WHITE PLAINS, NY â€“Corp. sets late October for Job One of the â€™09 Cadillac CTS-V.
The super speedster, which goes on sale in November and will take on high-performance competitors from Mercedes-Benz and, will be assembled on the same line at the Lansing (MI) Grand River plant as the conventional CTS.
Cadillac bills the CTS-V as the fastest sedan for the money in the U.S. Volume targets have not been revealed, but John F. Howell, product director, says the plant could make as many as 8,000 CTS-Vs if demand develops.
That would equate to about 10% of CTS production, which has been averaging about 6,000 units per month. Howell expects annual CTS volume to be 70,000-80,000 units.
Although official pricing has yet to be announced, he forecasts the average transaction price for the â€™09 model in the low- to the mid-$60,000 range.
The revamped CTS-V offers a 6-speed automatic transmission that should increase the carâ€™s appeal, Howell says. Offered as a no-cost option, about two-thirds of CTS-V sales will be equipped with automatics, he predicts.
A first-year sales target of 8,000 units is â€śa little optimistic,â€ť Howell admits. But there has been a lot of interest in the car at dealerships and on the Internet, he adds.
Half of CTS-V sales will be incremental to the brand, Howell predicts.
Because the automatic transmission will attract a new type of buyer to the CTS-V, Cadillac forecasts an increase in demand for a wider range of options. Past models were considered driverâ€™s cars, but more customers who select the automatic transmission will purchase additional comfort and entertainment features.
The CTS-V will be sold globally for the first time, with Europe, the Middle East and Asia considered prime export markets.
Cadillac has been boasting of the CTS-Vâ€™s top speed of nearly 200 mph (322 km/h) during testing at the famed Nurburgring track in Germany. The principal German competitors have an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h), but Cadillac decided to not restrict the speed of the â€™09 CTS-V.
The new sports sedan is powered by a 6.2L V-8 generating 556 hp and 551 lb.-ft. (747 Nm) of torque. Itâ€™s the most powerful engine in Cadillacâ€™s 106-year history.
Cadillac is hopeful this level of power will make the CTS-V a more serious contender in a segment benchmarked by the Mercedes E63 andM5.
BMW of North America LLC says M5 sales totaled 988 units in the U.S. through July 31, about 60% of worldwide sales.
Mercedes-Benz USA is unable to provide a specific number for E63 sales but says the model accounts for about 5% of E-Class sales. It delivered 25,101 E-Class cars through July, putting U.S. E-63 volume at about 1,200-plus units.
GM expects CTS-V sales to surpass those totals by a wide margin.