Question of the Day: Did Farago Get It Wrong Re: the CTS Coupe?
Earlier, Farago was repeating on the report that GM may (maybe) delay or cancel the new Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac CTS Coupe. Never mind the fact that “LaCrosse” means to masturbate in French Canada. Dear Leader ends the post with, “and who the Hell would buy a CTS coupe anyway?” When i read the query, it seemed odd. I like the CTS, as it possesses the best face of any American car since Cord went out of business. How to make it better? Well, you can either drop in a 556 hp supercharged V8, or cut off some of the doors. Oh, you can add another door, too ( Caddywagon!). Yeah, so, an insanely good looking Caddy with two doors– who the hell wouldn’t buy it? And then I checked the comments and everyone agreed with me. To quote gamper, “CTS coupe = flippin beautiful.” Hear hear (here)! Right?
Ingvar: Certainly one can point to brands that have done well with coupes. But in general the market is has significantly shrunken over the last decade. Not everyone who enters is going to do okay -- even if they don't make many mistakes. Said another way: Just because a coupe is well designed doesn't guarantee strong sales. For example, I haven't seen sales figures for the A5 lately but would guess that they aren't setting off fireworks. Or consider the faux pony car market. Ford has done quite well with the Mustang. However, can Mustang, Camaro and Challenger all squeeze out a decent profit in a market that may be shakier during an era of volatile gas prices? I don't have inside information, but I'm skeptical. And if GM is having trouble generating sufficient volume then another niche product that fades away after the styling is no longer fresh -- and coupes have notoriously short shelf lives because they are primarily styling exercises -- may not be the highest and best use of limited dollars. It's interesting that you point to BMW's diverse lineup. In recent years the brand has, in my view, over-extended itself with too many models. So far that apparently hasn't pushed BMW into the red, but I wouldn't be surprised if they prune their offerings a bit in response to the recession.
I don't think the market for coupes has shrunken, it has just diversified. In the low end, whe have the Mini, Audi TT, Volvo C30, BMW 1-series. In the middle, the BMW 3-series, Audi A5, Mercedes CLK, Infiniti G35. In the high end, we have Mercedes CLS, BMW 6-series, Maserati GT. In the filthy rich category, we have Aston Martin DB9, Mercedes CL65, Ferrari 612, and the likes. The perception of what categorizes a coupe has changed. But they are still stylish, expensive (compared to the base material), hip, neat, and unpractical. The time of the luxo barge coupe died with the Lincoln Mk V. The point is, even if the market has shrunken, GM could invent a new market, as BMW did with the Mini, or Mercedes did with the CLS. A stylish and drop dead gorgeous AMERICAN coupe could be a good start. An even better start would be a shooting-brake, and hey presto, Cadillac would be first on the block with such an offering. Being a me too contender doesn't make you a style leader.
Just because a car exists doesn't mean that anyone is buying them. The MINI is a hatchback. I want a luxo barge coupe. A new Lincoln Mark would be beautiful. They could use the platform to develop a new Thunderbird too. I'm getting tired of "sport" sedans/coupes/SUVs/trucks/etc. We have to fire all of the boy racers who occupy the auto design and marketing today.
Yeah, I know the Mini is a hatchback. But so is the Aston Martin V8 as well. My point was just that, that the perception of a coupe has changed. I would say that those who buys a Mini nowadays largely consists of people who before would have bought a coupe. The coupe is not dead, it has just transformed slightly. And my point is, that leaves a gap or opportunity for Cadillac to fill. If they had the money...