The Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) sold by the General Motors luxury brand, Cadillac. It was the division's first major entry into the popular SUV market. The Escalade was introduced for the 1999 model year in response to German and Japanese competitors and to Ford's 1998 release of the Lincoln Navigator. The Escalade project went into production only ten months after it was approved. The Escalade is built in Arlington, Texas. The name Escalade refers to a siege warfare tactic of scaling defensive walls or ramparts with the aid of ladders or siege towers.
The Escalade was originally based on the GMC Yukon Denali, but was redesigned for the 2002 model year to make its appearance fall more in line with Cadillac's new design theme. Today, the Escalade and Escalade EXT pickup are two of only three Cadillac vehicles made outside of the United States.