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by Jay Traugott
While Lincoln struggles, Cadillac is at the top of its game as plans are announced for slew of new models.
"These are fun, happy times at Cadillac," says Don Butler, the brand's top marketing executive. Unlike Lincoln, Cadillac has clearly found its place in the 21st century automotive market. While Ford's luxury division struggles with brand identity (or lack thereof), Cadillac has become the poster child for a complete rebrand. Remember, only 10 years ago it was still building those big, rear-wheel-drive boats whose average buyer was between 70 years old and the grave.
With the launch of such new models as the ATS and one of our personal favorites, the CTS-V Wagon, Cadillac has successfully tapped into the next generation of buyers and taking on brands like BMW head-on and leaving behind that old AARP image. Cadillac, as a result, is feeling rather confident, and according to a new report from The Detroit Bureau, the top GM marque is preparing to launch up to 10 new models within the next three years. One of the most anticipated of these models will be the long-rumored flagship, possibly to be called the LTS. Unlike the front-drive XTS, the LTS will be a proper rear-wheel-drive sedan.
In addition, we're told to expect a compact crossover to compete with the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK, as well as the ELR, Cadillac's version of the Chevrolet Volt. Beyond those, the next-generation CTS will launch in less than two years' time and will reportedly grow in size to better compete with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. A new Escalade SUV will launch in 2014, with further development of the ATS platform to potentially include a coupe and a high-performance version to take on the M3.
In closing, Butler stated that "we're working on more new Cadillacs than at any time in the history of the brand... and that there are still a few spaces" that need to be filled. While the Ciel convertible concept stunned crowds at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance,
unfortunately, a direct production version won't be built, but a more practical variant is supposedly "well underway." At this point, Cadillac hasn't detailed any future plans beyond these, but a new concept is slated to debut next year at Pebble Beach.