Why Is There a Fake Dodge Charger Taillight on This Cadillac CT5 Prototype?

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In an email titled “What is this car?” a reader named Eric sent us spy shots of a car sitting just outside of his workplace in Pittsburgh. The answer to his email title is almost certainly the upcoming Cadillac CT5, a sedan slated to replace the CTS and ATS. But the real question that should be in the subject line is: What’s with that fake Dodge Charger light covering the rear end?

I say this is a Cadillac CT5 because the spy shots of the hoodscoop-adorned sedan line up with a number of shots posted by other car news outlets, and they’re all saying this is a Cadillac CT5. Some of those outlets have photos showing what looks very much like a Cadillac front grille, so I have no reason to doubt this thing’s CT5-ness. (If you don’t believe me, check out the spy shots some of the other sites have run.)


The CT5 is, you may recall, the car that Reuters reported awhile back would replace the ATS and CTS. From that story:

“We have to rebalance our sedan portfolio,” Johan de Nysschen told Reuters in interview, offering new details about the strategy.

Cadillac will not directly replace the current XTS, CTS or ATS sedans when they end their life cycles in 2019, he said. Instead, Cadillac will use a single new car called the CT5 to appeal to consumers shopping for sedans priced between $35,000 and $45,000. New versions of the CT6 sedan will be offered to customers who want a larger car starting at $50,000.

The CT5 will be built at a factory near Lansing, Michigan, that currently builds the slow-selling Cadillac ATS and CTS models. A small luxury sedan to compete with the Audi A3 will be built in the same plant, de Nysschen said.


We all know crossovers are Cadillac’s moneymaker for the time being, but it still needs some sedans. And it’s hoping the CT5 will do double-duty.

Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to address part of Eric’s email. Specifically, this one: “The tail lights are deceiving, as the outside lights up and the inside looks to be fake?” Eric was kind enough to send a picture to help explain the confusion.



Motor Authority speculates that the big section on the trunk lid that’s blocked off in the image above will be functional, writing:

“it looks like the taillights will be joined by a horizontal strip of LEDs, which seems to be in vogue among the luxury brands at present. Expect the actual taillights to be in the shape of a Cadillac fin-resembling boomerang as seen on the Escala concept.”


I’d say that’s likely, but the real mystery isn’t so much what that black and red bra is hiding, but rather why the heck that bra has a Dodge Charger taillight drawn on it. Here’s a closer look:


And now compare that to this:


There are, of course, other cars that have similar taillights (like the Lincoln Continental), but come on—the taillight bra on this CT5 is a dead ringer for the Charger’s rear light design. I mean, just look above at the lights within the “Racetrack” taillight—there’s a thicker one on top on each side sitting on a thin light sliver. It matches what’s on the Cadillac mule. Between that, and the telephone shape to the “Racetrack” full-width light, it seems apparent that Cadillac—for whatever reason—put a fake Dodge Charger taillight over top of what I assume will be lights on the CT5's trunk lid.

I have no idea why. Perhaps for fun? Or maybe to throw people off to get them to think this is an FCA product and not a Caddy? Or maybe I’m missing something—who knows.


For now, it just seems a bit odd. But fun, in a way.