So, Cadillac killed their three-row, Lambda-based (therefore presumably unibody) SUV as Zac Estrada reports here, where I shamelessly stole the top image from. This leaves a huge product gap in their line-up. But does Cadillac care?
Here's something to consider, right from Estrada's own words:
If you have to have a Cadillac SUV, they'd like to direct you to the 2015 Escalade and its ever-increasing price tag.
Is Cadillac's whole idea, their whole strategy, essentially to force you to pony up to the body-on-frame Escalade? I can easily imagine dealerships working this angle, especially given GM's (in)famous and everlasting pile of incentives working to "magically" bring the price tag down to something that somehow manages to be coincidentally affordable to whoever might be cross-shopping with Acura or Infiniti.
An alternative explanation is that GM actually wants to strengthen Buick. And this does make sense - Buick is big on making a "comeback" and no longer making the quintessential granny car, with their commercials awkwardly trying to pound this into your head:
There is logic, in turn, in GM essentially forcing Cadillac buyers into Buicks. It strengthens the Buick brand without too much risk to the Cadillac brand - after all, if these consumers were truly worthy of a Cadillac, wouldn't they purchase the more profit margin-friendly Escalade instead? Moreover, it simply puts more Buicks on the road. Final sales numbers are still king, or at least that's the impression I get from GM's attitude.
The fact remains is that it's hard to argue that it doesn't weaken Cadillac's position in the long-run, especially when you compare the product line-ups of both BMW and Mercedes. Mercedes has two high-end SUVs that compete in the same class as the Escalade, including the G-Wagon, but both of these are seen as exceptional products with true niche-like sales numbers. Until the Siebener Utility Vehicle arrives, BMW currently has exactly zero, yet they have more SUV product lines below that than GM has models recalled. Lexus sells enough RXs to ride entirely off of that, and are introducing a new premium compact SUV. Meanwhile Cadillac is stuck with the Escalade - which, granted, sells like gangbusters but its top perch is constantly threatened by being a traditional, gas-guzzling body-on-frame truck wagon - and the SRX - which despite cribbing the exact formula of the RX (take a current mainstream market platform and jazz it up) can only claim at least I didn't flop on its achievement list.
It's possible that Cadillac is betting the farm on not only the Escalade, but the upcoming compact premium SUV due (presumably similar in form and function to the Buick Enclave) as well as a new SRX replacement that should be coming around the same time. Three-row SUVs are a harder sell than two-row SUVs - families are ditching the .5 kid and empty nesters have a hard time justifying a leather-upholstered high-back shelf that they forgot or are too arthritic to fold down, especially at the expense of MPGs or a higher upfront MSRP. The aforementioned RX, which dominates not only the premium SUV market but the premium market period, gets by quite handedly with just two rows.
Of course, the implied success of a revamped, two-row SRX is predicated on said vehicle actually selling. I've sat in an SRX for exactly 15 seconds, and I've sat in an RX also for exactly 15 seconds, and both moments were so far long ago that I cannot make an accurate comparison beyond well MotorTrend constantly bitches about the tacky plastic in GM products so that must've happened. Marketing isn't much to blame either, as the RX doesn't get the type of marketing blitz as Lexus' few sporty offerings yet it still sells. People know it's there, and people want it. Still, a little marketing on a new SRX can't hurt.
A diverse product line-up, incidentally, naturally and inherently lends itself to better marketing. This is what I believe to be a major crux to BMW's success. Hell, it's working right now for GM, with Buick. We'll just have to see what Cadillac's ultimate plans are.
Then again, their track record up to this point isn't encouraging. Neither are their planned actions for the future.