Cadillac was accused of being a copycat when it unveiled its Escalade EXT luxury sport/utility pickup several months after Ford Motor Co.'s Blackwood debuted, but the roles are reversed regarding first to market.

Cadillac began shipping Escalade EXT Nov. 7 and sold 16 units as of Nov 28. Meanwhile, Blackwood, which was supposed to be out earlier this year, currently is being shipped to dealerships, Ford claims, after difficulties with its tonneau cover delayed the production launch.

“I took a beating last summer,” says Escalade Brand Manager Susan Docherty. “Everyone was saying, ‘You're going to be late to market. The Blackwood is going to be there before you.’ And I said, ‘Let's just wait and see.’ Well, it's (the fourth quarter) and I haven't see any Blackwoods yet.”

Job One for Escalade EXT was Oct. 15 at General Motors Corp.'s Silao, Mexico, assembly plant. Plans call for 2,500 units to be built by year end. Deliveries will be aimed at major metro markets initially, and by Feb. 1 every Cadillac dealer will have an Escalade EXT, Docherty says.

Cadillac is aiming for Escalade EXT annual sales of 12,000. Lincoln is looking at about the same for the Blackwood.