Cadillac aims for double-digit growth

Ferguson: About 550 of Cadillac's roughly 900 dealers are signed up to carry the ELR.
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NEW ORLEANS -- Cadillac is planning for U.S. sales growth of at least 10 percent this year as it rolls out at least three new or redesigned vehicles, dealers were told at the make meeting.

"The message was, it's all-around growth," Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of global Cadillac, told reporters after the Sunday meeting here. He confirmed that Cadillac is shooting for "double-digit" sales growth in the United States but declined to cite a specific figure.

Cadillac sales shot up 22 percent in 2013, to 182,543 vehicles although the pace of sales slowed during the fourth quarter. Ferguson's 2014 forecast suggests Cadillac is looking to boost its market share, since most forecasters predict overall light-vehicle sales increasing in a range of 3 to 5 percent.

"They're projecting double-digit growth, and I can't see how we won't hit that," said Lynn Thompson, a Cadillac and Buick-GMC dealer in Springfield, Mo. "We've already got a ton of new product, and more coming."

Dealers were shown a new commercial for the 2014 ELR plug-in hybrid coupe, which began arriving in dealerships this month. Ferguson said the spot will be broadcast during NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, which start next week.

About 550 of Cadillac's roughly 900 dealers are signed up to carry the ELR, Ferguson said. Dealers are required to have special tooling to service the car, and some dealers have pegged the cost of equipment and training at around $20,000.

Ferguson said many Cadillac dealers who also sell Chevrolet already had the required tooling for the Volt hatchback, which shares the ELR's powertrain.

Bill Peffer, Cadillac's vice president of U.S. sales and service, said the ELR, which is priced at $75,995, including shipping, is being offered as a lease at $699 per month.

Dealers have begun ordering the redesigned 2015 Escalade SUV, which should arrive in showrooms by late April, Peffer said.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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