DETROIT -- In Cadillac and Lincoln showrooms, the battle of the behemoths is on.
General Motors is stepping up its defense of the Escalade SUV, a cash cow for Cadillac and the company, by offering $10,000 discounts to some current customers to keep them from straying to Ford Motor Co.'s hot-selling new Lincoln Navigator.
The nationwide $10,000 deal applies to lessees of all 2016 model Escalades, and owners are being offered a $7,500 discount. The promotion runs through May 31, according to a memo GM sent dealers that was obtained by Bloomberg News. Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, confirmed its authenticity, calling it "an exclusive private offer" designed to "keep people in the family."
GM has ample reason to keep Escalade buyers coming back. The big SUV generates outsize profit from relatively modest sales: Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas has estimated it produces about $1 billion in annual profit, contributing to a $2 billion earnings advantage GM has across all its large SUVs over Ford.
"GM is trying to keep Escalade buyers out of Navigators, for sure," Jeff Schuster, an analyst at LMC Automotive, said by phone. "You've got a fresh Navigator and you've got an Escalade that is not new and is starting to age."