Cadillac may convert the DeVille to rear-wheel drive when a new version debuts for the 2007 model year, dealers were told at the make meeting.
Cadillac officials earlier indicated the DeVille might be an exception to Cadillac's move to rwd. The reasoning was that the current front-wheel-drive version would help Cadillac retain its older, traditional buyers while it moved most of its car lineup to rwd.
Dealer Bob Thomas of Bob Thomas Cadillac in Bend, Ore., said Cadillac also gave strong indications it will build an ultraluxury car incorporating elements of the Sixteen concept car, which is a V-16, 1,000-hp sedan that was displayed at the Detroit auto show last month.
"They did talk about being very serious about building a very prestigious car of the ilk of the Sixteen," Thomas said.
Mark LaNeve, Cadillac marketing general manager, confirmed that GM wants to do "an ultraluxury, super-premium, almost unattainable-type product," but said plans are not complete.
Thomas also said dealers are being asked to pay $12,000 to $14,000 to carry the XLR roadster being launched this year. The fee primarily will cover enhanced training for sales and service personnel.
"I think a significant amount is to make sure we're prepared to competently deliver a $75,000 automobile," Thomas said. "It's not unreasonable, but you're not going to get your investment back initially." About 900 of 1,200 Cadillac dealers have signed up, he added.
LaNeve said Cadillac has been emphasizing training as it prepares to bring out the XLR, the SRX sport wagon and the CTS V Series performance roadster. The array of options on the SRX also will test dealers, he said. "The SRX is the first car for us that you can order a V-6 or a V-8, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, ultra-view roof or not, magnetic ride control or not," he said. "So there's a lot of combinatons."
LaNeve also said Cadillac met its goal of selling 30,000 certified used vehicles in 2002 and is aiming to sell 35,000 in 2003. He predicted that by the first quarter of 2004, 150 Cadillac dealers will have store renovations using Cadillac's new architectural and interior design theme.