Attract new, keep old
While the XTS will take on the mantle of Cadillac's flagship for now, most industry insiders believe that GM will develop a range-topping rear-wheel drive sedan to take on the BMW 7 series, Audi A8 and Mercedes S class.
The XTS will be sold overseas eventually, although GM hasn't finalized specific plans, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said. China is expected to be a big market for the car down the road.
Cadillac, once the top-selling luxury brand in the United States, has fallen behind rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus at home and abroad. It last topped the U.S. luxury sales chart in 1997, and trails BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus this year through October.
GM is counting on the XTS to attract new buyers to its luxury brand while not alienating older, traditional Cadillac buyers, who made the DTS and STS sedans big sellers. Those two models accounted for 34 percent of Cadillac's sales as recently as 2008.
Roominess should help keep some of those age 60-plus buyers in the fold. Rear-seat leg room is 40 inches, which GM says is 4 inches more than the BMW 5 series and Mercedes-Benz E class and edges the Audi A6 by a couple of inches.
And the XTS' trunk space of 18 cubic feet bests both mid-sized and some large luxury sedans, GM says. It is even more cavernous than the trunks of the BMW 7 series and Audi A8.
Ed Welburn, head of global design for GM, said the XTS will play a key role in the Cadillac portfolio with the demise of the STS and DTS.
While the CTS and Escalade SUV have been successful, Welburn said a truly modern large sedan has been missing from the Cadillac lineup for some time.
"That is really what this vehicle is all about -- doing a contemporay full size sedan for the brand, one that has great interior space and a very efficient body dimension," he said.