Auto blogThu, 21 Aug 2014
Cadillac has been racking up victories with the CTS.V.R in Pirelli World Challenge racing for two model generations now, including recent GT class championships in 2012 and 2013. However, even winning racers eventually have to retire, and it looks like the CTS may be taking a bow at the end of the season. In its place, Caddy is reportedly working on a new racecar based on the ATS Coupe, and it might even get to compete internationally.
According to Racer, Pratt & Miller Engineering is leading the development and is already lapping the ATS racecar in Michigan for testing. It reportedly drops the CTS' V8 in favor of a twin-turbocharged V6 powering the rear wheels. Since this is the same team behind the hugely successful Corvette Racing program and the current CTS.V.R, the latest car appears to be in good hands.
The new model would also adhere to GT3 rules, according to Racer, and that might signal a big change for Cadillac's motorsports program. It means that the ATS could be sold to teams in the numerous series around the world that accept these vehicles. That would broaden the luxury coupe's exposure and put it up against GT3 racecars from premium brands, like Bentley, Porsche and McLaren. If it wins, the change could be a marketing bonanza for the brand.
Lincoln went through it during the launch of the MKZ last year, Jeep went through something similar with its Cherokee launch, and now the 2015 Cadillac Escalade has apparently caught the bug: dealer delivery delays because of quality control checks. Automotive News reports that Cadillac dealers have been waiting three times longer than usual - a month or more - from the time an Escalade leaves the assembly line to when it gets delivered. Worse, dealers are saying they don't always know where their vehicles are in transit, or when they are set to arrive. The situation has upset customers who have put down deposits and things have gotten so bad that some dealers have reportedly stopped taking pre-orders.
Cadillac says it has the delay, called "dwell time," down to two weeks, and it expects to cut that to a week by the beginning of September. The company said "a lengthy quality-assurance process on some interior parts" has caused the lag, the report citing additional issues with figuring out which vehicles should be delivered first. A spokesman said that more trucks have been put in the distribution system to work through the backlog, but it's clear it's still going to take some time to set things right, with one dealer telling AN that cars ordered in February and March still haven't arrived.
Brand chief Kurt McNeil said additional personnel are at the Escalade's Arlington, Texas factory to speed up the checks, and spreadsheets tracking every order have been distributed to field staff. Even with the snafu, though, the Escalade is Cadillac's best seller through July.
Compact luxury sedans are fast becoming the trend among upscale automakers. Mercedes has the new CLA (and its many platform-mates), BMW has the 1 Series and 2 Series, Audi has the A3 and, though Lexus apparently isn't interested in anything smaller than its CT 200h, Infiniti is getting in on the action with a compact model of its own. It would only follow logically, then, that Cadillac should launch a competitor, and according to the latest reports, that's just what it has in store.
Speaking with Car and Driver, Cadillac marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus confirmed that such a project is in the works. But unlike its rivals, Cadillac aims to go with a rear-wheel-drive layout. This despite research that apparently indicates that a surprising 80 percent of owners think that their BMW 1 Series is front-drive. It's the driving dynamics and styling proportions that motivate Ellinghaus and his colleagues to stick with rear-drive, however.
The new model would in all likelihood be based on the same GM Alpha architecture that underpins the ATS and CTS - a platform that has helped Cadillac keep the weight down on both models and which is expected to underpin the next-generation Chevy Camaro, as well. The sub-ATS could be positioned as a four-door 2+2, however, as the ATS grows a little larger in its next iteration in order to make room for its new baby brother.
The redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade is still quite fresh on the market, but the luxury brand has a host of mid-model-year updates for its massive luxury SUV that should make it an even better driver. The range-topping Platinum Collection (pictured above) is also all set to ensconce drivers in leather when it hits the road in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The entire Escalade range now gets an eight-speed automatic to replace the previous six-speed, and four-wheel drive models also get a two-speed transfer case to go along with it. New standard features include a Surround View camera system, 4G LTE connectivity, and the electric tailgate also now closes hands-free, in addition to opening that way.
To make riding in the Escalade an even more luxurious experience, Cadillac is adding a Platinum trim. Exterior changes add even more shine to the behemoth SUV with a grille wearing the redesigned brand crest, additional chrome trim, 22-inch wheels and Platinum badges. However, the interior is where things really get plush. The first and second row of seats are wrapped in Nappa, semi-aniline leather in a choice of either beige or gray. The dashboard, upper door panels and center console also get hand-stitched and wrapped leather, plus a suede microfiber headliner. Both front seats are heated and cooled with 18-way power adjustments, and the driver even gets a massaging function. Rear passengers are hardly left out, either, with 7-inch LCD screens in the headrests and a 9-inch screen in the center.
A pair of cyber security experts have awarded the ignominious title of most hackable vehicles on American roads to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, 2014 Infiniti Q50 and 2015 Cadillac Escalade.
Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek are set to release a report at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, Automotive News reports. The two men found the Jeep, Caddy and Q50 were easiest to hack based not on actual tests with the vehicles, but a detailed analysis of systems like Bluetooth and wireless internet access - basically, anything that'd allow a hacker to remotely gain access to the vehicle's systems.
Considering this lack of hands-on testing, the pair acknowledge that "most hackable" could be a relative term - they point out that the vehicles may actually be quite secure.
Cadillac is in the process of applying the new wreathless emblem across its range one model at a time, but rather than simply slap the new logo on the existing models, it's taking the opportunity to roll out some revisions as well. First came the ATS coupe, followed by the updated ATS sedan, and now the flagship brand in the General Motors portfolio has quietly announced some revisions for the CTS sedan as well.
For the 2015 model year, the CTS - which was just introduced last year - gets a revised front end with that wreathless crest but also a new chrome grille with active aero elements on standard models and a black-chrome grille on the Vsport. The revised grille is flanked by new headlights, but behind them the engine lineup carries over: a 2.0-liter turbo four with 272 horsepower, a 3.6-liter V6 with 321 hp or - in the Vsport performance model - a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 with 420 hp that's still the most powerful V6 GM has ever made. All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission (ditching the six-speed auto on previous versions) and (apart from the RWD Vsport) can be had in rear- or all-wheel-drive flavors.
Cadillac has also given the updated CTS some new electronics (including inductive smartphone charging, onboard wifi, and more advanced parking and lane assist systems) as well as new wheels, trims and color options, details on which you can read in the press release below.
Fri, 08 Aug 2014
The stiff punishments are part of broader transportation legislation, but clearly McCaskill has automakers in her sights.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill threw down the gauntlet this week, proposing a bill that could send auto executives to prison for life if they were found to have delayed a recall. She also wants to eliminate the limit for fines for auto safety violations, which are currently capped at $35 million.
General Motors has another spate of recalls to announce. This time they cover 312,280 vehicles worldwide, including 269,041 of in the US, in a total of six campaigns. In 2014, the automaker has recalled 29,079,765 vehicles worldwide, with 25,754,356 of those in the US.
The largest among them covers 215,243 units of the Saturn Vue from 2002-2004 model years worldwide, 202,115 in the US. It's possible for the for the key to be removed even when the ignition isn't in the OFF position. The company knows of two crashes and one injury caused by this problem. Dealers are checking the parts and replacing the ignition cylinder and key set, if necessary.
Next is 72,826 models worldwide (48,059 vehicles in the US) of the 2013 Cadillac ATS four-door sedan, 2013 Buick Encore and 2013 Chevy Trax in Canada. It's possible that the for lap belt pretensioner to retract but not to lock, which could increase occupant movement during a crash. Both front, outboard lap belt pretensioners are being replaced, and a stop-sale is in effect on unsold models until the problem is repaired. There are no known crashes or injuries, though.
There is widespread agreement across the industry that Cadillac needs a proper, rear-drive flagship sedan that completes legitimately with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series.
Fortunately, the same view is held within the company, and just such a car - possibly dubbed LTS - is under development. According to a high-level source at Cadillac, the new four-door, which is said to incorporate design cues from the marque's celebrated Elmiraj coupe concept, will debut at the New York Auto Show next April.
If the car needs a cheerleader, surely incoming president Johan de Nysschen is just such a person. De Nysschen doesn't arrive at Cadillac until late in the month, but certainly he will want a proper flagship to do battle with his old foes at Mercedes-Benz and BMW and old friends at Audi and Infiniti.
In the market for a new Cadillac, but need more space than an ATS can afford? Then you'll want to look at the larger CTS. Unless you live in China, where buyers - often chauffeured instead of driving themselves - seem to prefer a long-wheelbase version of a smaller sedan than upgrading to a larger one. For those buyers, Cadillac has released the new ATS-L.
Based on the existing ATS sports sedan, the ATS-L offers an extra 3.3 inches of rear legroom over the model we get here. As a result, the ATS-L stretches its wheelbase to 112.5 inches and its overall length to 186 inches, while riding a quarter-inch lower than the standard-wheelbase model, which itself was recently updated. That places its length in between the regular ATS and the CTS available Stateside.
Otherwise it's essentially the same sedan, but appears to ditch the base 2.0-liter four to offer either the 2.0-liter turbo four or 3.6-liter V6. Of course this model, produced locally for the Chinese market, isn't likely to make the transpacific voyage to US showrooms, so American buyers will still have to choose between the standard ATS, the larger CTS or the even larger XTS.