In speaking with Reuters last month, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen stated a few things about the brand’s upcoming strategy that we didn’t know about before. The biggest news was that “Cadillac will not directly replace the current XTS, CTS or ATS sedans when they end their life cycles in 2019”, but will instead “use a single new car called the CT5 to appeal to consumers shopping for sedans priced between $35,000 and $45,000.”
Though it was well known that the XTS will be discontinued after 2019 (no surprise there), de Nysschen’s comments surrounding the ATS and CTS led many to believe that one model would replace both vehicles. It was subsequently confirmed that this will not be the case and that Cadillac will instead have two sedans beneath the CT6. Just how, then, will it price the Cadillac CT5?
The CT5 prices referenced by JdN can be interpreted in the following two divergent ways:
- Option 1: the $35,000 and $45,000 figures cited by JdN represent the minimum and maximum starting price points for the CT5. In this scenario, the vehicle would have a $35,000 starting price for the base model, while the top-level configuration would start at $45,000, with a mid-range configuration likely coming in around $40,000. This pricing strategy would essentially put the CT5 in the same overall pricing category as the BMW 3 Series (which starts at $33,450 for the 320i with the low-output 2.0T motor, $38,000 for the 330i with the high-output 2.0T engine, and $47,900 for the 340i with the turbocharged inline six) as well the Audi A4 ($36,000 base price for the 2.0T). The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, meanwhile, has a $40,000 starting price for the C300 model with the 2.0T engine. While the CT5 will be priced in the vicinity of the compact luxury entrants from Germany, it will likely be one size segment bigger (midsize vs. compact).
- Option 2: the CT5’s starting price point will be somewhere between the $35,000 and $45,000, meaning that the CT5’s base price could be — to pick numbers out of thin air — $37,000 — and go up from there. In this example, if the CT5 has a starting price of $37,000, then a range-topping Platinum trim could easily be in the $50,000 range.
Which one of these two paths the CT5 will take will be vital in understanding Cadillac’s strategy for its new wave of sedans as well as determining the model’s success in the marketplace. But here is what we do know: the CT5 will be a spiritual successor of sorts to the current, third-generation CTS. This is evidence by a recent discovery that the two sedans Cadillac is currently developing are internally designated as A2SL and A2LL. For those not familiar with GM’s internal vehicle designations, here’s what those codes mean:
- A2 = Alpha 2 platform
- S = short wheelbase variant of the Alpha 2 platform; L = long wheelbase variant of the Alpha 2 platform
- L (fourth letter) = Cadillac program code, as the letter C is used for Chevrolet
Hence, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that A2LL is the CT5, while A2SL will slot under it as either the CT3 or CT4. For the sake of reference, the third-generation CTS was code-named A1LL while the first-gen ATS was A2SL.
Following the logic that the CT5 will (in some ways) succeed the CTS, perhaps it would be useful to peruse the latter model’s pricing.
We imagine that the third-generation CTS wasn’t the commercial success it could have been (for various reasons ranging from marketing to the lack of strength of the Cadillac brand to product details and quality), so we would not be too surprised to see the CT5 priced slightly below its predecessor to increase the value proposition and lure new customers to the brand, something the model range has failed to do so far in 2017. Here’s how a $4,000 reduction per trim level would look like on the CT5 over the third-gen CTS. We left the CT5-V price in line with the third-gen CTS-V, since the model had no issues selling out at that price point.
This kind of pricing structure also leaves Cadillac with enough space for the sub-CT5 model, which will likely be called CT3 or CT4 (A2SL).
Only time will tell how Cadillac will price the CT5. And that time is roughly 18 months — as the new sedan family is expected to be introduced some time in the 2019 calendar year as a 2020 model year vehicle. Time will also tell if the CT5 will spawn variants outside of the traditional sedan body style, such as a coupe, convertible or wagon. But one thing is for certain: whatever shape the CT5 takes, it will need to do better than the third-generation CTS.