If you’re taking a long trip, how does a lower-lumbar massage from your car sound? Or why not let the car do some of the driving with a semiautonomous system?
Both features will be available on Cadillac’s new CT5 sedan, which General Motors’ luxury brand unveiled at the New York Auto Show.
The car goes on sale this fall, but Cadillac has already started an aggressive marketing campaign touting such new amenities as personalized driving modes and enhanced vehicle sounds.
Over the past two weeks, Cadillac has been releasing weekly video vignettes about the CT5 on social media — one video got more than 300,000 views, said Jason Sledziewski, Cadillac’s director of product marketing.
“We really want to introduce the next generation of sedans because we are repositioning our entire sedan lineup by 2020” said Sledziewski.
Cadillac plans to introduce a new or updated vehicle every six months through 2021.
The CT4 sport sedan, which will be smaller in size and price than the CT5, will be revealed later this year and is expected in Cadillac showrooms in 2020.
Cadillac’s customer base skews male, but with the CT5, it wants to “go after more females,” Sledziewski said. Cadillac also looks to draw in younger and more racially diverse buyers with this car.
Cadillac is eyeing buyers aged 35-45 for the CT5 with an annual income of $100,000 to $120,000, said Sledziewski.
Cadillac will “break through” to a broader consumer audience by first using traditional television and mainstream media, he said. The campaign is intended to replicate the “energy” of Cadillac’s “Rise” campaign used to market the XT4 compact crossover. The idea behind Rise spots is that with perseverance, a person can physically rise up into Cadillac’s vehicles, making the cars both an enabler and a reward. The spots were featured during the 91st Academy Awards earlier this year.
After the mainstream media campaign, Cadillac will then contact current owners with personalized, targeted messaging, he said.
“We want to continue to leverage our social platform to create awareness of the CT5,” said Sledziewski. “We want to get people excited about it.”
Cadillac this summer will target marketing to customers who express interest in the car. The CT5 is available for preorders in late summer, Sledziewski said.
Cadillac will offer the CT5 in three trim levels — luxury, sport and premium luxury. The car is designed to look the way it drives, said Andrew Smith, Cadillac’s executive director of global design.
The sport design, for example, has a longer hood than the luxury model. Also, the tail lamps on the luxury model have a rose lens while the sport version tail lamps have clear lenses. Seats and steering wheels are different in the models.
The instrument panel on all the trims is designed to be intuitive to use. The driver can choose from touchscreen, rotary controller, steering wheel controls or voice commands to interact with the car, Smith said.
Beyond that, expect a smooth ride and responsive handling, said Mike Bride, CT5 chief engineer.
“We needed to step up our game in ride space,” said Bride. “Sound was also very important, we wanted to hit all the senses. It started with minimizing cabin noise and road noise, then it was driving-in the Cadillac enhanced sounds.”
Those sounds include piped-in low-frequency acceleration and braking.
Research showed Cadillac that consumers “wanted to make sure the vehicle is quiet, but they also wanted to hear what they want to hear,” said Ken Kornas, CT5 product manager.
So Cadillac created a “curated library” of enhanced engine sounds that is exclusive to only Cadillac within GM, said Kornas.
“It’s a strategy we’ll use and offer it on other vehicles as part of the DNA of Cadillac,” Kornas said.
Cadillac is not releasing the price or a date for when the CT5 goes on sale. The 2019 CTS sedan, which the CT5 replaces, started at $46,995.
The CT5 will offer the semiautonomous driving system, Super Cruise, in the 2020 calendar year. Currently, Super Cruise is only offered on the larger CT6 sedan. It is a $5,000 option on the premium-luxury trim level.
Cadillac declined to say how much the Super Cruise option will cost on the CT5, but “wants to make it available to more people,” said Kornas.
Kornas said about a third of the 9,688 CT6 sedans sold last year had Super Cruise.
The standard equipment Cadillac will offer on the CT5 hits the “sweet spot” of what its research showed consumers want, said Kornas. That includes the, “My Mode” feature, which allows the driver to personalize steering and brake feel, along with engine sounds.