The Northstar, in either its 275 or 300 horsepower variation, now powered all front-wheel drive Cadillacs.
The Arlington, Texas-produced Fleetwood (and optional Fleetwood Brougham package), the lone front-engine, rear-drive Cadillac, was in its final year of production.
Introduced in early 1996 as a 1997 model was the all-new rear-drive Catera. This midsize luxury sedan was a joint venture between Cadillac and Opel, assembled in Germany, and powered by a 3.0-liter dual overhead cam V-6.
All US 1996 Cadillacs received daytime running lamps (standard on Canadian Cadillacs since 1990) and a new remote keyless entry fob in dark gray with light gray buttons and white icons.
The fob functions were: lock, unlock, trunk open and fuel door open. The fobs were identified on the back with a “one” or “two” indication, allowing two separate drivers to personalize seat position that adjusted to the driver when the key was placed in the ignition.
Additionally, all front-drive Cadillacs featured an ignition key anti-lockout feature that protected the driver from accidental lockout by disabling the driver’s power door lock if the key was left in the ignition.
Also, all front-drive Cadillacs received the new communication-based electronics architecture called Class 2, a new designation for an electrical communication protocol on 1996 vehicles that also provided common emissions diagnostic capability in connection with federally mandated On-Board Diagnostic II requirements.
The 1996 Cadillac had a 17-symbol vehicle identification number (VIN) stamped on a metal tag attached to the upper left surface of the cowl visible through the windshield. The code was as follows:
1 or 4
manufacturing country (United States)
4 & 5
car line series
D/W = Fleetwood
E/L = Eldorado
E/T = Eldorado Touring
K/D = DeVille
K/F = Concours
K/S = Seville (SLS)
K/Y = Seville (STS)
the body style:
1 = two-door coupe
2 = two-door
3 = two-door convertible
4 = two-door station wagon
5 = four-door sedan
6 = four-door
8 = four-door station wagon
the restraint code
1 = active (manual) belts
2 = active (manual) belts w/dual airbags
3 = active (manual) belts w/driver’s side airbag
4 = passive (automatic) belts
5 = passive (automatic) belts w/driver’s side airbag
6 = passive (automatic) belts w/dual airbags
7 = active (manual) belt driver and passive (automatic) belt passenger w/dual airbags
P = LTl 5.7L V-8
Y = LD8 4.6L V-8
9 = L37 4.6L V-8
R = L81 3.0L V-6
T = 1996
the assembly plant
the production sequence number
1996 Cadillac Notes
Cadillac’s model year production totaled 174,406 compared with 200,577 the year previous.
Based on sales at 170,379 automobiles in 1996 (vs. 180,504 the year before),Cadillac’s share of the U.S. market was 2.0 percent compared with 2.1 the year previous.
The 1996 sales figure listed included 1,676 early launch 1997 Catera sedans sold in the 1996 model year.
John F. Smith replaced John O. Grettenberger as general manager of Cadillac.
In September 1996, faulty computer chips forced the recall of 587,000 Cadillacs.
1996 Automotive Notes
John F. Smith, Jr. was president of GM
John F. Smith, Jr. was also chairman of the board at GM