Electric Escalade? Deville DC? Big Changes Coming to Cadillac

The minestrone soup model identification days of Cadillac may mercifully be coming to an end. And it won’t be soon enough for many. The alpha-numeric mumbo jumbo naming practices that has seen an “XT5” sold next to an “XTS” will be dumped as Cadillac dives into the all-electric portfolio it outlined today. 

What was supposed to be the big news as presented by new Cadillac head Steve Carlisle was about electrifying Cadillac. But the naming nonsense has a lot more significance to those who got confused over the last decade or so. And don’t forget; not only was there a switch to one format of letter and number combos but there were two. So let’s just say it was piling confusion upon unconsciousness. 

Electric Cadillacs and alphanumeric changes

Cadillac Minestrone

“The rollout of electric vehicles is the time we’ll start to move back toward naming,” Carlisle said. Thank you! Of course Lincoln led the way with returning to name sanity a couple of years ago. Right now it seems like everything Lincoln is doing is working. Well, except for the Aviator rollout. So, we thank you, Mr. Carlisle, and salute you Lincoln. Well done.

Former Caddy head Johan de Nysschen was responsible for the last renaming nightmare. He was from Audi before his stint at Infiniti. Looking at BMW’s or Audi’s alpha-numeric naming was a cinch because each had only three models in the beginning. Audi had the A3, A5, and the A7 is the largest model. Simple Simon.

It was the same with BMW. It had 3-Series, 5-Series, and 7-Series. Similar, but still so easy to get. This was before SUVs and offshoots began to muddle things just a bit. We all had time to get it before other models started creeping into the portfolio, causing a bit of confusion as we enter 2020, but not terribly brain-scrambling. 

Cadillac had too many models for alphabet soup

But things were different with Cadillac and its multitude of models. There were many letters and numbers to decipher, not to mention the letters and numbers of the competition for consumers to digest. This may sound flippant but no one has time anymore to memorize scrambled model names. Potential customers just gave up and bought an S-Class Merc. 

C-Class, E-Class, S-Class. That’s easy to get. Let the salesman inform you of the difference between a 450 and 560. At least you’ll be in the ballpark if you want a large Mercedes sedan. “I want an S-class sedan.” 


Cadillac has CTS-V and DTS. SRX and XT6. What? Escalade-yeah, everyone knows that one. It’s not called an SXT5 or CTXV7. It’s just a name-Escalade. 

Will we be seeing Eldorados and Sevilles? Probably not. But the design department has used some fairly cool names for Cadillac concepts over the last decade or so. How about “Escala” or “Cien” and especially “Elmiraj” They just roll off the tongue. Since it never seems to be able to actually make the exciting concepts it drags out for who knows what reason, at least cribbing the name gets Cadillac something for the millions it has spent on concepts that got nixed. 

December 12, 2019, may go down in automotive history as the day sanity began creeping back to Cadillac. It has had so many rough turns and failures recently. Maybe this will be the difference that finally gives it a chance to succeed and truly return to the “Standard of the World.”