Published January 15, 2008
[ From Lansing State Journal ]

Lansing figures large in Cadillac's renaissance

Barbara Wieland
Lansing State Journal

Lansing has played a critical role in the Cadillac renaissance.

The rebirth of General Motors Corp.'s premium brand began when Cadillac introduced the CTS in late 2001. That car, the first of three models built in the Lansing Grand River plant, signaled styling changes that have reverberated in subsequent Cadillac vehicles.

Cadillac added the SRX crossover to Lansing Grand River in 2003 and started making the STS sedan there a year later.

Now, Cadillac is readying for the next phase of the luxury brand's renaissance. And again, Lansing figures prominently.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, officials introduced the CTS-V - a high-performance model that will go into production later this year.

Two concept vehicles - the Provoq crossover and CTS Coupe - might end up being made in Lansing, if GM decides to produce them.

The Cadillac brand has enjoyed good times the past few years, brand General Manager Jim Taylor said Monday amid the announcements.

"We're really lucky when you think of the state of the economy and the state even of GM's finances that we got three vehicles announced here," he said. "That bodes well for the future of the (Lansing Grand River) plant and the future of our dealers."

LSJ

You showed the Provoq, the concept vehicle that is the basis for the SRX replacement. The Provoq is a fuel-cell vehicle, and the SRX replacement is due out in 2010. Will fuel cells be ready for mass production by then?

Taylor

No. The first mountain the engineering guys are being tasked to climb is the (Chevrolet) Volt version. They've got to nail that battery version first. The fuel cell is the next derivative of (the Volt). They've moved an army of 500-600 guys to just doing that.

The fuel cell is the next derivative of it. Realistically, (GM Vice Chairman) Bob (Lutz) has said 2010-2011 for the (plug-in) Volt, and the fuel cell would come after that.

LSJ

What would a coupe add to the Cadillac lineup?

Taylor

We already have the XLR (coupe). It's an iconic product, but that's getting on the old side. When you're in the coupe segment, you get a flash of volume and then it goes away because people want the latest thing. Having another coupe makes sense. It's low volume, but it's where you can make the biggest styling statement.

LSJ

Who would be the buyer of the CTS coupe as compared to the buyer of the CTS sedan?

Taylor

Just out of the nature of the vehicle, there is a backseat, but not one you want to put anyone you like in. You're buying it for a front seat, and you're buying it for you. It's for single people and married couples, but definitely not a family vehicle. It's for people who are very fashion conscious.

LSJ

Cadillac dealers are saying they can't get enough CTSes. Are you planning to increase production?

Taylor

Well, we upped production in the first quarter already, up 3,500 units. We've remixed the STS and SRX, turned the line up and ran some overtime. To my knowledge, they're telling me they're maxed out. It's a good spot to be in, but on the other hand, you'd love to have as many as you can.

LSJ

Some are saying the CTS-V will be the fastest luxury car on the market. Is that true?

Taylor

Maybe ever, maybe on Earth - as a V-8 (engine). The (BMW) M5 has got a V-10. When you take the M5 out of the equation, then you've still got a pretty long list of high-performance vehicles it's in the category of. But it will be the fastest V-8.