2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum, for when you want more with less

2009 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Hybrid Offers Unprecedented Combination Of Efficiency, Technology And Luxury In A Large SUV

Cadillac Escalade

Cadillac Escalade

DETROIT – Cadillac has launched the 2009 Escalade Platinum Hybrid, the most technically advanced large luxury SUV yet, blending the exclusive features of the Platinum model with the fuel-saving powertrain of the Escalade Hybrid. It delivers 20 mpg in city driving – a 50-percent city mileage improvement over non-hybrid models.

“This is the ultimate Escalade, combining the luxury features of the Platinum with the world’s first hybrid on a large luxury SUV,” said Mark McNabb, North America vice president, Cadillac/Premium Channel. “Along with the upcoming CTS Sport Wagon and SRX crossover, the Escalade Platinum Hybrid represents an opportunity for the changing priorities of luxury consumers who want dramatic design and technology combined with fuel efficiency and functionality.”

The Escalade’s two-mode hybrid system allows it to return exceptional fuel economy, while delivering the capabilities of a true luxury SUV. The limited-edition Escalade Platinum model includes other advanced technologies, such as light-emitting diode (LED) headlamps and Cadillac’s advanced Magnetic Ride Control system.

Escalade Platinum Hybrid is available in 2WD and 4WD configurations. It delivers up to 5,800 pounds (2,631 kg) of usable towing capacity on 2WD models and 5,600 pounds (2,540 kg) on 4WD models.

GM’s patented two-mode hybrid technology

GM’s patented two-mode hybrid system consists of an advanced electrically variable transmission (EVT) and 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System (ESS). These systems work in concert with the standard 6.0L V-8 Gen IV gasoline engine with Active Fuel Management (AFM) and late-intake valve closing (LIVC) technology.

The key to Escalade’s two-mode hybrid system is that the electric power used to propel the vehicle is generated by the hybrid system itself. When the brakes are applied or the vehicle is coasting, the electric motors within the hybrid system create electricity that is stored in the 300-volt battery. This stored energy is used to move the vehicle and the regenerative braking cycle is renewed.

Providing power to the hybrid’s electrically variable transmission’s (EVT) two electric motors is a 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System (ESS). This battery pack is located under the second-row seat, where it takes up virtually no additional space and does not interfere with second- or third-row ingress/egress.

Additional features of the hybrid powertrain and supporting systems include:

* Fully blended regenerative braking to capture energy that would otherwise be lost during vehicle deceleration
* A 6.0L V-8 engine with Active Fuel Management and late intake valve closing (Atkinson-cycle combustion process) for reduced pumping losses and better overall fuel economy. It is rated at 332 horsepower (248 kW) and 367 lb.-ft. of torque (498 Nm) and runs on regular unleaded fuel
* Auto Stop mode. Once the vehicle reaches 0 mph, the gasoline engine automatically shuts down, leaving the engine off and allowing the vehicle to move only under electric power, such as during city driving or heavy stop-and-go traffic
* An exhaust system and resonator specially tuned for the 6.0L LIVC engine’s Active Fuel Management operation. It ensures comfortable interior acoustics and a pleasant exhaust note during both V-4 and V-8 operation
* An electrically driven, 300-volt air conditioning compressor reduces vibration and allows the HVAC system to cool the passenger compartment even when the gasoline engine is shut off. It includes the standard tri-zone climate system
* An electrically driven, 42-volt variable-assist power steering system reduces vibration and provides up to a 0.5-mpg fuel economy improvement by reducing parasitic losses common in belt-driven hydraulic systems
* The Energy Storage System cooling system’s internal fan is tuned to be quiet at low vehicle speeds, when the fan could more easily be heard by the occupants

The Escalade Platinum Hybrid’s battery pack durability and reliability are maintained via optimized charge and discharge cycles, as well as a dedicated cooling system that draws air from the passenger compartment. As part of the vehicle’s emission control system, the energy storage system is warranted for eight years/100,000 miles.

Exclusive package of luxury, style and technology

In the new Escalade Platinum Hybrid, the hybrid system’s efficiency is complemented by an exclusive package of luxury, style and technology, including:

* A distinctive front fascia and grille patterned after Cadillac’s acclaimed CTS sport sedan
* Unique 22-inch wheels
* Magnetic Ride Control technology
* LED headlamps
* Exclusive interior appointments with Aniline leather
* DVD entertainment system with screens integrated in front-seat headrests

Magnetic Ride Control is the world’s fastest-reacting suspension system and gives the Escalade Platinum more precise body motion control. It is a real-time damping system – “reading” the road in 1-millisecond intervals – that replaces conventional mechanical-valve shocks with electronically controlled shocks filled with a synthetic fluid containing minute iron particles. Under the presence of magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance almost instantly.

The LED headlamps emulate the characteristics of natural daylight much more closely than traditional auto lighting. LEDs are environmentally friendly, with a usable life more than 20 times longer than traditional halogen bulbs.

Inside the Escalade Platinum is the latest example of Cadillac’s 21st-century return to handcrafted luxury details. The instrument panel, center storage console and door trim are wrapped and stitched by hand. They feature decorative French seams that convey an elegantly tailored look and feel. Materials include rich leather on the instrument panel, with unique wood inlays and aluminum trim.

Aniline leather is unique to the Escalade Platinum and is used to trim the first- and second-row seats. Contrasting-color stitching is used on the French seams for a distinctive, luxurious appearance and the seatbacks feature embroidered Cadillac wreath and crest insignias. The leather-covered seats are comfortable and convenient, with the industry-exclusive power fold-and-tumble second-row seat feature that eases access to the third-row seat.

Additional standard interior features include Platinum-specific door sills and floor mats; a heated steering wheel; and heated and cooled cupholders and a power liftgate that opens and closes with the touch of a button. Also, the DVD entertainment system adds screens integrated into each front-seat headrest, in addition to the existing roof-mounted screen.

Each front-row headrest screen has its own driver and input controls. The headrest units can be operated independently or in tandem. This system enables passengers in different seats to watch or listen to different entertainment choices. Also including is the acclaimed Bose 5.1 Digital Surround system, as well as the eight-inch touch screen for DVD-based navigation and control of the DVD, CD, MP3 and XM Satellite Radio entertainment.

Evolving Cadillac fleet of luxury, fuel efficiency and functionality

The Escalade Platinum Hybrid joins an evolving fleet of Cadillacs that is focused on fuel efficiency and functionality, combined with dramatic design and advanced technology. Cadillac will launch the all-new SRX crossover this summer, with high levels of functionality and a 3.0L direct injected V-6 engine that delivers more horsepower and a 10-15-percent fuel economy improvement over the 3.6L engine it replaces. The CTS Sport Wagon will also launch this summer, with the same, fuel-efficient engine, as well as greater functionality than has ever been delivered by Cadillac’s core nameplate.

GM sales down, but share of US Market up

GM Reports 284,300 Deliveries in September; Highest Monthly Market Share of 2008

  • Chevrolet Malibu retail sales up 192 percent; Pontiac Vibe up 61 percent compared with last September
  • Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook crossover total sales up 10 percent; first 226 Chevrolet Traverse sales recorded
  • 72,500 Chevrolet Silverado, Avalanche and GMC Sierra pickups sold; beats industry trend as segment-leading vehicles grab market share
  • GM’s market share estimated at 27 percent, marks second consecutive month of market share gains
  • Total Q3 sales up 4 percent compared with Q2, with market share improving by more than 3 percentage points

DETROIT – General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 284,300 vehicles in September, giving GM its best monthly share so far in 2008. GM’s share improvement was led by continued strong performances in the mid-car, crossover and full size truck segments. The GM Employee Discount for Everyone sale built awareness for the company’s outstanding lineup and offered compelling values to customers. GM’s brands are having divisional sales events this month to keep the marketplace momentum building.

A strong lineup of new products, combined with sales and marketing programs geared toward a particularly challenging market, helped GM outpace major competitors this month. GM total September sales were down 16 percent compared to an industry decline anticipated to exceed 20 percent. Of note, GM total third quarter 2008 sales of 828,000 vehicles were 4 percent higher than second quarter sales of 799,000 vehicles and 3 percent higher than first quarter sales of 806,000.

“September marked the second consecutive month where GM performed extremely well in tough market conditions,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. “We again gained retail share and our total market share looks to be above 27 percent for the month without an increase in incentives.

“In a market where customers are cautious and seeking value, more and more are choosing a fuel efficient, award-winning GM product,” LaNeve added. “Comparing Q3 to Q2, we also saw a lot of positives. Volume was up 4 percent with retail trucks improving 23 percent. Of note were our full-size pickups that jumped 30 percent compared with Q2. Importantly, market share improved more than 3 percentage points quarter-to-quarter.”

GM launch products continued to build momentum in September and throughout the quarter.

“We saw great performance in our launch products – Malibu was up nearly 200 percent – and we’re very excited to have the first deliveries of the Chevrolet Traverse mid-utility crossover,” LaNeve said. “We’re also seeing some renewed demand for pickups and anticipate that our divisional sales programs this month will help fuel the market. Sales of the GMC Sierra were up last month. Our mid-car segment vehicle sales were up 23 percent in September. We saw the Chevrolet HHR gain 14 percent. Pontiac saw gains with the Vibe and G5 while Saturn saw increased sales for the Vue and Outlook. ”

The success of GM’s product lineup, combined with a compelling value offer, helped the company mitigate the industry challenges as total GM car sales declined just 9.8 percent, while trucks (excluding crossovers) declined 22 percent when compared with a year ago.

GM’s popular mid-utility crossovers – Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook — together accounted for more than 14,000 vehicle sales in the month. The first new Chevrolet Traverse crossovers were sold in September, marking the start of deliveries for the fourth vehicle in GM’s industry-leading mid-utility crossover lineup.

For the month, a total of 1,957 hybrid vehicles were delivered as GM hybrids continue to gain in popularity in the marketplace. GM’s hybrid sales for September included: 636 hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe, 374 GMC Yukon and 91 Cadillac Escalade

2-mode SUVs delivered. There were 382 Chevrolet Malibu, 31 Saturn Aura and 443 Vue hybrids sold in September. GM has sold 9,053 hybrids so far in 2008.

“Customers are responding to our hybrid vehicles – cutting-edge cars and trucks that provide industry-leading value, great fuel economy and the best warranty coverage of any full-line automaker,” LaNeve noted. “The public reveal of the production version of the Chevrolet Volt E-REV as the highlight of our GMnext celebration last month showcases GM’s leadership in advanced propulsion technology and fuel efficiency.”

With its solid sales performances the past two months, GM has aggressively managed inventories to historically low levels. In September, only about 717,000 vehicles were in stock – the lowest September in a decade – down about 179,000 vehicles (or about 20 percent) compared with last September. There were about 275,000 cars and 442,000 trucks (including crossovers) in inventory at the end of September.

Certified Used Vehicles

September 2008 sales for all certified GM brands, including GM Certified Used Vehicles, Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, were 35,341 vehicles, down 13 percent from September 2007. Year-to-date sales are 374,716 vehicles, down 6 percent from the same period last year.

GM Certified Used Vehicles, the industry’s top-selling certified brand, posted September sales of 30,375 vehicles, down 16 percent from September 2007. Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 817 vehicles, down 7 percent. Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 3,269 vehicles, up 8 percent. Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 687 vehicles, up 22 percent, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 193 vehicles, up 41 percent.

“Our Cadillac, Saab and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned programs each achieved strong sales increases in September, while GM Certified Used Vehicles again sets the sales pace for all OEM certified pre-owned programs,” said LaNeve. “In September GM Certified Used Vehicles, which includes Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Pontiac models, sold its 3-millionth vehicle since the program’s launch in 1997, the first manufacturer-certified program in the industry to reach that sales milestone.”

GM North America Reports September, 2008 Production; Third-Quarter Production at 915,000 Vehicles; Fourth Quarter Forecast remains at 875,000 Vehicles

In September, GM North America produced 335,000 vehicles (162,000 cars and 173,000 trucks). This is up 12,000 vehicles or 4 percent compared with September 2007 when the region produced 323,000 vehicles (118,000 cars and 205,000 trucks). (Production totals include joint venture production of 18,000 vehicles in September 2008 and 15,000 vehicles in September 2007.)

The GM North America third-quarter production was 915,000 vehicles (437,000 cars and 478,000 trucks) which was down 10 percent compared with a year ago, due to production adjustments in response to market changes that will reduce the number of trucks produced by about 175,000 and increase the number of cars by about 70,000. GM North America built 1.020 million vehicles (367,000 cars and 653,000 trucks) in the third-quarter of 2007.

The GM North America fourth-quarter production forecast remains at 875,000 vehicles (407,000 cars and 468,000 trucks) which is down about 16 percent compared with a year ago. GM North America built 1.042 million vehicles (358,000 cars and 684,000 trucks) in the fourth-quarter of 2007.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.


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Cadillac Escalade Hybrid – the counter-argument

I am a fan of well expressed opinions, even if I disagree with them. I think that our level of discourse is very important, and the better the debate the more actual information and truth sneaks in.

Keith Ritter over at Consult Keith blogged a nice thought piece which at heart contains this statement:

Cadillac’s brand message is not about environment-friendly or great gas mileage.  A Cadillac has always been A STATEMENT about who you are and that you’ve “made it.”  It’s about Kate Walsh and your vehicle turning you on and not about gas mileage.

I would like to disagree. Cadillac has always been a vehicle for the Affluent. But more to the point, Cadillac is about precision, technology, performance, and luxury.   Cadillac has had many WORLD firsts in technology, starting with the electric starter for example.  Cadillac has traditionally had the best, the latest, and the most innovative.    Although in the 80s GM lost their way a bit with badge engineering, the latest and newest technology is an important part of the Cadillac DNA.

Cadillac Escalade Powertrain Status display

Cadillac Escalade Powertrain Status display

The hybrid powertrain in a Cadillac Escalade is no more amazing to me than having the new lane change detection system in the Cadillac STS or heads-up displays in the STS-V and XLR-V. Cadillac gets the latest technology, premium powertrains, and luxury accessories that GM as the World’s largest vehicle manufacturer can bring to the streets.

Also, keep in mind that most people are not choosing between a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, which is a fullsize SUV, and an economy car.  There is a valid and necessary market for these vehicles among people who need the room, want the up-high driving position, storage space, need the towing capacity, etc.  Not all vehicles fit all people; there are a variety of markets. IF you NEED or WANT a fullsize SUV, and you want it to get the best MPG possible, the Escalade Hybrid is a good choice.

The only surprising thing in the current markeing plan is that the new E-flex technology started out in a Chevrolet Volt instead of in the new smaller-than-a-CTS upcoming Cadillac model.  And I suspect we will see the E-flex powertrain in a Cadillac as the next production example.