Last updated

Cadillac Motor Car Division
Industry Automotive
Predecessor Henry Ford Company
FoundedAugust 22, 1902 (1902-08-22) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Area served
United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Middle East (excl. Iran and Syria), China, South Korea, Japan
Key people
Steve Carlisle, President, Cadillac
Products Luxury vehicles
Owner General Motors
Footnotes /references

Cadillac /ˈkædɪlæk/ is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM) that designs and builds luxury vehicles. Its major markets are the United States, Canada, and China. Cadillac vehicles are distributed in 34 additional markets worldwide. Cadillac automobiles are at the top of the luxury field within the United States. [2] In 2017, Cadillac's U.S. sales were 156,440 vehicles and its global sales were 356,467 vehicles. [3]

General Motors American automotive manufacturing company

General Motors Company, commonly referred to as General Motors (GM), is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Detroit that designs, manufactures, markets, and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts, and sells financial services, with global headquarters in Detroit's Renaissance Center. It was originally founded by William C. Durant on September 16, 1908 as a holding company. The company is the largest American automobile manufacturer, and one of the world's largest. As of 2018, General Motors is ranked #10 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

Luxury vehicle marketing term for a vehicle that provides luxury

A luxury vehicle is intended to provide passengers with increased comfort, a higher level of equipment and increased perception of quality than regular cars for an increased price. The term is subjective and can be based on either the qualities of the car itself or the brand image of its manufacturer. Luxury brands are considered to have a higher status than premium brands, however there is no fixed differentiation between the two.


Cadillac is among the first automobile brands in the world, second in the United States only to fellow GM marque Buick. The firm was founded from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company in 1902. [4] It was named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who founded Detroit, Michigan. The Cadillac crest is based on his coat of arms.

Buick is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM). It was among the first American marques of automobiles, and was the company that established General Motors in 1908. Before the establishment of General Motors, GM founder William C. Durant had served as Buick's general manager and major investor. Buick was the first production automobile maker in the world to equip its cars with overhead valve engines, which it did in 1904.

Henry Ford Company automobile manufacture

The Henry Ford Company was the second company for Henry Ford, founded November 1901. It resulted from the reorganization of the Detroit Automobile Company, his first unsuccessful attempt at automobile manufacture a year before. In March 1902, Ford left the company following a dispute with his financial backers, William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen, as Ford was devoting considerable time to the sport of auto racing and his Ford 999 race car. In a final settlement, Ford left with his name and US $900; he went on to start the Ford Motor Company in 1903 at the Ford Mack Avenue Plant.

Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac French explorer

Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, usually referred to as Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, was a French explorer and adventurer in New France which stretched from Eastern Canada to Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico. He rose from a modest beginning in Acadia in 1683 as an explorer, trapper, and a trader of alcohol and furs, and he achieved various positions of political importance in the colony. He was the commander of Fort de Buade in St. Ignace, Michigan in 1694. In 1701, he founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit which became the city of Detroit, which he commanded until 1710. Between 1710 and 1716, he was the governor of Louisiana, although he did not arrive in that territory until 1713.

By the time General Motors purchased the company in 1909, Cadillac had already established itself as one of America's premier luxury carmakers. The complete interchangeability of its precision parts had allowed it to lay the foundation for the modern mass production of automobiles. It was at the forefront of technological advances, introducing full electrical systems, the clashless manual transmission and the steel roof. The brand developed three engines, with its V8 setting the standard for the American automotive industry.

Mass production production of large amounts of standardized products

Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines. Together with job production and batch production, it is one of the three main production methods.

V8 engine piston engine with eight cylinders in vee configuration

A V8 engine is an eight-cylinder V configuration engine with the cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two sets of four, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft. Most banks are set at a right angle (90°) to each other, some at a narrower angle, with 45°, 60°, and 72° most common.

Automotive industry in the United States

The automotive industry in the United States began in the 1890s and, as a result of the size of the domestic market and the use of mass production, rapidly evolved into the largest in the world. However, the United States was overtaken as the largest automobile producer by Japan in the 1980s, and subsequently by China in 2008. The U.S. is currently second among the largest manufacturer in the world by volume, with approximately 8-10 million manufactured annually. Notable exceptions were 5.7 million automobiles manufactured in 2009, and peak production levels of 13-15 million units during the 1970s and early 2000s.

Cadillac had the first U.S. car to win the Royal Automobile Club of the United Kingdom's Dewar Trophy by successfully demonstrating the interchangeability of its component parts during a reliability test in 1908; this spawned the firm's slogan "Standard of the World". It won the trophy again in 1912 for incorporating electric starting and lighting in a production automobile. [5]

The Dewar Trophy was a cup donated in the early years of the twentieth century by Sir Thomas R. Dewar, M.P. a member of parliament of the United Kingdom (UK), to be awarded each year by the Royal Automobile Club of the United Kingdom "to the motor car which should successfully complete the most meritorious performance or test furthering the interests and advancement of the [automobile] industry".

Early history


Cadillac was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company. After a dispute between Henry Ford and his investors, Ford left the company along with several of his key partners in March 1902. Ford's financial backers William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen called in engineer Henry M. Leland of Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company to appraise the plant and equipment in preparation for liquidating the company's assets. Instead, Leland persuaded the pair to continue manufacturing automobiles using Leland's proven single-cylinder engine. A new company called the Cadillac Automobile Company was established on 22 August 1902, re-purposing the Henry Ford Company factory at Cass Street and Amsterdam Avenue. It was named after French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, who had founded Detroit in 1701. [6] [7]

Henry M. Leland American businessman

Henry Martyn Leland was an American machinist, inventor, engineer and automotive entrepreneur. He founded the two premier American luxury automotive marques, Cadillac and Lincoln.

First automobiles

Cadillac's first automobiles, the Runabout and Tonneau, were completed in October 1902. They were two-seat horseless carriages powered by a 10 hp (7 kW) single-cylinder engine. They were practically identical to the 1903 Ford Model A. Many sources state that the first car rolled out of the factory on 17 October; in the book Henry Leland – Master of Precision, the date is 20 October; another reliable source shows car number three to have been built on 16 October. Cadillac displayed the new vehicles at the New York Auto Show in January 1903, where the vehicles impressed the crowds enough to gather over 2,000 firm orders. Cadillac's biggest selling point was precision manufacturing, and therefore, reliability; a Cadillac was simply a better-made vehicle than its competitors.

Cadillac Runabout and Tonneau The first Cadillac automobiles

The first Cadillac automobiles were the 1903 Model built in the last quarter, 1902. These were 2-seater "horseless carriages" powered by a reliable and sturdy 10 hp (7 kW) single-cylinder engine developed by Henry Martyn Leland and built by Leland and Faulconer Manufacturing Company of Detroit, of which Henry Leland was founder, vice-president and general manager.

Single-cylinder engine

A single-cylinder engine is a basic piston engine configuration of an internal combustion engine. It is often seen on motorcycles, auto rickshaws, motor scooters, mopeds, dirt bikes, go-karts, radio-controlled models, and has many uses in portable tools and garden machinery. Some single-cylinder automobiles and tractors have been produced, but are rare today due to developments in engine technology.

Rear-entrance tonneau
Special bodies

Notable events: 1906–1912

The Cadillac Automobile Company merged with Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing, forming The Cadillac Motor Company in 1905. [8] From its earliest years, Cadillac aimed for precision engineering and stylish luxury finishes, causing its cars to be ranked amongst the finest in the United States. Cadillac was the first volume manufacturer of a fully enclosed car, in 1906. Cadillac participated in the 1908 interchangeability test in the United Kingdom, and was awarded the Dewar Trophy for the most important advancement of the year in the automobile industry.

In 1909, Cadillac was purchased by the General Motors (GM) conglomerate. [9] Cadillac became General Motors' prestige division, devoted to the production of large luxury vehicles. The Cadillac line was also GM's default marque for "commercial chassis" institutional vehicles, such as limousines, ambulances, hearses and funeral home flower cars, the last three of which were custom-built by aftermarket manufacturers. It became positioned at the top of GM's vehicle hierarchy, above Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland, and later, Chevrolet.

In 1912, Cadillac was the first automobile manufacturer to incorporate an electrical system enabling starting, ignition, and lighting. [10] [11]

Becoming the "Standard of the World" and the Great Depression: 1915–1941

In 1915, Cadillac introduced a 90-degree flathead V8 engine with 70 horsepower (52 kW) at 2400 rpm and 180 pound force-feet (240 N⋅m) of torque, allowing its cars to attain 65 miles per hour (105 km/h). [11] This was faster than most roads could accommodate at this time. Cadillac pioneered the dual-plane V8 crankshaft in 1918. In 1928 Cadillac introduced the first clashless Synchro-Mesh manual transmission, utilizing constant mesh gears. In 1930 Cadillac implemented the first V-16 engine, with a 45-degree overhead valve, 452 cubic inches (7.41 litres), and 165 horsepower (123 kW), one of the most powerful and quietest engines in the United States. The development and introduction of the V8, V16 and V-12 helped to make Cadillac the "Standard of the World". [11] A later model of the V8 engine, with overhead valves, set the standard for the entire American automotive industry in 1949. [11]

A 1921 Cadillac advertisement Cadillac adv 1921.jpg
A 1921 Cadillac advertisement

In July 1917, the United States Army needed a dependable staff car and chose the Cadillac Type 55 Touring Model after exhaustive tests on the Mexican border. 2,350 of the cars were supplied for use in France by officers of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. [12]

General Motors of Canada had built Cadillacs from 1923 until 1936 and LaSalles from 1927 until 1935. [13]

Pre-World War II Cadillacs were well-built, powerful, mass-produced luxury cars aimed at an upper-class market. In the 1930s, Cadillac added cars with V12 and V16 engines to their range, many of which were fitted with custom coach-built bodies. [14]

In 1926, Cadillac recruited automobile stylist Harley Earl in a one-time consulting capacity, but his employment lasted considerably longer: by 1928, Earl was the head of the new Art and Color division and he would ultimately work for GM until he retired, over 30 years later. The first car he designed was the LaSalle, a new, smaller "companion marque" car, named after another French explorer and founder of Detroit, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. That marque remained in production until 1940. [15]

Cadillac introduced designer-styled bodywork (as opposed to auto-engineered) in 1927. It installed shatter-resistant glass in 1926. Cadillac also introduced the "turret top", the first all-steel roof on a passenger car. [11] Previously, car roofs had been made out of fabric-covered wood.

The Great Depression sapped the auto industry generally, with the luxury market declining more steeply; between 1928 and 1933, Cadillac sales declined by 84% to 6,736 vehicles. [16] Exacerbating sales performance for the Cadillac brand was a policy, reflective of the times, which discouraged sales to African Americans. [17] Nick Dreystadt, mechanic and national head of Cadillac service, urged a committee – set up to decide whether the Cadillac brand would live on – to revoke that policy. After the policy was eliminated, brand sales increased by 70% in 1934 – and Dreystadt was promoted to lead the entire Cadillac Division. [17]

By 1940, Cadillac sales had risen tenfold compared to 1934. [14] In 1936, Dreystadt released the Series 60 as Cadillac's entry into the mid-priced vehicle market. It was replaced by the Series 61 in 1939, but a popular model that was derived from it, the Sixty Special, continued through 1993. Another factor helped boost Cadillac growth over the next few years: a revolution in assembly line technology. In 1934, Henry F. Phillips introduced the Phillips screw and screwdriver to the market. He entered into talks with General Motors and convinced the Cadillac group that his new screws would speed assembly times and therefore increase profits. Cadillac was the first automaker to use the Phillips technology, in 1937, which was widely adopted in 1940. [18] For the first time in many years all cars built by the company shared the same basic engine and drivetrain in 1941. [19]

1941 also saw introduction of optional Hydra-Matic, the first mass-produced fully automatic transmission, offered the previous year on the Oldsmobile.

After World War II and The Great Depression: 1945–1959

1948 Cadillac Cadillac 1948.jpg
1948 Cadillac
The iconic large tail fins of the 1959 Cadillac 1959 Cadillac fins.jpg
The iconic large tail fins of the 1959 Cadillac

Postwar Cadillac vehicles innovated many of the styling features that came to be synonymous with the late 1940s and 1950s American automobile. Incorporating many of the ideas of then General Motors styling chief Harley J. Earl, these included tailfins, wraparound windshields, and extensive use of chrome. Tailfins were first added in 1948 [11] and reached their pinnacle in 1959. From 1960 to 1964 they decreased each year until they disappeared in the 1965 model year (remaining vestigialy only on the limited production 1965 Series 75 chassis, a carry-over from 1964). Cadillac's other distinctive styling attribute was its front-bumper. What had started out after the war as a pair of artillery shell-shaped bumper guards [20] moved higher on the front-end design as the 1950s wore on. Becoming known as Dagmar bumpers for their similarity to the buxom 1950s television personality, they were toned down in 1958 and gone the next year.

1956 saw the introduction of the pillarless four-door hardtop sedan, marketed as the "Sedan de Ville"; a year later the feature appeared in all standard Cadillacs. The fledgling automotive magazine Motor Trend awarded its first "Motor Trend Car of the Year" to Cadillac in 1949 for its innovative overhead valve V8 engine. While the company initially snubbed the honor, it now proudly references its "Car of the Year" wins in publicity material. [21] [22] On November 25, 1949, Cadillac produced its one-millionth car, a 1950 Coupe de Ville. [23] It also set a new sales mark of 100,000 cars, [23] matched in 1950 and 1951. [24] 1949 also saw the introduction with Buick of the first mass-produced hardtop coupe, a closed-body style without a "B" pillar. Marketed as the Coupe de Ville, it would become one of Cadillac's most popular models for many years.

In 1951, Cadillac began production of the M41 Walker Bulldog army tank, which saw service in the Korean and Vietnam war s.

In 1953, the "Autronic Eye" was introduced. This feature would automatically dim high-beam headlamps for the safety of oncoming motorists. [25] In 1957, Cadillac attempted to move further upmarket, creating the hand-built Series 70 Eldorado Brougham. [26] It featured self-levelling suspension, "memory seat" function, and an all-transistor signal-seeking car radio that was produced by GM's Delco Radio and which was available as standard equipment for the 1957 Eldorado Brougham models. [20] [27] [28] [29] While the car showed Cadillac's technological prowess, it only sold 904 units.

Cadillac Eldorado Brougham all-transistor car radio-1957 dash Cadillac Eldoradio Brougham all-transistor car radio-1957 dash.JPG
Cadillac Eldorado Brougham all-transistor car radio-1957 dash
Installing a transmission on a Cadillac in Wayne, Michigan, 1973 INSTALLING TRANSMISSION ON THE CADILLAC ASSEMBLY LINE - NARA - 549720.jpg
Installing a transmission on a Cadillac in Wayne, Michigan, 1973

Pinnacles in Luxury & Dimension: 1960–1976

The dual-reservoir brake master cylinder, with separate front and rear hydraulic systems, was introduced in 1962, six years ahead of the Federal requirement. The first fully automatic heater-air conditioning system also appeared, as did the three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission; it would become the GM standard model for several decades. From the late 1960s, Cadillac offered a fiber-optic warning system[ citation needed ] to alert the driver to failed light bulbs. The use of extensive bright-work on the exterior and interior also decreased each year after 1959. By the 1966 model year, even the rear bumpers ceased to be all chrome – large portions were painted, including the headlight bezels.

In 1966, Cadillac had its best annual sales yet, over 192,000 units (142,190 of them de Villes), [30] an increase of more than 60%. [31] This was exceeded in 1968, when Cadillac topped 200,000 units for the first time. [32] 1967 and 1968 saw the introduction of a host of federally mandated safety features, including energy-absorbing steering columns and wheels, soft interior and instrument panel knobs and surfaces, front shoulder belts, and side marker lights.

The front-wheel-drive Eldorado was launched in 1967, setting a new standard for a personal luxury car. Its simple, elegant design was a far cry from the tailfin and chrome excesses of the 1950s. Cadillac's success grew against rivals Lincoln and Imperial, which had division sales topping all of Chrysler for the first time in 1970. [33] The new 472 cu in (7.7 l) engine that debuted in the 1968 model year, designed for an ultimate capacity potential of 600 cu in (9.8 l), [34] was increased to 500 cu in (8.2 l) for the 1970 Eldorado. It was adopted across the model range beginning in 1975. Driver and front passenger airbags ("Air Cushion Restraint System") began to be offered on some Cadillac, as well as other Buick and Oldsmobile luxury models, in 1974, however this option was unpopular as was discontinued after the 1976 model year. The pillarless Coupe deVille ended with the 1973 model, while the Sedan deVille remained pillarless through 1976.

The 1970s saw new extremes in vehicle luxury and dimension. The 1972 Fleetwood was some 1.7 in (43 mm) longer in wheelbase and 4 in (100 mm) overall, compared to the 1960 Series 75 Fleetwood; the entry-level 1972 Calais was 2.4 in (61.0 mm) longer than the equivalent 1960 Series 62, on the same wheelbase. [35] Models gained a smoother ride while vehicle weight, standard equipment, and engine displacement were all increased. Cadillac experienced record sales in 1973 and again in the late 1970s. In May 1975, the Seville was introduced as a competitor to the growing import luxury car market and was marketed as "international size".

Downsizings & New Technology-Assisted Luxury Features: 1977–1988

In 1977, Cadillac's D-bodies experienced the same "downsizing" as the rest of GM's "B" and "C" bodied cars. In 1977 GM significantly down-sized their full sized cars. The DeVille and Fleetwood Brougham rode on the same 121.5" wheelbase and were powered by the 425 cubic inch (7.0L) V8. This engine was basically a de-bored version of the 472/500 (7.9 L/8.2 L) V8 of previous years. 1977 was Cadillac's 75th anniversary, and saw the introduction of the downsized DeVille coupes and sedans. The new Fleetwood Brougham, which had lost its exclusive longer wheelbase, was now virtually similar to the lesser Sedan de Ville. Other than the name, there were only subtle exterior differences between a Fleetwood Brougham and Sedan de Ville. The interior of the Fleetwood was more plush and offered more features as standard. These new cars featured a higher roofline, resulting in a vehicle that was over nine inches shorter, four inches narrower, and 1/2 ton lighter than the previous year, but with a larger trunk and more headroom and legroom. These were also the first DeVilles to be marketed without fender skirts over the rear wheels. The 500 in3 V8 (which produced 190 horsepower) was replaced for 1977 by a 180-horsepower 425 in3 V8 variant of similar design. The reduction in size and weight was implemented to improve fuel economy and emissions as a result of the United States Federal Government passage of Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations.

For 1977, the lineup included the two-door Coupe de Ville ($9,654) and four-door Sedan de Ville ($9,864). The $650 d'Elegance package, an interior dress-up option carried over from the previous generation of DeVilles, continued for both models. 3-sided, wrap-around tail lamps were a 1977 feature only (although they would re-appear in 1987). Coupe de Ville's popular "Cabriolet" option, priced at $348, included a rear-half padded vinyl roof covering and opera lamps. An optional electronic fuel-injected version of the standard 7.0-liter powerplant, adding 15 horsepower (11 kW), was available for an additional $647. Sales figures were 138,750 Coupe de Villes and 95,421 Sedan de Villes for an all-time sales record of 234,171 DeVilles sold.

With these downsizings, fuel economy and handling improved. In 1979, Cadillac's flagship Eldorado coupe would downsize. The 1980s saw a downsizing of many models including the DeVille, Fleetwood, Eldorado, and Seville. 1980 saw a dramatic redesign for the Seville featuring a bustle-back rear-end styling theme and a move to a front-wheel-drive chassis which it shared with the Eldorado. In 1982, the Cimarron was introduced as the brand's first compact car. The Cimarron's market failure is one in a series of events throughout the 1980s and 1990s which caused Cadillac's share of the US market to decline from 3.8% in 1979 to 2.2% in 1997; [36] it is routinely cited as the nadir of GM's product planning:

  • Noted automotive journalist Dan Neil included the Cimarron in his 2007 list of Worst Cars of all Time, saying "everything that was wrong, venal, lazy, and mendacious about GM in the 1980s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac." [37] He added that the Cimarron "nearly killed Cadillac and remains its biggest shame." [37]

Because of a delay in production of the new front-drive DeVilles (which were now going to be 1985 models), 1984 was a re-run for the rear-wheel-drive Coupe de Ville ($17,140) and its four-door companion, the popular Sedan de Ville ($17,625). It would also be the last time DeVille used the "V" emblem below the Cadillac crest, as 1985 models and on would use the crest and wreath emblem - formerly a Fleetwood exclusive. Minor changes included new body-color side moldings and a revised exhaust system with a revamped catalytic converter. The diesel V8 was now available at no additional charge. While the optional d'Elegance package remained at $1,150, the Cabriolet option for Coupe de Ville went up to $420. For 1984, sales figures show a total four-door production of 107,920 units, and an additional 50,840 two-door units (figures include de Ville and Fleetwood models). The new front-drive 1985 Coupe de Ville and Sedan de Ville arrived in Cadillac showrooms during the Spring of 1984, about six months earlier than most new-car introductions, so both the 1984 rear-drive and 1985 front-drive models were selling and being produced (due to separate assembly plants) at the same time for nearly half a year.

1985 saw the new front-wheel-drive DeVille and Fleetwood models released after quality delays prevented a planned 1984 model year introduction. 1986 saw new downsized Eldorado and Seville models. In 1987, the all-new Pininfarina-bodied Allante roadster came to market featuring the HT-4100 V8 engine. The Sixty Special returned in 1987 as the top owner-driven Cadillac in the front-wheel-drive GM C-body lineup, with a planned production run of just 2,000 cars. The 1987 and 1988 Sixty Specials were unique, custom-crafted automobiles, which featured a five-inch (127 mm) longer wheelbase over the DeVille/Fleetwood on which they were based. Similarly equipped to the standard-size Fleetwood d'Elegance - the model on which it was based - the Sixty Special also included an anti-lock braking system (a $925 Fleetwood option) and a stainless-steel exhaust system not available on other Cadillacs. In 1987, the Sixty Special carried a base price of $34,850 - more than $8,700 over the price of the Fleetwood d'Elegance. Also, 1987 brought the closure of Detroit Assembly on Clark Street in Detroit, where Cadillacs had been made since 1921.

The 1980s also saw the introduction of new, technology-assisted luxury features. Among these was the return of the memory seat option, not available since the 1958 Eldorado Brougham. 1981 brought standard digital heating and air conditioning controls to all models. In 1982, the High Technology engine was introduced. It was originally scheduled for a 1983 release, later delayed to 1985, with its intended applications being the downsized front-wheel drive models that Cadillac would introduce that year. 1983 saw the introduction of the Delco/Bose stereo system option, an USD$895 cassette stereo system available only on the Eldorado and Seville. This Bose system would eventually become available on the DeVille and Fleetwood models on their 1985 FWD editions. The Trip Computer, available for Eldorado in 1979 and Seville in 1978 and 1979, was replaced in 1981 with the availability of digital instrumentation with some Trip Computer functions being replaced by the new digital heating and air conditioning control panel. Digital instrumentation would become available for the new FWD DeVille and Fleetwood series in 1985.

New Introductions: 1989–1999

In 1991, Cadillac introduced the Northstar engine, which were a family of high-performance 90° V engines produced by General Motors from 1991 to 2010. Regarded as GM's most technically complex engine, the original double overhead cam, four valve per cylinder, aluminum block/aluminum head V8 design was developed by Oldsmobile's R&D, but is most associated with Cadillac's Northstar series. The related Northstar System was Cadillac's trademarked name for a package of performance features introduced in mid-1992 that coupled variable valve timing, road sensing suspension, variable power steering, and 4-wheel disc brakes to the Division's high-output and high-torque Northstar engines.

For 1992, the Seville was redesigned to better compete with luxury performance sedans from Europe and had adopted some styling cues from the 1988 Cadillac Voyage concept car. [38] It also made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list that year. A year later, the Brougham was discontinued and replaced by the all-new rear-wheel drive 1993 Fleetwood. The previous front-wheel drive Fleetwood was renamed Sixty Special for 1993. That same year, the Coupe deVille was discontinued due to the declining popularity of full-size coupes.

For 1994, the DeVille was redesigned to share the K-body platform with the Seville. The body was redesigned, although the wheelbase remained 113.8 inches—rather than the 111 inches used on the Seville. Production moved to Hamtramck, Michigan. Also for 1994, all DeVille models included a standard SRS driver-side front airbag, as well as fully digital instrumentation with integrated message center, which provided important vehicle information and status, current speed, outside temperature, and more, with controls mounted to the left of the instrument cluster. Also standard was a dual-zone front HVAC system, with controls located to the right of the instrument cluster, and remote controls on the front passenger door panel. A SRS passenger's-side front airbag became standard equipment after a restyling in 1996, which also brought revised exterior styling and new audio systems with TheftLock coded anti-theft technology. In 1995, the High Technology engine that had been used in Cadillacs since 1982 was discontinued.

For 1997, the Catera mid-size sedan was introduced as Cadillac's new entry level model. The DeVille was also redesigned that year. The late 1990s saw Cadillac field its first ever entry in the growing SUV segment. The Escalade, introduced in 1999, was marketed to compete with the Lincoln Navigator and luxury SUVs from various import brands.

The Art and Science era: 2000–present

In 2000, Cadillac introduced a new design philosophy for the 21st century called "Art and Science", [39] which it states "incorporates sharp, sheer forms and crisp edges – a form vocabulary that expresses bold, high-technology design and invokes the technology used to design it." This new design language spread from the original CTS and to the Cadillac XLR roadster. Cadillac's model lineup mostly includes rear- and all-wheel-drive sedans, roadsters, crossovers and SUVs. The only exceptions were the front-wheel drive Cadillac BLS (which was not sold in North America) [40] and the Cadillac DTS, neither of which are still in production. In 2005, the Cadillac STS was introduced as the successor to the Cadillac Seville,. [41] which beginning in 1988 was available as an upscale performance-oriented STS (for Seville Touring Sedan) version, and comfort-oriented SLS (for Seville Luxury Sedan). The following year, STS received Cadillac's then-new Northstar System, including the aluminium DOHC L37 Northstar V8 engine.

The STS was Cadillac's highest-priced sedan, falling in size between the mid-size CTS and full-size DTS. In 2006, the DeVille nameplate was replaced by Cadillac DTS, an abbreviation dating back to 1986, when a "DeVille Touring Sedan" package was first available. The new name brought the DeVille into line with Cadillac's Art & Science-era nomenclature, which saw the Seville renamed to STS and the Catera replacement called the CTS. The last DeVille rolled off the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly line on June 23, 2005.

The new second-generation CTS-V performance sedan was introduced in 2009 as a direct competitor to the BMW M5. [42] Powered by a supercharged OHV 6.2 L LSA V-8 engine, an automatic version of the CTS-V lapped the Nürburgring in 7:59.32, at the time a record for production sedans. [43] The last DTS rolled off the assembly line at 11:51 a.m. on May 27, 2011. [44]

In 2016, the Cadillac CT6 was introduced and was the brand's first full-size rear-wheel drive sedan since the discontinuation of the Fleetwood in 1996. In early 2017, Cadillac launched Book By Cadillac, a vehicle subscription service which was initially available in New York City. In November 2017, it was announced that Book by Cadillac would be expanding to Dallas and Los Angeles.

The Cadillac XT6 is an upcoming seven-seat luxury mid-size crossover SUV manufactured by General Motors. The vehicle was introduced on January 12, 2019 at the North American International Auto Show [45] and will go on sale in the fall of 2019 as a 2020 model, with early orders to commence in the summer of 2019. [46] Another addition to the Cadillac lineup for the 2020 model year will be the CT5 mid-size luxury sedan, replacing the CTS. It debuted at the 2019 New York International Auto Show and is expected to go on sale in the fall of 2019.




Assembly plants

Additionally, Russian company Avtotor assembles the Cadillac CTS and Cadillac Escalade under license in Kaliningrad. [47]



Cadillac has won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award five times: [22] [48]

1949 Cadillac Motor Division - for innovations in overhead valve V8 engine design
1952 Cadillac Motor Division
1992 Cadillac Seville Touring Sedan
2008 Cadillac CTS
2014 Cadillac CTS


The Cadillac racing logo Cadillac Racing Logo.jpg
The Cadillac racing logo

Before the outbreak of World War II, Cadillac (like most manufacturers) participated in various types of motorsport. Many Allard automobiles used Cadillac engines.

In the 1950s, Cadillac (like all American manufacturers at the time) participated in the NASCAR Grand National Series. The brand disappeared from the series by the 1960s.

Cadillac powered the Cadillac Northstar LMP a Le Mans Prototype in the early years of the American Le Mans Series from 2000 to 2002. When the prototype proved unsuccessful, Cadillac withdrew from the series. Cadillac's most successful venture into motorsport in recent years has been its use of the CTS-V in the SCCA World Challenge Grand Touring class.

See also

Related Research Articles

GM Korea company

GM Korea Company is South Korea's third largest automobile manufacturer and a subsidiary of General Motors. GM Korea's roots go back to the former Daewoo which was split from its parent company, Daewoo Group, in 2001. It has 3 manufacturing facilities in South Korea as well as a vehicle assembly facility in Vietnam. In addition, GM Korea provides region and brand-specific vehicle assembly kits for assembly by GM affiliates in the United States, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, and Mexico. In 2008, GM Korea built more than 1.9 million vehicles, including CKD products. It now produces vehicles and kits for Chevrolet, Holden and Buick that are offered in more than 150 markets on six continents. GM Korea also has design, engineering, research & development facilities that are involved in development for various GM products, above all small-size cars.

Cadillac Eldorado personal luxury car

The Cadillac Eldorado is a premium luxury car that was manufactured and marketed by Cadillac from 1952 to 2002 over ten generations. Competitors and similar vehicles included the Continental Mark series, Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Toronado and Chrysler's Imperial Coupe.

Cadillac Seville luxury-type car

The Cadillac Seville is a luxury car manufactured by Cadillac between 1975-2004, as a smaller-sized, premium Cadillac. Despite its smaller size, the Seville typically carried the highest price tag among Cadillac's sedan models. It was replaced by the Cadillac STS in 2005.

Cadillac CTS mid-size performance/luxury car

The Cadillac CTS is an executive car that was manufactured and marketed by General Motors from 2003-2019 across three generations. Historically, it was priced similar to cars on the compact luxury spectrum; but it has always been sized closely to its mid-size rivals. The third generation competes directly with the mid-size luxury cars.Initially available only as a 4-door sedan on the GM Sigma platform, GM had offered the second generation CTS in three body styles: 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe, and 5-door sport wagon also using the Sigma platform — and the third generation in coupe and sedan configurations, using a stretched version of the GM Alpha platform.

Northstar engine series 4.0 v-8 1996

The Northstar engine is a family of high-performance 90° V engines produced by General Motors between 1993 and 2011. Regarded as GM's most technically complex engine, the original double overhead cam, four valve per cylinder, aluminum block/aluminum head V8 design was developed by Oldsmobile R&D, but is most associated with Cadillac's Northstar series.

GM Sigma platform

Sigma was General Motors' mid-size rear-wheel drive automobile platform. The architecture debuted in 2002 with the 2003 Cadillac CTS and is adaptable for all-wheel drive and extended wheelbase versions.


SAIC General Motors Corporation Limited is a joint venture between General Motors Company and SAIC Motor that manufactures and sells Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac brand automobiles in mainland China. SAIC-GM was founded on June 12, 1997 with 50% investment each from each partner. SAIC-GM began assembling the venture's first vehicle, the Buick Regal, in Shanghai, China in 1999.

Cadillac Brougham line of luxury cars

The Cadillac Brougham was a line of luxury cars manufactured by the Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors from the 1987 through 1992 model years and was previously sold from 1977 to 1986 as the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. The optional "d'Elegance" trim package that was introduced during the Fleetwood era remained available. The model received a facelift in 1990 and was replaced by an all-new Cadillac Fleetwood in 1993.

General Motors Motorama

The General Motors Motorama was an auto show staged by GM from 1949 to 1961. These automobile extravaganzas were designed to whet public appetite and boost automobile sales with displays of fancy prototypes, concept vehicles and other special or halo models. Motorama grew out of Alfred P. Sloan's yearly industrial luncheons at New York City's Waldorf Astoria, beginning in 1931. They were almost invariably held in conjunction with the New York Auto Show, that for many years was held traditionally in the first week of January.

Cadillac DTS car model

The Cadillac DTS is a full-size luxury notchback sedan that was produced by Cadillac. The DTS replaced the Cadillac DeVille as Cadillac's largest luxury car for the 2006 model year. This renaming followed new nomenclature conventions set by the earlier CTS and STS.

Cadillac Fleetwood model of luxury cars

The Cadillac Fleetwood is a model of luxury car that was manufactured by the Cadillac division of General Motors between 1976 and 1996. The "Fleetwood" name was previously used as a prefix on several of Cadillac's models dating back to 1935. Four door cars bearing the name "Fleetwood" generally had longer wheelbases than Cadillac's more common Series 62 and DeVille models.

Cadillac V series

The Cadillac V series is a line of high-performance vehicles tuned by the General Motors Performance Division for the Cadillac division of General Motors. Models in the V series include the CTS-V coupe, sedan and wagon. Cadillac reportedly has no plans to create V-series versions of its SUVs, the Escalade, XT5 and XT4.

Cadillac Sixty Special special model since 1938

The Cadillac Sixty Special is a name used by Cadillac to denote a special model since the 1938 Harley Earl-Bill Mitchell-designed extended wheelbase derivative of the Series 60, often referred to as the Fleetwood Sixty Special. The Sixty Special designation was reserved for some of Cadillac's most luxurious vehicles. It was as offered as a four door sedan and briefly as a four door hardtop. This exclusivity was reflected in the introduction of the exclusive Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham d'Elegance in 1973, and the Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham Talisman in 1974, and was offered as one trim package below the Series 70 limousine. The Sixty Special name was temporarily retired in 1976 but returned again in 1987 and continued through 1993.

Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham model of luxury cars

The Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is a luxury car manufactured by Cadillac from 1977 through 1986. In 1987, the Fleetwood Brougham name was shortened to simply Brougham, with production continuing through 1992 with only minor updates.

GM K platform (1980)

The General Motors K platform was an automobile platform designation used for front wheel drive Cadillac models beginning in 1980. It replaced the rear wheel drive K platform.

Cadillac CTS-V high-performance version of the standard CTS

The Cadillac CTS-V is a high-performance version of the Cadillac CTS. The CTS-V series includes three body styles, all of which feature a pushrod OHV V-8 engine and a sport-tuned suspension. The four-door CTS-V sedan was introduced in 2004, and the CTS-V sport wagon and coupe were introduced in 2010 for the 2011 model year. The sedan competes in the North American consumer market against other high-performance luxury sedans and "echoes" their quality but is a more affordable option than competitors such as the Audi RS6, BMW M5, and Mercedes E63 AMG.

GM Alpha platform

The GM Alpha platform currently underpins General Motors' compact to mid-size, front-engine, rear-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles. Platform basics include MacPherson struts on the front, 5 link independent rear, use of high strength steel and aluminum, and an overall focus on reducing weight. The GM Alpha platform made its debut in the 2013 Cadillac ATS, which entered production in July 2012.

Cadillac de Ville series car model

The Cadillac DeVille was originally a trim level and later a separate model produced by Cadillac. The first car to bear the name was the 1949 Coupe de Ville, a pillarless two-door hardtop body style with a prestige trim level above that of the Series 62 luxury coupe. The last model to be formally known as a DeVille was the 2005 Cadillac DeVille, a full-size sedan, the largest car in the Cadillac model range at the time. The next year, the DeVille was officially renamed the Cadillac DTS.

Cadillac ATS compact luxury sedan

The Cadillac ATS is a compact executive 4-door sedan and 2-door coupe manufactured and marketed by Cadillac and developed at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Cadillac assembles the ATS at the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan.


  1. "Form 10-K Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2012 Commission File Number 001-34960 General Motors Company" (PDF). General Motors. General Motors Company. 15 February 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  2. Rick Kranz (30 November 2011). "Cadillac Develops New Strategy In Europe". Automotive News. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  3. "Cadillac Global Sales Rise 15.5 Percent in 2017". 5 January 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  4. General Motors (1954). "Cars That Built GM: An Album of Historic General Motors Cars" (PDF). p. 8,12. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  5. General Motors (1954). "Cars That Built GM: An Album of Historic General Motors Cars" (PDF). p. 10,12,14,16. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  6. "Cadillac, Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de". 11 September 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  7. Granzo T History of Detroit
  8. "Cadillac: A Century of Excellence" by Rob Leicester Wagner ( ISBN   978-1-58663-168-0)
  9. "1909, Cadillac Enters the Fold". Generations of GM History. GM Heritage Center. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  10. Nazario (17 May 2012). "The Continual Innovation and History of Cadillac". GearHeads. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Laam, Michael (January 2002). "100 Years of Cadillac History". Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010.
  12. Bentley, John The Old Car Book, Fawcett Books (1952) p 12
  13. GM Heritage Center,
  14. 1 2 "1930–1939 Cadillac" . Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  15. "Earl, Harley J. GM's First Design Chief". Generations of GM History. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  16. Gordon, John Steele "The Man Who Saved The Cadillac". Forbes. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  17. 1 2 Gordon.
  18. "The Beginning of the Phillips Screw Company". Phillips Screw Company. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  19. Bonsall, p. 17
  20. 1 2 "1957 & 58 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham". Generations of GM History. GM Heritage Center. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  21. Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946-1959 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008), p. 190.
  22. 1 2 "Cadillac CTS Scores Second Motor Trend Car of the Year® Award". 7 November 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  23. 1 2 Flory, p. 255.
  24. Flory, p.323.
  25. 80 Years of Cadillac LaSalle by Walter M.P. McCall, Motorbooks International, Osceola WI, 1992, p. 298
  26. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  27. 1956 GM Year-End Annual Report, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham car model introduction announcement, pg 15
  28. Radio & TV News, August 1957, "Delco's All-Transistor Auto Radio", pg 60
  29. The Cadillac Serviceman, Volume XXXI, No.4, April 1957 issue, Pg 34
  30. Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. (2004), American Cars 1960–1972, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, pp. 423, 425–428
  31. Flory, p. 423
  32. Flory, p. 570. Karl Ludvigsen's "Cadillac: The Great American Dream Come True", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Vol. 3, p. 297, mistakenly dates this to 1967.
  33. Flory, p. 721.
  34. "Cadillac Eldorado History". Edmunds. 24 October 2011.
  35. Flory, pp. 20, 23, 878, & 880.
  36. Flammang and Kowalke, pp. 149-189
  37. 1 2 Dan Neil. "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time". Time Magazine.
  38. "1988 Cadillac Voyage Concept". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  39. Robyn Meredith (12 November 1999). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Cadillac is redesigning its image before its retooled cars appear" (The New York Times). The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  40. "2006 Cadillac BLS -Car News". Car and Driver. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  41. Newbury, Stephan (2006). The car design yearbook 4. Merrell. ISBN   1-85894-286-1.
  42. "2009 Cadillac CTS-V vs. 2008 BMW M5 SMG". Road & Track. Archived from the original on 9 August 2011.
  43. "Cadillac CTS-V Blisters the Ring in Under 8 Minutes". Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  44. Ganz, Andrew (27 May 2011). "Last Cadillac DTS rolls off line… and into Bulgari Collection". Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  45. "2020 Cadillac XT6 3-row crossover debuting in Detroit" from Motor Authority (January 2019)
  46. "2020 Cadillac XT6 Debuts With Three Rows, Bold Styling, Refined Luxury" from GM Authority (January 12, 2019)
  47. "Автотор - GM". Archived from the original on 24 July 2014.
  48. Lieberman, Jonny (January 2014). "Motor Trend Car of the Year 2014: The Strong Thrive: The 65th Anniversary of our Signature Award Finds the Automotive Industry Stronger Than Ever". Motor Trend . Source Interlink Media. 66 (1): 42–45. ISSN   0027-2094. OCLC   423854316. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-07. Our mission was to determine exactly which of this year's 22 new or significantly refreshed contenders is in fact the best.

Further reading