The Cadillac division of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) launched a new version of its Escalade super-SUV. And the release was done with great fanfare, a peculiar effort since no one buys the vehicle.
The 2015 Escalade, according to Cadillac, has dozens of improvements, from a 6.2L V-8 engine to an “advanced system for connectivity and control” that features “state-of-the-art voice recognition with touch controls common with the world’s most popular tablets and mobile devices” to a “Driver Awareness package [that] includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning System, and the patented Safety Alert Seat” and even an interior that includes “Real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and sueded accents.”
Too bad Cadillac only sold 1,754 Escalades in September.
The launch is part of a decades-old system, created by car companies, that releases an endless set of new cars with a separate event for each of them. Supposedly, this keeps a drum beat of good public relations for the auto buying public, employees and even investors. However, very few of these groups are fooled. It is one thing to revamp Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) F-150 pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the United States. It is another to pretend that the Escalade will ever sell more than a few hundred units a month, no matter how slick and advanced its interior and exterior are.
The luxury division of GM’s description of the new SUV is “Craftsmanship Defines All-New 2015 Cadillac Escalade.” Cadillac can put it on showroom floors, offer special discounts and lease packages, and even negotiate sales well below the sticker price. No matter. The Escalade will sit on dealer lots with barely a buyer to look at them. The launch event will have happened a month before. And Cadillac will have wasted a lot of money trying to promote a product that never sold particularly well in any of its incarnations.