The strength of Cadillac's new Deville and its first SUV, Escalade, are expected to give the division a 10% increase in sales in 2000 compared to 1999.
Cadillac dealers will sell close to 100,000 Devilles in 2000, up 20% over the previous year. Escalade, which is an admitted re-badge job of a GMC Denali - a stop-gap until a true Cadillac SUV was ready - has been very good for GM's luxury division.
"The Escalade has exceeded what we anticipated, not only with volume and profitability, but with the kinds of customers it's drawing to Cadillac," says Michael J. O'Malley, Cadillac's first-year marketing general manager. "Escalade buyers are younger, more affluent and have a higher education level."
Since the in-between Escalade did so well, Cadillac expects the new, purpose-built Escalade to perform even better.
"We've got the new one coming, with all the Cadillac stuff in it, and it's on track and we're expecting great things from that vehicle next year," says Mr. O'Malley.
The "Cadillac stuff" includes an exclusive-to-Cadillac 345-horsepower, 6-liter Vortec engine, seven-passenger seating, a Stabilitrak stability control system and interior appointments that are uniquely Cadillac.
"Our production forecast right now for Escalade is in the mid-20,000 range, but we can make more than that if we need to," says Mr. O'Malley. "We're going to be careful about how many we produce to keep supply and demand in a tight equilibrium. But we'll make as many as they can sell."
Deville and Escalade will be fresh in 2001. Catera will be in its last year before a redo. A freshening up of Eldorado is two years away.
Seville and the STS are down 15% in 2000, says Mr. O'Malley.
"I think that's attributable to the fact that the vehicle is getting a little long in the tooth," he explains. "We need to do something with that vehicle to freshen it up and get better performance out of it."
Cadillac also is working on improving the performance of its LeMans racing program, which debuted for Cadillac in 2000. This globally recognized racing program has become a marketing advantage for Cadillac's dealers elsewhere in the world, yet not in America.
"The European and the Asian dealers are all over it. They think it's terrific," says Mr. O'Malley. "Not all of our U.S. dealers are that aware, but they are becoming more aware because we are including it in our communications."
He says a Phoenix dealer told him Cadillac's LeMans involvement attracts people to his dealership who wouldn't normally consider Cadillac.