Cadillac’s Poor US Sales Contrast With Size of Larger Rivals

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General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) turnaround experiment at Cadillac is in trouble, at least in the United States. February sales of the brand fell 8.6% to 10,823. That means Cadillac’s effort to gain on the industry leaders Mercedes, BMW and Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) Lexus have faltered. All three of the rival brands sell over 20,000 almost every month.

For the first two months of the year, Cadillac sales have dropped 6.5% to 21,121.

In February, sales of Cadillac’s multiyear core of models dropped. Sales of small sedan ATS fell 36.8% to 1,005. Sales of midsize sedan CTS dropped 37.5% to 913. Ultra-high-end sport utility vehicle (SUV) Escalade sales fell 21.2% to 1,434. The Escalade ESV posted sales of 1,012, down 3.3%.

Cadillac has expected sales of two new models to turn its fortunes around. Sales of one of these were less than modest. Sales of the new CT6 full-sized sedan were only 802. Its new XT5 crossover did better at 4,291.

Among Cadillac’s primary problems is that the XT5 and CT6 have a number of strong and better-selling competitors. Each of the major luxury brands has one or more vehicles that compete with the XT5 and CT6. Cadillac has to elbow its way into a very crowded and well-established field.

Among the three industry leaders, BMW sales rose a very modest 0.3% in February. However, it sold an impressive 22,558 vehicles. Mercedes sales slipped 2.9% to 22,941. Lexus sales hit a free fall, down 20.6%, but it still managed to sell 18,338 vehicles.

Cadillac sales need to double for it to be a major contender. Instead, they are dropping off.