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Cadillac Will Go Back to Using Traditional Car Names at Dawn of Electric Era

Wave goodbye to the puzzling lineup of CT-this and XT-that models.

General Motors President Mark Reuss believes Cadillac has one last shot at reestablishing itself as a leading luxury brand in America, and to do that, GM seems to believe a Hail Mary is in order. Cadillac will be totally reinvented in the 2020s as an electric vehicle brand, with revamped styling like that of the concept vehicle above, and an old-school overhaul of its naming scheme involving an elimination of alphanumeric nameplates. Put simply, Cadillac won’t sell keyboard salad cars like the CT4 and XT6; it’ll sell cars with actual names again.

“We’re entering the decade as an internal-combustion-engine brand. We’ll exit the decade as a battery-electric brand. It’s the end of the ‘ICE’ age for Cadillac,” said the brand’s president, Steve Carlisle, in a statement to Automotive News. “The rollout of the electric vehicles is the time we’ll start to move back toward naming.”

A Cadillac spokesperson verified Carlisle’s statements to The Drive, though they didn’t comment on when the name scheme switchover will begin.

Cadillac migrated away from its traditional nameplates in 2003 with the introduction of the CTS (and the subsequent launch of models like the XLR, SRX, and STS) to mimic the name schemes of increasingly popular German competitors. The marque doubled down on this change in 2016 by introducing numbers to its cryptic model names, but to little avail, as Cadillac doesn’t appear to be on track to reverse its slipping U.S. market share—hence the reversion to ways old. We imagine that the first model to abide by this naming scheme will be its first E-CUV, due to launch in 2022.

While this could signal the revival of historic nameplates such as Fleetwood or Eldorado, GM’s plan to reinvent Cadillac as a forward-looking brand doesn’t make callbacks like these look likely. Some pasts are better left entombed—GM likely wouldn’t want to evoke memories of the Northstar V8 by bringing back the de Ville, after all.

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