Cadillac All-Wheel-Drive Models Gaining Traction
DETROIT – Kenneth Carter, owner of Carter and Carter Realty Inc., lives on the north side of Colorado Springs, Colo., near Monument Hill, where the snow is frequent and terrain is steep.
An all-wheel-drive automobile is a necessity, said Carter, who often has to drive over unplowed roads to see properties or meet with clients. The Colorado Realtor recently bought a 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe AWD to go with the 2010 Cadillac SRX AWD he already owned. He likes the dependability of Cadillacs and the way they handle on both snow-covered and normal roads.
“We get snow up here when they don’t get it down in Colorado Springs,” Carter said. “I have to be able to get around on business with what I do. I can’t be locked in by snow.”
More luxury buyers, such as Carter, are turning to Cadillac for its AWD models. Cadillac retail sales of AWD versions of the SRX, CTS and Escalade have increased a combined 38 percent in the past two years. AWD models now account for one-third of SRX, almost half of CTS and three-quarters of Escalade retail sales.
AWD historically has been associated with sport-utility vehicles, but in recent years Cadillac has appealed to customers by expanding its AWD offerings to cars and crossovers. An AWD version of CTS was introduced during the 2008 model year. A dramatically redesigned SRX, also available in AWD, was introduced for 2010.
AWD is a significant selling option for luxury autos in his area, said Joel Defazio, sales manager at Red Noland Cadillac in Colorado Springs. Carter bought both of his Cadillacs from Red Noland. The Escalade AWD has always sold well, but the addition of the AWD CTS has been a boost to Cadillac car sales, Defazio said.
“All-wheel-drive is our business,” Defazio said. “With AWD now offered on the CTS, we’re able to attract luxury buyers in our area that never would have considered Cadillac before.”
Cold-weather areas provide the strongest consumer demand for AWD vehicles. Cadillac’s advanced AWD systems can quickly react to slippery roads and shift more power to the wheel or wheels with the best traction. Cadillac recently signed a sponsorship agreement with Vail Resorts that will highlight these capabilities in snowy, ski destinations.
The Cadillac AWD systems, though, also enhance performance during warmer conditions. The AWD system on the SRX, which comes standard as a front-wheel-drive vehicle, helps improve passing acceleration by transferring more torque to the rear wheels. The CTS, which comes standard as a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, uses its AWD system to help prevent over-steer during aggressive cornering.
“Cadillac’s investment in advanced AWD systems across the line-up is enhancing the brand’s reputation for performance,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing. “We’re able to offer luxury buyers exceptional ride, handling and control on a wide range of road conditions.”