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Seville no more: Cadillac builds last STS

by Andrew Ganz

Cadillac has wrapped up production of its larger rear-wheel-drive sedan, the slow-selling STS.

The last Cadillac STS rolled down General Motors' Lansing Grand River assembly plant earlier this week, thus ending production of the crest-and-wreath brand's rear-wheel-drive flagship vehicle.

Hardly a flagship in terms of sales, the STS was quickly overshadowed by its smaller CTS brother when the latter was introduced to the market in the mid-2000s. The CTS is built alongside the STS at the central Michigan assembly plant, which means that GM was able to retain all of the plant's 835 hourly workers.

The STS was initially introduced in 2005, although it continued at least the theme and market placement of the Seville nameplate - think Seville Touring Sedan. With its demise, GM ends nearly 40 years of Seville heritage.

The end of the line for the STS was hardly a surprise; Cadillac began paring down the lineup by first dropping the performance-oriented STS-V model and then the slow-selling V8. For 2011, just the 3.6-liter V6-powered STS was available in both rear and all-wheel-drive.

Sales over the last few years had been slow at best and although the STS is enjoying a surprising renaissance so far this year, GM delivered just 2,240 units during the first four months of 2011. It is unclear how many STSs are sold to rental fleets, which use them as premium cost vehicles.

Cadillac is planning to replace both the front-wheel-drive DTS and the STS with a single all-wheel-drive model, the upcoming XTS. Rumors persist that Cadillac is still considering a flagship rear-wheel-drive model positioned above the XTS, but few details have been confirmed.