For a number of years, Cadillac has been carefully cultivating its angular look, with cars like the CTS and XLR setting the tone for the brand’s designs. In America, the “Art & Science” look was greeted with enthusiasm. But Chinese consumers aren’t so receptive to it, and that’s bad news for a brand that’s pinning its expansion hopes on China.
The distaste of Chinese consumers towards Cadillac designs is apparently rooted in Confucian notions related to aesthetics, which Reuters explains below
The preference for smoother, curvier cars stems from ‘Zhongyong,’ a Confucian concept that stresses harmony, according to Fu Liming, who teaches transportation design at Jilin University in northeast China.
“In cars, the Zhongyong concept translates into unified lines and curves,” Fu said. “Cadillac’s design isn’t soft, its angles and arcs aren’t smooth enough.”
While the SRX does well in a field where buyers seek out a distinctive design, cars like the CTS and the SLS (a Chinese market long-wheelbase sedan) are saddled with the dual burden of having the wrong design and thirsty engines. Apparently, pre-bailout GM didn’t have the resources or inclination to help Cadillac adapt to world markets, but things are set to change. First among them; a softening of the “harsh” angles currently employed by Cadillac.