PARADISE VALLEY, AZ — Cadillac is promising a retail experience unrivaled in its history of customer relations when the XLR sports coupe starts arriving at dealerships this month.

Among the perks Cadillac is offering XLR buyers is free scheduled maintenance and personalization of the convertible before delivery with specific owner requests, such as pre-set radio stations.

“It'll be a new thing, but I could see it easily rolled out to other Cadillac models,” says Renee Conneally, XLR product manager.

“We tried to learn things from other industries, too. We had a relationship with (jewelry maker) Bvlgari, who designed our instrument cluster. We tried to learn things about customer service,” says Conneally.

Cadillac is specially preparing its dealers for XLR buyers.

Customers also will be able to skip the vehicle briefing typically given by sales personnel before handing over the keys. They instead can schedule a follow-up meeting at the dealership in the following weeks. “Some people just want to come in, get their car and jump in it and drive because they're excited,” Conneally says.

By registering at Cadillac.com for XLR information, consumers are assigned a personal assistant, ready to answer questions by phone or email.

Of Cadillac's 1,300 dealerships in the U.S., about 900 have qualified to sell the XLR. To qualify, Cadillac considers a dealership's sales within the last 12 months and the popularity of competitive vehicles in the region, such as Mercedes SL500 and Jaguar XK8.

Most showrooms only will get one '04 XLR. But dealers in target areas (including California, Texas, Florida, New York and Chicago) will get more.

Conneally expects annual sales will match yearly deliveries made by competitors, which range from 4,000 units to 14,000 units.