Cadillac to Ditch Latest Naming Convention

GM’s luxury brand plans to return to its traditional naming roots.


This Cadillac XT4 will eventually sport a traditional nameplate

There’s good news for anyone who cannot stand Cadillac’s current model naming convention. GM’s premier marque will soon begin transitioning its model names away from the current alphanumeric nomenclature to names that make sense, according to a report in Automotive News. The automaker announced the change as it laid out its plans to roll out dozens of electrified vehicles over the next decade.

Out With the Traditional

Cadillac began ditching its traditional names in the early 2000s, when the Seville became the STS and the DeVille was renamed the DTS. These changes took place as Cadillac introduced the CTS, its smallest sedan. However, one model name never changed — the Escalade (SUV), which immediately built a bling-loving following all its own.

Cadillac not only changed the model names once, but they changed them again beginning about five years ago. Its SRX crossover became the XT5, and then was followed by XT4 and XT6 models. As for the ATS and CTS sedans, these were replaced this year by the CT4 and CT5. In the interim, Cadillac rolled out the CT6, but even that model is slated to disappear in 2020. And don’t forget the Volt-based ELR, which lasted only a few years before it was canceled.

GM’s other brand never embraced an alphanumeric nomenclature, although Pontiac was on its way to making that change before the brand was canceled a decade ago. Indeed, Pontiac used G5, G6, and G8 to distinguish several models, although they still used names such as Gran Prix, Solstice, Torrent, and Vibe for the others.

Cadillac Follows Lincoln

The Lincoln brand, long Cadillac’s chief rival, has also done an about-face regarding its model names. For over a decade, Ford’s luxury marque used names that began with MK (as in Mark) and followed by a third letter. The MKC is now the Corsair and the MKX was replaced by the Nautilus. Like Cadillac, Lincoln reserved a traditional name for its largest model, the Navigator SUV.

Cadillac and Lincoln experimented with using European naming conventions for its vehicles, but eventually realized that consumers don’t like them. Whereas the European brands have used them for decades, American consumers never embraced the trend.

No Timeline Set

Cadillac hasn’t announced when its naming convention will start transitioning or what names will be used. We do know a new electric model is slated for 2021, which is about the same time a new Escalade debuts. There’s also a rumor Cadillac will get a sports car based on the mid-engine Corvette. If it does, it most certainly won’t resurrect the XLR name used to identify an earlier Cadillac model which also was Corvette derived.

See Also Not Again! Cadillac’s Naming Convention Adds a New Designation

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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