The Cadillac brand continues to add new models, with the XTS and ATS joining the fold in 2012, the ELR in 2013 and updates of current models also rolling out. General Motors is on a roll with its luxury brand, a formidable competitor to the likes of BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Audi and other premium brands. One new model that will likely be introduced is a subcompact crossover, but you will have to wait until 2014 to see this vehicle.
Plans for a small crossover SUV are progressing, a model that will compete against the BMW 1 Series. This will not be the first time that GM has offered a premium subcompact crossover SUV as the automaker now has the Buick Encore in its fold. Still, its top brand has lacked such a model, a vehicle that will slot below the SRX when it is introduced.
Details about the upcoming Cadillac model are scarce, but Automotive News interviewed Cadillac head Bob Ferguson to confirm the rumored vehicle's existence. Ferguson noted that such a model was in the planning stages, but did not commit to this model being sold in North America, at least not initially.
GM has been expanding Cadillac's visibility across China and is in the process of relaunching the brand in Europe, a market that is beset by overcapacity and economic struggles. Still, GM sees Europe as important to Cadillac's ultimate success and will likely offer the unnamed crossover to the market when it is released Asia. That means the crossover will offer at least one diesel engine, a powerplant that could also find its way to America.
Cadillac is currently outselling its America rival, Lincoln, by a 2-to-1 margin. However, parent Ford Motor Company has committed to invest billions in resurrecting Lincoln, a brand that was the top luxury make as recently as 1998. At the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Lincoln MKC concept was unveiled – that vehicle, expected to go into production for 2014 would compete directly against the BMW 1 Series as well as the upcoming Cadillac model.
There are two very good reasons why Cadillac will offer a diminutive crossover SUV. The first reason is that the brand must appeal to younger and more urbane buyers. Cadillac's future hinges on expanding its appeal, therefore upwardly mobile 30-something Buyers would be targeted.
The second reason for the model is that stronger fleet fuel economy requirements are gradually kicking in. The brand, long dependent on oversized SUVs such as the Escalade and big sedans such as the retired DTS, must offset its larger vehicles with smaller models. It is reasonable to believe that the new crossover might possibly offer a hybrid model too, one that would get 40 mpg.
For Cadillac, every new model comes with some risks. The luxury market continues to grow, but the strongest players have been raising the bar quickly. The new Cadillac crossover SUV must be executed flawlessly or risk alienating potential buyers. That's a risk GM will work to overcome, by presenting a new model that meets, even exceeded expectations.