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Cadillac to unveil future models sooner to improve quality

Here's why you can expect to see future models unveiled earlier.

You won't have to wait as long to see future Cadillac models from now on. 

According to a report by Automotive News, General Motors' premium brand is tweaking the way it develops and introduces vehicles to the market. The changes will result in the brand publicly showing the vehicles sooner than they've typically done in the past. The cadence shift isn't being done to build excitement for new cars and SUVs, it's actually part of a bid to improve quality.

Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen


Cadillac models have typically been revealed at auto shows and the like about two or three months ahead of the start of production. But that hasn't given the automaker much time to test undisguised vehicles out on real-world roads, a step that's seen as vital to ensuring quality. And like all other automakers, Cadillac camouflages development models in order to keep its future products a secret from competitors and the media.

But that's all going to change. New Cadillacs will be unveiled about six or seven months ahead, and they'll also be tested by a wider variety of GM employees. Having camouflage-free test vehicles available for more than just engineers to evaluate will open up the late-development process to new opinions and perspectives.

"We want to put more of our development cars into the hands of ordinary drivers, not just engineers, so people can see how they perform in normal usage conditions… and that really requires the removal of camo," Cadillac president Johan de Nyscchen told the industry publication.

Cadillac has been in a state of perpetual rebirth for upwards of 15 years. Despite producing a number of critically acclaimed vehicles, it still hasn't found the recipe for successfully challenging the likes of Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz in sales. That formula is a moving target, of course, but this change could be a small but important step towards improving the marque's chances.

While automakers such as Tesla take a similar long-lead approach to vehicle reveals, many brands known for high quality vehicles do not. Honda, for example, has routinely revealed vehicles, including its latest Accord, mere weeks from their on-sale date. Doing so is seen as a way to prevent damaging sales of outgoing models still sitting on dealer lots. 

Like GM as a whole, Cadillac has done a tremendous amount of work over the past several years reducing its reliance on new-car incentives and discounts that tend to negatively impact resale value and brand image. This new earlier-reveal process may prove to be an extra challenge when it comes to moving departing models off showroom floors, but Cadillac officials remain resolute -- brand spokesperson Donny Nordlicht tells Roadshow that the change won't impact its sales strategy. "We're being very disciplined with our incentives to help build the foundation of the brand, especially in the US… and that plan remains unchanged," he said.