DETROIT — Cadillac's recent product blitz, including two new crossovers, has put the luxury brand on pace for its first U.S. retail sales gain since 2013.
Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said the brand also expects to set its second-consecutive global sales record. That's partly because of growth in China, despite declining industry sales in the world's largest vehicle market.
Carlisle said Cadillac's U.S. retail sales started slow but have picked up steam — they declined 12 percent in the first quarter but rose 15 percent in the third — thanks to the introduction of the XT6 and freshening of the XT5 this summer. Year-to-date, retail sales are up 2.4 percent, Carlisle said last week.
"Now's the time to start putting points on the board," he said. "We've put ourselves in a much better position having built out our crossover portfolio and renewing our sedan portfolio."
The brand is in the midst of introducing a new or redesigned vehicle about every six months through 2021. The next-generation Escalade SUV is scheduled to be unveiled in February and go sale later.
The Escalade eventually will get the brand's Super Cruise hands-free driver-assist system, which Carlisle said will come with expanded features — strongly hinting that automatic lane-changing would be one.
Carlisle expects even more dramatic changes to the lineup over the next decade, with most, if not all, new Cadillacs becoming battery-electric by 2030.
At the same time, the brand will drop its alphanumeric nameplates and transition back to actual words as it adds EVs.
"We're entering the decade as an internal-combustion-engine brand," he said. "We'll exit the decade as a battery-electric brand. It's the end of the ICE age for Cadillac."
Carlisle said its redesigned vehicles likely will go through midcycle freshenings early in the decade before transitioning to an EV architecture. He suggested that the Escalade nameplate would stick around once the full-size SUV shifts to battery power.
General Motors plans for Cadillac to lead its electrification efforts as the automaker introduces 20 new all-electric vehicles globally by 2023.