Looking to improve its prospects in the contentious upmarket segment in China, this week American automaker Cadillac rolled out its new XTS luxury sedan at an event in Guangzhou. To be produced in China by the Shanghai GM joint venture, the XTS -- which will include a turbocharged 2.0-liter powertrain not available in the US -- is a centerpiece of General Motors' goal of increasing Cadillac sales in China from 30,000 last year to 100,000 units by 2015. By then, Cadillac expects to expand its network in China by 100 dealerships, adding to its current 150 locations.
Clearly, the automaker sees that China represents both a crucial opportunity and a massive challenge. As GM China President Bob Socia recently put it, “We’ve struggled in the past, there’s been a new commitment so to speak, from General Motors about what we want to do with the Cadillac brand. It’s a journey, you’re not going to do this in a year or two, but you’ve got to come up with product that unequivocally can compete.”
Led by a multi-platform marketing campaign featuring Brad Pitt, Cadillac has actively courted China's younger drivers in a reversal from the tactic used by the likes of Audi. (Though even Audi is now chasing younger buyers.) Perhaps noting that its more edgy, aggressive body styling doesn't play as well with middle-aged buyers in China, Cadillac's digital campaigns in particular have targeted the plugged-in, digitally savvy Weibo- and WeChat-using segment.
As for the new XTS, the made-in-China, for-China sedan will range in price from 349,900 yuan (US$56,129) for the base 28T Comfort model to 569,900 yuan ($91,419) for the V6 Platinum model. Exterior colors include "Dazzling Black, Dreamy White, Glistening Gold, Titanium Silver and Crystal Grey," according to AutoEvolution, while interiors come in champagne or black. Via AutoEvolution:
“True to its pioneering and innovative spirit, Cadillac has created many milestone masterpieces during its 110 years,” said Shanghai GM President Ye Yongming at today’s launch ceremony. “The new XTS articulates the brand's persistence in innovation by combining dramatic styling with advanced technology, and subsequently displaying the unique personalities of its owners.
In addition, the launch of the XTS reflects Shanghai GM’s effort to expand its presence in the Chinese luxury car segment. Our aim is to increase Cadillac sales to more than 100,000 units by 2015 and its share of the premium car segment to 10 percent by 2020.”