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Auto blogFri, 25 Jul 2014 16:30:00 EST
Let's say you just got a big promotion at work or the kids are moving out of the house, and you finally have some extra money. You decide to blow it all at once and treat yourself by upgrading your ride. Naturally, you look to a luxury automaker. What do you choose?
Models like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class may be tailor-made to introduce buyers to the premium segment, but a new study finds that they don't garner the highest rates of non-luxury customer conquests. It turns out that a Volvo leads among folks moving up to a premium brand, and it isn't even one that's made anymore, at that.
A recent study by Polk and IHS Automotive looked at what models had the highest rates of buyers upgrading from a non-luxury segment. The information comes from its new vehicle registration data through April 2014. All ten top models boasted conquest rates of over 50 percent, but the Volvo C70 led the field with 68.01 percent of its customers coming from non-premium brands.
When longtime General Motors executive Susan Docherty announced she would be stepping down from her post as the head of Chevrolet and Cadillac in Europe, there was some idle chatter that plans for the creation of a new global overseer position for the Bowtie brand was behind the move. And while US sales chief Alan Batey has indeed assumed control of Chevy worldwide since her departure announcement, Docherty's vacancy is being filled after all, with Opel chief strategist Thomas Sedran taking up the reins.
That's according to Automotive News, who reports that Sedran will be tasked with pulling Chevy out of a sales funk, much of it pegged on Europe's stagnant auto industry, which has sunk to a 20-year low. AN notes that Chevy's EU sales plunged 32 percent to 57,584 units through the first five months of 2013, but the everyday value brand is faring worlds better than Cadillac, which has sold just 167 units in Europe over the same time period.
Sedran, 48, has been in the auto industry for over 20 years. Most recently, at Opel he had been working on long-term plans for the marque, and was appointed to the brand's management board in April of last year. Prior to joining GM, Sedran was employed as a management consultant for AlixPartners, where he worked closely with Opel for six years. Sedran will assume his new duties beginning July 1.
The new Cadillac Escalade sauntered out onto the Los Angeles Auto Show stage, showing off its new familial face and redesigned interior. That exterior, with its slim, wrap-over headlights and tall, vertical taillights (both made up of LEDs) is a subtle but significant departure from the past styling of General Motors' flagship SUV.
And while there's no shortage of stuff to discuss about the Caddy's exterior, its cabin is where the big changes happen. Aside from the column-mounted shifter, the cabin receives a heavy going-over, receiving Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system and a significant upgrade to the materials. Comparing it to furniture, Eric Clough, Cadillac's director of design for interiors, said, "An exceptional level of craftsmanship has gone into the redesign of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and it all centers on the premium materials and extensive use of cut-and-sew live stitching."
Under hood sits a 420-horsepower, 460-pound-foot, 6.2-liter V8. Fitted with direct injection and active fuel management, fuel economy for the big Escalade should get a much-needed boost beyond the current model's 14-city and 18-highway miles per gallon, although official numbers haven't been published quite yet. A six-speed automatic is the sole gearbox choice. Cadillac has also fitted the new Escalade with GM's magnetic ride control system, which should deliver a more refined ride than its predecessor.