Cadillac: Building Upon Momentum

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Mike Speranzini, Managing Director, Canada, for Cadillac, with the CT5-V Blackwing. Photo Huw Evans

An interview with Mike Speranzini.

During this year’s Canadian International AutoShow, Autosphere had a chance to chat with Mike Speranzini, Managing Director, Cadillac, for Canada.

We wanted to ask him specifically about the resurgence of Cadillac and some of the factors that are contributing to the brand’s success in the market as well as what we might be able to see in the future.

Autosphere: Thank you for taking the opportunity to chat with us today. What do you think are some of the factors that have contributed to Cadillac’s surging sales, which grew 1.8% in 2023, representing the brand’s fourth consecutive year of growth?

Mike Speranzini: While a lot of factors have contributed to the continued sales growth Cadillac witnessed in the Canadian market in 2023, a key one has been the acceptance of our whole portfolio of vehicles. The XT4 and XT5 Crossovers have been very well received, and the new 33-inch LCD touchscreen that’s been incorporated into those vehicles has elevated the user experience. Ease of use has been a key requirement for our customers, and we feel the new touchscreen system that integrates the navigation, voice commands and other in-vehicle functions really delivers on that regard.

I would also like to mention that the CT5 [mid-size sedan] had its best year ever in 2023, [as well as earning a best-retained value award from Canadian Black Book], and our most popular vehicle, the Escalade continues to see significant growth in the marketplace.

AS: Are there any particular models that are really resonating with customers and in demand by your dealers?

MS: If we were to zero on specific vehicles, I would say the XT4 and Escalade. The Escalade is an iconic vehicle for Cadillac and always has a loyal following, but the XT4 has resonated well with our dealers. The market for compact luxury crossover utility vehicles remains strong, and we’ve seen a lot of demand from our dealer network across the country. We have a very competitive product in the XT4, one we feel is well-packaged, competitively priced and that’s compact and nimble. It’s a great vehicle to drive and well-suited for urban markets like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

AS: How do you think a halo model like the CT5-V Blackwing contributed to Cadillac’s success in 2023 and what does that signify in terms of branding and product strategy?

MS: While Cadillac is unmistakably a luxury brand and has earned a reputation for that since 1902 when it was first founded, it was for many years, also known for both luxury and performance. In the 21st century, Cadillac, as a brand has remained firmly committed to performance, which has raised its profile internationally and expanded its customer appeal. We’ve seen that over the last 20 years with the introduction of the V-Series and more recently, the Blackwing editions.

The CT5-V Blackwing is a good example. Its hand-built 6.2-litre supercharged V8 engine makes 668 horsepower, and you can get it with a manual transmission. It’s unique, incredibly fun to drive both on the street and is fully track capable. There are very few cars today that combine this level of performance with everyday comfort and liveability. It really does offer the best of both worlds and I think that’s a testament to Cadillac as a brand and what we’ve been able to accomplish.

AS: Going forward, what do you feel is essential to continue this momentum both from a product and marketing perspective?

MS: As you’re no doubt aware, our industry is going through a big transformation. Currently, Cadillac’s goal is to become a fully electrified vehicle brand by the end of the decade. Right now, as we edge further into 2024, the Lyriq [already on sale] represents the next evolution of Cadillac. We’ve also got the all-electric Escalade IQ, which goes into production this summer and is expected to be available through retail channels late this year. The Escalade IQ is a hugely important vehicle for Cadillac, as it represents a complete re-think of what is one of our most iconic nameplates.

I also need to mention the ultra-luxury Celestiq, which also starts production this year and will be hand-built to order. For our dealers, there is a lot of excitement building around the Optiq, which is a five-passenger, all-electric crossover that slots in below the Lyriq. We expect it to be one of our best-performing EVs from a volume standpoint.

We feel the Optiq is particularly suited to the Canadian market due to its size and will likely resonate well with urban customers who are looking for a capable luxury crossover that also happens to deliver zero tailpipe emissions. With the launch of these vehicles, plus the six-passenger, three-row Vistiq (scheduled to be introduced in 2025 as a 2026 model), Cadillac is very much committed to EVs and so are our dealers.

AS: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today?

MS: Cadillac is looking to continue building on the momentum we’ve seen in 2023, and with lots of new products coming to the market, we believe that the brand and our dealers can provide a lot of options when it comes to a customer selecting their next luxury vehicle. Whether it’s a sedan, crossover, SUV, gasoline or EV, Cadillac has something to suit almost any taste and requirement in the luxury marketplace.



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