When people ask me if we're working on the future of Cadillac, I say, "We're working on the Cadillac of futures."
As General Motors' lead brand on electric vehicles, Cadillac will lead us to the future.
Even as we work to get there, we remain laser-focused on the flurry of activity around Cadillac today. Some recent media reports, including in this publication, have questioned Cadillac's strategy and neglected its progress.
Cadillac's modern brand identity is well established, and we are building an arsenal of products and technologies that will differentiate Cadillac and take it to the next level in the marketplace, despite the slings and arrows of the pundits and naysayers. In fact, by every critical measure — sales, quality, dealer engagement and customer satisfaction — Cadillac is making great progress.
Most important, we are launching an onslaught of new vehicles. You'll see a new Cadillac car, crossover or SUV just about every six months, on average, through 2021. At that point, Cadillac dealers will have new products in segments that represent 90 percent of U.S. luxury market sales.
Cadillac's popularity isn't limited to the U.S. Global luxury sales are growing, and Cadillac's global volume is growing accordingly. Since 2009, Cadillac's global sales have grown by an average of nearly 13 percent annually. Last year, Cadillac posted the best sales total in its 117-year history, and in the United States we gained retail share in three segments.
Momentum continues to build in 2019. Cadillac retail sales rose about 4 percent in the second quarter, led by our expanded SUV lineup:
- Since being launched last year, the XT4 quickly became and remains the bestselling vehicle in the segment.
- Escalade remains No. 1 with a bullet in large luxury SUVs, despite nearing the end of its life cycle. It has an 8,000-unit lead over its nearest rival while delivering significant profitability for our dealers.
- XT6 deliveries began in June, and we sold more than 1,000 units in July before its August media launch. We expect it to do even better based on the largely positive reviews, despite a hotly competitive segment and recent reports to the contrary in this publication.
The next-generation Escalade is on the way to round out the SUV lineup with an exclamation point. Cadillac also has a stable of new and freshened sedans that will soon be complete with the arrival of the CT5 and CT4 and their V-series stablemates. Sedans will continue to play a critical role in the portfolio as an alternative for SUV rejectors and an entrance point into luxury for some. Needless to say, we expect the sales momentum to continue and increase in the near future. And we haven't even mentioned the EVs that will lead Cadillac's journey to an all-electric future.
Before we do, a word about internal combustion: Internal combustion engines have a critical role in Cadillac's portfolio now and into the foreseeable future. We have a firm grasp on the value they provide our customers to meet their lifestyles.
We have customers who need to tow things, and the XT6 and Escalade have powertrains that handle those tasks with reassuring ease. Also, we have customers who want the palpable thrill and exhilaration of out-and-out performance, and our V-series vehicles will meet and beat their expectations.
We intend to exceed customer expectations in every aspect of the vehicle, no matter the vehicle, inside and out, from the driving experience to passenger comfort and convenience. No trade-offs, no compromises. We have a signature ride character that can be defined as isolated precision, meaning the ultimate in ride refinement without sacrifices — the best of both worlds. You can have isolation and feel connected to the road at the same time. You don't have to feel forced to make a choice.
Add to that a host of connectivity and advanced technology features, including a bit of the future today with Super Cruise, which spreads from CT6 to CT5 in 2020, on its way to reaching the entire Cadillac lineup.
The excellence in our product offerings extends to the entire sales and ownership experience. We continue to see improvements in all critical areas, not only sales but also in quality and dealer satisfaction, as evidenced in the most recent third-party studies and surveys available. We'll also continue to think and act beyond the traditional sales model to provide a range of mobility solutions and services.
This is all happening right now at Cadillac. It's going to accelerate the brand's momentum and reputation as we advance toward a future that's going to be even more exciting — and electric. As an automotive lifer, I find it reassuring and inspiring to know that one of the industry's most storied brands is going to lead the way.
Editor's note: The Automotive News Data Center classifies the XT4 as a compact premium crossover, and it was the No. 5-selling nameplate in the segment in the first half of this year in total sales. GM places the XT4 in a different category, and Reuss' comments refer only to retail sales.
In addition, an earlier version of this editor’s note regarding the Cadillac Escalade’s ranking in the premium SUV segment did not include sales of the Escalade ESV nameplate. Again, Reuss’ comments refer only to retail sales.