Home » Placeholder Cadillac Wheels Are Very Red, For A Very Good Reason

Placeholder Cadillac Wheels Are Very Red, For A Very Good Reason

Placeholder Cadillac Wheels Are Very Red, For A Very Good Reason

It’s difficult to believe that anyone in their right senses would ever want to order a set of Cadillac wheels resembling the bright red-orange units shown on the CT4 on this page. In fact, even if someone did want to do so, they wouldn’t be able to (at least not from the factory), because these wheels are not for sale.

Instead, the red wheels seen here are transit wheels, alternatively known as processing wheels. Essentially, they are placeholders for the “real” Cadillac wheels ordered with the vehicle.

As Cadillac spokesperson Stefan Cross explains to Cadillac Society, when a dealer places an order for a vehicle with accessory wheels, they are not fitted to the car at the factory. Instead, the car is given a set of these red transit wheels, which allows it to be transported to the dealer with the correct alignment for the specified tires.

Once the car has arrived, the dealer removes the factory tires from the transit wheels and installs them on the accessory Cadillac wheels. The transit wheels are then shipped back to the factory, where they are fitted as placeholders for another Cadillac.

Okay, but why are the wheels painted red-orange to begin with? As Mr. Cross explains, that’s done to ensure that they are never sold to customers as retail items. If the transit wheels were silver, a potential owner might step into their new Cadillac and drive it off the dealer lot without noticing anything was wrong. The red-orange color ensures that this wouldn’t happen.

As for the Cadillac CT4, it offers eight wheel choices from the factory, which you can see here. Want to stay up to date on all things Cadillac? Then be sure to subscribe to Cadillac Society for around-the-clock Cadillac news coverage. We also invite you to join the latest discussions in our Cadillac forums.

41 Comments

  1. . . . but if the are “process” wheels and tire sizes are correct, and permit a proper alignment, why not install the correct wheels at the production point? In that way the potential of the dealer damaging the wheels and/or the tires during the dismounting/mounting procedure is eliminated. Then there’s the added shipping to return the wheels to the plant whose cost, no doubt, is passed on to the customer. Hmmmmmmm . . .

    Montana Bob

    Reply
    • Managing wheels and wheel availability at a plant is a nightmare. It’s more efficient from a logistical standpoint to “untie” the wheels from the plant.

      Reply
    • Cars have been delivered from the factory with the factory wheels for over a hundred years! Now all of a sudden Cadillac wants the dealer to install the wheels! Besides all the things Bob mentioned. It also enables dealers to put on different tires the the ones the car was shipped with. No wonder Cadillac is going down the toilet.

      Reply
      • This is not “all of a sudden” and this is not for ALL wheels. This condition only applies to accessory wheels and the process in question speeds up the delivery of vehicles.

        Furthermore, dealers are required to have the proper equipment to mount and dismount the wheels as specified by Cadillac, so the “damage” argument outlined by Bob does not hold water. There is no incentive to put on “different tires”… and I’ve never heard that take place in over a decade covering this automaker.

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        • I was friends with the new car manager of a very large Cadillac dealership. I spent many hours visiting and sitting in his office and really got to see and know what goes on “behind the scenes”. This was 40 years ago. Suffice it to say. Having to install wheels that aren’t installed at the factory is going to result in a higher cost to the buyer. IMHO dealers could get away with these excess profits in the past. It was a time when Cadillac still had the mystique of a car to show people “you have arrived”. Not anymore. Cadillac is fighting for their life to stay alive.

          Reply
          • “Having to install wheels that aren’t installed at the factory is going to result in a higher cost to the buyer.”

            How did you reach this conclusion?

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            • In the simplest terms. It is going to require the dealership to perform one more task that they never had to do before. It is going to take time to change the tires and prepare the shipping of the wheels back to the factory and time is money. Someone is going to have to pay for this. Guess who? Hint: Not the dealer or GM.

              Whatever the time to do all this will require a mechanic’s time and most likely an added cost for paying the mechanic.

              Is there any other manufacturers that are requiring their dealerships to install factory wheels?

              It is my contention that wheels, tires, steering wheels, engines, exhaust systems etc. are parts that should be done on the assembly line. Not in the dealership.

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              • “In the simplest terms. It is going to require the dealership to perform one more task that they never had to do before.”

                This is incorrect. Dealers have been doing this for at least two decades already for items like wheels and all kinds of accessories. This is not a new practice for GM/Cadillac, and it’s also used by other automakers. So you’re simply incorrect in this statement, which serves as the basis of the rest of the thinking behind your statement.

                You’re also incorrect in thinking that this process adds a certain cost. I challenge you to prove that the process described herein is more costly than the alternative of doing so at the factory, while accounting for all the relevant logistical issues associated with doing so.

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                • Are you telling me that cars delivered in the ’60s and ’70s with different than standard wheels were put on at the dealership?

      • @ Lost Soul.

        You mean you’ve never heard of a “Dealer installed option” before? Many automakers have been doing it “for over a hundred years!”

        Assembly lines have capacity for only so many wheel options for installation. The accessory wheels are usually very expensive and not many customers pop for them. This is why they’re offered for dealer installation aa outlined.

        No need to be so hateful.

        Reply
        • First of all not hateful. Just my personal opinion. Yes I am fully aware of dealer installed options. Most times they were accessories that the dealer-installed on his own to increase his profits. Never were they necessities or basics such as the wheels. Whats next? Steering wheels?

          Reply
          • look on your purchase invoice. There will be a line indicating “Dealer Prep”. Ranges anywhere from $250 to $500. That covers anything they have to do before you take possession. That has been there for decades. Most people don’t notice it or just accept it. It can be negotiated out of the price if your aware. How many people commenting actually drive Cadillac, own a Cadillac, or recently purchased a Cadillac. Or does it just make you feel better to rant and bash GM.

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            • In the past that “Dealer Prep” charge, basically entailed removing the plastic from the seats, going in the trunk and putting down the floor mats, and finally washing the car. This was usually done by the “Lot Man”. The “Lot Man” did not need any particular mechanical skills nor any pricy technical equipment. Yes the “Dealer Prep” fee along with any administration fees, document fees etc. were among the costs that dealers used to pad their profits. The administration and documents fees were performed by the office staff, who were paid anyhow.

              This is a whole new territory. In the past dealers added on their own accessories i.e. pin striping, RR grilles. Remember Rusty Jones. Adding on factory wheels is a whole different ball game.

              Whats next? Will Cadillacs eventually be like pre fab homes. Will the dealer receive all the parts in a crate and have to do the assembly in the dealership?

              Oh yes, I have been an admirer of Cadillacs since the mid-’50s. Started regularly buying a brand new one from 1974. Presently am driving a 2018 which will be replaced with a 2021.

              Reply
      • Mr. Luft,

        You apparently have never had a flat in a Z06/ZO7 Corvette in the hinterlands. Trying to find a repair facility is a REAL “nightmare”, contrary to the one that you site. I have, on a cross-country trip. ‘T’aint fun, McGee!

        Yes, dealers are REQUIRED to have the proper equipment to dismount/mount lost aspect-ratio performance tires, but that does mean that they KNOW TO USE IT AND HAVE THE EXPERIENCE!

        If Cadillac has a “nightmare” with wheel allocation at their production facility the FIX IT! Don’t kick the problem down the road to the dealers, potentially passing the “nightmare” to the customer who may have a fight on his hands if the dealer damages the wheels and/or tires on a brand new vehicle possibly putting the CUSTOMER in a “take-it-or-leave-it” situation.

        . . . and BTW, Mr. Luft we’re talking about a Cadillac, GM’s flagship brand, not a Chevette! Bottom line, you’re wrong on this one.

        Montana Bob

        Reply
        • Let’s talk about the dealers having the proper equipment to handle servicing Cadillac cars. Didn’t I just read that many Cadillac dealers are taking a buyout from Cadillac rather than spend the money to upgrade their equipment to handle electric cars?

          Just more more thing. “Sport Wheels” installed at the factory isn’t anything new. Many manufacturers started offering “Sport Wheels”, I am guessing sometime in the 60’s i.e. rally wheels, wire wheels etc. If they could do it 50 years ago. Why not now?

          Reply
          • @Montana Bob

            Not sure what what it is that you think I’m “wrong” about here.

            You’ve presented an example of a poor experience that you personally had. Does that experience constitute the experience of the majority? Is it the norm? Neither you nor I can say.

            That said, I do understand your point: having equipment is not the same as knowing how to use it. Again, not sure if there are any tangible conclusions to be drawn from this. Incidentally, being the owner of a C7 Grand Sport, I do know what you mean more than you think 🙂

            As for your description of a “nightmare” situation at the factory, I’m not sure that is a truthful description that represents reality. This process isn’t unique to Cadillac, and most all automakers understand the obvious logistical benefits that call for some simple things like wheels, wheel locks, center caps, striping, logos, badges, floor mats, running boards, etc. to be installed outside the plant at the dealer. These are simple things and have a process around them. It’s that simple.

            Reply
  2. Since Cadillac has worked to remove affiliations with after-market wheel and tire packages, especially with Vogue wheels and Vogue Tyres, this seems most convenient for dealers to offer such accessories again. Hopefully the wheels and tires installations are done to the highest standards to assure a quality ride and performance.

    Reply
    • These are not dealer options. They are manufacturers options to be installed by the dealers.

      Reply
      • Lost Soul is correct. These wheels are official Cadillac wheels ordered with the vehicle.

        Reply
        • I realize they are “official GM and Cadillac wheels,” but it seems to be making it more convenient for dealers to offer other “after-market” wheel options, just as in the past, to increase their profits. This seems counter-productive to what Cadillac has been working so hard to eliminate. “Just sayin’. . . ” As I said, it is my hope the wheels and tires are installed to the highest standards to assure a quality ride and performance and without marring the wheel rims.

          Reply
          • Haven’t dealers, for the longest time, offered choices of aftermarket wheels, tires and other accessories to increase profits? I know for a fact that when I purchased my brand new 1977 Eldorado. The dealer installed aftermarket wheels. They were made by Appliance. They had the “honeycomb” pattern of the Appliance Wheels. The dealer took them one step further and had the Cadillac crest applied to the center caps. Really impressive looking. The dealer was able to double up on their profits coming and going. Besides charging extra for the “custom” wheels. The dealer kept the factory wheels and wheel covers! I am not complaining, as I am a true capitalist, and if I was the dealer I would have done the same thing.

            I am sure the newly installed wheels and tires will be done to perfection. In fact, I will go out on a limb and state that probably will be done with more attention to detail then at the factory. At the factory, they would be just another part on the assembly line. At the dealership, they would receive more attention to detail.

            Like Richone stated. I don’t think this is a good “business” move today with Cadillac trying their best to stay alive.

            Reply
  3. Is Cadillac the only car manufacturer that does this (red wheel thing)? I am 82 and I have never heard of a car manufacturer doing this.

    Reply
  4. I have to believe that the dealers are giggling with anticipation of this the lasted dealer “add on” that they can charge extra for. Sending out a car with out the wheels is like a bakery sending out a birthday cake with no icing on it and sending to the icing to the buyer for the buyer to put on the icing.

    Reply
    • You’re either intentionally misinterpreting what’s taking place or just not understanding what’s going on entirely.

      No one is giggling in anticipation of anything because there is nothing to anticipate or giggle about. Adding the factory wheels at the dealer is part of a standardized process and has been taking place successfully for a while. This process is locked down and runs smoothly. No one is getting cheated or screwed. So much for the conspiracy theory.

      Reply
      • Then GM has a problem with their assembly process if they can’t figure out how to have the right wheels installed at the assembly line!

        Reply
        • Lost soul – you’re truly clueless. What qualifications do you have that would validate your misled opinion? None!!!

          Oh right… you were “friends” wit someone who worked at a dealership a century ago. That must make you an expert, right? Of course not. You’re just a clueless armchair CEO with zero understanding of what’s behind these kinds of processes.

          I served in several leadership positions in logistics and purchasing at 3 global carmakers. There are reasons why it’s done this way, and it’s related to reducing parts variance and complexity at the plant. It allows a maker to offer more wheels without creating major bottlenecks. There is nothing wrong with anything with the assembly line… it’s simply faster AND cheaper to do it the way GM is doing it. It’s called an evolution of the logistics process that ultimately benefits the customer and the producer. It’s smart, and represents an innovation in supply chain management.

          Go play in the sandbox and let the grownups talk.

          Reply
  5. Important to understand these are NOT the “optional” wheels. These are the “dealer installed accessory wheels” and they are a good way for dealers to make some bucks since they don’t make a heck of a lot on the car. So if a buyer does not want to pay for the expensive wheels then they can choose from the factory installed wheels. Sadly, IMHO, for the first time ever on the caddys I don’t like the factory wheels, and I always felt GM has always had the nicest wheels with nicest finishes and variety of all makes. The current CT5 wheels look too “fragile” with the thin and complex vanes, but that is just my opinion.

    Reply
    • Lets try and clear some things up. The way I read it. These are factory wheels.

      [As Cadillac spokesperson Stefan Cross explains to Cadillac Society, when a dealer places an order for a vehicle with accessory wheels, they are not fitted to the car at the factory. Instead, the car is given a set of these red transit wheels, which allows it to be transported to the dealer with the correct alignment for the specified tires.]

      This I get. My question is. Where does the dealer get the wheels from? GM/Cadillac? Are they shipped with the car or are they sent separately?

      Reply
      • “This I get. My question is. Where does the dealer get the wheels from? GM/Cadillac? Are they shipped with the car or are they sent separately?”

        They are shipped from and/or driven from a local parts and accessories distribution center that’s part of the GM logistics framework.

        Reply
        • Ah-ha! Just another fly in the ointment. So in other words the car cannot be delivered to the customer until the car and wheels are delivered from two different sources.

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          • Ding ding ding. They’re delivered from two different sources in order to remove a bottleneck in the overall process. The end result is faster delivery to the customer AND often cheaper than installing at the plant.

            Reply
            • So you think getting parts from two different sources rather then just one is more efficient? Faster delivery? You really think both the wheels and car will be delivered to the dealership at the same time.

              Of course, I see this as a big advantage for the dealerships. They don’t have to be all that concerned with selling cars with marginal profits. They can concentrate more on performing “service and prep” and pass the cost onto the consumer.

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              • First off, the dealers make nothing on this. This is part of PDI process that’s tightly controlled by the automaker.

                Second, learn a thing or two about dealer operations. Sales is ultimately a very small portion of dealer revenue and profits. Fixed ops is where it’s at.

                Admit it, you are just complaining about nothing because you are clueless.

                Reply
                • Yep, you are correct. I am completely clueless. I better hurry up and catch up to the turnip truck I just fell off.

                  By the way whose complaining? Other than seeing another misguided decision by Cadillac. I could give a rats ass at to what GM or Cadillac does!

                  Just because you don’t agree with someone. That alone doesn’t make your right.

                  Just one more thing. A dealer doesn’t do anything unless its profit-motivated. Once a car is delivered to a dealership and off the truck. Anything a dealer does to the car for “prep”. You can bet your sweet ass there is money in it for the dealer.

  6. This is an interesting process and it makes sense when you consider an assembly plant can only accomodate so much customization.

    Reply
    • Oh really? Go to YouTube and see everything an assembly plant can do. How come in the past there were able to ship out cars with extra option wheels?

      Reply
      • @Lost Soul No one is saying that an assembly plant can’t do this. What is perhaps being said is that it’s more efficient to do it the way it’s being done currently.

        As for your question, it took significantly longer to produce a vehicle “in the past.” Also “in the past”, cars weren’t anywhere as complex as they are today. They were also less safe, polluted more, and did less. The industry has changed dramatically in the past several years, not to mention decades. So is it possible that new efficiencies were found as a result of these changes? Of course it is.

        I’ll leave you with this: there are people within each automaker responsible for logistics. They establish these processes, and they’re much better educated in the science of logistics than the average armchair CEO… so maybe… just maybe… Cadillac / GM know what they’re doing here.

        Reply
        • Efficient for who? The customer? The dealer? GM? I think the answer is obvious. GM and especially has a history of cutting corners for the sake of efficiency. The 8-6-4 engine. The HT 4100. The Northstar. All three literally and figurately blew up in GM’s face.

          Reply
        • “so maybe… just maybe… Cadillac / GM know what they’re doing here.”

          Excuse me while I pick myself up from the floor from falling out of my chair with laughter! Are we talking about the same GM? The GM that was in bankruptcy and needed the government to bail them out? The same GM that used to have 50% of the car market? Their Cadillac division still trying to find their way?

          Reply
          • Yup, the same GM that makes billions in profits every year while you play armchair quarterback and critique them. Yup, THAT GM.

            You’re confusing previous missteps with current competencies. Doing something wrong in the past does not indicate it’s being done wrong today. They are different things entirely. You clearly have a very limited, almost child like understanding of what’s going on… if I were you, I wouldn’t even bother.

            Reply
            • Even a child could see the frivolity of all this. Limited understanding? You really don’t know anything about me or my background or GM’s history for that matter. They had a real winner with Cadillac until around 1981. It was at this time they started making one billion dollar blunder after another. They are still trying to find themself. They don’t know which way to go to get back on track. They were once the leader in luxury cars. Now? They are distance followers.

              Reply

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