By on November 11, 2013

ATS-front-quarter-550x412

Readers of our departed EIC’s chronicles will no doubt understand that building a luxury brand is a gradual, concentrated effort that won’t bear fruit for many years. Over at Audi, it took Herr Schmitt and Herr Piech the better part of two decades to morph Audi from an oddball line of tarted up Volkswagens into a global luxury player, and that journey was not without its own mishaps.

Audi wasn’t the only one to trudge down that road either. Bob Lutz’s latest book recalls the genesis of the BMW naming convention (naming their cars the 3, 5 and 7-Series), arguably the start of their rise from, well, an oddball line of Bavarian built cars into one of the auto industry’s blue-chip luxury car makers.

So who is Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac’s new marketing chief (an ex-BMW man) to think that building Cadillac into a global luxury brand will take about 10 years? Cadillac’s main markets right now are America and China, with the two countries accounting for about 90 percent of sales. Even so, Cadillac is badly outgunned in America, with Mercedes-Benz and BMW (and Lexus as well) each doing roughly one-and-a-half times the volume that Cadillac does in its home market. In China, supposedly Cadillac’s second most important market, Audi is outselling Cadillac by roughly 10 to 1. In Europe, Cadillac is a non-entity, selling just 2,274 cars in 2012.

The idea that Cadillac will be a global player in the luxury car world in as little as 10 years is at worst a fantasy, at best a demonstration of profound ignorance. As a former BMW marketing exec, Ellinghaus should know that Cadillac lacks key products (like a small crossover, a proper flagship and diesel engines) needed to compete in the all important European market, and that competitors like Lexus have yet to crack the “global” part of the equation despite arguably having a higher profile in the luxury world.

The best summation of the entire situation comes from TTAC commenter edgett

This is American marketing at its worst. The idea that the content of the product is overcome, or recreated, at the hand of “branding” is how they got into this in the first place. What if the brand identity for Cadillac became “The Standard of the World”, and they spent all of their “branding” money on creating a product which epitomized that identity?

 

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125 Comments on “Editorial: Unrealistic Timelines At Cadillac...”


  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    Bullseye!

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      I do think Cadillac deserves a little bit more credit here:

      For one thing, thinking in a 10 year timeframe is a huge step beyond where they used to be, which was a focus on quarterly profits and the next product launch.

      Second, they may well be thinking longer term (20 years). However, it is corporate suicide to tell US investors that you are thinking on a 20 year time horizon. It won’t fly. If they can get investors to sit with 10 years, it is a huge win. And if they are building great automobiles in that timeframe, then they will get the additional time they need to allow changed public perception to bring the volume.

      Third, they have already legitimately started on the right path with the ATS and CTS. They still have a ways to go, but this is the first time that they have legitimate contenders in terms of quality and the driving experience.

      Finally, the forthcoming full size RWD platform may already be ready to address a lot of the comments on this thread. They have said they are considering the Elmiraj concept as a production halo car, and it certainly bore signs of being a concept that could go into production mostly unchanged.

      In other words, they may already be ahead of the B&B on this. I hope they are, and that whatever strategy they do have doesn’t fall to a short-term-cost bean counter.

      Speaking for myself: I have not historically been a fan of Cadillac, but the latest ATS and CTS are the first that I would even consider. If they can improve the vehicles further – and ditch a bit of the bling – I could even see buying one someday.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Sure, but paraphrasing Bertel (http://dailykanban.com/2013/11/09/heard-any-good-jokes-lately-meet-the-man-who-knows-how-to-bring-cadillac-to-global-glory-easily/) tends to hit the mark – the man has a ton of experience, but his, shall we say “colored” personality means apparently we now get a watered down Nom-de-plume.

      Come on Derek, credit where credit is due :p

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    It’s not a demonstration of ignorance. It’s a demonstration of how Detroit continues it’s pattern of “Emperor’s New Clothes” behavior. It starts with a senior pooh-bah (perhaps one who doesn’t know anything making things, or perhaps who has most of his experience in a legal monopoly market) decreeing “It shall be so!” Anyone who raises his (or her) hand and says “Look! The Emperor is naked!” or “That’s impossible!” is tossed out of the Ren Cen on his butt and left to fend for himself on the unpoliced streets of the Motor City.

    Everyone else says “Ja wohl mein Kapitän!” and makes sure to repeat the nonsense in public so that, when the inevitable occurs, the organization looks even worse than it needed to.

    Of course Ellinghaus knows better; but he likes his job even more and is not inclined to profession suicide. And maybe by the time the day of reckoning comes, he will have moved on and it will be someone else’s problem.

    This is why poor leadership is such a corrosive thing in a business organization. I do not believe on person can single-handedly repair a broken organization; but I do believe one person can seriously mess it up.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Over at Audi, it took Herr Schmitt and Herr Peich the better part of two decades”

    Ferdinand Piëch is going to hire the guy from Temple of Doom to pull your heart out of your chest for misspelling his name, he being a supervillain and all.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Actually, considering that Cadillac doesn’t have the same model spread that BMW and Mercedes have they are doing pretty good when comparing sales in the US.

    There is really no reason to think that their 10 year plan is completely impossible if they are able to get the product mix that the others have. Then again, do they really need to? GM has other divisions that can (somewhat) take the place of the comparable models in the other’s lineup.

    I guess I don’t understand the need to dominate. As long as they are making a profit and putting out vehicles that people want why do they need to be at the top of the sales charts? These other guys are going completely mainstream to gain these sales numbers and are losing their soul because of it. Cadillac is getting its soul back and shouldn’t worry about mega sales to compete with the Camry like 5 series and the C-class (cheap class?) Mercedes.

    • 0 avatar

      The product question is a very big “if”.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        True. There is always an “if” no matter what company it is.

        We’re probably going to see a new CTS and ATC coupe, the V-series cars, some kind of a flagship and the new Escalade is just months away…all before the 10 year mark. They have diesels that should be fairly easy to drop in (they still own half of the Italian engine maker right?).

        Globally, not so easy but not completely unrealistic.
        USA, they should be able to dominate sales there in 10 years if that is truly their goal.

        I personally feel, and many will disagree, that trying to be #1 in sales is really the wrong goal to have to begin with, at least when it comes to a flagship luxury division like Cadillac.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The product line is doable, but it’s the global reach part that’s going to be the most difficult.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          If they could do it, it would be great. I think they already make some great cars, and at least they seem fully committed, unlike Lincoln. I assume the old Escalade made them a bunch of money. I wonder what other models have been profitable? They have sunk a ton of cash into this brand. I’m sure they’ve had to sell a lot of Chevy’s to keep Caddy alive. I would love to see them pull it off.

        • 0 avatar

          They sold VM Motori to Chrysler.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Do you know how many years Cadillac was top dog in the luxury car market? Twenty + years, it took ten years for them to accept that they were no longer on top and they’ve never admitted that they made crap. Settling for making a good car that people like is not in Cadillac’s or in any other part of GM’s philosophy or business plan, it’s making as much product for as little cost as possible

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            You must not have seen the new CTS. It’s good…

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I have, Kyree and it is good, because it has to be good to get people to buy it. The ’49-’70 Cadillac was good too and we all know what happened after that. Cadillac started cutting corners and trying to pass off Chevys as Cadillacs, blah, blah. Now, they’re doing it again

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “if they are able to get the product mix that the others have.”

      There’s the rub. They won’t pull it off. It’s always gotta be the Impala-XTS or the Tahoe-Escalade or the Monte Carlo-ETC. There is NO Skoda-C-Class or Yetti-GL (mixing brands, I know.)

      The Germans have one marque which they build luxury platforms around. GM has several, which it tries to fancy up from the base model. VW does this to an extent, but you can’t tell (Golf/TT)(Passat/A4). You CAN tell with the Impala/XTS and Tahoe/Escalade. They are lesser, but cost the same as the Germans and Lexus. This is the issue.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        The ETC and Monte Carlo were never ever on the same platform…

        You are correct about the platform sharing, but in this case that is really a moot point. The XTS and Escalade are very much “American” offerings from Cadillac. The others don’t have anything that competes with them. They are traditional Cadillac, witch, for better or worse is too bad…I wish they did more traditional.

        As far as platform sharing among other brands. They also don’t have many divisions like GM has. If they had the ability to share a platform and make money off of it you can bet they would.

        Don’t forget that the German brands don’t sell their really cheap cars here in the USA. This whole idea of Mercedes and BMW being these super luxury offerings is really just a US thing. They sell plenty of taxis and fwd turd boxes overseas too.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh I forgot, honestly. They could’ve been, they were so similar.

          If they want to do the “American pure bred” offerings, that’s fine. But price them lower. You cannot maintain the same price point as the Germans for less quality/content. You must have a LOWER price than them by a considerable margin, or offer HIGHER content and quality but charge the same. I think we both know which way GM should go, as long as there are any Cruze parts inside a Cadillac.

          I do realize GM doesn’t have the sole-luxury thing the German’s have. All the more reason to separate and differentiate if they want to be a big player. They’ve got to dump in more money to do it big, otherwise they need to be satisfied with the small second-tier share they have now.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Only about as similar as the current Lexus ES and GS are. From my perspective, since I don’t care for either of them, they look to be exactly the same car to me.

            Since you obviously don’t care for either MC or ETC/ESC, I could see who you might thing they are the same. The only thing they share is their FWD layout.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t think you can say that. The ES/GS are different platforms, different drivetrains, and have had different engine options most of the time. The GS does not even HAVE a lower brand equivalent in the US.

            The MC/ETC shared parts, drivetrain, undoubtedly interior components (which were poor quality).

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            The MC and EC didn’t share drivetrain or engine options ever. Other than the turn signal lever and possibly steering column they didn’t share any interior parts (the Eldo has a nice high quality interior btw). The MC is a W-body, the EC is an E-body/G-Body.

            Does the GS have a lower brand sister elsewhere? If we are talking global that counts.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “The MC/ETC shared parts, drivetrain, undoubtedly interior components (which were poor quality).”

            What in the hell are you talking about? Just admit you made a bad comparison.

          • 0 avatar

            “The MC/ETC shared parts, drivetrain, undoubtedly interior components (which were poor quality).”

            FWD Monte Carlo shared its platform with the W-body Chevy Lumina.

            FWD Cadillac Eldorado shared its platform with the E-body Buick Riviera.

            Neither shared any parts, drivetrain components or interior components.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Disagree. VW MQB platform for starters is a good example of the same thing.

        Or a Lexus ES and a Toyota Camry.

        Or a Honda Civic and an Acura ILX

        Platform sharing is not inherently evil – lots of manufacturers have done it for decades outside of Detoit,

        Further you have the ATS and CTS that are used by GM to build……well……..well shoot I guess in North America nothing else.

        Execution is the issue – but people pay a premium for a Lexus ES everyday built on the same platform with the same V6 as the Camry – and a fully loaded Camry is cheaper and almost (stress almost) as nice as a base ES with more content than said base ES.

        It’s execution – it isn’t the idea that platform sharing = bad. And let’s be clear, the sheet metal and interiors are different on Impala vs XTS vs LaCrosse. Not in defense of these three (well specifically the XTS since we are talking Cadillac). Of what I’ve seen, drove and read (have not driven the new Impala but seen a number in the wild) the correct answer is an Impala LTZ. The LaCrosse is only marginally better for the same price, and even the better is very arguable, the XTS can’t justify it’s existence. That doesn’t mean Epsillon II is “bad,” just the Cadillac execution specifically,

        Lexus is largely FWD, Audi too (let’s call a spade a spade on wrong wheel drive) and Jack pointed out one can spend well over $70K on a new 5-series dragged around by a 4-banger under the hood, Mercedes has their front driver (the CLA is feckin’ GORGEOUS in person for real, honest) and BMW is around the corner with the new 1-series. Never mind the vinyl seat special 320i which is a BMW by name.

        And look at CR reviews of the IS250 and Q50 – both got a big ball of meh rating.

        In the name of volume the luxury marks appear to be in a race to go down market, in a weakening economy where a cultivated pool of NEW buyers is getting thinner. Oh I know, the uninitiated don’t want a Toyota like mom and dad (only 39% of children buy the makes of their parents TTAC) and hate American so they aspire to own a 5 year old BMW and lie to themselves that endless maintainence is errr, normal.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The ES is Avalon based. Why can no one remember this?

          I’ve seen a CLA in person as well, but I found it fecking gross and cheap looking.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            because no one cares outside of those who like Lexus. The ES/Camry/Avalon are about as dull and generic as you can get in the automotive world these days.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Because it was Camry based for so long.

            While we’re on the subject, why is there an Avalon in the first place, why don’t they just build a Camry that doesn’t suck and steer the priced out folks to Corolla?

          • 0 avatar
            typhoon

            The Avalon is itself derived from the Camry, so to the vast majority of people who aren’t Camry/Avalon/ES enthusiasts, it’s a distinction without a difference.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I’m not particularly impressed with certain Audi products. People claim that VW Group engineers its parts and platforms for a Audi and then condescends to VW price points. The only product in which I can see evidence of that is the Touareg (which is *way* overpriced), but other than that, the transition from Volkswagen to Audi doesn’t look inherently better than that of Chevrolet and Cadillac. The Q7 and all cars below the A6 need new interiors…like, yesterday.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Eldorado was an E-body, FWD Monte Carlo was W, RWD was G.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @CoreDL

        Using the same platform isn’t a big deal, to me.

        I test drove an XTS Premium recently, and it was one heck of a car. You’re getting quite an interior (and arguably exterior) upgrade from the Impala, with a ton more standard tech, and a six-ish second 0-60 really isn’t that bad, unless you’re used to driving a Corvette. Few other cars match the classic styling cues that Cadillac can employ on something like the XTS, or SRX. Absolutely beautiful products.

        Oh, and the fact there’s ten grand on the hood doesn’t help, either. ;)

  • avatar
    thegamper

    It is and always has been about product. Consistently building competitive and even class leading vehicles will build the brand. TV, internet and print can only do so much to build Cadillac into a luxury powerhouse. As the article states, Cadillac still has yet to fill a few key niches and expand into several important global markets. Product, product, Product and they will come in time and not becuase they saw a TV commercial.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      THIS

    • 0 avatar
      arun

      + 1000

      BMW and Mercs didn’t become the powerhouse brands they are today because they spent a truckload on marketing. They got there because of extremely high quality cars – even if that happened many moons ago. Merc’s brand was built on its built-like-a-tank rep for its S class. BMW brand got built around its extremely sporty and nimble 3 series. Those cars over built the brand.

      When will people ever understand that all the marketing in the world cannot repair a broken product? Just look at the amazing trailers for all the movies that flop at the box office to understand what I am talking about….contrast that with something like The Blair Witch Project, which was a very good movie with zero marketing initially, and look how well that did at the box office…

      because the best form of marketing is word of mouth marketing and for that, you need a quality product.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “So who is Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac’s new marketing chief (an ex-BMW man) to think that building Cadillac into a global luxury brand will take about 10 years?”

    That timeframe is coming from Akerson. It’s not realistic to expect the new guy to contradict the boss, particularly in public.

    Cadillac does have a bona fide branding problem, independent of the product, and that does need to be addressed. Branding isn’t an irrelevant exercise, as some of those who post here would like to believe.

    But Cadillac has a large hill to climb. BMW didn’t have a bad reputation to overcome, so it provided a blank canvas to support a rebranding effort. In contrast, Cadillac has a lot of baggage in the form of negative brand equity, and that makes it harder to fix.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Why must Cadillac be a global player? I know, I know, to make money, expand the brand, pay the shareholders, etc.

    Be nice to have a proper American make, making proper cars for Americans. Large cars, big engines, compliant suspensions.

    • 0 avatar
      Charles T

      What, you mean like the Toyota Avalon?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Toyota Avalon
        Width 72.2 inches
        FWD
        DOHC V6

        No that isn’t at all what it means to be American, nor does it remotely fit his description.
        Hell the midsize Malibu is wider than the fullsize toyota.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Big slow-spinning V8, length that laughs at parking garages, rear wheel drive…now THAT’S American.

          Don’t look at BMW, look at a 1976 Coupe DeVille. Now THAT is a Cadillac.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Big, bloated, and thirsty is not coming back, nor are the true Cadillacs of old. Cadillac is Oldsmobile, Buick is Pontiac, Chevrolet is half Chevy, half Geo.

          • 0 avatar

            If you’re looking for the closest approximation of the traditional American land yacht, you’ll have to look in the truck aisle.

            A long bed quad-cab full-size pickup with every option on the list is the new Cadillac, slow-spinning V8 and all.

          • 0 avatar
            MK

            Boom! John Williams nails it.

            I’ve been saying this for quite some time, the new American luxury car is the 4 door half ton pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      @amc_cj

      I have no interest in an American car like that, nor do any of my friends. My Grandparents might, but their car but thier car buying days are over.

      Otherwise, I am squarely in Cadillacs demographic. But they are just not quite their yet. Too many unresolved details.

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    It’s more a commentary on the sad state of corporate marketing these days. Marketing is not permitted to be realistic anymore. CEO’s and boards don’t want to see that success takes decades, regardless of reality. How many times do we hear about an automotive start up that’s going to sell 100, 000 cars five years from the day they file trademarks for the new car that’s going to revolutionise the industry. VW is going to sell one billion cars a year. Fisker was going to sell three models and beat Tesla. Tesla was going to make affordable electric cars within a decade. Saturn was going to beat the imports. Lincoln was going to be more than a top trim level Ford. Coda was going to sell tarted up power wheels. Detroit electric was going to exist again. Volvo was going to double production. So was Saab. Alfa was going to return to the US…

    You’ve got to be stupidly optimistic and ambitious to keep your job and make headlines because the market just gets tougher and tougher or you’re just not trying. It’s a pet peeve of mine and it’s not just a GM thing. Marketing isn’t allowed to be honest these days. About the only company to make good on a ridiculous timetable lately has been Hyundai/Kia.

    DC Bruce had it about right, too. But again it’s industry wide not just GM/Detroit.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      I think this is the key…and we can thank Steve Jobs for it. Jobs pioneered the concept that a CEO — through magical thinking, bullying of subordinates, and sheer force of will — could make the impossible happen (not that all this is completely true but it is the legend that counts).

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    It takes about 10 years for perceptions about a luxury car brand to be built. If this isn’t a bald-faced lie, Cadillac would need a whole-sale re-thinking of the brand within about the next 6 months to meet this goal.

    Lets check-in in six months, shall we?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The brand has already started, some would say 10 years ago with the first gen CTS. Their reputation, most would argue, is better now than in 2003. As Derek said Lexus (and actually no Japanese manufacturer) has managed to crack the global luxury market. I agree with others, as long as they make a profit they don`t need to be big in every major market. Their product is competitive in the key segments (3 and 5 series and X3 classes). Is there more to do – of course.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        One could also argue part of the improved image was fixing and/or limiting the Northstar after 2003 which was the mainstay in all models through MY03.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I’d argue a timeline more around whenever the new CTS came along, 09 or so. And even then… not a full regeneration. It was immensely disappointing when I, for the first time [recently], got up close and touched a DTS, and pulling the door handle felt like I was tugging at the same [plastic] part on an old Beretta.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ll have to check my friend’s ’11 CTS because I can’t recall that detail and would like to see if it improved. Since parts of the interior is out of the parts bin I would assume something like a door handle is too but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if it feels premium.

          • 0 avatar
            caltemus

            Dude the door handles themselves on the beretta were metal. Awful verticle things that froze and broke in the winter, but metal. Stop making comparisons up to fit your anti-cadillac agenda. Have you even sat in an XTS?

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Take Tesla as an example. They set out to build the worldest finest automobile and actually meant it, with their model S.

    Let’s not even look at past Cadillac mistakes. Does anyone believe GM set out to do the same as Tesla with the current lineup? The Escalade/SRX/ATS/XTS? The new CTS is a nice luxury car and it took them 3 generations to get it there, but the rest of the line-up is still lacking.

    The biggest dissapointment is the new ATS. In real life, I hate the implementation of the A&S styling on the ATS and you can see the cost cutting throughout the car.

    My suggestion is to fix what GM has always failed at IMO, terrible ergonomics and car interiors that seem to fall apart after 8-10 years, and make CUE the best infotainment in the business with standard NAV on all trim levels. Drop the Escalade and to go all out on the A&S copying the F117 with even sharper more angular styling and stop trying to soften the body lines, while at the same time dropping decontented base models which hurt the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      Style and ergonomics is 99.99% subjective, pretty hard to argue or expect others to agree all the time.

      The last gen CTS was seen as a very nice luxury car also. The ATS is getting great reviews.

      The Escalade is a great seller and money maker for Cadillac, why stop making something the people want, even though you don’t want it…

      Better tell BMW and Mercedes to stop selling the 30K 320 and CLK sedans. These models must be hurting their image also since they are as or more decontented than anything Cadillac sells.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        BMW and Mercedes can sell 320s and CLKs because they have already built their brand. Cadillac can’t sell a decontented 2.5L NA 4 cylinder ATS if anyone expects to take them seriously. I would buy a better looking pentastar crysler 200 all day every day over the base ATS and save thousands while going 0-60 in 5.5 seconds and having better infotainment. The ATS has one thing going for it, RWD, and that’s simply not enough. The buick regal is a better car.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          A Chrysler 200 and ATS aren’t even on the same planet when comparing these two cars.

          If you drove both you’d really know they aren’t even close.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Of course they aren’t on the same level, afterall the caddy starts around 33k and goes to 45k. Wait for the next generation 200 to be revealed…The fact that the current 200 exists from a mid aughts Sebring, does 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, and has a better infotainment system than the ATS is telling.

            And to my second point, $ for $ I would take a new 2014 regal all day every day over the ATS, it’s simply a better car in nearly all aspects. Examine them in real life, the regal has the “presense” that is lacking in GMs lineup.

            http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1309_2014_buick_regal_first_drive/

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            My elderly parents just traded in their 11 Regal T on a 13 Regal GS.

            Nice car, but the ATS is more fun to drive.

            Still not sure how the heck you’re comparing a 200 with and ATS (0 to 60 times really don’t make a hoot of a difference, the 200 is a Turd rental queen.

            I should really keep my mouth shut though, I think 99% of cars built today have zero personality.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      They are purposely softening the sharp angles and creases of the original Cadillac A&S design because the Chinese don’t like them. They prefer the rounded curves of Buick.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Cadillac needs to find a strategy and stick to it.

    They can take the Lexus or Acura route of “Like a Toyota/Honda, only better!” if they like, but that has limited success unless your base brand is already well-established.

    They can go the Audi route of “We make nice cars, and get all the good stuff first before letting our other brands use it.”

    They can go the BMW/Merc route of “We make nice cars, and you aren’t going to find these bits ever emerging from another parts bin.”

    But whatever they do, if they want to be a true luxury brand, they need to make up their damn minds. If they want to sell badge-engineered cars from other GM divisons, fine. If they want let Cadillac be their “vanguard” brand that gets all the good stuff first, fine. If they want Cadillac to have it’s own unique product line, that’s fine too. But doing all three at once means your brand has no identity at all, other than “GM’s division that sells expensive cars that all look kinda similar.”

    Not exactly a recipe for success.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Cadillac needs to be ostentatious. When you’re driving a Cadillac, you need that snob appeal and that “look at me” styling. Art and Science needs to keep going edgier like on the new CTS. Cadillac needs a drastic refresh on the ATS/XTS/Escalade/SRX and most importantly, they need to trickle down Cadillac platforms to Buick in the form of the CTS/ATS. Make buick the reserved, more sophisticated luxury brand.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Perhaps the problem is what it means to be a luxury brand.

    Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes have volume, but let’s be real, how many are really luxury cars? I can count them on two hands: A8, R8, 7, LS, LX, CL, G, S, SL, SLS. The fact that Mercedes is third in global sales despite having the most proper luxury cars shows that the money is in premium, not luxury.

    One of the problems is that Cadillac plays only in the premium segment. Yet they’ve been churning out luxury car concepts (Sixteen, Elmiraj, Ciel) that appeals to the fan boys but has neither the volume nor profits of the premium segment.

    I still believe in halo products, so my suggestion is to borrow a full size truck chassis, build a low volume modular system good for 15 years of high impact luxury halo cars like the above, and amortize the cost through a lower advertising budget that makes marketing the premium offerings less costly. Maybe it’ll cost a billion dollars. It might be the billion that saves the brand.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Uwe should have stated the Cadillac needs another ten. It’s not as if they have done nothing for the last ten. They have produced some fine cars and improved the model line across the board in that time. Thing is, what do people WANT?

    For comparable money, good luck pulling customers from BMW/Mercedes/Lexus.
    Perhaps it will take a German to do it. As much as I am not a GM fan, I would love to see them pull it off.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    All Cadillac has to do to find its halo vehicle is to look back at the 1980s and before:

    Build and offer a no-nonsense luxury car for the elite and coachbuilders. You know, a formal roofline, chrome bumpers, all bright trim MUST be real metal, all interior components must be leather, metal, wood and etched glass. Plastic is to be kept to a minimum. All those features except perhaps the formal roofline must be incorporated into their entire lineup.

    Build cars like that and once again you can reclaim your “Standard of the World” status.

    That would be a start.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They chicken out every time though. It’s evident in their Sixteen and Ciel concepts, which remain concepts forever. I know what you’re referring to (largely Brougham-status, lol) and I agree. They aren’t willing to commit to large, RWD/AWD, -authentic- luxury. My $60K Caddy had better not have the same clock and door handles as the secretary’s ATS. End of story!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Does GM want Cadillac to be a “full line” car maker like MB or BMW? A/1 series through E/7 series? Again I am left thinking that half of GMs problems could be solved by having their dealerships all be superstores that offer GMC/Buick/Cadillac/Chevrolet so their would be no overlap and no clamoring by dealers for “product x” to plug “hole y” in their lineup. But of course that would require a further reduction in franchises, even in my county of 75,000 residents there is a separate Chevy dealer (no Cadillac franchise) and a separate GMC/Buick dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Are there separate walled off areas in your superstores? I wouldn’t want my Cadillac presented in the same room as the Sonic.

      Which then begs the question – how do you provide the Caddy customers with a higher level of service and support than your Chevy customers when (presumably) they share a service center?

      I think Caddy must be separate and a stand-alone. It’s the price you pay for ambitious luxury. People expect more. It’s like a nice restaurant. Go to one, and you expect a better class of waiter than the guy at Olive Garden. More attention, better service, higher level of manners.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        But isn’t some of GM’s problem caused by competing with itself? Top trim Impala vs. Lacrosse vs. base XTS or Cruze vs Verano vs Regal vs Malibu.

        Honestly you and I know that there are certain models that only exist because dealers argued “We have to have a product a price point X or we’re missing out on sales.” The answer to that demand should not be a new product but showing them another product from the same company (GM) that meets their needs.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        GM has two channels: The Caddy/Buick/GMC channel and the Chevrolet channel. It would be best if GM kept them separated and made the CBG experience similar to the lexus experience. The CBG channel should organize around these themes:

        Cadillac: Ostentatious luxury (drop the escalade, you don’t need it with Yukon)

        Buick: Sophisticated luxury (while GM is at it, build CTS/ATS platform buicks) and get that Panamera/Model S/A7 fighter here ASAP

        GM: Luxury trucks

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Why drop the escalade, its like printing money.

          Rather I’d say return the suburban to a utilitarian vehicle, place the Yukon into the spot above the suburban and keep the escalade on course.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            IMO Escalade has an image problem and that hurts the Cadilliac brand, it’s leftover from the early 2000s when Escalade/Navigators were the rides of choice of thugs. The luxury SUV buyers don’t want that image and are shifting towards Yukon Denali. Rebadge the top level GM trucks/SUVs as Denali sub-brand.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Agreed. The Escalade is tacky, but for some people it’s the only Cadillac they aspire to, or can even identify.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @nickoo, GMs two channels are Cadillac/Chevrolet and GMC/Buick according to how their dealerships are organized. That came out of the bankruptcy. Some Chevrolet dealers did not receive Cadillac franchises and some Cadillac dealers LOST their franchises in an effort to make Cadillac more exclusive just as not every Toyota dealer has a Lexus franchise. The nearest Cadillac dealer from Gallup NM is roughly 130 to 150 miles away, where as pre-bankruptcy our Chevy dealer had a Cadillac franchise.

          GM has focused on consolidating dealers into Chevy/Caddy and GMC/Buick while forcing dealers to remodel to fit the new corporate image.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Cadillac will not be a global player of consequence without their own platform and drivetrains. Borrowing motors and sharing platforms with Chevrolet and Buick is not going to create cars that are perceived as similar in prestige to BMW, Audi, or Mercedes. Yes I know a lot of Audi models are nothing more than fancy VWs, but they do have some unique models/powertrains that are not shared with lowbrow brands which provide the necessary differentiation. Cadillac will never get anywhere in Europe without good diesels, and GM doesn’t make any except for heavy duty truck motors, and as Lexus found out, Hybrids are not an adequate substitute for diesels. They also need a flagship model to really be taken seriously, but without global sales potential the numbers likely look very bad for such an investment, which means it isn’t likely to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Very much this ^^^^^^^^^! Exactly my thoughts. +100

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Agreed, however the ATS and CTS do sit on a unique platform that is not shared (currently) with ANY other GM vehicle. Also Cadillac is introducing the new twin turbo V6 to its cars first. So lets deal in facts – Cadillac has got their own platforms not shared with the rest of GM.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Then they go and rebadge a Chevy Volt making all their other cars suspect of being Chevys.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            And didn’t Cadillac rebadge the Corvette at one point too?

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Didn’t Chrysler rebadge an outdated Mercedes as a Crossfire?

            Didn’t Maybach rebadge an S-class?

            Doesn’t Audi rebadge a Passat?

            This whole “rebadge” finger pointing has really become popular lately in the interweb. It is very funny to listen to people point at rebadges when ALL the manufacturers do it. It’s not like its the old days when the only difference between a Dodge Spirit and Plymouth Acclaim is the grill, tail lights and lettering.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    As long as the Germans are able to maintain their monetary surplus, they are unassailable in the world luxury market. Besides, as others have noted, this is a fool’s errand. A power-point presentation run amok, probably courtesy some mid-level PR flack that blindsided dear Uwe. If not, he is doomed in Detroit. This announcement reminds me of the Soviet five year plans of my childhood.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I doubt that fighting BMW, MB and Audi in every country makes any economic sense. Cadillac needs to focus on the North American market and emerging economies such as China which is where all the growth is. In particular it makes no sense to spend much effort in Europe which is not a growth market, has entrenched local manufacturers and special requirements such as advanced diesel drive trains that are expensive to develop.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      While I agree with what you wrote, Cadillac just isn’t in the same league as BMW, MB and Audi, although the GM fanclub would like us to believe that they are.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        A starw man argument, I doubt any serious GM “fan” thinks Cadillac is at BMW/Audi/MB levels – this executive didn`t or why say it will take 10 (more) years.
        They are at the level of Infiniti and arguable above FWD Acura. So not a totally loss – they have made progress in the last 10 years unlike Lincoln and some would say Acura have slipped back in that time too.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Of course they have been improved!

          My dad drove a Cadillac with the 4-6-8 HT engine prior to his death. It was the culmination of his automotive life in the US since his arrival from Portugal in 1946.

          He loved that Caddy but when it came to racing, he used Mopar 426 Hemis for his Dragster because GM engines from that era had the nasty habit of coming apart when nitro-methane was liberally squirted into them.

          There were other irritants with Cadillac as well that did not jibe with the image that Cadillac tried to project. They lost customers.

          In 1992 my wife and I chose the Lincoln Towncar as her daily ride and business conveyance for potential real estate customers. Not Caddy!

          So I think Cadillac has its work cut out for itself if it wants to re-establish itself as the standard all other makes are judged by.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Typical diatribe from another fly by night GM exec as he does his cash grab before getting hired on by some telecom company.

    What? You want him to say “For the next 10 years, we just want Cadillac to hang in there.”, instead of telling you what you want to hear?

    Hopefully he will do an OK job and not Pontiac the brand too much.

  • avatar
    z9

    When you are trying to establish a compelling set of product offerings, there has to be something that makes people want your thing instead of the other guy’s thing, because your thing does something new and different. In the 90s Lexus did this really well. Essentially you have to become the antithesis of the other brand.

    I don’t think most 5-series buyers are wishing their cars handled better, which seems to be the basis of what Cadillac is trying with the new CTS. I do think they would look at a car that was 9/10ths of a 5-series that got 2x the gas mileage and where the prospect of keeping the car beyond its warranty didn’t inspire mortal dread.

    I am old enough to remember when BMW made cars that were reasonably priced, fun, and had some interesting technology. The idea that they are a luxury brand is a little crazy. A bunch of people bought the cars because they were fun. Other people decided that they liked BMWs because they were the anti-Cadillac. Then BMW figured out that they could be the anti-Cadillac and the Cadillac at the same time. That was the beginning of the end.

    Right now, the brand that fulfills the anti-luxury-is-luxury mission for me is not Cadillac, not BMW, but Ford. Laugh all you want but my prediction is that Ford is going to become the next BMW in the US. I think they are doing some really smart things, and they are building the brand on the basis of great products, not image. It’s all the more amazing because if you want to go to a Ford showroom to check out a Fiesta ST or a plug-in hybrid, you’ll have to squeeze past a bunch of monster trucks and muscle cars. This is the perfect disguise for the new world in which buyers learn to love brands by co-inventing them. In the clothing world, H&M and Uniqlo have been stunningly successful as discount brands that are “secretly amazing” to luxury buyers. If you’ve been playing the luxury game the traditional way, you can’t ever compete on this level.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      Thoughtful analysis. I would argue that Hyundai is further ahead than Ford in pursuing the same strategy, so it’ll be interesting to see how the luxury market turns out in 10 years.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Interesting notion. I was reading the other day that the average household income of Ford buyers was $107,000. $127,000 for Focus ST buyers, $67,000 for non-ST buyers. Seems those ST buyers could afford more car if they wanted to.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Cadillac needs to take a hint from Jaguar. Jaguar cars compete head on with the 5-Series/E Class/A6, 7-Series/S Class/A8, etc, but they offer more value for less money.

    Why buy a 5-seies with a turbo 4 engine when you can get a 5L V8 Jag with more equipment for less money?

    Cadillac needs to make some V8s standard on vehicles like CTS, XTS, etc. Having a turbo 6 in something small is ok, but standard V8s are a huge selling point. GM can just screw CAFE and pay the penalty.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Especially since there already developed, cheap, fuel efficient, and light.
      It makes no sense to put 4/6 pots into these vehicles, it makes the whole brand seem cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      I love the exterior styling on the new XF. But the base model turbo 4 needs to be dropped from the linup ASAP, they are charging too much for it along with not including options that should be standard at 50k, and they need to do something with the dash.

  • avatar
    hifi

    So, what’s the alternative? To not do anything? To not develop new products? To not develop the brand identity?

    Man, if you guys were running Cadillac, they’d have to shut down completely. Whether it takes ten years, fifteen years, or twenty years, good product and good brand positioning is a smart strategy. As a basis for comparison, look at Audi between the years of 1987 and 1997. It was a success story, and Cadillac is actually in a better position than Audi was in the mid-80s.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Cadillac is actually in a better position than Audi was in the mid-80s.”

      Audi had a gimmick, luxury AWD. Mercedes 4matic is the one other competitor that comes to mind. What does Cadillac have/do better than its competition?

      • 0 avatar
        hifi

        You’re exactly right, Audi had Quattro with a history firmly planted in rallying. Today, Audi owns that, but it’s no longer exclusive. Audi hangs its hat on performance and good design. BMW hangs its hat on performance and technology. MB hangs its hat on quality and luxury. Arguably.

        I disagree that Cadillac has to exclusively own one area of expertise. They simply have to be a viable alternative to the benchmark brands, as Lexus is. But if I had to identify two areas where they can handily compete, it’s design and performance. They are a legitimate luxury player as well, although some Cadillac products don’t really reinforce that. (i.e.: the new Escalade is disappointing, and in no way competes with Range Rover beyond reliability.)

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “What does Cadillac have/do better than its competition?”

        Big, comfy, decadent, thirsty SUVs

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      No, they don’t have to shut down Cadillac completely. IMO what GM needs to do is get rid of its redundant brands like Buick, GMC, and concentrate solely on Chevrolet and Cadillac.

      Buick can be folded into Cadillac and marketed as the downscale Caddy. GMC can be folded into Chevrolet and marketed as the upscale Chevy, differing only in trim level from the Chevy offerings.

      Compared to BMW, MB and Audi, the Cadillac line of vehicles are coarse, rude, crude and socially unacceptable to play in the same sandbox. No amount of ‘marketing’ is going to overcome that because Cadillac was never engineered to the same standards as BMW, MB and Audi.

      Discerning drivers looking to buy a car in that class rarely buy a Caddy unless they just can’t afford the real thing and have to make believe that Caddy is just as good.

      There’s a place for Cadillac in the market place. It’s just not on par with BMW, MB and Audi, even if the GM fanclub want us to believe that. It will take a lot more than ten years to give Caddy the semblance of appearing to be an equal to BMW, MB and Audi.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have to disagree with you there, you need Buick as Chevrolet will never be upscale in the minds of many. Cadillac should have never had its own dealer channel which I think is/was part of the problem (ditto with LM vs Ford). Cadillac distribution should have been merged with B-P-G long ago and only focused on three or four truly exceptional Ciel level models and perhaps one cheaper entry level (ie ATS). Since Pontiac is gone, Buick will have to serve as the mass market upscale Chevrolet, and GMC the upmarket Chevrolet truck. Cadillacs should be oozing pretension and priced to the sky, not chasing mass market volume as an overall brand.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          You’re probably right. My point was the redundancy of Buick and GMC. I favored bribing Shanghai to take the Buick brand and make it uniquely theirs. But GMC? Egad!

          I know, the fan club thinks that Buick and GMC are some sort of an integral part to GM’s miraculous rising from the dead, but IMO if GM is to remain standing, it should focus on its core brands, Chevrolet and Cadillac, exclusively.

          At least until the next bailout and nationalization. After that? Who knows?

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            you keep bringing up this “fan club” as if there is something better to be found at Chrysler or Ford? or Toyota and Honda?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the 2012 Grand Cherokee I bought for my wife but I seriously doubt I will be buying another one. Given a choice I would opt for my better ownership experiences with the foreign brands.

            Were I to replace that 2012 GC today or when the 2015s come out, as planned, I’m inclined to go with an M-B ML-class, a Toyota Sequoia 5.7 if they still make them by then or maybe an Armada. Seriously. Those are my choices today. That may change, though not likely.

            When I trade my 2011 Tundra for a 2015 or 2016 truck it will be either another Tundra 5.7, but a 4dr 4×4 this time, or a Ford Atlas with the biggest V8. If all that fails it will be an F-250 4dr 4X4 with the biggest motor I can find.

            I will be buying a vehicle in May 2014 for my grand daughter’s college graduation but that will be driven by the appointment she gets as a Horticultural specialist at either the State or Federal level, since either appointment guarantees her a vehicle furnished by her employer.

            I buy whatever works best for me. Seems reasonable since I’m the one paying for it.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            @HDC:

            You aren’t interested at all in the Land Cruiser or GX?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            aj, we’re not. It’s my wife’s daily driver and she gets to pick what she likes to be seen in.

            We kept her 1992 Towncar until 2008 because it was a classy car no matter its age, coming and going. But it required a lot of tooling and wrenching to keep it that way.

            At that time the Highlander was the rage, so we got her one to transport her real-estate clients in, and sold off her TC.

            She fell in love with the style and color of the 2012 Grand Cherokee but neither of us wants to keep it beyond the warranty period.

            I’m too old to be tooling and wrenching on cars. It took me a week to recover from rotating the tires on her GC. Changed 5 tires using the spare, twisted the lug nuts 50 times, jacked the GC up 5 times, and it took me nearly all day to do that one job.

            I was exhausted. Neither the LC or the GX appeal to her and I’m not at all versed in the reliability of these two vehicles.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Ah Marketing.

    The career for people who are’t clever enough for Creative, or smart enough for Business….yet think they can do both.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    It would be interesting to see what % of Cadillac’s are purchased vs. Leased, and also see the same numbers from the competition.

    Although leases have their place, many seem to stem from wanting the car with “the name” and status, and not really caring about how good the car actually is.

  • avatar
    dude500

    10yrs ago, the CTS had came out and people thought Cadillac was crazy for veering off the DeVille/SeVille lineup. While not #1, I’d say Cadillac has done very well for itself over the past 10yrs. More performance cred than Acura and actually being considered alongside BMW, is a pretty strong achievement for a brand that wasn’t really different from Buick not that long ago.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @28-Cars-Later: Big, bloated, and thirsty IS Cadillac. The great Cadillacs of old were all massive cars with huge engines that quite literally owned the road everywhere they went. If you saw someone going down the street in a Cadillac back in the day, you knew that guy was way better off than you were.

    I would argue that Cadillac isn’t even good at being Oldsmobile because it’s trying to be weird 90s Euro-wannabe Oldsmobile and we know how that story ends.

  • avatar
    tiger260

    This makes for an interesting debate. I think that in truth, “product” and “brand” are equally important and they will naturally go hand in hand in the success (or otherwise) of any auto manufacturer. Great product will eventually build a strong brand and then a company with both a strong brand and a good product will obviously enough go on to be very successful. As others have pointed out, companies like BMW and Audi have managed to build strong brand identities in higher “luxury” echelons of the market place but it took time.

    I tend to agree with the premise of this article that Cadillac cannot turn it around and become a leading global luxury brand in 10 years.

    One reason I see that will prevent this – is that in terms of brand equity in the luxury segment it is even harder to “get it back” once you have lost it than it is to build it up from nothing as a newcomer.

    (Being a bit of a classic a car fan) I admire the Cadillac models of the 1940s, 50s and 60s and I really understand what they had then – that “standard of the world” thing, the fact that Cadillacs were gloriously expensive cars that just about everyone aspired to. That stuff is all long gone.

    The failure of Cadillac to handle the downsizing in the face of the energy crisis, the disastrous errors of the Roger Smith era like the Cimarron, the diesels etc, squandered all that brand equity. I mean, seriously, what young successful person (outside of greater Detroit maybe) covets a Cadillac? Here in SC the only people I ever see driving new Cadillacs are very old people who presumably are old enough to actually remember when Cadillac was a great brand?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I think GM chasing success through the German paradigm is a huge mistake. At the moment, outside of the UK, which would give Caddies a fair shake if they ever made a good one, and Germany, which for obvious reasons probably won’t warm up to foreign flagships, is a dead market. The big countries are suffering and the small flourishing countries aren’t really big on hyper luxury, at least in the volume GM needs for Caddy to be a global player.

    Which leaves the US and China. To me, both are saturated on the bottom end, and dying off on the top end. In my opinion, Caddy either needs to create new segments (i.e. the RX, ES, 300C) or focus only on segments of growth (i.e. CUVs). They also need to figure out how to make ALL their cars look “right”. The CTS looks too big for its wheels. The SRX looks swollen. The XTS looks snub nosed. Only good looking Caddy now is the ATS, and it’s kind of boring, plus in an oversaturated market. So I don’t have much faith in Caddy’s long term plan. This guy is in for a cash grab.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Speaking of Cadillac vs zee Germans, CLA is a winner apparently.

    Sales at Stuttgart-based Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes brand rose 15 percent from a year earlier in October to 126,421 cars and sport-utility vehicles. That beat 5.4 percent growth at BMW and a 6.7 percent gain at Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi marque.

    BMW, Audi and Mercedes are all targeting record global deliveries in 2013, seeking to attract buyers with new vehicles such as the CLA, seen here, BMW’s 4-Series coupe and a new version of Audi’s A3 compact.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-11/mercedes-gains-ground-on-bmw-as-cla-coupe-propels-sales.html?cmpid=yhoo

  • avatar
    JohnnieE

    Getting a seat at the top table is no easy task. Keeping that seat when you must combine managing a luxury brand with mass market numbers is even more difficult.

    Most people talk about the three German brands, but even here I don’t think it is an even playing field. Audi and BMW have been very good at setting the entry in to their brand cheap enough to encourage younger buyers to trade up, and once in trade up, and up again whilst still being able to keep their brands cool. When I look at Mercedes I see a brand trying hard to play catch up, and with an older customer base, it is now chasing younger buyers with the result that their newer models look like they have been a little too blinged for their conservative customer base, whilst looking like they are trying a little too hard to encourage enough younger buyers.

    To be sat at the top table in ten years time you need to have both the cool flagship model and you also need the cheaper entry level models that will allow you to see in the high volumes that generate the cash to invest in future model generations and lastly make that all important profit that keeps the shareholders happy.

    Lexus appears to be happy to cut it’s own path. If you want to be global you need to have diesels and Lexus has chosen not to follow this trend. It will therefore always be a small player in Europe, and this will limit it from having sufficient kudos to really spread outside of it’s home market in Japan and the US where petrol is very much still king.

    Cadillac would probably be better looking at Jaguar rather than Audi if it wants to try an emulate a luxury manufacturer. Both companies have a great heritage, both companies also have the burden of a difficult histories, and neither company is yet mass market like the Germans.

    Jaguar, like Cadillac, has brought out some new models these last few years, and like Cadillac Jaguar is also keen to throw off it’s old man image. I think, and this is very subjective and indeed everything I have written so far is very subjective, but I think Jaguar has though realised that what makes it special is that it is not German!

    Jaguar may compete with the German brands, but it does not want to be a BMW, it does not want to be an Audi or a Mercedes, instead it wants to be a Jaguar. At their best Jaguars are luxury sporting cars, some more luxury than others and some more sporting too – but all them are Jaguars and they are all feline and British.

    Jaguar Land Rover announced a profit recently of £1billion. In 2105 it will be selling small executive C class, A4, BMW3 equivalent saloons. It already does sport back/station wagon vehicles, and I think has an SUV in their model line that may be launched in a year or two. It has yet to get in to that mass market volume sector and is already making a very handsome profit.

    Cadillac needs to look at where Jaguar was when Ford sold it to Tata and work out what it was happened to Jaguar since then, and then decide just how Cadillac to do the same thing whilst still remaining true to it’s heritage.

  • avatar
    JD321

    “The idea that the content of the product is overcome, or recreated, at the hand of “branding”…”

    What do expect from amoral, parasitic, and corrupt MBA sociopaths? When all you got is a hammer…everything looks like a nail. They don’t have the scientific brain power to understand actual quality in the context of physical reality (hence their stupidity “perceived quality” and “perception is reality”). Stupid, arrogant, and corrupt.

    The new CTS is an excellent effort. Whoever designed and signed off on the base IP gauge cluster needs to be fired.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Nobody under the age of 70 can remember when Cadillac made great cars. They have negative brand equity at the present time. They should shut it down and start fresh with a new brand. Build a great product and buyers will come.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @John Williams: Too bad about that pesky harsh ride and bed I’ll almost never use, though.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Cadillac needs to come out with a 60k mile bumper to bumper/120k drive line warranty. Advertise it like crazy. They only need to have five vehicles: 1. Big SUV. 2. Smallish CUV 3.4.5. Large/Medium/Small cars. The Escalade fills the big SUV role. Just keep track of the wheelbarrows of cash it makes. The SRX does OK, could use tweaking as the smallish CUV. 3. A large RWD V-8 car, Corvette engine optional. Loud and ostentatious, it will have presence. 4. The CTS for the medium sized car. Stay the course, keep customer loyalty. 5. Make the ATS a bat shit crazy ride. Offer any and all of GM’s newest technology and luxury; break GM’s most forbidden taboo and throw some Corvette tech in. Worried about a 6 turbo V-6 magnetic ride ATS? Offer the 60/120K warranty. Provide obsessive attention to customers wants and needs and treat them like adults. Yeah, that’s what I’d do.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      A Hyundai-beating warranty? Why? The overwhelming majority of cars in this class are leased. Typically for 2-3 years. No one who leases a car will care one jot about a long warranty, and no one leasing this class of car cares about reliability beyond the hassle factor of having to get a car serviced – which is much less painful at a cappuccino bar equipped dealership where they give you a shiny new loaner car and send you on your way.

  • avatar
    cadarette

    It’s ironic to see this article posted today. My semi-beloved diesel SportWagen (with a stick) was rear-ended last Wed. The rental place tried to put me in a Corolla, but I deftly upsold myself into an ATS. AND I AM IN LOVE. Practicality be damned! I’m the same guy that drove a Solstice from Boston to LA and back alone, so I have lived through impracticality. This ATS fits like a glove and even made an automatic halfway enjoyable. And the manual mode is there if I want it. It will be painful returning this thing in a few days. 34 mpg on the highway home, and 22 mpg after 20 minutes of driving in the ‘burbs like I stole it.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    It’s good to have goals…
    and
    marketing does not equal realism…

  • avatar
    TW5

    I don’t understand the skepticism. BMW, Audi, Acura, Infiniti, and Luxus took 25 years to build luxury flagship brands because they couldn’t build better cars than their current offerings at the time. Furthermore, the public perceived the brands as being vendors of slightly inferior cars. The marketers had to overcome public bias.

    Cadillac has the opposite problem. They built bad cars on purpose because they refused to accept shifts in the luxury marketplace. They have deep enough pockets to hire anyone they want. Most importantly, the public expects Cadillac to be the best, and most criticism aimed at Cadillac pertains to their lazy mediocrity.

    Cadillac’s ambitions are reasonable.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Cadillac doesn’t have the same ring as BMW, Mercededs Benz or even Audi. I would place it’s allure with that of Volvo and Honda.

    GM need to invent a new product. They have the name HSV. The name is respected globally. The build quality is better than the average NA built vehicle.

    It also would be a reason to keep GM’s operations in Australia as a highly value added product might be a little more viable to manufacture here.

    But, the reality is if GM can make it here, they can make it a low cost country and make more profit.

    Even prestige cars might move in that direction one day. The Europeans are already doing that. Where is the Porsche Cayenne made?


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