Congress Drags Cadillac's Name Through the Mud. Or Not.
This is a tough call. But first, let’s play connect the dots . . . Twice upon a time, I touched upon the fact that the expression “The Cadillac of . . .” had all but disappeared from the popular lexicon. Joe Blow was no longer associating otherwise unrelated product excellence with GM’s luxury brand. A few weeks later, one of our Best and Brightest sent us a screen cap of a Google ad for the new Cadillac SRX, which claimed the vehicle was the “Cadillac of Crossovers.”(Someone at RenCen was paying attention.) And now, suddenly, Cadillac as metaphor has re-entered the mainstream. The debate over a proposed federal tax on health care premiums above $8k (private) or $21k (families) refers to said policies as “Cadillac health care plans.” Here’s the lede from today’s New York Times: “A proposed tax on high-cost, or ‘Cadillac,’ health insurance plans has touched off a fierce clash between the Senate and the House as they wrestle over how to pay for legislation that would provide health benefits to millions of uninsured Americans.” The Times, which never met a tax it didn’t like, feels obliged to put the GM brand in quotes. Why’s that then?
Correct me if I’m wrong (perish the thought), but I reckon the Times understands that people who actually pay big-ass health care premiums are not comfortable with Democrats trying to paint those protection plans as a “luxury.” And yet there it is: class warfare.
The traditional Cadillac meme—quality—isn’t really the point here. In this application, the tax’s supporters are deploying the term to imply that high-priced health care plans are somehow excess to requirements. In a word, selfish. Bought by people who can easily afford to pay taxes on it to help those who can’t afford to buy the Aveo of health care plans (perish the thought II). Oh wait; not Aveo. Minivan.
Critics, including House members and labor unions, say the tax would quickly spiral out of control and hit middle-class workers, people more closely associated with minivans than Cadillacs.
So minivans are the new PC “people’s” transportation—not the high-mileage eco-friendly small cars that Congress is ramming down consumers’ throats encouraging through EPA tailpipe and mpg regulations, and subsidizing through tens of billions of tax dollars. Who knew?
Anyway, automotively speaking, this new political shorthand should serve as a Red Alert for Cadillac’s brand masters. There’s life in the old brand yet! Warning! Danger! As we’ve said countless times, any attempt to take/keep Cadillac downmarket is doomed to failure. You can’t fight City Hall. Or Congress.
Meanwhile, here’s a perfect opportunity for Cadillac to capitalize on the debate with tens of millions of dollars in free publicity. Something clever, like “Luxury is a necessity.” GM’s ex-ad agency Modernista would have grasped that nettle in a heartbeat. The new/old guys, led by failed Car Czar Bob Lutz, not so much.
Join the conversation
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
- ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂
- ToolGuy The dealer knows best. 🙂
- ToolGuy Cool.
- ToolGuy This truck is the perfect size, and the fuel economy is very impressive.-This post sponsored by ExxonMobil
Boff: "Canada does not “dictate” its lower drug prices. The lower prices are the result of the single payer buying in bulk." Nope. They use a formula for a "blended" price. Many countries set prices through negotiation, which can provide a reasonable return to suppliers although the meaning of "reasonable" is always at risk of being politicized. Like "fair."
50merc I have worked for the pharmaceutical industry in Canada and the US. You are painfully misinformed. In any event, the fact that the expression does still have some currency shows how great a brand they were and could be again with the right repairs. I think they are on the right track but they need one nice big sedan.