BMW has the X1, Audi has the Q3
(which should arrive in the U.S. later this year), Buick has its upcoming Encore and Land Rover has its Range Rover Evoque. Even Lincoln is getting in on the compact luxury crossover action, announcing its MKC Crossover Concept
at this week’s Detroit Auto Show.
That leaves domestic luxury brand Cadillac with a glaring hole in its product line, one that its global vice president, Bob Ferguson, is working hard to fill. Ferguson recently told Automotive News
(subscription required) that such a product, while not fully approved, is “beyond ‘under consideration.’”
Cadillac’s current midsize crossover, the SRX (shown above), competes against vehicles like the Lexus RX 350, the BMW X5 and the Mercedes M-Class. It’s also targeted towards Cadillac’s traditional demographic of buyer, which is best described as “mature.”
Compact luxury crossovers are typically targeted to a younger, hipper audience. Need proof? The Range Rover Evoque comes in a new boldly-hued Sicilian Yellow edition
, while previous special-edition Evoques were hawked by Posh Spice
Audi has done a good job of selling the Q3 to the “young, active and edgy” crowd
, touting features like roof rack lighting, a heated trunk mat and onboard charging for flashlights or a heated thermos bottle.
Even the Lincoln MKC
is poised to attract new buyers, as it’s arguably the best-looking design to come from Ford’s luxury brand in decades. Cadillac knows what it’s up against here, so it plans on making its compact crossover “a little younger and a little more urban,” in Ferguson’s words.
A small crossover would be attractive to buyers in other markets as well, including every automaker’s favorite land of opportunity, China. It could help relaunch the Cadillac brand in Europe, too, assuming the European economy improves enough to sustain another luxury manufacturer.
It’s not clear when Cadillac will make a go / no go decision on a compact crossover, but the clock is ticking. Lincoln will reportedly bring its MKC to market in 2015, and that’s one party that Cadillac can’t afford to be late to.