Cadillac is in a curious state.
Many would rightly argue that Cadillac’sÂ products are more competitive now than theyâ€™ve been in decades. Cadillac is making headway in China, a market which accounted for slightly more than half of Cadillacâ€™s global volume in the first-quarter of 2017. Cadillacâ€™s average U.S. transaction prices are also above the norm thanks in part to a high percentage of its sales being produced by the high-dollar Escalade.
But sales in Cadillacâ€™s home market continue to slide. U.S. volume has fallen by a fifth over the last decade and has decreased in two of the last three years, falling to a four-year low in 2016. More recently, U.S. sales at Cadillac are down 5 percent in early 2017 after decreasing on a year-over-year basis in six of the last twelve months.
Long gone are the days when Cadillac could sell new vehicles in America at the same rate as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, or Lexus. Indeed, Cadillac is well back of Audi now, as well. To put an exclamation point on Cadillac’s difficulties, little olâ€™ Infiniti â€” also historically reliant on the U.S. market and rather weak globally â€” outsold Cadillac by a margin of more than 40 percent in March.
Whatâ€™s next? Which brands will be outselling Cadillac in ten years, or even five, or even two?
What does the next decade hold for Cadillac?
Besides crossovers to slot in above and below the XT5, Cadillacâ€™s most popular vehicle.
Besides increased strength in China.
Besides high-power V versions that stand in stark contrast to Cadillacâ€™s historic mission.
How will Cadillac fare in the U.S. market in 2027? Or even in 2021?
In 2003, Cadillac was selling twice as many vehicles in the U.S. as Infiniti. Yet, while Cadillacâ€™s focus on passenger cars is evident, with an expanding sedan portfolio, Infinitiâ€™s headway has been made on the crossover side of the ledger where the brandâ€™s five nameplates outsold the XT5, Escalade, and Escalade ESV by more than 6,700 units in 2017 Q1.
Infiniti isnâ€™t the only premium brand attempting to take over territory in the United States while Cadillac struggles. Acura, with its own difficulties, isnâ€™t far behind Cadillac. Lincoln is trending in the opposite direction, up 9 percent so far this year. Jaguar-Land Rover is up 21 percent in 2017 and is quickly catching up to Cadillac in total volume.
Today, Cadillac isnâ€™t the top-selling luxury brand in America. It doesnâ€™t rank second or third or fourth, either. Indeed, Cadillac isnâ€™t even inside the top five now.
Where will Cadillac be a decade from now, or even five years from now? Behind Genesis, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo, too?
Timothy Cain is the founder ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcarÂ and on Facebook.