Quality checks slow Escalade sales

GM is still working out the kinks on its 2015 Escalade.

Cadillac's redesigned 2015 Escalade is proving to be a smash hit, but dealers say shipment delays are limiting the SUV's sales potential.

The Escalade shortage stems from extra quality checks setup at the SUV's Arlington, Texas, assembly plant. Unlike previous versions of the luxury SUV, the 2015 Escalade features hand cut and sewn leather, which requires a few extra quality inspections.

As a result, dealer deliveries of the Escalade have been delayed by about a month, which is about three-times longer than average. Some dealers have even reported waiting five months or more for Escalades they've already sold to customers.

"We have orders we placed in February and March that still aren't filled,” a manager at one of the nation's highest-volume Cadillac stores told Automotive News. "If we got 20 in a shipment this morning, they'd be gone by this afternoon.”

GM says it is aware of the Escalade's prolonged "dwell” times (the period from when a vehicle is built until the time it is delivered to the dealer) and is working to resolve the issue.

"We deployed more people to Arlington to speed up the analysis process,” Kurt McNeil, head of GM's U.S. sales operations and interim Cadillac sales chief, said. McNeil added that the Escalade's dwell time should be down to about a week by early September.

Even with those logistical woes, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade is still selling like hot cakes. So far this year Cadillac has delivered 14,300 Escalades, up 27 percent compared to 2013.

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