Replacement for ATS and CTS has a wider, more dynamic stance
Cadillac’s pledge to launch a new vehicle every six months continues with the introduction of the 2020 CT5, a sedan that essentially replaces the ATS and CTS in the luxury brand’s lineup. A smaller CT4 will be shown later this year, the CT6 remains available, and Cadillac’s crossover lineup is expanding, too. The XT4 recently launched, the new three-row XT6 goes on sale soon, and a refreshed XT5 will be shown later this year.
“We’re still very committed to sedans,” Cadillac president Steve Carlisle said. People who buy sedans often do so deliberately—they are SUV-rejecters. “Sedans also serve as a gateway to the brand,” he said. And there is ample opportunity for growth in key large markets such as China so Cadillac will not be exiting the car market any time soon.
Visitors to the 2019 New York auto show next month will see the 2019 Cadillac CT5, which is being assembled at the Lansing Grand River plant and will be on sale near the end of the year. A social media campaign starts rolling out today with new videos weekly until the final one April 16, ahead of the auto show.
The CT5 will have a standard 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and optional 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6. Both are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The new Cadillac is a rear-drive car, on the Alpha architecture, and all-wheel drive will be available on all trim levels.
Under the new badging system Cadillac is implementing, the back end will sport a new badge that says 350T, meaning the 275-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter engine will deliver approximately 350 newton meters (Nm) of torque (295 lb-ft). The 3.0-liter generates about 404 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, which would require a torque-figure badge that rounds up to say 550T. The “T” denotes turbocharged.
Super Cruise to be added later
The CT5 will have Cadillac’s Super Cruise hands-free, highway driver-assistance system during its lifecycle but the semi-autonomous feature will not be available at launch. That is similar to its debut on the CT6; Super Cruise was added for the third model year. All models of Cadillac will get Super Cruise starting in 2020.
On the CT6, take rate of the package that includes Super Cruise was 18 percent initially, but as awareness has grown, the take rate grew to 34 percent at the end of 2018 and is now approaching 50 percent, Carlisle said. Engineers are continually updating the software of the system that focuses on hands-free lane centering, braking and acceleration on freeways but does not do passing maneuvers or tackle on/off ramps.
CT5 ushers in new look
The 2020 CT5 showcases a new design direction and aesthetic language for the brand, says Andrew Smith, executive director of Global Cadillac Design. The new Cadillac sedan features a wide stance, aggressive front, big wheels, and crisp lines along the side and in the hood.
The Art and Science era still offers rough direction but this car takes it further. That means vertical lights remain, but the taillights have been reinterpreted, in part so that the back end of all Cadillacs don’t look the same. Time for more individual character. The car has a wide blacked-out mesh grille, reminiscent of the CT6 and XT6, and derived from the Escala concept.
Inside, it appears there is a nicer grain of wood on the dash and doors. The infotainment system is the next generation of what used to be called CUE with a large screen integrated into the dash and a rotary controller for the functions. In addition to the Cadillac crest, the “Cadillac” script is used throughout the vehicle.
The car follows Cadillac’s Y strategy, so the CT5 will be offered as a Luxury or a Sport model, each with a distinct look and ride character.
“Boring sedans are dead,” Smith said. “Awesome sedans will be around for a long while.” It is a tactic other automakers committed to cars are taking, as well. Hyundai’s new 2020 Sonata, for example, is more upscale and dramatic than its predecessor.
Feel that video
Before the 2020 CT5 is unveiled in New York in late April, the public can get a digital sneak peek with a series of videos that use ASMR technology, which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and is designed to stimulate the senses by watching it. The idea is you don’t just see someone on screen smoking a cigarette, you hear the crackle as it burns. Cadillac wants consumers to hear and feel the sounds of the CT5, from the rev of the engine to the Bose speakers to the sound of camouflage wrap being peeled off the car for its reveal.
The campaign, under the direction of Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wall, can be viewed on Cadillac’s YouTube page and through its social media channels.
As part of its continual restructuring, Cadillac has moved out of its New York headquarters, known as Cadillac House, vacating two floors of office space. The Gallery in the lower level, used as event space, will remain open until the end of May to honor booked commitments. Employees (about 60 percent are moving back to Detroit) and furniture are in transit to Cadillac’s new digs in Warren, Michigan, which will have a ribbon cutting at the renovated building on April 1 for its roughly 110 new tenants.