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Cadillac Plans Quiet Close to Its Book By Cadillac Subscription Service

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Book by caddy logo.png

John Goreham
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
11-6-2018

 

Cadillac plans to end its Book By Cadillac subscription service in Q1 of 2019. The service allows customers to subscribe to Cadillac and drive any vehicle they wish while participating. Unlike a lease, the subscription does not lock a customer into one vehicle and maintenance and insurance are both included. The program is now about two years old and it was most active in the initial markets Cadillac targeted, New York and Los Angeles. 

Cadillac book screen shot.png

Auto Finance News reports that the main difficulty for Cadillac, and other brands with similar services like Porsche and BMW, is the cost of a used car that a driver turns in after, say three months. Unlike a three-year-old vehicle, a 3-month-old vehicle is a burden to sell. It has steep depreciation in those initial months and Cadillac may take a big loss on a vehicle with less than a few years in service to cover its depreciation. “We are hitting the pause button for a brief time to make some tweaks to Book [by Cadillac] based on our learnings,” said a Cadillac spokesperson.

 

“It comes down to getting money for the used vehicle,” Samuel Ellis, principal consultant for Auto Experience, told AFN. “These programs are just going to struggle until they can make the economics work. The discussion needs to center around, ‘What needs to be innovated?’ Describing [a lease] different doesn’t necessarily make it better.”

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    • By ThomCannell

      Thom Cannell
      Contributor, GM-Trucks.com
      January 23rd, 2019
       
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      With RAM posting record sales numbers we asked if the truck aspect of Chevrolet is fully fleshed out, if there was room for a mini-truck or truck/CUV?
       
      “It doesn't feel like it. We have a four-truck strategy with Colorado, Silverado, Silverado HD and medium-duty. We're happy, proud of our strategy and we sold over a million last year.” 
       
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      “When you examine the whole franchise of the company, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Maybe it's an Ironman! You're just seeing the tip of the iceberg, for instance the Heavy Duty program, and more to come.” What you may not know is that Chevrolet just got to a 50/50 production split between the old truck, K2, and the new truck this month, January 2019. Dealers are just reaching their own 50-percent of new trucks delivered. 
       
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      We turned to customer perceptions and needs. For instance, a 2019 Silverado LT 6.2L we had for photography was, on the exterior, exemplary. On the inside it seemed oriented towards hard- core truck buyers with large, and plain buttons; no glitter. It was entirely about "I've got gloves on and my truck and I work for a living." We asked how these interiors would play versus the competition?
       
      In answer, Chevrolet says the vast majority of sales are to Chevy truck loyalists, people who have been Chevy truck owners their entire lives, and are incredibly important to reach and satisfy. Much of the growth in the truck segment is from segment-switchers making their first truck purchase. They have similar needs and wants as lifelong truck buyers, according to the exec.
       

       
      “Customers are at the core of everything we do,” Tim informed us. “We had over 7,000 respondents to our new Silverado truck clinics. When the numbers were summed, we delivered on what the numbers said for exterior and interior. Customer feedback was great. 
       
      When we took the new truck to clinics and talked to our customers, and yeah, they do wear gloves and they do work hard. They do have expectations; the biggest is that the interior holds up for the life of the truck. Whether that's a three-year lease or six-year note, it's got to look as good on the last day as the day they bought it. The quality and durability of our materials—we have real aluminum—a great layout for functionality that is soft where it needs to be soft. We gave a great lineup in our infotainment systems (8" screen in the center) and the largest HUD (Heads Up Display) in the industry—it's three-inches by seven and you can parse your information. You can put your directions up here, your stereo over there and your speed over here. You get the information you want in three spots. We find that's a great solution for us.
       
      When we took the materials to the clinic and talked to customers—they're a working bunch that buys things for value—they loved it. We have seen the competition, and some of the luxury they've brought in. We're not sure it will stand the test of time.”
      We asked if there is a known stake in the ground where massive changes occur? "I don't know,” Tim continued, “I don't see that (elimination of IC engines) happens. A truck has to do everything. It has to be quiet and comfortable, it has to get good fuel economy on the highway at 80 mph, and it has to tow and haul; it’s the broadest use-range of any vehicle, while meeting government standards. The one that wins is the one that best integrates ride-and-handling, quietness, comfort, technology, usefulness, tow and haul and great fuel economy, while looking great. 
       

       


      Chevrolet’s display broke into segments related to vehicles and technology, for instance Silverado, Colorado, the SUVs and a virtual-reality race. Each had it’s own display space and theme. What we found amazing, and not in a good way, was the color choice for the trucks on the main Silverado display space. While earth tones are all the rage in urban environments, on the stage, well, look for yourself (we’ve included Silverado exterior color chips for comparison). The Silverado simply disappears despite thousands of Watts of illumination. Contrast that with Colorado’s display.
       
      GMC trucks and full-sized SUVs
      We next spoke to Stewart (Stu) Pierce, senior marketing manager GMC truck and full-sized SUV. Having participated in the AT4 launch prior to the 2018 Auto Show New York, we were somewhat up to speed with GMC’s recent actions.
       

       
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      Having covered the Sierra, we wondered what else might be interesting in 2019.

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      Cadillac's all-new XT6 three-row CUV
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      Nothing more was shared, though continuation of Escalade and an upcoming performance sedan were hinted. In a bad pun, we think Cadillac must electrify their game. BMW’s announced i4 and iX3, Mercedes EQ brand and announced EQC, Jaguar’s available-now I-PACE, VOLVO’s 2019 SC40 CUV and other BEVs (battery electric vehicles) make speed-to-market a necessity.
       
      After I received the business card from marketing project manager Cadillac XT6, James Hunter, we began our chat about Cadillac's latest SUV, the 2020 XT6. While not mentioned, the XT6 is based on the crossovers built by Lansing, Michigan's Delta Township and Springhill, Tennessee facilities, Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and my research says it's closest in size to the GMC Acadia. Springhill also builds the XT5.
       
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      Beyond XT6, what does Cadillac have to provide excitement this year, to an increasingly young customer? "There's the Escalade Sport Package for 2019, and some other things I'm not at liberty to discuss. The 2020 XT6 starts production soon, and vehicles will arrive late in 2Q, early 3Q. The 500+ horsepower CT6 V-8 will arrive in a similar time-frame."
       
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      “Not only are we delivering product to appeal to a younger customer,” Hunter continued, “We are providing trim levels for their tastes. An example, the XT6 offers a Premium Luxury model calibrated for more isolation, or Sport models with active suspension and faster steering for a more responsive ride."
       

       
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    • By Gorehamj

      John Goreham
      Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
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      Cadillac plans to make Cadillac a primarily electric brand. Before that happens, the brand will shift primarily to ICE crossovers, with maybe keep one performance sedan and the Escalade as its token ICE cars (ICE means internal combustion engine). The new Cadillac looks to our eyes a lot like the old XLR, Cadillac's re-branded Corvette from the not too distant past. Despite this one being a "crossover." Going forward, look for every manufacturer to re-tag its cars as crossovers, despite the number of wheels driven, number of doors, ground clearance, and lack of any sort of SUV equipment. Cars are dead, so every new model has to be a crossover by definition.  Unless it's a truck. 

      “Cadillac’s EV will hit the heart of the crossover market and meet the needs of customers around the world,” said Steve Carlisle, president of Cadillac. “It will represent the height of luxury and innovation while positioning Cadillac as the pinnacle of mobility.” We disagree. The heart of the crossover market has a selling price under $30K and is defined by the top-selling model in that huge segment, the Toyota RAV4. Cadillac may well hit the periphery of the crossover market, but it will be a long swim for any automaker to hit the "heart of the crossover market" with an affordable BEV. Decoding the marketing lingo we think GM means "We don't have anything yet, but when we do it will be a high-priced vehicle for China."  Buick had better watch its back.  
       
      What do you think of the looks? GM has not given us a name, range, performance profile, or price estimate yet. Which in the EV world is pretty much standard practice.  
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    • By ThomCannell

      Thom Cannell
      Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
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      A vehicle is, or should be, a harmony of family value, social responsibility and transportation goodness. XT4, Cadillac’s newest and smallest SUV, earns high marks in each area.
       

       
      Likes
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      Dislikes
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      To  pirate a phrase, “What’s in Your Driveway”? A Denali, a Silverado, an Escalade? Would a Cadillac be at home, or out of place next to your working truck? We think the 2019 Cadillac XT4 would fit in where others might not. XT4 competes with Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 and Volvo XC40. Several things make it stand out among the competition. These are: all-new chassis; all-new and most-powerful- in-segment powertrain; solid infotainment/telematics; and a comfortable interior with real backseat leg room.
       
      The 2019 Cadillac XT4 design team “Was young, and given the task of designing a vehicle for themselves; a small Cadillac crossover,” according to Robin Krieg, lead exterior designer. Hence the crisp lines and hidden aero tweaks that lurk at most corners, like the subtle detent supporting the rear window. Most distinctive are the signature “7” DRLs and taillights. Those transparent-wrapped taillights, by the way, shouldn’t have been available in North America, “But once we saw how the clear covering accented the jewel-like LED lighting, it had to be kept.” That near loss is due to XT4 being a global vehicle designed for the streets of Amsterdam and Beijing and their vehicle rules, as well as Detroit.
       

       
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      We think that, beyond the luxury surfaces of leather, fine woods, killer infotainment and rock-solid stereo, the real story is under the hood and between the wheels. 
       
      The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is the first to use what GM calls Tripower (Pontiac fans, dial 911), a system that provides two different valve-lift profiles and AFM or Active Fuel Management that can—briefly—shut off two cylinders. That makes the 2.0-liter into a 1.0-liter two-cylinder motor!
       

       
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      On launch events like this, people partner to drive, ours was Executive Editor Zane, who became ill.  Our replacement was Bill Patterson, XT4 chief engineer; immediate auto-geek heaven!
       
      Exiting our immodest accommodations in Seattle’s Four Seasons, we took our first street-level look at a Premium Luxury XT4. First impressions are important. Immediately noticed after opening the rear door of the XT4 Premium was the leather. “Nice, very nice”, we thought. The surface had a new-old look about it, like the authentic WW II bomber jacket you've coveted but never could justify. It has good feel to the hand (and backside), elegant stitching to connect panels, and everywhere was excellent fit-and-finish. 
       

       
      Some of the very cool details include: 8” high-def navi/infotainment screen; rotary controller zooms the Nav; four buttons surrounding the rotary control call up Nav, audio, phone, backup; Amazon in-car package delivery; a smart phone infotainment layout on the main screen with a summary view (audio, phone, Nav); 4-user LTE hotspot; Apple Car Play—Android Auto compatibility; OnStar safety net.
       
      Bill was enthusiastic about the 2019 Cadillac XT4 and its details, like how ST4 uses High Strength Steel in the door rings for passenger protection and in the engine cradle for more-connected driving feel, as well as extensive adhesive bonding for strength and NVH. He also described the Macpherson strut suspension on all cars and the isolated 5-link rear suspension. When we stopped on a hill, Bill pointed out the Hill Hold control that allowed an multi-minute extend hold before the brake (or Park) needed to be engaged.
       
      Being truck enthusiasts, we found the Premium Luxury to feel, on the highway, very controlled and isolated, delivering a modern Cadillac ride that was quite firm. We tried all the suspension options: Tour, AWD and AWD Sport. As soon as we departed the freeway, Sport mode it was. Several things were clear. This was not the vehicle for us. Too tame and too luxurious—which is sort of funny, it being a luxury vehicle event. We noted plenty of trunk room for our gear, made possible by an all-new platform that’s now exclusive to Cadillac, which delivers the large rear seat volume and rear passenger leg room, as well.
       

       
      FYI an entry Luxury XT4 has an MSRP of $35,790; the Premium Luxury starts at $40,290, as does the Sport. So, our Premium Luxury was equipped with the 18” alloys, aluminum roof rack and Silver Metallic lower bodyside moldings. Option packages that you will want rapidly bring the total closer to an MSRP of $45,000. That’s competitive in the segment.
       
      After lunch we switched to a Sport Model. It had a distinctive gloss-black grille, gloss black roof rails, thicker steering wheel, plenty of safety electronics (shared with the Premium) like lane change alert, blind side alert, rear cross-traffic alert. And, an inside rear-view mirror that is either rear camera video screen or standard mirror. If you wear glasses, likely you’ll choose standard; it’s a near-far focus thing.
       
      Let’s quantify that nice-to-drive feel that either model exhibits. The XT4's suspension damping on XT4 Sport feels more connected and aggressive than the Premium Luxury version.  However, the Sport’s steering effort and body lean are, in anything but Sport mode, shared with the Premium Luxury version. We think that, other than on long commutes, we'd leave the body controller set on AWD Sport for everyday use. We found no value, other than steering feel, in leaving the controller set in Sport. We asked Bill what the trade-offs might be. "In AWD and AWD Sport there would be zero fuel economy difference. But, between FWD and AWD (either AWD setting), there would be approximately one mile per gallon greater fuel consumption in AWD." So, it would be a personal choice to give up that one MPG for firmer chassis control and better steering feel. Which would apply to both Premium Luxury and Sport models.
       

       
      How, you ask, does Cadillac achieve their all wheel drive with FWD option? To perform that trick, there's de-coupler in the drive shaft that severs the rear axle and differential from the power train to wrest every bit of fuel economy your driving style can provide. 
      For XT4 Sport, Cadillac chose a road-reading damping system called Continuous Damping Control or CDC. It’s an active system, reading and adjusting to the road 500 times per second. You may recall that GM pioneered a very precise damping system using magnetorheological fluid to adjust damping with extreme precision. Cadillac chose CDC over MR for XT4. It was simple economics, as MR’s nearly semi-active properties aren't necessary for a CUV, as they are for V-Series Cadillacs.
       
      While driving twisting two-lane roads, deep in the hills surrounding Seattle, Wash., there was simply no choice, Sport mode it was. The exclusive CDC suspension felt so much more planted in spirited, mildly aggressive driving, building grip without harshness. There was directness to the chassis that went from heels, to hands, to butt, and heft to the steering feel absent in other modes, and in the Premium. Yeah, we really liked the XT4 Sport.
       

       
      Yes, we’d like more feedback from tires telling us what surface they were gripping. But, there's direct connection between eyes, steering wheel and direction. No problem making the XT4 go where it should, when it should. And that's likely at a greater speed than you'd be driving if your kids, or spouse, were in the car. 
       
      In fact, dare we say, the 2019 Cadillac XT4 is "BMW-ish" without that extra edge that many find harsh for day-to-day driving pleasure. That, either version of the XT4 will deliver, it all depends on your needs.
       
      2019 Cadillac XT4 First Drive Photo Gallery

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