Cadillac sees retail sales rising, less fleet business
LAS VEGAS -- General Motors is seeking to increase Cadillac's retail sales about 13 percent this year as it prepares for its busiest product-launch schedule in many years.
Cadillac executives have set a 156,000-unit U.S. retail sales target for this year, executives told dealers at the make meeting. That would be up about 13 percent from Cadillac's retail sales in 2011.
Fleet sales will continue to drop, part of Cadillac's plan to increase pricing power and residuals. Its fleet sales fell about one-third in 2011 and are expected to drop another 30 percent this year, said Kurt McNeil, Cadillac's vice president of sales and service.
Cadillac is planning two 15-city tours to introduce dealers to the XTS large sedan and ATS sports sedan, which are being launched this year, dealers said.
One tour is planned ahead of the spring launch of the XTS. The other will happen this summer, before the late-summer ATS launch, dealers said.
Dealers also will get training on Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system, which will go into both the XTS and ATS. Cadillac executives stressed that they view CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, as a competitive advantage as they seek to compete against BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and other luxury rivals.
"They feel like CUE can be a big differentiator for us," said Lynn Thompson, a Springfield, Mo., dealer who sells Cadillac, Buick and GMC. "The dealers are excited about that and the new product we're getting."
Cadillac also expects to increase its lease penetration this year, dealers said, in a move that would capitalize on its higher residual values and improve customer retention.
Cadillac is asking dealers to accelerate the establishment of a courtesy transportation program that the brand started last fall for service customers. So far, it has doubled the number of vehicles in its nationwide loaner fleet.
Some dealers said they were impressed by the ATS commercial that Cadillac aired during the Super Bowl, its first commercial during the big game since 2007. The ad came a full six months before the ATS arrives in showrooms.
Cadillac executives told dealers that they wanted to steal some thunder from BMW's redesigned 3 series, which goes on sale this week. GM is aiming the ATS squarely at the 3 series, which leads the compact luxury sedan segment.
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