By on October 23, 2008

We’ve long held that Cadillac is one of two “core brands” for GM that should be preserved (along with Chevy) at all costs. To compete with the big boys of luxury (Hyundai, anyone?) Caddy needs new product, and unlike Pontiac it’s going to get it. But will Cadillac’s product pipeline be filled with unique, desirable products or cannibalistic also-rans? I know, let’s ask that font of balanced coverage and journalistic integrity, Motor Trend! In fairness, MT admits that “It’s been four or five decades since Cadillac built a car that came close to being ‘The Standard of the World.’” “But” comes the now-customary about face that emerges any time a mainstream journo discusses the failure of an American automaker, “with the new CTS, and especially the world-beating CTS-v sport sedan, (Cadillac’s) rehabilitation is well underway.” Oh really? Let’s take a look.


The first new Cadillac products to be highlighted are the CTS Coupe and Wagon. Admitting that both are quick-and-dirty ways to leverage the existing CTS platform, MT goes on to hype both as fundamental to Cadillac’s turnaround despite their niche-within-niche status and cannibalistic tendencies. Specifically, MT reckons the CTS Wagon will be less popular than the otherwise quite similar SRX, also expected (by MT) to help turn Caddy around. By switching it to a front-wheel drive platform. Because that went well for Cadillac in the past. Cannibalism and intra-brand positioning worries don’t stop when we hear that the Escalade is downsizing to the Lambda platform, creating the fifth Lambda-based CUV in GM’s portfolio, and the third wagon/crossover in the Caddy stable. Oh, and then there’s the DTS replacement which is set to turn Caddy around by… languishing in development hell. The only ray of light anywhere? The RWD-compact Alpha, which GM is said to want to keep “lean” and “nimble.” Of course, for that GM needs to develop a whole new platform. This doesn’t look promising.

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19 Comments on “Motor Trend Pimps The Caddy Future...”


  • avatar
    seoultrain

    The only relevant Caddy is the CTS. It’s so good, there’s no reason to buy any other Cadillac. The smaller Caddy is the best idea, since the Catera has grown up now. Forget the SRX, DTS, STS, and XLR. They’re not sellers, and spending the money to make them good wouldn’t be worth it.

    Escalade downsizing to Lambda? Are they serious? The pseudo-luxo-SUV is perfect as-is.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Cadillac can’t exist solely on CTS variants, however good they may be.

    The original SRX sold well, and haven driven a few that people were trading in, I am impressed by how they drive and handle. Seeing as lux crossovers and small SUVs are a hot thing now, making the SRX into a true Infiniti FX/BMW X6/Mercedes GLK/Acura MDX fighter makes perfect sense.

    The XLR is so much the embodiment of unrealized potential that it hurts. All GM has to do is take a ZR-1, restyle it, give it a top tier interior and a slick DSG/PKM/F1-like auto-manual gearbox and it would be a huge seller.

    The new DTS needs to be finished and put into production as a legitimate alternative to the 7 series and S class.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    NulloModo:

    XLR? Seriously? The first time I saw one I had to do a double take and thought WTF…and not in a good way. Nothing but an angular Corvette.

    The 2-dr Vibe in the picture is not bad looking…..oh wait….that’s supposed to be a Cadillac?

  • avatar
    peteinsonj

    Exactly how many 3 & 5 series and C & E class wagons have been sold in the US lately?

    I see a few A3′s on the road — but not many.

    Way too small a market in US to make any kind of difference.

    And isn’t the new BLR (?) mini SUV coming, too for Cadillac?

    I happen to like wagons — but at least make it reasonably functional (Saab/Volvo/Passat).

    Seems like a waste of resources for the US.

    /p

  • avatar
    John R

    So a Caddy “M Coupe” is the master plan? This isn’t making sense. Where is their Infiniti G? Where is their 3-series?

    The CTS is a good car, but its a kinda “fish nor fowl” kind of car, isn’t? It asks for 3-series level coin for a 5-series like ride, but isn’t the 3-series is BMW’s best selling model? To me, a person who has that sort of cash would either would buy a new 3-series or buy a pre-owned 5-series.

    If I had the coin to buy either I’d get an Infiniti G and pocket some seven or ten grand AND enjoy myself. It sort of mystified me how Cadillac decided to compete with BMW. Instead of taking on the car emblematic of BMW they took on the 5-series using the value for money angle?

    So now what?

    The CTS is a good car…on its own merits, but when you compare it to the cars in its price range, The G is cheaper and more fun and the 3-series is as much $ and its more fun, so the car comes in third. Then the true believers complain and say its supposed to be compared to the 5-series, so the buff books and other auto journos do that and while it is not as expensive it is still second to the Bimmer.

    The upshot?

    The 3-series still outsells everybody and leaves Nissan and GM to duke it out. The people who can afford a 5-series buy exactly that. The people who want and can buy a 3-series/Infiniti G buy exactly that and the CTS largely sells to GM loyal or traditionally domestic only patronizers.

    Is this what’s called a “zero-sum game”?

  • avatar
    npbheights

    It’s funny you mentioned Hyundai along with Cadillac. I was talking with my Uncle (he is in his mid 60′s) who is a bit of a GM fan. He always owned Cadillacs and Buicks and lately a few BMW’s. He and his wife currently have a 06 Cadillac SRX, and his lease on his ’06 BMW Z4 was up and he was tired of the small convertible so naturally he shopped the CTS. After the options he wanted put the price up some 10 grand, sticker shock inspired him to look elsewhere. Since he loves to shop for cars he looked at Hyundai Sonatas and ended up getting a loaded leftover 08 Azera for 27K. He was going on and on about how he loves the car. All I could think of is how this was a Cadillac sale stolen by Hyundai, a real example of it and how the best and brightest would get a kick out of it. I asked him what he thought of the Genesis but they said that they were few to be had and they were charging ADM (on a Hyundai?!?!) He will probably have better resale value on the Azera than any Cadillac, too. Unbelievable.

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    npbheights:
    He will probably have better resale value on the Azera than any Cadillac, too. Unbelievable.

    Uhhhh, care to back that up with any facts?

    Anyway, I continue to find it laughable that people actually consider resale value when purchasing a new car. It makes no sense whatsoever unless you’re dealing with Koeningsegg’s or Enzo’s, which most people are not.
    If new car A will net you 65% of its value at resale time while new car B will net you 60%, YOU STILL LOST YOUR A$$ on that purchase!! If you’re that concerned about resale then buy a 20 year old ride that’s fully depreciated. To me, this new car resale argument is just silly.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    Raskolnikov:

    The word “probably” showed that I was speculating on the future value of a Cadillac being on par with the Hyundai.

    The only fact that I can offer is my own experience. In June, I was offered a full five hundred dollars for my clean, 140K mile 1999 Cadillac Deville on trade for a new Toyota. I am sure they would have offered me five hundred dollars for a clean 140K mile 1999 Hyundai whatever as well. Regrettably I did not take it and now it’s leaking oil like crazy and nobody wants it.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    I got offered $500 for my 1994 Honda Accord… I pouted a little and got them up to a grand. The dealer was probably trying to take you for a ride.

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    While we’re at it, can you “speculate” on the future value of an acre of land in Bargersville, Indiana? I need to know if that investment will pay off one day.

    Seriously, I don’t really believe even the greasiest salesman at the sleaziest Toyota stealership’s best offer on a clean ’99 Deville would be $500, when Blue Book is around $3000. If it is true, which I doubt, then they really didn’t want you to buy their car.

    http://www.kbb.com/KBB/UsedCars/PricingReport.aspx?YearId=1999&Mileage=140000&VehicleClass=UsedCar&ManufacturerId=8&ModelId=51&PriceType=Trade-In&VehicleId=5102&SelectionHistory=5102%7c29265%7c46143%7c0%7c0%7c&Condition=Good&QuizConditions=#survey

  • avatar
    npbheights

    Toxicroach: You are probably right, I’ll just throw it up on craigslist or something. Maybe I’ll get a grand for it. There’s a sucker born every day.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    A $3000 dollar car that costs $3000 to fix an oil leak is worth how much? I took very good care of it, but it seems like there is no getting around having a Cadillac that leaks a ton of oil when they get some miles on them, and got forbid they be realistic to fix. Just ask Ludacris…

  • avatar
    Areitu

    NulloModo : The first question you need to ask yourself regarding the XLR is, why doesn’t it use a corvette motor to begin with?

  • avatar
    billc83

    First: I pray the car pictured never makes production!

    Though I was previously against the upcoming Alpha-based Cadillac, it would appear my pouting has not swayed GM off course. But with the CTS starting around $32,000 (finding one at that price could prove difficult), I see the ATS starting near $25,000(?). A $25,000 Cadillac is NOT what the brand needs – visions of the Cimarron and Catera are already diluting the brand.

    Cadillac needs a flagship, post haste! One of Cadillac’s problems is its lack of a credible LS/7-Series/S-Class fighter! This is Cadillac, for Christsakes!! No one did flagships (emphasis on “ships”) like they once did! But, if this car looked nearly as good as the resident photochopper’s (Avarvarii’s) work and was as “world class” as the current CTS, good things could unfold. Note to GM: The current STS/DTS interiors ARE NOT ADEQUATE for your priciest model. In the immortal words of camp counselor Kevin “Ug” Lee, “Get it right or pay the price!”

    Of course, one more key ingredient required is time. Cadillac’s reputation as a second-rate luxury brand took years to make and is deeply rooted; other brands don’t carry the stigma. But the past few years have indicated that they’re making headway, and I personally hope they can pull it off. I’d like to be around for a time where it can once again be “Standard of the World.”

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    npbheights :
    October 23rd, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    A $3000 dollar car that costs $3000 to fix an oil leak is worth how much? I took very good care of it, but it seems like there is no getting around having a Cadillac that leaks a ton of oil when they get some miles on them, and got forbid they be realistic to fix. Just ask Ludacris…

    You made it sound like it wasn’t leaking when you took it to the Toyota store. If it really were clean when you took it there, then the salesman thought YOU were the sucker that day with the $500 lowball.

    As for more speculation, you say Cadillacs “leak a ton of oil when they get some miles on them.” Talk about broad generalizations….my coworkers ’96 Caddy land yacht is still going strong at ~180K and doesn’t leak oil. Is that the ONE car that doesn’t leak? I think not.

    Not trying to be a dick, but I just get tired of the constant broad generalizations purported by the “best and brightest,” while of the many makes and models of cars I or my family members have owned over the years, the GM’s have been more reliable and robust than the Audis, Toyotas, Suzukis, Jeeps, Fords, and VW’s we have owned. Basically, my experiences don’t mirror what “GM haters” are saying, so I feel I have to say what I know about their products.

    Luda is busy painting the White House black, BTW. God help us.

  • avatar
    kovachian

    I find it hard to slam the 2nd generation CTS when people like Jeremy Clarkson genuinely like it. And WTF happened to the rumors of Caddy’s upcoming V12 flagship? Not long after the Sixteen concept stunned the world, I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Cadillac wanted to develop what was essentially a slightly smaller 12 cylinder version.

    I see that dream has gone up in smoke. Oh well, it’s not like GM ever turned the profits required to realize such a dream; the UAW would’ve thrown a conniption fit and went on strike for higher wages if there were any godforsaken profits being made.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    npbheights : He will probably have better resale value on the Azera than any Cadillac, too. Unbelievable.

    Raskolnikov : Uhhhh, care to back that up with any facts?

    Give this one to Raskolnikov. Although they are not exactly comparable Kelly Blue Book shows that a used 2006 Cadillac CTS in good condition with 50,000 miles and with a 3.6 liter V-6 and automatic transmission that originally had a sticker price of $34,360 now has a retail trade-in value of $14,825 or 43.15% of its original value.

    A used 2006 Hyundai Azera Limited (the top-of-the-line model) in good condition with 50,000 miles and no options (3.8 liter V-6 and automatic transmission were standard) originally had a sticker price of $26,835 and now has a retail trade-in value of $10,140 or 37.79% of its original value.

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    So the CTS retained more of its original value than the Azera. Thank you for that.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    The smallest car in Caddy’s stable is the CTS and that is the size of a 5 series. The need to make something 3 series sized that is targeted to beat the 335 and beat it soundly. I’d like to see a 3,400-3,500lb car with the Camaro/Vette’s LS3 in it and then the DI v-6 with say 315hp to go against the 328i. The match trim, wagon, sedan, coupe and convertible.

    You want to prove you can be the best? You need to go head to head with the best in the segment (if you are speaking of a driver’s luxury car) and then do it for a little less money.

    If my wife downsizes from a van in the future a CTS wagon or A4 Avant are likely choices.


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