Cadillac Global Products Director on Escalade Hybrid: "There's No Reason Not to Buy This"
I don't want to sound double negative about Caddy's new $71,685 gas – electric Escalade Hybrid, but the man in charge doesn't have a clue about his brand's positioning. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal about tanking sales (down 12 percent year-to-date), Cadillac's Product Guy seems to think Caddy's target market are the uber-rich. "'Many people, despite the economic times, are still doing well,' said John Howell, Cadillac global products director, noting that sales of luxury yachts and private jets are on the rise. 'These peoples' needs haven't changed. They still want the top-of-the line products.'" Assuring his place in the nominations for TTAC's Bob Lutz award, Howell goes on to repeat Maximum Bob's maximum gaffe. "'Image also is a factor, he said. The 'green' movement sweeping the nation has wealthier buyers thinking twice about a gas-guzzling SUV, but not because they can't afford the fuel. 'There's negative karma around SUVs,' Mr. Howell said. He hopes a hybrid Escalade will ease some of those image problems." So, how does all this square with Caddy's relentless march down market? Answer: it doesn't.
i drive one of these occasionally. its a pickup truck ferchrissakes. Drives like one, bounces like its riding on old bed boards. I liked the power folding rear bucket seats for about 10 minutes. And the rear hatch for another 10. Its HUGE. It gets 12 miles per gallon. The hybrid supposed to get 20. Probably more like 13. Horray.
So when are the Hummer hybrids due out ?.
"'Many people, despite the economic times, are still doing well" Well, I feel better. "These peoples' needs haven't changed" And these people's needs haven't ever gone un-met. These kind of people are the not the first in line when logic is being handed out. "... There's negative karma around SUVs..." Can't imagine why. Besides, how could any harmless GM executive know anything about bad karma.
"...no reason not to buy this" I can think of a few. Let's forget the eco-conundrum that a full-size SUV hybrid presents here for a second and lets look at the Escalade itself. I would understand why an Escalade sells so well (as well as a luxury SUV would sell these days) if it were a car-based crossover, but in its current form, it just doesn't make sense to me. It will never be a competent off-roader because its non-defeatable Stabilitrak system will slow you to a craw (literally) on the dirt roads and it lacks a low-range so steep grades on off-road trails are out of the question, and it will never be as comfy on-road as its competitors because of the limitations that a live-axle in the rear presents. Why would GM pour their funds into incorporating a hybrid powertrain into an engineering anomaly like the Escalade? Its neither a proper SUV, nor a crossover. Forget the fact that most SUV owners love the "not that you would, but you could" feeling they get about taking their vehicles off the pavement (even though most most will never go off-road). The Escalade effectively kills any of its credible off-road prowess with the popular 22-inch wheel option and no low-range gearing. So in reality, this makes the Escalade a truck that has been diluted by the manufacturer to the functions of a...dare I say it? Station wagon. But why bother making a ladder-frame, live-axle luxury station wagon? The market has more than enough car-based unibody crossovers for the consumers to choose from. No wait, better question. Why would anyone buy this?