steve carlisle

Cadillac going back to names, report

Who else is excited for the 2025 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham? Right, don’t all excitedly jump up and down at the same time. May make Earth wobble.

In an interview with multiple outlets (and brought to our attention by Reuters and CNET Roadshow) that mostly covered Cadillac’s electrification plans, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle indicated that the brand’s Euro-style alphanumeric naming strategy will mercifully be coming to an end. CNET indicates it’ll correspond with the rollout of new EV models, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen even earlier. Lincoln’s similar decision has already proven to be successful, and it’s always seemed like a matter of time before Cadillac followed suit given the two brands’ similar history and market segments.

The current naming convention of CT(number) for cars and XT(number) for crossovers was hatched in 2014 and is widely credited to former Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen, who had previously transformed Infiniti’s naming convention into something similarly Germanic. That the man previously worked at Audi should be a surprise to no one. While people have generally been confused by the switch, we can’t say it’s any worse than the old CTS, XTS, ATS and SRX business that came before. At least de Nysschen’s system had a hierarchy.

Yet, for a brand once known for grand, stately cars and equally grand, stately names like Eldorado, Seville and, yes, Escalade, a European-style alphanumeric strategy never seemed right. It was at least indicative of Cadillac’s constant attempts to emulate German brands rather than setting its own, uniquely American course (as Lincoln has done recently). That the most American and successful of its lineup, the Escalade, hung onto its name through thick-and-thin speaks volumes.

So, will we really be seeing that ’25 Fleetwood Brougham? That does seem rather doubtful. Beyond Eldorado, there’s not a lot out there in the back catalog that doesn’t reek of crusty old country club luxury. Or was garbage. Perhaps sampling from Cadillac’s concept car file with something like Elmiraj?

Whatever it comes up with, though, how could it be worse than simultaneously selling an XT5 and XTS?

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