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Psst! New Cadillac SRX Up Our Sleeve

2010_cadillac_srxAnother ominous sign for GM, although they don't intend it that way: Cadillac on Aug. 15 provided "sneak preview" photos of next year's replacement for the Cadillac SRX. It would also be a good guess that the new crossover will also replace the Saab 9-7X, an SUV based closely on the Chevy TrailBlazer.

As I've noted a couple times now, you know a car company is really desperate when they start rolling out the future products, as if to say, "Don't judge us on what we've got on the road today. Bear with us, look at all the great stuff we've got coming!"

The new SRX is shorter and looks taller than the current SRX, which has three rows of seats. Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell confirmed that the new SRX has only two rows of seats, and will accommodate five people. Think Lexus RX-fighter.

Judging by the timing, the new SRX will likely make its public debut at the Detroit auto show in January 2009. Sales start in calendar-year 2009 for the 2010 model year, which probably means fall 2009.

And maybe that means GM is only semi-desperate, since fall 2009 isnt that far off. On the other hand, GM has also gotten more generous recently with "sneak peeks" of the final production version of the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid car that's not due until around 2010. The Chevy Volt even makes an appearance in GM ads during the Summer Olympics.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great when car companies spill their future products. The fear in the auto industry is that showing a new model too soon, and generating a lot of press too soon, kills sales of the existing one. That's not a concern for the Volt, which is all-new. It might not be much of a concern for the SRX, either, since it's already a slow seller.

It's also feared that too much coverage too soon could kill the buzz, when the actual launch comes along. In my opinion, those fears are greatly exaggerated.

It may dull the appetites of us auto writers, if we've seen something 1,000 times before it hits the market. But I don't think our coverage has that much effect on the buying public. To believe that it does, it to give us auto writers more influence than I think we have.

Outside of the auto enthusiast crowd, I think the vast majority of people only pay attention to stories about cars when they're in the market. When they're not in the market, it goes in one ear and out the other.