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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cadillac to Get Another Three-Row SUV, Keep Escalade

Cadillac’s SUV line is a huge success story. Whether or not we like it, buyers are snatching up the new SRX, and the Escalade remains one of the country’s most recognizable automotive status symbols. It’s not surprising, then, that the company is looking to expand its SUV family. Jim Vurpillat, Cadillac’s global marketing chief, tells us that there is room in the portfolio for another SUV to slot in between the SRX and the Escalade. The SRX got smaller in its second generation, leaving room for another model in the $50–60K range.

This model, according to our industry sources, likely will be based on the GM Lambda platform, which serves as the basis for the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave. Like those vehicles, it will probably offer three rows of seating, but that doesn’t mean it will replace the Escalade. Frankly, it couldn’t: The Lambda platform is front- or all-wheel drive and powered by V-6 engines—even a turbocharged four is possible. The customer base of the current Escalade, on the other hand, is as loyal as it is affluent, which means Cadillac’s big body-on-frame SUV will get a truck-based successor that could be limited to an annual output of a few thousand high-priced and high-powered units.

In the past, the Chevy and GMC Suburbans were referred to as “Texas Cadillacs.” Now that Cadillac has established its own full-size icon, it is smart to stay committed to its evolution. Meanwhile, those who want better fuel economy will be able to choose the Lambda crossover, which could get a three-letter nameplate like the rest of the Cadillac line or could, like the Escalade EXT and ESV, be branded as a member of the Slade family.

View the original article here

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