concepts, since that is the only measurable performance figure that directly relates to daily experience (right foot down) and isn’t regulated by laws.
    Using it as a type designator is okay, better than calling it after your son (sorry, Alfredino Edsel). I just wonder what a version with 387Nm will be called…

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      In today’s world of sixes that trump eights, and where fours may be a pricey alternative to both– and especially with the hybrids and full-on electrics– torque does seem like a reasonable spectrum against which to measure them all. Rounding that number to the nearest hundred blurs the relevance, though, and I don’t look forward to the next round of the English vs. SI units debate.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        I do, however, look forward to the next round of the metric vs. metric debate: cgs = Convenient, God-given System; SI = Satan’s Invention.

        1. Zentropy Avatar

          I’m split on that issue, but ultimately I would side with SI. I think divisions should either be fundamental to a natural period (such as rotation and orbit of the earth, orbit of the moon, etc.) or else base-10. It’s one thing to choose a convenient (or even arbitrary) size for a standard unit of measure (like, say, the foot), but multiples and divisions of that unit should be base-ten. Not 12, or 60, or 3. After all, our number system is base-ten. I don’t do math in duodecimals, so why should I think of feet in twelfths?

        2. nanoop Avatar

          I could live with g/s for fuel consumption.

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            I like square millimeters for fuel economy:

            “Miles are units of length, and gallons are volume – which is length cubed… [The reciprocal of] 20 MPG is about 0.1 square millimeters… If you took all the gas you burned on a trip and stretched it into a thin tube along your route, 0.1 square millimeters would be the cross-sectional area of that tube.”



          2. Vairship Avatar

            I’m happy to see that they used a PT Cruiser for that illustration, which does indeed get about 0.1 square millimeters in city driving.

        3. Vairship Avatar

          You’ll be happy to know that in my profession, calculations can be done in SI, MKS, or US Customary.

          And in each of those, the units to be used are, as I like to call it, “consistently inconsistent”. The result is that (as seen in Part 3 Chapter 2 Section 1 paragraph 3.7.2) Moment of Inertia is calculated in cm2-m2 (or in2-ft2 for those afflicted by feet and thumbs).

  7. Alff Avatar

    Across the board, the auto industry is creating fantastic products that are almost completely devoid of emotional appeal. Maybe it’s just me.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      It was less practical than the Volt (only two doors, and only a small trunk lid instead of a hatchback), cost almost twice as much, and as a result was a massive failure:

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        Tied up with a branding and build quality issue too? Otherwise people wouldn’t have paid all that extra money for an Audi A3, or TT, instead of a Skoda Octavia, or a Golf?