Cadillac is working hard to build cachet around its brand, and over the last few weeks we’ve witnessed big shifts to further that goal. New brand president Johan de Nysschen announced that Cadillac would relocate its official headquarters from Detroit to New York City, begin operating as a more independent entity within General Motors, and move its sedan naming convention to a new “CTx”-based system. Today, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell also confirmed to Automobile that Cadillac’s future crossovers will adopt an “XT”-based naming system.
The scheme follows up on the CTx nomenclature which will begin with the flagship Cadillac CT6 sedan. The Cadillac SRX (pictured) is the brand’s only crossover as of this moment, and we are according to Cadillac still “several years” from a new model, but the XT nomenclature gives the luxury automaker a more open system within which to introduce new vehicles.
“Names and models should be understandable, and easy to figure out for people in the showroom,” Caldwell said. “There’s still an emotional and dynamic name for the cars, and that’s Cadillac.”
As with the CT line of passenger cars, Cadillac will only pin the XT name on new models or when a vehicle (in this case the SRX) is substantially revised. In adopting alpha-numerical naming systems like CT and XT, Cadillac is able to plan for future segments into which it will enter. The move is to avoid confusion for both current and future customers, although it doesn’t mean that different names are off the table.
The Cadillac Escalade name not only exists outside of the passenger car or crossover sphere, but it carries a lot of prestige with customers, and so the nameplate is here to stay. While the hybrid-electric Cadillac ELR doesn’t have the same public perception, that model exists in a class of its own and so Caldwell said no name change is in the works. Furthermore, there’s still room for non-alpha-numerical names to adorn future specialty products outside the regular product line, but Cadillac would not say as of now if such plans are in motion.
There was a fair amount of backlash from consumer and media spheres alike when Cadillac announced these changes, much of it unfairly directed toward de Nyscchen who arrived well after these decisions were made. Cadillac hopes to go through a lot of changes in the coming years as it strives to be a competitive global luxury brand to rival the best from Germany, but its model nomenclature is only a small piece of that puzzle. What the brand might really need is some cachet trickling down from the halo car and sports car de Nysschen intimated he’d like to see built, possibly based on the Elmiraj concept and rumored mid-engine “Zora” Corvette.