Auto blogThu, 15 May 2014
Cadillac has released pricing details on its new-for-2014 ATS Coupe. The new model, which will be available with buyer's choice of a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V6 (the ATS Sedan's base 2.5 won't be making the trip) can be had with optional all-wheel-drive in place of the standard rear-wheel setup, while customers can also snag a six-speed manual or six-speed auto.
Prices start at $37,995, which represents a $2,900 premium over the 2014 ATS Sedan (pricing on the 2015 four-door isn't available yet) with the same 2.0-liter engine. Still, the ATS Coupe starts at just over $2,500 less than a base BMW 428i, which is also less powerful and offers less standard equipment. The Caddy is also less costly than the Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe, although only by about $200. It's even cheaper than the Audi A5, which starts at $38,105, but that model includes all-wheel drive as standard. It should be noted that these prices are without their respective destination charges (*$995 for the Caddy, $925 each for the BMW and the Mercedes and $895 for the Audi).
Unfortunately, Cadillac hasn't released any additional pricing information beyond what we have here, so we can't tell you how much things like all-wheel drive, an automatic transmission or the 321-horsepower V6 will cost. That makes it difficult to figure out just how reasonable the ATS Coupe will be relative to its challengers, but so far, the value equation looks to be in the car's favor. When those full details roll in, though, you know where to look. Scroll down for the official press release from Cadillac.
The recalls keep rolling in from General Motors, evidently keen to avoid repeating the mistakes of the ignition-switch debacle and clean house. This time they're all coming at once, with five separate recalls announced together covering approximately 2.7 million vehicles.
The largest of the five actions involves over 2.4 million units of the previous-generation Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura in order to fix brake light wiring harness, which have been found to be susceptible to corrosion. The recall is separate from the 56k Aura sedans which GM recently recalled over faulty shift cables, not to mention the previous massive recall of 1.3 million vehicles - some of them the same models - but appears to have resulted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation that started with the G6 almost a year ago.
The second-largest campaign involves the 2014 Chevy Malibu, specifically those fitted with GM's 2.5-liter engine and stop/start system, approximately 140,000 examples of which has been found to have problematic brakes. The issue does not appear to be connected to the recall of 8k Malibu and Buick LaCrosse sedans (also involving brake woes) which we reported upon last week. Four crashes have been reported in such models, but GM admits it's not yet clear if the problem was a contributing factor in the accidents.
The 530 Cadillac dealers - out of 940 total dealers - that signed on to sell the brand's ELR for $75,000 or lease it for $699 per month have managed to move 247 of them in the last five months. That's a little less than two cars for each dealer more than two dealers for each car if you need help with the math. With inventories of the luxury plug-in hybrid building up - Automotive News reports a 725-day supply - General Motors has created the Demonstrator Allowance Program to billow the sails on that slow moving ship, giving dealers $5,000 to promote ELR test drives.
A dealer with one ELR in its test fleet that racks up 750 test driven miles between May 1 and June 2 earns the fifty Benjamins, a dealer with two ELRs in the test fleet will get one hundred Benjamins. That will be added to summer incentives for dealers that pay $2,000 for units sold in July and $1,000 for units sold in August, while on the customer side, Cadillac has put "customer discount certificates" worth $3,000 on the hood for buyers and lessees.
Cadillac suggests this is about raising awareness of the ELR, but the question is how much dealers will be able to do for a car that observers - and buyers, apparently - still consider highly overpriced.
Could it be? Could Cadillac be working on an even higher-end version of its ELR plug-in hybrid? Well, General Motors' Executive Vice President Mark Reuss has gone on record as... well, not saying much. The exec was more than a bit coy on video (which you can view below) when asked about the idea of an ELR-V, although he did say that Cadillac was looking at "expanding the tuning envelope" for its plug-in coupe. What that means could be hinted at in these spy photos.
Cadillac is certainly up to something with this little red ELR. As is often the case, it's the car's enhanced brakes that give it away. Bigger binders are a telltale sign of sportier aspirations, and it's safe to say that rule applies with the ELR. The larger rotors and four-piston Brembo calipers are sourced from the Buick Regal GS, which we imagine would be plenty to bring the high-priced hybrid to a halt.
Obscuring those rotors and calipers are larger, double-armed five-spoke wheels. And, according to our spies, hiding behind that camouflage is a new grille. Outside of those two items, though, there's not much aesthetic change.
With the introduction of the latest Cadillac CTS, we knew it would only be a matter of time before a new CTS-V would come along. Now General Motors has revealed that the next CTS-V will arrive sometime next year, but before it does, the company is sending off the outgoing coupe with a special edition.
For 2015, the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe will come in a limited edition of 500 units decked out with a dark grille treatment, satin-finish wheels, red brake calipers and an upgraded cabin. The interior is decked out Recaro seats trimmed in black with red stitching, Midnight Sapele wood trim, metal pedals and a microsuede-trimmed steering wheel and shifter.
Buyers will be able to opt for white, gray or optional black exterior paint, an available sunroof and a six-speed transmission in either manual or automatic configuration. Of course, the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 comes standard with 556 horsepower, as does Magnetic Ride Control and brakes by Brembo. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but in the mean time, you can read all there is to know by checking out the official release below.
There are more recalls to report General Motors, but these latest actions pertain to newer examples of the Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD. With so much scrutiny on the company's recall strategy, GM is under increasing pressure to call in defective models more quickly, and it appears to be doing so here.
Here in the US, the automaker is recalling 50,571 Cadillac SRX crossovers from the 2013 model year fitted with the 3.6-liter V6 because the transmission control module programming can cause a three- or four-second lag in acceleration at low speeds. The explanation filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states, "if the following sequence occurs within two seconds: during an upshift from first to second gear (8-10 mph), the driver then brakes the vehicle to less than 5 mph, and then accelerates again," the delay can occur. According to Automotive News, the recall effects 56,400 vehicles worldwide, and the company is not aware of any crashes caused by the problem. The fix consists of a transmission control module (TCM) reflash.
In a separate recall, GM is repairing 51 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups from the 2015 model year in the US. In vehicles with diesel engines and dual fuel tanks, the nuts that connect the fuel pipe to each side of the transfer pump between the tanks may be improperly torqued, which could cause a fuel leak. Obviously, this could be a fire hazard. The remedy is simply tightening the hardware. According to GM spokesperson Alan Adler, there have been no fires actually caused by the potential leak. "Only 21 of the trucks are in customer possession and they can be fixed anytime because there are no parts involved. The others are being fixed at dealerships," Adler said in an email to Autoblog.
The ink is still drying on the all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade sales brochures, but that hasn't stopped Texas-based Hennessey Performance (HPE) from leaping out of the gate with its own high-performance variant. In stock form, the big fourth-generation Cadillac flagship arrives with a new small block naturally aspirated 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Fresh out of the showroom, the 5,900-pound SUV will sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.
While that is plenty fast for some owners, others don't want to be shamed by a 550 horsepower Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG or a 510 horsepower Land Rover Range Rover Sport - both will leave the stock Escalade at a stoplight.
The team at HPE has come to the rescue with its HPE550 supercharger upgrade, which includes a belt-driven supercharger, air-to-water intercooler, recalibrated engine management software and a three-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty. With 6 psi of boost, the direct-injected 6.2-liter is tuned to deliver an impressive 557 horsepower and 542 pound-feet of torque - gains of 32 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over stock. Although HPE isn't releasing performance figures as of yet, our math says that should be enough power to put the two Europeans in the Cadillac's rearview mirror. The company also offers a set of 20-inch lightweight H10 forged monoblock wheels, to further improve performance.
Cadillac and Buick have taken the trophies in J.D. Power's latest Customer Service Index Study examining satisfaction with dealer service. Surveying more than 90,000 owners and lessees of 2009-2013 model-year cars, the study found that those with pre-paid maintenance packages were ten percent more likely to buy their next car from the same brand.
Dealer satisfaction scores have improved overall, Cadillac nabbed the luxury segment ahead of Audi and Lexus, taking the crown that Lexus held last year. Buick keeps the mass-market dealer satisfaction win in the family, finishing ahead of Volkswagen and last year's winner GMC. The study also found that service department use of tablets increased customer satisfaction, as did "best practices" like "providing helpful advice." Who knew?
You can find details on those and more findings in the press release below.
Firmly on the comeback trail in the US, Cadillac is still trying to get out of the starting blocks in Europe. At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Cadillac' senior execs revealed plans to grow the brand's presence in a luxury market dominated by the big three German marques, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
GM President Dan Ammann says he sees "enormous" potential for Cadillac globally.
Over the past 20 years, the General Motors premium nameplate has tried and failed multiple times to break into the European market. This time around, Cadillac recognizes that progress will be modest at best, and depends on specific changes to models, some of which may impact the brand's US lineup. Planned new sales tactics in Europe may also impact the way Cadillac does business on this side of the pond.
Cadillac has been an interesting story in the auto industry over the past several years. Its comeback bid may be well over a decade old, but it's only recently that the Wreath and Crest has transformed from the auto industry's retirement home into its hot new thing. Today's Cadillac is a powerful marque working to instill passionate design, sound driving dynamics and cutting-edge technology into each model it builds, with vehicles like the ATS and redesigned CTS leading the charge.
Now, its latest model has arrived. This fourth-generation Escalade is among the most important new Cadillacs since the division's renaissance kicked into high gear. It's the brand's de facto flagship, and the first vehicle many young people think of when hearing the name "Cadillac." In the past, the Escalade was the chosen vehicle of the rich, flashy and famous. It's suffered over the past few years, though, particularly as new and more luxurious competitors have come to the fore.
With this latest redesign, General Motors is aiming to retake the spotlight as purveyors of the market's premier luxury SUV. To find out if it's been successful, I ventured down to the South Carolina Lowcountry to test the all-new 2015 Escalade.