GM Decides Not To Kill Off Cadillac's Best Known Product

gm decides not to kill off cadillacs best known product

Reports of a next-generation Cadillac Escalade, due in 2014 after a brush with the Grim Reaper, have us asking the all-important question; what was GM thinking in trying to kill the car off in the first place?

The Escalade is, without a shadow of a doubt, the Cadillac brand. Sorry, the CTS-V isn’t it, and the XTS is destined to become something that you ride in the back seat of when you get dropped off at the airport.

The SRX may just be a generic GM crossover with Cadillac styling, but the Escalade is even more cynical. It’s just a Yukon with a few plastic Cadillac bits. And yet, it is the core product of Cadillac, offering irresistible profit margins and peerless name recognition.

Why GM wanted to kill it off is an utter mysery. Even with gas prices at record highs, the Escalade could still have lived on as a status symbol for the vulgar and ostentatious. GM claims that the margins on the Escalade were too fat to walk away from, but let’s be real for a second. Killing off the Escalade would mean that Cadillac would flounder, Lincoln-style, with a bunch of product that can’t quite hold its own next to the foreign competition that Cadillac is so desperately trying to fight.

The fact is that Cadillac needs this truck in the same way that it needs to stop trying to sit at the same lunch table as the cool kids. The Escalade, awful as it may be, is American luxury. Big, bold, over-the-top, profligate and firmly in opposition to everything the cap-and-goggles throttle-steer crowd stands for. Beyond that, the Escalade is an important halo vehicle for a lot of buyers reared on hip-hop music, many of whom are the target customer for the ATS (hey, even MCA of the Beastie Boys was pushing 50). Kill it off and what’s left? The SRX? Well, I’ll let ODB tell you what I think of that one (NSFW language)

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  • Dr. Claw Dr. Claw on May 24, 2012

    The continuous swipes at "hip-hop" and even insofar as trying to dissasociate the Beastie Boys with the brand (hello, they are a hip-hop group, no matter their ventures outward from the genre) above are about as awful as the author believes the Escalade to be as a vehicle in today's market. That being said, I agree with the author in that the Escalade is about the closest you'll ever get to being as bombastic as the Cadillacs of old once were. Yes, the Escalade is cynical. Yes, its origins are rather humble. But you can't deny that it is effective. I much like the new direction of Cadillac's passenger vehicles, and am excited to see them make truly unique and identifiable products. But it will take much time for GM to lean on them as the main attraction. We live in a time where a blasted SUV or CUV is required motoring for every brand (even unfortunately, Lamborghini and Bentley. If Ferrari makes one, I'm logging off for good). Cadillac makes the only one in this class to really challenge the Range Rover for ubiquitous status symbol. The other "big" SUVs just don't have it (not even the G-Wagen, which I find superior to every other one -- or the Cayenne). I sort of like it this way. The Cadillac cars of now are hidden jewels, and with each further iteration, Cadillac seems to "get it". They're certainly a far cry from the Cadillacs of my youth, which though they might have a good deal of "unshared" parts, you still could see the GM family resemblance much more clearly than you can today's models.

  • Alluster Alluster on May 25, 2012

    Kill the Escalade and you are going to lose a lot of high income customers. The Escalade is the preferred mode of transport for all the snobby, uppity soccer moms in Greenwich and New Canaan CT, two towns that are most likely the richest. These women wouldn't be caught dead in a minivan, let alone one made by Honda, Toyota or Chrysler. Lately, I am seeing a lot of Acadia Denalis too. Since 99% of its customer base never off-road and wouldn't know the difference between BOF or Unibody, Cadillac would be wise to build the next one off the Lambda platform, but keep the SUV like styling and throw in the e-assist with a bigger battery for much better fuel economy.

  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
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