Strong sales of the redesigned 2000 Cadillac DeVille have pushed Cadillac to allocate all of its DTS and DHS DeVilles for the rest of the model year, including those equipped with Night Vision.
That means Cadillac dealers know exactly how many DeVilles in the DTS and DHS trim levels they are getting through the next four months, instead of the usual four weeks.
If dealers want more, they'll have to wait until the 2001 model year, beginning in July, when Cadillac plans to boost production of those trim levels by one-third.
Cadillac is building about 30,000 DTS and DHS versions for the 2000 model year, or about 30 percent of its total production. The remaining 70 percent are base DeVilles. For the old 1999 DeVille, DTS and DHS trim versions represented only 20 percent of the total production.
'I wish I had 40,000,' said Pat Kemp, DeVille brand manager.
Overall DeVille sales for the first two months of 2000 increased 50.9 percent over the same period in 1999.
Kemp said Cadillac could sell more DTS and DHS versions, but a limited supply of parts makes it impossible to build more. For the 2001 model year, Cadillac plans to build about 40,000 DTS and DHS versions, he said.
More than 5,000 of the DTS and DHS 2000 DeVilles are equipped with Night Vision, an exclusive $1,995 option that uses an infrared camera and a head-up display to give drivers a better view of the road at night.
Cadillac is working with supplier Raytheon Systems Co. to increase capacity of Night Vision for 2001.
'We don't expect (demand for Night Vision) to subside at all,' Kemp said. 'I really don't know where the ceiling is.'
Kemp said GM's Hamtramck, Mich., plant is at capacity for the new DeVille, building about 10,000 DeVilles per month. Cadillac had a 37-day supply of DeVilles as of March 1. Kemp's target is a 60-day supply.
Cadillac has targeted the sporty DTS model toward a younger buyer with a keen interest in new technology, such as Night Vision.
Kemp said Cadillac has found success with the DeVille in some of its weaker markets. DeVille sales are up in southern Florida and have doubled in the Western region.