PHOENIX - Cadillac is adding an unusual round of tests to ensure high quality for its new two-passenger sports car.
Engineers and marketers working on the XLR are driving the first 240 salable cars about 1,700 miles each, testing for squeaks and other flaws. When the testing is over, the cars will be shipped to dealers and sold as used.
The XLR, the second car with Cadillac's new angular styling, likely will be the most expensive Cadillac of this decade. Cadillac wants the car to give the brand credibility in the eyes of Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar buyers, especially those who drive the Mercedes SL500 and Jaguar XK8. New cars go on sale in July.
The unusual test fleet is the final evaluation to discover rattles and fit and finish problems during assembly, says Dave Leone, XLR chief engineer.
The car is not assembled on a moving line, which Cadillac says will improve quality. Instead, the XLR proceeds through a 36-station general assembly area, where the car spends about 20 minutes in each station.
"Each one of the operators at the station has a flat-screen monitor that describes the process, methods and techniques, what they have to complete and check," Leone says.