GM to unveil new redesigned Cadillac SRX luxury crossover
General Motors unveiled photographs of its redesigned Cadillac SRX today. It is a more chiseled-looking interpretation of the luxury crossover aimed squarely at the popular Lexus RX, which sold five times as well as the existing SRX through November.
The new five-seat 2010 SRX, which also features more-efficient, high-technology engine choices, will be on display at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which kicks off for the news media on Jan. 11.
To help compete with better-selling rivals like the Lexus RX, Acura MDX, and the BMW X3 and X5, the SRX's designers took elements from other Cadillac models and melded them into this one. The new SRX looks faster than its boxy predecessor, with a curving roofline and a more rounded nose that still retains an aggressive look.
"For GM, it's our most aggressive brand," said Clay Dean, GM's global director for Cadillac design. "We want to appeal to people that set the trends."
Cadillac put more energy into improving the interior quality and exterior design of the car, Dean said. A 3-liter direct-injection V-6 engine comes standard, with the option for a 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6. Although fuel economy testing wasn't complete, GM estimates highway miles per gallon will fall in the mid-20s. Cadillac has a strong following among luxury car buyers, and the brand remains an important one for GM.
With its design and sophisticated technology, the new SRX "focuses on both the emotional and pragmatic sides of the luxury customer," said Mark McNabb, North America vice president of Cadillac.
The new SRX draws on styling cues from other Cadillac models but in a more dramatic way.
"It's a very nice-looking vehicle," said Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst with IHS Global Insight. "But is it going to set the Cadillac brand on fire? Not necessarily."
The vehicle will have two engine options that are new to Cadillac: a new 3.0-liter direct-injected V6, which is standard, or an optional 2.8-liter turbocharged V6. Both engines will have technology to improve fuel consumption and power.
The 3.0-liter V6, which is mated to a six-speed transmission, delivers an estimated 260 horsepower while achieving as much as a 15% improvement in fuel economy. GM hasn't said what the fuel economy will be but suggested that it could be in the mid-20s on the highway.
"We call it efficient performance; you get really good horsepower out of a smaller engine," said Joanne Krell, a GM spokeswoman.
The automaker hopes the new SRX will appeal to customers looking for a more fuel-efficient vehicle rather than a full-size SUV.
"The SRX delivers many of the things that a larger sport-utility vehicle does, but it delivers in an extraordinary compelling-looking package and also one that is probably socially desirable as well," Krell said.
Front-wheel drive is standard on the new SRX. However, an all-wheel drive system, which includes an advanced electronic limited-slip differential to help in wet or icy conditions, is optional.
While GM hasn't said how much the new SRX will cost, the 2009 Cadillac SRX has a suggested retail price starting at about $40,000, according to Edmunds.com. Prices for the new SRX could start in the $30,000s.
The current SRX is built at Cadillac's Lansing assembly plant, but the new version will be built at Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, according to GM.
GM sold 14,755 SRX crossovers last year through November in the United States, down about 26% compared with the same period in 2007, according to Autodata Corp.
The SRX, which hits dealer showrooms in June, is competing against the Lexus RX, the Acura MDX, and the BMW X3 and X5.
Toyota Motor Corp. sold 74,249 of the Lexus RX 350/330/400h through November, down about 19% compared with 2007 during that same period.
Lindland also cautions that the SRX could face some competition from another Cadillac vehicle that's launching later this year, the CTS Sport Wagon, which hits showrooms around April.
"It's going to have a healthy level of competition and possibly some consumer confusion with the CTS Wagon," Lindland said.
Krell disagreed with the idea that the two Cadillacs could be competing against each other, saying each will appeal to different kinds of customers. "It's going to be a pretty high-volume vehicle for us. For the time, it is a very important vehicle in our portfolio."
GM's survival strategy calls for protecting its luxury Cadillac lineup, which has a strong following among luxury car buyers, as it slashes costs, cuts spending on new products and works to unload less profitable brands and models.
The auto maker, racing to revamp its vehicle lineup amid a sharp sales decline, has said it will shift away from large pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles to cars and crossovers.
Cadillac sales fell 24% in the first 11 months of 2008, in line with U.S. light-truck and SUV sales overall. The auto maker sold nearly 148,000 Cadillacs in January through November, including about 14,800 SRXs. But Toyota's Lexus division sold five times as many RXs.
According to a press release, the 2010 Cadillac SRX is a “distinctive alternative” for the present day’s luxury crossover consumer.
In the opinion of Cadillac/Premium Channel’s, North America vice president, Mark McNabb, “The all-new SRX is a fresh and compelling crossover aimed squarely at the priorities of luxury buyers. With new technologies for increased efficiency and safety, the redesigned 2010 SRX Crossover focuses on both the emotional and pragmatic sides of the luxury consumer.”
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