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The Future of Cadillac

Often paraphrased, misappropriated and/or translated in error, there is an ancient Chinese curse that states something along the lines of, “May you live in interesting times.” Depending on who you ask, the intent of the words might be either beneficent or damning in nature, but it’s certainly appropriate when talking about current auto news. Never before has the surplus of automotive headlines felt as though they were heralding in lasting change. Such headlines include advances in autonomous driving or sustainable fuels, announcements of weight reductions or even large-scale purging of models within a lineup.

The latter, such as Ford’s recent announcement that their car lineup will be excised (with the obvious exception of the Mustang) to offer a clean slate upon which to work, is a perfect example of the headlines that grab our attention. Despite the ever-urgent need for eco-friendly solutions, the masses tend to accept a mindset of ‘continual progress’. In terms of autonomous driving, sure, it’s neat to think about, but most of us still experience a mixture of uncertain uneasiness and simple lack of interest. But any announcement of a massive change to a recognizable brand is news that feels tangible. Immediately appreciable.

But Ford’s not the only industry leader with big changes in mind. Across the lake and up a few rungs, General Motors has announced a significant reinvestment in Cadillac, to the tune of $175 million plus. The overhaul of a major production facility will allow for the production of a new sedan, expected to be called the CT5, followed by the CT4 sedan and (according to plan) a new vehicle every six months through 2021.

This investment is the icing on top of a $464 million cake, summing up the total amount GM has invested in the luxury brand over the last two years. It represents the continued efforts to move forward from the 8% decrease in domestic sales that Cadillac had experienced n 2017, after increasing global sales by 16% in 2018.

Also, it’s worth noting the automaker has decided to discontinue the Cadillac ATS sedan after 2018, adding that the new (CT5 & CT4) sedans will replace it, as well as the soon-to-be-axed CTS and XTS.

If the intent is to make an attention-grabbing statement, GM is taking all the right steps. The aggressive introduction of so many vehicles would be bold for any automaker, and the high-profile nature of the Cadillac legacy (especially in the United States and China) amplifies the interest and (I’d assume) the long-term projections in terms of profit. Smart thinking, considering the legacy-free headline success of upstarts like Tesla.

And speaking of ‘legacy’ it seems as though Cadillac is discarding its more refined image, to sound the battle drums.

And if you’re really into autonomous driving, but still fixed on what Cadillac is doing, here’s a look at their flagship CT6 sedan which highlights the Super Cruise feature.