Cadillac's New Badging Will Give Dealers the Job of Explaining the Metric System to Americans

Illustration for article titled Cadillacs New Badging Will Give Dealers the Job of Explaining the Metric System to Americans

You may remember a time where the numbers on the back of luxury cars actually corresponded to something. That time is generally gone. But now, Cadillac, a company with absolutely no problem connecting with American car buyers, will introduce a new badge system that won’t be confusing at all. You see, it uses the metric system. I’m sure we are going to love it.


The Detroit Free Press recently had a story that highlights how Cadillac is reinventing itself as a brand. The New York office is now officially moved to Metro Detroit, and Steve Carlisle, the president of GM’s luxury brand, explained to the Freep how the automaker is making a major shift to EVs. We reported a while back that Caddy has a lot of work to do it it will once again become a serious player in the luxury field.

Buried at the end of the article was a quick bit about how Cadillac will introduce a new numerical badging system to their cars starting in 2020. All cars except the V-series models will have a number that indicates the torque figure, in newton meters. Typically, American car makers rate their torque in lb-ft, the newton meter rating is what is found globally however, since it’s based on the metric system. The new badges will appear on the all-new XT6 crossover.


From the story -

Carlisle said the badges will showcase “the balance between fuel economy and performance.”

As turbocharged engines and electrification technologies become more prevalent, torque is a better representation of available power than the current system that uses displacement, Carlisle said.

The new system uses a three-digit badge representative of torque output in newton meters (Nm) rounded to the nearest 50. Carlisle said Cadillac chose newton meters rather than the more common U.S. measurement of pound-feet because Cadillac is a global brand and more of the world is on the metric system.

It’s almost as if Cadillac is planning on selling a significant number of cars in a market that uses metric, like say, China. Audi does something similar, but its metric based badges are only on global market cars, whereas Cadillac is going to roll out this labeling scheme in the American market.

Let’s just imagine for a moment a conversation between an American car buyer and your typical Cadillac salesperson regarding the newton meter badging.


Buyer pointing to the back of an XT6: What’s that 400 mean?”

Salesperson: “That’s how much torque it has.”

Buyer: “What’s torque?”

Salesperson: “It’s kinda like horsepower, but different.”

Buyer: “So this car has 400 torque?”

Salesperson: “Yeah it has 400 newton-meters of torque.”

Buyer: “Newton what?”

Salesperson: “Yeah, it’s metric”

Buyer : “Uhhh….”

I’m sure this is going to work out swimmingly for Cadillac dealerships.

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (

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They should have just used the universal unit of torques, the Nurple. Then it’d be easy to explain.