Once upon a time, luxury brands built unique cars and added special editions for extra profit. Now luxury brands tend to build more cars based on volume brand platforms, the special edition seems to be giving way to a new phenomenon: unique luxury trim levels. GM has been a proponent of this system for some time, adding Denali trim levels to its GMC upgrades of Chevrolet trucks. Now, The General’s Cadillac brand has announced it will be adding Platinum trim level options to every vehicle that isn’t available in “V” form. The impetus for this is clearly the dream of coaxing BMW “M” or Cadillac “V”-style markups from consumers who don’t care about dynamics or power, but it also fundamentally undercuts Cadillac’s status as a true luxury brand… as well as Buick’s raison d’etre as an entry-lux brand. Or does it?
We’d heard that Dodge (“The Full-of-Life Brand”) would be re-working its trim levels in order to “take ‘base model’ out of the Dodge vocabulary,” as a company press release puts it. So, they’ve changed the names of trim levels on some Dodge models. First off, note that only certain models get the trim level name change: Caravan will still be sold in SE and SXT trim, and Challenger will still come in the standard SE, R/T and SRT8 trims. Otherwise, each model has its own trim levels: Journey now comes in Express, Hero, Heat, Crew and Uptown trims, Nitro is available in Heat, Detonator and Shock, while Caliber comes in Express, Mainstreet, Heat, Uptown and Rush, while Avenger comes in Express and Heat trim. What the Foxtrot does it all mean? There’s no way we want to break it all down, so surf on over to Kicking Tires for the full breakdown. Needless to say, it’s yet a another marketing mess from the soon-to-be defunct bailout baby named Chrysler Group.