By on November 30, 2014

 

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Photo courtesy of General Motors

In an interview held at Cadillac’s new business headquarters in New York City’s trendy SoHo district with Fortune, Melody Lee, ‘director of brand and reputation strategy’ for General Motors’ luxury brand, had some interesting things to say about the move to NYC, about the brand, and about herself. Other than to say that it’s just quite possible that outstanding product is a little bit more important to a company’s success than Ms. Lee seems to think, I’m not going to comment on her remarks because I think they speak for themselves and, frankly, I think they don’t bode well for the brand. You can read them and offer your own commentary after the jump. The engineers and designers at GM have given Cadillac the best products that it has had in decades, but automotive history has many examples of fine vehicles that were crippled in the marketplace by the very people trying to market them.

Thus spake Melody Lee:

“I’ll often say, ‘Well, do you want a millennial’s perspective?’ You have one right here.”

“Everyone in New York is always just a little bit ahead of everyone else and we need to be the brand that stands for that.”

“I don’t buy products, I buy brands. I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

“We want to be a global luxury brand that happens to sell cars. We don’t want to be an automotive brand.”

Hat tip to Pete DeLorenzo for spotting the interview with Lee.

The floor is open for your discussion now.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

 

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295 Comments on “Cadillac’s Director of Brand & Reputation Strategy: “We Don’t Want To Be An Automotive Brand”...”


  • avatar
    petezeiss

    “We Don’t Want To Be An Automotive Brand”

    Oh, dear God… I’ve had some fat, floaty volley ball setups in my day but this….. someone else can have this SPIKE!

    • 0 avatar
      RangerM

      Someone needs to park a Cimarron, a Catera, and an early ’80s Seville in front of her and ask what form of branding would have made each of them look/smell better than the turds they were.

      Maybe you really can sell ice to eskimos with the right message.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        They have short memories, because they just did it again by rebadging the Volt and making it the ELR. Ok, maybe a little more then a rebadge, but not enough to justify doubling the price of the Volt

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          Um, yeahhhh, for $75,000 a souped-up, tarted-up Cadillac Volt had better be able to… oh, that’s not for polite conversation.

          • 0 avatar
            wumpus

            And it would have worked if it had not been for those meddlesome Tesla folks.

            You can make a ton of money peddling “The Cadillac of” x and jacking the price up. You just can’t have somebody peddling higher quality for anywhere near that price. GM still doesn’t get that.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          First read it on AutoExtremist. I gotta agree w/him She might be smart in some way, but she’s about the least equipped to help Cadillac/GM since that renown failure Ronald Zarrella.

          She’s toast. And so is Cadillac if they keep her around.

          Audi is substance. Her stuff is crap. Distilled.

    • 0 avatar
      zbnutcase

      And I bet she has goal-based sex too. If she gets sex at all.

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      GM once had 50 per cent market share when people wanted to buy their products. That was turned upside-down (currently 17.8) not by the product guys, but by the executives. People like Lee.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Does this suggest product’s image is more important than substance?

    • 0 avatar
      Beemernator

      That philosophy works for Apple and others, so don’t knock it.

      • 0 avatar

        Except IOS rocks, 7 years with my Macbook and I’ll never go back to anything Microsoft based.

        Cadillac could only dream of being the form and function of Apple.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          Yep, apple got to where it was by offering superior product. Products build the brand, not the other way around.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          Ugh no, lets not go bringing our value judgments into the argument. There are plenty of innovations and functions that Apple refuses to deal with. They had a great product in iPod and had a minor lead in the iPhone for about a year or two. Now they’re just a very nicely packaged phone and PC maker that built an OS designed to single-task by force. The whole interface & support structure is made to maximize your productivity in one program at a time.

          I’m not anti-Apple but I refuse to play the game they want to. I love the milled aluminum shells but I’m not sold that I need to drop $2-300 more for it.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            Interesting comments from someone who led with “let’s not go bringing our value judgements into the argument”.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            I can verify through factual evidence that the OS is built to single-task very well, the way it allocates memory and the OS design are both positioned to really only multi-task by allowing iTunes to function properly. Windows in contrast is welcoming of opening multiple programs if the amount of ram is sufficient.

            Facts aren’t value judgments. Apple’s greatest success and the reasons why largely fall into value judgments.

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          Branding and industrial design works for Apple. Very well.

          iOS, on the other hand, suffers badly in comparison to WP8, BB10 and even Android, with creaky internals and an inconsistent user experience. It’s the penalty you pay for being one of the older entries in the game (BB10 and WP8 have much newer UI designs).

          • 0 avatar
            Spartan

            “iOS, on the other hand, suffers badly in comparison to WP8, BB10 and even Android, with creaky internals and an inconsistent user experience.”

            Have you ever used an Apple product? They have the most consistent user experience out of virtually any manufacturer out there across multiple platforms.

            I was once the one to buck trends, but after buying an iPhone some years ago, I’m hooked. The Apple ecosystem is the best designed consumer electronics experience on the market.

            If Cadillac wants to emulate this, they need to make the driving experience seamless. Everything should be easy to use and of high quality. They’re lacking the easy to use with CUE, so if they want to emulate Apple, they need to start there.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            I own and use an iPhone, with iOS 8. Icons are not visually consistent. User interaction is not consistent. For email, for example, you get an action menu by swiping an item to the left — what other app works this way? Every app has its own way, whereas WP8 or BB10 are consistent.

            On the internals topic, “push email” only works when you have the email app open, no real multitasking in the background.

            The ecosystem is a huge advantage, no doubt. But it doesn’t make iOS any better.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            We still have some old deactivated iPhones laying around. They still work via Wi-Fi. The 8-yo twins loved them, until we gave them the old iPad 2.

            They loved the iPad 2 even better. Bigger screen.

            But….. I have heard from others that iPhones have bricked after having been deactivated or superseded with a new smart phone.

            However, all is not lost! There are people who can fix them so they work again, albeit only on Wi-Fi or as remote controllers.

            And if all else fails, there are actually people who will BUY it from you (for parts). I sent an old Nokia Analog TracFone in to some ad I saw, and really didn’t expect any money for it.

            Two weeks later I received an AMEX Money Order for $25 that was bought at a convenience store in Pembina, ND.

            I may do the same again for the old iPhones that the twins were playing with.

    • 0 avatar
      turbosaab

      Not an Apple fanboi, I’ve never owned an Apple product in my life, but if one is going to use Apple as a model it has to be realized that Apple’s success has been built on a foundation of solid products. Maybe not the best or most advanced features, but consistent quality, even if sometimes in a Corolla-with-4spd-auto kind of way, and backed up with good product support.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        I think Apple products are good, the only problem with them is that you have to stay within their range, that and they charge a premium. As a Linux user they don’t even want me in and even if I did want to use their products it’s a major pain.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      “Does this suggest product’s image is more important than substance?”

      Image and branding is pure profit. Substance costs something to build. Even worse, the cost to build substance is typically all in the design phase and it costs roughly the same to build shoddy cars as quality ones (which is why cars love to show off carbon fiber), mostly due to regulations limiting how shoddy you can make those cars. Once you mass produce the cars, image and branding can no longer work (see the badge engineered caddys).

      Apple makes a ton of money on image and branding. Focus on the premium and the profits will come.

      Microsoft makes a ton of money by selling their software on every desktop sold. They focused on the marketshare and the profits keep steadily coming (and they’re getting killed on phones/tablets because Gates isn’t there to get the marketshare by any means necessary. And the old tricks of undercuting the cost of Android/Linux won’t work.)

      Cadillac is trying to be a premium brand attached to a mass market company. It’s pretty much a contradiction in terms and probably why their leaders say such crazy things.

  • avatar
    MBella

    So they want to be a fad like Apple, instead of building a quality reputation and build a customer base for the long term.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’ve caught so much shi-ite from people from Mike for calling out Cadillac as gone full retard, yet all my convictions about the brand, the people who are now running/ruining it, and particularly the incompetence of those like Johan de Nysschen & the incomparably dreadful Ms. Lee by her own, inane, incredibly nonsensical marketing mush phraseology as stated herein, PROVE ME VINDICATED.

      What a total, off the rails, FUBAR situation at Cadillac.

      Keep raising prices on laggard selling products (in a rising automotive sales climate, btw), while trampling on the core values that once represented Cadillac at its nadir, braniacs at Cadillac SoHo.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      As she points out, she’s a New Yorker. Wanting to sell cars to contemporary New Yorkers. Moneyed ones at that. Which pretty much equates to selling cars to people who know nothing about them, nor much else, but who are vain as all whatnot.

      As long as the current policies of aggressively redistributing purchasing power from people with half shot at discerning, well anything, to those who don’t remains successful; plain, simple vanity marketing of the “all value of this product was created by the advertising and financing department” kind, may just work.

      In the long run the idiocy will of course fail, but as long as all the spoils continued to go to the dumbest, hiring idiots to design strategy for a brand designed to sell to those with spoils is perhaps just the ticket.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        @Stuki

        I’m curious. Please enlighten me. Why do New Yorkers, especially those with money, know nothing about cars, nor much else?

        • 0 avatar
          afedaken

          Can’t speak to the “nor much else”, but if she means denizens of the City proper, they’re fortunate enough to have a workable mass-transit system. Car ownership in NYC is statistically lower than it is elsewhere.

          Wiki quotes the census with non-ownership of a vehicle at 51% for NYC. Break the remaining 49% down along the usual percentages, (Camry drivers, businesses, etc) and I’m betting the number of folks who really know cars like an “enthusiast” knows cars, is single digit. It’s not too much of a stretch.

          Her wanting to build a BRAND is quite important from a marketing standpoint. She’s right to value it; at one point, sheer strength of the brand alone gave GM 50% of the market.

          What is concerning is that she seems to be playing up the brand, with little or no mention of the product. Now to be fair, these are cherry-picked quotes; maybe somewhere in some interview she mentions exactly how she plans to build that brand.

          If GM and Lee intend to follow the Apple playbook, (Heck, thier own playbook!) they’ll need to start using the PRODUCT to push the brand.
          Macs sold well because they were different than a PC and good at what they did. iPhones took a large chunk of the market because there wasn’t anything as good when it hit. Now that the competition has caught up, that share has shrunk.

          Say it’s cool, say its good, chrome it up and trim it with wood.

          But there damn well better be nothing else like it, and little better. Else it’s all more empty, meaningless, vapid talk.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Because they are by now almost exclusively survivors in the finance biz. And in the bailout age the way to make more money than your peers hence keep your Wall Street gig is to be even more outrageously clueless than all those you compete against.

          That way you mindlessly throw even more money at even less worth vile prospects than they do. Like loans for illegal strawberry pickers to buy million dollar McMainsions in the dessert. Your company will make bank anyway since Yellen and Obama will just make others pay. So that is exactly the kind of investment acumen encouraged in this day and age.

          It is therefore not surprising to see a similar cluelessness on display wrt other facets of life.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      It’s quite a fad – the most highly valued tech company in the world – very faddish.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        If that’s what you think, buy some stocks. They have peaked a few years ago. And yes, they sell fad products to people just because it has an apple badge on it. There is no product that they sell that isn’t behind a competitors product. Look at the market share they are loosing in smartphones for example.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Look at the market share they are loosing in smartphones for example”

          Losing marketshare while maintaining, if not increasing, profits.

          GM should be so lucky as to have 15% markeshare but 86% to the whole market’s revenue.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    If they want to mind meld with clueless Affirmative Action hirelings, they’re off to a great start. And maybe that’s not so stupid these days.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      petezeiss, GM has often been derided as an automaker run by and for old white men. The installation of Ms Mary Barra as CEO was not only a revelation but an admission of this.

      The feminine touch is becoming more apparent in all GM products these days, and the “new, improved, better than ever” Cadillac of today is marketed as a chic ride, in case you missed the commercials on TV.

      My wife is the most feminine creature I know, an all-American girl through and through for the past 49 years I have been married to her, but she is not even remotely attracted to anything Cadillac. So the feminine aspect of the new Cadillac is lost on her.

    • 0 avatar
      tnhcar

      I don’t know where you’re going with this Affirmative Action comment.

      So we’re saying the only reason she has this job is AA or Cadillac only sells to people that have benefited from AA?

      I mean what’s your point?

  • avatar
    EAS34

    At least she’s being honest as to what motivates the luxury market. People don’t buy Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton etc… products because of the heritage, value, or craftsmanship, they buy them because of the brand name.
    Same goes with the German trifecta, you’re supposed to buy a German sedan when you’ve made it. Changing that perception will be key for Cadillac’s success, and that can only happen with new and innovative products (like the excellent ATS and CTS).
    Whether it was smart to come out and say that in such a fashion is a different matter all together.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      But that is also the hard angle. Why did these produucts become cool to begin with? Because they had something to offer. Of course, it gets momentum and the point will be lost after a while. But you do not jump on a rolling train if your job is to make the train move in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. Orange

        Hence the change in strategy for this brand. We know that this where they want to go. And you can’t get somewhere without knowing where you want to go.

        Only time will tell if the change in focus for Cadillac allow it to regain the credibility it has worked so hard at losing.

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        Indeed. The troubling part about this piece is that she’s been appointed “Director of Strategy,” but her background is in marketing and PR. Strategy is actually a separate discipline, with long-range goals that require coordinated effort across functional areas, including product management, engineering, dealer experience, and brand management. I wonder if she gets all the moving pieces that went into Apple’s success, or even Tesla’s, BMW’s, or Audi’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Brett Woods

      What you are talking about is fashion.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        And the Germans definitely don’t make fashion conscious cars. Their cars are usually styled conservatively. As others have said, they built their reputation over decades, or more. Even with their products sliding, they have a long history to fall back on. Fashion trends sell cars like the new Beetle, Mini, Fiat 500 in the short term, but that crowd quickly moves on. High end cars are not sold that way, and it’s a very poor strategy.

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          Your comments are strangely lacking insight. Of course the germans play up lifestyle etc.

          High end cars are sold to appeal to a high end “lifestyle”. Since they can’t trade on superior engineering or comfort (If it wasn’t for the Japanese teaching them how to make high volume AND well put together cars , they’d be in the drink.)- they trade on “lifestyle” cues. This very conservatism you menyion, is one of those cues – the automotive equivalent of kakis and sperry topsiders.

          Get out of the gated community and take a walk.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper

          The CLS, A7, Gran coupe aren’t examples of “high end” cars sold exactly “that way” ?

          • 0 avatar

            Those are cars sold to cash in on the fashion trends, and I don’t expect those to have any lasting power.

            The core offerings are often conservatively styled, because those cars are the ones to go the distance.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “And the Germans definitely don’t make fashion conscious cars.”

          I think you need to take a look at this from an alternate viewpoint when speaking about fashion conscious cars and what that means.

          Fashion is more, much more than flash and hype. Sure, that’s what draws the eyes to magazine covers but look at what most people wear. Fashion can be and is conservative as well as flashy and some might even say gaudy at the same time. It’s not monolithic.

          Also, its become fashionable for certain people to buy certain car brands for a number of reasons. If you’re one of those brands, you benefit.

    • 0 avatar
      photog02

      Very true. People buy brands, not products. Cadillac needs a new brand image. While it has got the product (IMHO), they have to continue to work on the brand image.

      • 0 avatar
        Sjalabais

        Not sure if they have a product that will work for a global crowd. A middle-sized Cadillac earned some praise a while back, but that was on the back of low expectations. Awfully quiet else in Europe.

        I really appreciate a young woman runni g the marketing, but I also react allergicly to marketing plattitudes. Seriously, Apple? Yawn.

    • 0 avatar
      bearuk

      I understand the point you’re trying to make about brand names, but I think (perhaps hope) it’s only a minority that are buying a brand name. When I bought my Cartier Santos watch it wasn’t for the name, it was the look of the watch that I liked. I could have bought a fake, but a ‘replica’ is just that, a budget imitation of the real thing. When I bought my first BMW, it wasn’t for the badge; it was because I loved the looks, the shape and styling of the car. It only took a week behind the wheel to make me a convert to the BMW ‘brand’; but that doesn’t mean I’m going to buy any BMW regardless of how it looks. With the possible exception of the Escalade (and I still prefer the looks and handling of the BMW X5) there’s nothing that Cadillac makes that I want to buy. BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Infinity are making cars that are more pleasurable to drive than Cadillac. They may also give more pride of ownership. The Cadillacs I’ve owned are from bygone days when they had soft close trunks and ‘land yacht’ looks and ride. ‘Classic’ Cadillacs.

    • 0 avatar
      bearuk

      regarding the ‘you’re supposed to buy a German sedan when you’ve made it’ comment, I’d say until you’re driving at least a Maserati, and more reasonably a Bentley or Rolls Royce, you’re only pretending to yourself that you’ve ‘made it’.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Not everyone wants to show off that they’ve made it. Old money especially gravitates towards the demur, and will keep their vehicles a very long time. Let the wanna-be new money folks keep leasing the “top-shelf”, showy vehicles.

        Back in my dad’s peak earning years (60s/70s), old money bought Oldsmobiles or Mercurys. Cadillac was too flashy, Buick too closely associated with doctors/lawyers.

    • 0 avatar
      Maca

      SOME people buy product because its a brand name. Other people do buy it because of the history, quality and craftsmanship of said product. If it wasn’t for the history, quality and craftsmanship, those brands wouldn’t be desirable now.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    That Apple-comment…how can one buying into the Lemmings-strategy of “cool” climb so high in a corporate hierarchy?

    She is not the same person who wanted to put a fine on calling Chevy “Chevy”?

    Marketing is a shady business, but if there is something to aspire to, take a leaf off Volvo trucks’ book. They manage to make something as mundane as trucks cool. Van Damme with a 100 million views? Yes, an ad about trucks in reverse. Monaco ad? Racing an exotic sports car? It’s all about the product, not hiding it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

    Has anyone from GM explained what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about?

    • 0 avatar
      SayMyName

      Ah yes, the “Cadillac Lifestyle:”

      -A subtle but ever-present tinge of inferiority when in the company of colleagues driving BMWs, Lexuses, Benzes, and other true luxury cars

      -Multiple returns to the dealership service department. At least they have decent coffee and comfy chairs

      -Gangsta thug (Escalade)

    • 0 avatar
      masrapida

      Bling. Gaudiness and bling. Has the Cadillac lifestyle ever been about anything else? I think it will always appeal to the Soprano demographic; might as well double down.

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        Well, let’s just say that Cadillacs have always been for people who had “made it” recently and wanted the world to know. But entrepreneurship and “disruption” is a trendy thing now, and you can sell an “entrepreneur’s car” to trust-fund babies and Boomer landowners (see, e.g. Bentley Continental GT, Tesla Model S). This year’s Super Bowl ad for the Maserati Ghibli is a good template for how Cadillac should be marketing. It’s message was “we’re smart underdogs who came from nowhere and now we’re on top, and here’s the car we bought to celebrate,” which is, frankly, more consistent with Cadillac’s brand heritage than Maserati’s. It was also vastly more inspiring and less offensive than Cadillac’s disastrous ELR ad.

        The CTS V-Sport is already a better product than the Ghibli at the same price point. Why the hell shouldn’t they market it more aggressively?

        • 0 avatar
          Sjalabais

          Because “Ghibli” is so much easier on the tongue than “CTS V-Sport”? They could have swallowed the irony pill and called it “CTS V-Forte”, at the very least.

  • avatar
    Victor

    Yet another idiot making a lot more money than me.

    That’s just sad. Not the best read for a sunday afternoon.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Well, I think this is the fundametal point. She hasn’t earned her paycheck, she’s convinced someoneto give it to her. Accordingly, her strategy seems to be-we’ll convince people to pay us regardless of the product.

      i won’t buy it, but that doesn’t mean it will fail. P.T. Barnum and all that rot…

  • avatar
    Birddog

    Everything she says seems to come from the Business Buzzword 101 playbook.

    Here’s my favorite Melody quote so far.
    “In our consumer research, we tried to get away from the ‘appeal’ thing and focus on whether people understood where the car lined up,”

    Yes, because no automaker wants to be associated with “appeal”.

  • avatar

    Am I the only one who reads this and immediately yearns for 60 seconds of money’d white people playing polo, taking their horses to dressage, and racing yachts interspersed with footage of 4.9l-powered Sedan DeVilles wallowing about the countryside because that had a modicum of honesty and at the very least a damn catchy jingle…?

  • avatar

    Am I the only one who reads this and immediately yearns for 60 seconds of money’d white people playing polo, taking their horses to dressage, and racing yachts interspersed with footage of 4.9l-powered Sedan DeVilles wallowing about the countrys*de because that had a modicum of honesty and at the very least a damn catchy jingle…?

  • avatar
    baconator

    What *is* the Cadillac lifestyle about, eh? Because in my memory I get this:

    http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_206286-Cadillac-Fleetwood-Eldorado-1972.html

    Cadillac’s problem right now is that they now have world-class products, but sales have gone down rather than up over the past decade. Brand perception obviously drives volume for Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Lexus – we know it’s important, even though the Internet commentariat thinks that all buying decisions are totally based on some more objective form of product merit.

    We’ll see whether Melody Lee can craft a brand image that actually sells cars. I *do* know people who craft strategy for Apple, and reducing their proposition to Apple “is cool” is kind of like saying the space program got attention because rockets “are fast.” It’s sort of true, but also completely misses why they are desirable to their users, and also completely misses the nuances of how they became cool.

    From the 30’s to the 70’s, Cadillac was a high-tech, powerful car for flashy up-and-comers. WASP elites drove Buicks, but oilmen and entrepreneurs drove Cadillacs. The only Cadillac that has captured the imagination since then is the Escalade, which is also an “I’ve arrived” vehicle for the newly rich. That’s a perfectly reasonable brand image to start with.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      If by “world class products,” you mean unreliable (ATS/CTS), cheaply finished (ATS), overpriced (all Cadillac), shameless (XTS; a 70k copy of a 38k Chevy Impact), aged (SRX) and ghetto-limp vehicles (Slade), then…

      …why yes.

      But Johan & Ms. Lee are here to fix all.

      WTF.

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        Compared to what? A current 3-series or 5-series, or A4/A6, is also of dubious reliability. A $35k BMW (which is a 320i or very base 328i) or $35k Mercedes (CLA250) is not any better finished than an ATS. The interior of the CTS is a little behind an A6 or Lexus GS, but is on-par with a 5-series or a non-Designo E-Class. Of all of those cars, the CTS is the most fun to drive and is on-par with the most comfortable.

        The SRX *is* in need of a refresh to keep up with the Mercedes and BMW SUVs, and Johan has made it absolutely clear that revised SUVs/CUVs are his first priority for Cadillac. Note that the Lexus RX is also an old, old platform, but still sells like hotcakes.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Cadillac is 2nd tier goods, like Acura, Infiniti and maybe Volvo. Their prices should reflect as much.

          Sorry, but if I had $50,000 to spend on a car, I’d be looking at MB, BMW, Audi or Lexus – all superior products that feel premium.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            That 2015 Sequoia Platinum 4×4 we bought was $67K but it feels pretty damn premium to me.

            Then again, I didn’t have to pay for it. And that makes all the difference in the world I suppose.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            $50k gets you the largest Acura, and the largest Infiniti, and a sparsely-equipped largest (medium) Volvo S80.

            It gets you a small-medium not fully equipped Cadillac. Their pricing is nuts.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Don’t argue with DW, Baconator…he drove one ATS and decided the whole brand is bad.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I realize that you are in a state of denial (soon to be bargaining, anger, etc.) as TTAC’s Cadillac’s FUBAR condition apologist-in-chief, so I will cut you some slack and remind you of the various recent instance Clack-i-Lacks that I’ve driven, most for more than a test drive:

            2010 Cadillac SRX Luxury w/standard 3.6 and AWD

            2014 Cadillac CTS AWD (uncle’s new car, dripping copious amounts of oil on his garage floor nearly brand spankin’ new).

            2014 Cadillac ATS 2.5 rwd rental POS for 5 days with 6500 miles odometer, already literally falling to pieces.

            2014 ATS 2.0T on a moderate length test drive. Total meh experience, and the diesel like beat of the 2.0T DI Claxk-i-lacktor motor was harsh.

            I have been thankfully spared prison time in both a fantastically overpriced XTS and ELR, thankfully.

            Keep on denying Cadillac’s slow and declining sales, layoffs, and shiite for brains executives such as Ms. Lee & Johan (one hit maybe wonder) de Nysschen, Mike.

            Next comes anger, bargaining, something else, than glorious acceptance.

            Lest I forget, as a dedication to you, Mike – the kicker:

            2015 VW Golf TSI Gauges (not even GTI, either) – a 20k vehicle:

            http://www.cnet.com/pictures/2015-volkswagen-golf-tsi-tdi-pictures/21/

            2015 Hyundai Sonata Gauges – a 20kish vehicle:

            http://www.auto-classics.com/the-design-and-appearance-of-hyundai-sonata-sport/2015-hyundai-sonata-sport-gauge-cluster

            2006 Pontiac G6 Gauges – a 16k vehicle?:

            http://dealerrevs.com/gallery/46939005.html

            2015 Cadillac ATS Gauges – a 36k to ??? (55k) vehicle?:

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/2013-Cadillac-ATS-3.6-AWD-010.jpg

            Even the 2006 Pontiac G6 Gauges are better.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            The ATS gauge cluster is being shown side-lit by a very bright light in the views presented – try the same lighting with the other gauge clusters and see what happens. The Sonata gauge cluster photo you linked to is directly from Hyundai’s website.

            I’m not saying that the ATS’s gauge cluster doesn’t look like crud when lighted a certain way, but if you lighted the other examples the same way, the differences would be less striking.

            I agree that Caddy should spend a little less on marketing and a little more on going the “last mile” to bring the details up-to-snuff – these cars aren’t cheap anymore, so there should be NO ASPECT of them that should appear cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Amazing, then, that Cadillac would tie with Mercedes in the JD Power survey with junk like that floating around.

            Methinks thou do protest too much, DW.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            JD Powers is a rubbish institution that caters to carmakers, not consumers, and ostensibly measures things like 90 day satisfaction.

            Try Consumer Reports if you wish to see much more purposeful, meaningful and statistically accurate consumer feedback about quality, durability, dependability and quality over a longer term.

            But hey, JD Powers supports your strong bias, so hang your Cadillac hat on it.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “… the Escalade, which is also an “I’ve arrived” vehicle for the newly rich.”

      True- in an ostentatious, gaudy, trashy, West Egg sort of connotation.

    • 0 avatar
      Petra

      Cadillac can’t seem to win. They’ve managed to build some excellent cars that actually beat the Germans at their own game and are beloved by the automotive press… only to find that nobody will buy them because they aren’t from Germany. Okay, so the problem is obviously marketing… which they’re trying to fix with a pointless re-naming of the lineup and by throwing out as many buzzwords as they can find.

      If Cadillac does succeed in becoming a “global luxury brand”, it will likely be in spite of itself.

      • 0 avatar
        Brett Woods

        IMO they never beat the Germans at their own game. They got tricked into playing it by taunts, and voluntarily gave up the best cards they were holding. The most comfortable ride in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “Cadillac can’t seem to win” There are numerous well-documented reasons why that is so, over the past decades. And none of them were for marketing reasons.

        Given a choice between buying a Cadillac sedan or a Lincoln sedan, my wife opted for the Towncar, and this was way back in 1992.

        The strategy now is to convince the young people who don’t know any better to give Cadillac a shot at their money. That’s going to be hard to do since all the best and brightest young people are driving Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

        I have never heard any young person say that they aspire to own a Cadillac. Audi, yes! BMW, most certainly! Mercedes, always!!!

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        Beat the Germans at their own game? I think that’s opinion, and I think it’s a minority opinion.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “Beat the Germans at their own game?”

          Well, we did that about a hundred years ago and then again seventy years ago. :P

          Oh, wait, you’re talking the car game, not “The Great Game.” (“We” in this example being a multinational effort, of course…)

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        People won’t buy them for several reasons but mostly because they come from GM, which is a heavy cross to bear.

        The move to NYC is actually a wise move, if only to get out of the myopic scenery of Detroit. Cadillac is now in a vibrant cultural center, regardless of NYC’s alleged lack of love for the automobile.

        Finally, go back to names. Not that you need to use Sedan deVille etc, but surely throughout your long, storied history you can come up with 4-5 names that have some gravitas – Calais and Eldorado for example. Just avoid Cimarron and Catera.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The problem is clearly more than marketing. There are holes in the lineup that need to be filled, and the product itself needs to be improved even more (I’d say the brand should have no cars powered by engines you can buy in another GM product – they need either unique powertrains, or heavily massaged versions of existing ones).

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Marketers cannot just make up a narrative. Everything that trades on perception was once a standout product. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Apple or whatever. Cadillac fits the bill, but its giant tail-fin V8 sedans are being regulated out of existence. Selling the idea of American art and science doesn’t work when the country is a hole. If Cadillac want to spend $1B every year lobbying Congress to bring back the prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s that might work, but making the brand cool with Back To The Future marketing narratives isn’t going to work. Furthermore, moving from Detroit to NYC is moving from one bailout empire to another. They’ve simply swapped the unions for the bankers.

      Does it get any cooler than that?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        An automotive or aerospace company dominated by marketeers and not engineers or competent managers is one product crisis from disaster. People with money who do not buy product based on pricing have other options and will simply snub you.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Finally some truth from the Cadillac morons. Either fire everyone in NYC now or fold the brand RenCen, they have lost touch with reality and they will destroy whatever is left of Cadillac.

    “I don’t buy products, I buy brands”

    This speaks volumes to the critical thinking issues facing the world today.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      There’s some truth to that, but this is how marketing works, like it or not, and it’s been the way it works for a LONG time.

      I mean, why did people continue to buy Caddies and Lincolns in huge numbers for DECADES after better competing products became available? Because of image and marketing.

      And people are still buying those competing products, even though they’re clearly slipping in quality and appeal. Why? Because of image and marketing.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    She’s got nothing to worry about. Whenever I see/hear the word “Cadillac” I automatically think of entitled pricks so aptly portrayed by Neal McDonough.

  • avatar
    Fred

    She is probably right that a lot people buy stuff based on image more than the product. How many times have we heard the old “badge whore” comment here? Still you have to earn that cool factor over time, and buying me dinner isn’t going to do it.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    When I hear executives outside of Apple assuming that their brands can also become like Apple, I get nervous.

    Not every brand can be like Apple. More importantly, they don’t need to be like Apple in order to become successful. The effort devoted to trying (and then failing) would be better allocated to different strategies that might actually work.

    I wouldn’t fault Ms. Lee for the rhetoric. This is coming from the top, and she’s just carrying the water. If this fails, then you can blame the CEO and the inner circle for the result. BMW is already the Apple of the automotive world, and competing head-on against that juggernaut with an American brand with the baggage that Cadillac has is a ticket for failure.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    “I’ll often say, ‘Well, do you want a millennial’s perspective?’ You have one right here.”

    – Beware the focus group of one. So many marketing people live in a bubble world and don’t get how people actually think. She thinks she represents millennials? She is an executive in marketing in one of the largest corporations on the planet. The average millennial is struggling to find a job in their chosen professional drowning on student loan debt. The average millennial, as shown in study after study after study, can’t afford a new Kia, let alone a stripper ATS.

    “Everyone in New York is always just a little bit ahead of everyone else and we need to be the brand that stands for that.”

    – Actually. I agree with this. If you want to set trends you need to be in a place where trends are set. This one doesn’t alarm me that much. Detroit isn’t the trend setting banner of the planet. However, where she shows her complete lack of understanding of the auto industry. If Ms. Lee wants to set trends for the global auto industry, the correct answer is more likely Shanghai. However, you could do a lot worse than New York.

    “I don’t buy products, I buy brands. I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

    – This, she nails. For consumers she is right, people buy brands. Look at the 3-series versus the ATS. Every trade rag and even those here in TTAC have said when it comes to what makes what people think is a 3-series, the ATS now delivers much better than the 3-series does. The 3-series is no longer the ultimate DRIVING machine. It is however a vastly stronger brand and in other areas like interior refinement is better than the ATS. But no one is calling the ATS a bad “driving” machine, quite the contrary. What I suspect Ms. Lee doesn’t grasp, or believes she can defy, is that it will take at least another two decades to rehabilitate the Cadillac brand. That two-decades requires quality products. Apple built it’s reputation of a strong brand through its products. Toyota is another great example of this. That doesn’t mean today they build the best products. But building a brand when you sell crap is building a house of cards, it always catches up.

    I think she also misses the point that in popular culture the Cadillac life style is rolling on spinning 24s with lambo doors and a thumpin’ stereo – yo!

    “We want to be a global luxury brand that happens to sell cars. We don’t want to be an automotive brand.”

    – She’s toast. Anything smart she said in two or three above is destroyed in this statement. She is toast. I give her 24 months – tops.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Beware the focus group of one.”

      I would presume that there is more than one person involved in crafting the basic branding story, and that Ms. Lee is not one of them.

      This is most likely coming from the very top of the company, i.e. Mary Barra and her inner circle. (Furthermore, this approach may have been inherited from her predecessor Dan Akerson.) They hired Lee and others like her to carry out the upper echelon’s mission, and they’ll have her to throw under the bus if it doesn’t go as planned.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        >> and they’ll have her to throw under the bus if it doesn’t go as planned.

        Agreed. The irony is that GM did make some buses for NYC in some years. Watch out Melody!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Great analysis, APaGttH.

    • 0 avatar
      EchoChamberJDM

      Agreed, based on the Fortune article she started with GM in 2012. So, give her another 2 years to blow up and then get blown out just like another young female who blamed image and marketing and ignored the reality of crap product: Laura Soave at Fiat.
      Its interesting to me that the execs at GM seems to think that moving to New York and hiring millenials to do their branding will bring success, while other OEM luxury brands are hard at work making their products better, cheaper, and more luxurious.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Hiring millenials can work if you use them right. Millenials had a major role in the design and development choices of the new Jeep renegade. That’s a vehicle that is going to knock it out of the park when it finally arrives.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “The average millennial, as shown in study after study after study, can’t afford a new Kia, let alone a stripper ATS.”

      True, but there are lots of above-average earning millenials. And even if the average millenial is poor now, that won’t last forever. Sooner or later, these folks will start earning more. And the point of the exercise is to plant the marketing seed with them early. I think that makes sense.

  • avatar
    SWA737

    Is anyone else hearing Dan Aykroyd in their head?

    “Melody, you ignorant slut, who did you sleep with to get this job?”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      You wouldn’t have said this if the millenial was a bearded hipster in a plaid shirt, would you? Shame on you for letting us all down.

      /feminist police

      • 0 avatar
        SWA737

        I find your assumption to be offensively homophobic.

        In my thankfully limited experience with millennials in management positions, I’ve found the boy millennials to be at least as willing to sleep their way to the top as the girl millennials. Because, you know, they’ve been empowered. Clearly empowered. Empowered with a sense of community, and biodiversity. which increases their feeling of inclusion, through the use of trendy buzzwords.

        Trendy buzzwords seem to have a powerful influence on the millennial minded.

        (Wait, hipsters wear plaid shirts? I thought it was all about the fedoras.)

        “Melvin, you bearded hipster in a plaid shirt. Who did you sleep with to get this job?”

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “boy millennials to be at least as willing to sleep their way to the top as the girl millennials.”

          If only I had the options and opportunity that kids today have…

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            An orifice is an orifice, I guess. And if all women evolve to be like that poor genetic starveling in the photo, what the hey?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Wow, that’s totally uncalled for.

      We’re discussing her marketing advice, and there is much to discuss there.

      Making up insulting things about her personal life is beyond the scope of polite, or useful, discussion.

      Calling her names just makes this whole community look bad, and I don’t want to be associated with that.

      Challenging what she said in the interview about marketing the Cadillac brand is a fair game, and perhaps even a helpful service that will help them fix problems with their message, and up their game. Plus, it’s a fun business soap opera to watch. I do want to be associated with that.

      Let’s act like gentlemen. This is a public forum, after all.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        P.S

        I work for a big company. Remember that the people who work at big comanies, especially marketing and PR people, usually have Google Alerts set up to see how their companies appear in the press.

        Employees often pass around links that are interesting or controversial links around. There is a good chance that Ms. Lee and several of her colleagues will read this discussion.

        Something to keep in mind when talking in a public forum that is indexed by Google.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    I hope she doesn’t mean to appeal to life long gold diggers who can now afford to throw money away on self aggrandizing craptastic.

    I thought Cadillac was the best until the year they they got rid of rear leg room.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      My dad thought of Cadillac as being the best. Well, until he bought that 8-6-4 HT Sedan de Ville that caused him so much grief.

      • 0 avatar
        Sjalabais

        His last Cadillac?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          First Cadillac, and last car bought new prior to his death.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That’s sad. What a memory to leave this world with a V8-6-4 HT

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            It really was sad. My dad being the dirt-poor Portuguese LEGAL immigrant who came here to America without a pot to p!ss in, working all his life until he finally was able to buy a Cadillac, the Standard of the World. It was a POS and Shop Queen at Marvin K. Brown’s Cadillac in San Diego, CA.

            I bought Oldsmobile, a Custom Cruiser and a Toronado, and later a Silverado. So some of that GM-loyalty rubbed off on me.

            But no more.

          • 0 avatar
            Brett Woods

            @highdesertcat

            That is a good story and a lesson most of us can relate to. Finally buying into a Brand that we once knew to be good, maybe even “cool,” only to find we have bought a shoddy product, and that the Brand was co-opted or bought by shysters who wanted to steal its value over a short time by selling cheap junk with the good name. To
            “capitalize” on the Brand.

            Others have said it well here. First comes good product, then comes good name.

            Cadillac, like the rest of GM, went through a period where they focused on financing vehicle sales and even thought of Financing as a core product. CEO’s saw they were making money off the interest rate when they loaned money from the company to the consumers. One of them famously said at a shareholder meeting, “We are not in the business of making cars. We are in the business of making money.”

            Also during this time regular workers were bragging (to me) about dogging it at work because there was a loss of oversight. There was a reduction in training, and fighting over performance standards and benefits.

            Yes, it’s sad that your father’s Cadillac dream turned into a dud. There’s a lot of that going around. Hopefully it didn’t bother him so much.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Brett Woods, it did bug my dad a lot. He was in good health until his one and only, fatal heart attack.

            I’m not blaming the Caddy for that, but I’m sure it weighed heavy on his mind. He had so much wanted a Cadillac all of his life.

            The irony was, he and my mom had just spent two years touring Europe and had used my Quarters at Heidelberg’s Patrick Henry Village as their home base from which to venture out to Portugal, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, etc. IOW, a lot of road miles over two years.

            For transportation while in Europe my dad had me buy a (tax-free) run-of-the-mill Mercedes 220D (Euro Spec) sedan for him (with his money) and register it with the military in Europe under my name.

            That Mercedes just ran and ran from the moment I picked it up at the tax-free sales outlet at Schiphol International Airport in Holland. Never did anything to it except put in diesel fuel, change the oil, wash and oil the air filter, drain water out of the fuel filter, and slap on new tires.

            The Caddy had problems within the first week after he drove it off the lot, and it went downhill from there. I don’t think they ever found out what was ailing it.

            After my dad died one of my brothers drove it for awhile and then sold it, but I don’t know all the details about what happened to this Caddy from Hell.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    “We want to be a global luxury brand that happens to sell cars. We don’t want to be an automotive brand.”

    And I want to buy a car from a brand that spends its every waking moment thinking about cars, and cars only. So who’s coming after these brilliant Milennials? Bring ’em on, please.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Maybe they’re planning on extending the brand to include awesome merchandise like embroidered polos and super fancy key fobs. Cause right now all they make is cars, and they aren’t too interested in that.

      Come to think of it, there are -no- global luxury brands that happen to sell cars. The closest would be a conglomerate that’s multi-faceted like Samsung, who makes your house, car, phone, and does your banking.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Part of Apple’s mystique (to the extent it has one) is that it was on the brink of extinction not all that long ago. Before the return of Steve Jobs to the company, things were pretty dire. It’s only 15-16 years since the first modern Macs with USB ports (the first iMac and the 1999-2004 G3/G4 tower) and 13-14 years since OS X, the first Apple stores, and the first iPod. These all seem ancient history but they’re really not.

    So it may be entirely appropriate for Cadillac to compare itself to Apple and somehow, by way of good design and acceptable-to-innovative engineering, bounce back to relevance as Apple did. (But if they really want to emulate Apple, a return to model names should follow.)

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Apple makes excellent products. We own several of them and they work as advertised. There are better, like Samsung’s and Android, but Apple’s products tend to be thinner, lighter, well……. more appealing and….. an American icon.

      If there is one giant problem with Apple it is that in order to make their products work and use the full spectrum of their capabilities, you have to swap spit and take long hot showers with the company.

      Unless you are willing to give up ALL of your personal information, use their iCloud storage and give them access to your financial status through a credit card, their products are no better than a Windows laptop or TracFone.

      Without giving up all that personal data you will not have access to the Apple Store, iTunes, the Message App or anything else that Apple wants to use to track your behavior online.

      The FCC and FDA are currently looking into what Apple plans to do with all the biometric data it will be collecting with the new iWatch and interconnected devices.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I had a 4S, other than emitting twice the radiation as my Motorola phone (0.54sar) and sucking as an actual phone it was a neat toy and fit in my pocket. The 5C which briefly replaced it seems to be a step backwards since it was unnecessarily larger and was more difficult to carry around. All and all both were not bad, but unimpressive. What would seriously impress me is a “smart” phone (a term used loosely) which can fold in my pocket but still be used in the same way. Why the Apple-philes didn’t pelt Cook for NOT delivering this is beyond me (they were all too in awe of Jobs to ever criticize anything he did). The phone is stupid, the watch is stupid as it requires the phone, Ipod is now redundant, and the computers are lipstick on a x86-64 pig running a better O/S after Windows took a terminal dive. Maybe their products are the better of their competition for your needs, if so I say go for it.

        In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king – Erasmus.

        http://cellphones.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=003054

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          For our needs we buy as we need and as the better product arrives.

          Then we pass down the older stuff, i.e. we recently gave the old iPad 2 to the 8-yo twins of my oldest son, when we bought the iPad Air. They love it, especially since their mom loaded a bunch of age-appropriate freebie kiddie-apps on it.

          As for the personal data and info we have tied to that and other devices, it’s useless since it is a company credit card, a name no longer associated with the device, and so on.

          And when we buy an iPad Air 2, currently on sale at Costco, the current Air goes to our 17-yo grand daughter. And so on.

          There are ways to thwart Apple’s endless intrusion into our private lives and personal behavior.

          The newest devices we have bought from Apple have no personal data tied to them, but then again, we also have Samsung and Windows devices available to us, like the Gallaxy S4 and 10.1 Tablet my wife uses now, instead of the Apple gear she used to use, and the Win8.1 Dell XPS27 I use on occasion.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          My iPhone quit the day my 2-year contract was up. I now have a Galaxy S5 and am quit happy with it, just hope it lasts the 2 years

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “My iPhone quit the day my 2-year contract was up.”

            I have a sneaking suspicion that all brands of cellphones come equipped with the hidden “timebomb” app, aka the “I am not really that old but if I randomly crap out then you will spend money on my replacement.” Windows certainly does ;)

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I know, right? The phone worked flawlessly until it bricked on Nov. 3rd. I couldn’t get a iPhone 6 because of the back orders so, Samsung got my business

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            You do know that this is Tim’s comment thread, right?

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            If anything shocks me about an Apple product its when they work passed warranty.

            Currently I use an ancient Sprint Rumor 2, good as a phone but lousy at apps/internet browsing, but I have a computer for that.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            PS

            It wouldn’t suprise me if more modern “smart” appliances had time-bombs in them, when I hit a local Electronics repair shop I see countless dead HD TV, usually unreparable due to discontinued parts.

            If Caddilac wants to go down this route it’ll do more harm than whatever the Cimmaron did.

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Eccchhhh. Double eccchhhh. I think am going to be sick.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    First Buick and now Cadillac, GM knows where the future is for sales and its not here. All show and no substance will fit right in where they are headed, too much is expected here.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    People with some money and larger families will buy a GL. Cadillac has nothing for them. People with some money and smaller families will buy a ML or X5. Cadillac has the aging, uncompetitive SRX. Those with less resources will buy an RX or MDX. Cadillac has nothing for them.

    Empty nesters will buy a Q5, X3, GLK, XC60, or NX. Cadillac has nothing for them.

    BMW and Mercedes have the middle manager market pretty much locked in, with every other luxury brand trying to steal sales from them. Cadillac is just one in a pile.

    Executives will either buy an S-class, LS, or Tesla. Cadillac has nothing for them.

    Gee, I can’t understand why Cadillac isn’t selling more cars! It can’t possibly be because they don’t compete in nearly all luxury segments! No, it’s brand image. They’ve gotta be New York cool, THEN the CEOs will trade their S-classes for XTSes. Riiiiiiight.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve been convinced for awhile now that Cadillac has a death wish. Hardly a month goes by that they don’t shoot themselves in the foot with another pointless disconnected declaration that is totally meaningless to anyone outside of the “GM Culture” Do any of these people even know what a Cadillac is? They get so wrapped-up in marketing double speak that I’m convinced that half of them think it’s a ballpoint pen or cell phone.

    With Cadillac on this willful road of self-destruction it won’t be much longer when we put Cadillac on the history shelf next to Packard and Pierce Arrow

    As far as these “marketing geniuses” go I’ll say this, you often hear about the people who graduated 1st in their class and their successful life direction, ever wonder about those who graduated last in their class? Now you know

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve been convinced for awhile now that Cadillac has a death wish. Hardly a month goes by that they don’t shoot themselves in the foot with another pointless disconnected declaration that is totally meaningless to anyone outs*de of the “GM Culture” Do any of these people even know what a Cadillac is? They get so wrapped-up in marketing double speak that I’m convinced that half of them think it’s a ballpoint pen or cell phone.

    With Cadillac on this willful road of self-destruction it won’t be much longer when we put Cadillac on the history shelf next to Packard and Pierce Arrow

    As far as these “marketing geniuses” go I’ll say this, you often hear about the people who graduated 1st in their class and their successful life direction, ever wonder about those who graduated last in their class? Now you know

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Come now, it’s easy enough to resent PR/marketing people but last in their class? Graduates who are hired by the top PR/marketing firms are usually near the top of their class and generally come from decent name value institutions.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Where do the people who went to the same decent name value institutions, got the same diploma, but barely, end up? For every person who graduated at the top of their class there is always one who graduated at the bottom. I often wonder about them

        • 0 avatar
          Signal11

          They do what everyone else does. A friend of mine who I met in grad school is a Harvard alum. Finished his master’s, then decided to tend bar. Been doing it for ten+ years. Doesn’t own the bar, just works there.

          For every person I know who went to med school, law school, got their doctorates, went into i-banking or ended up directing labs, I know a guy working on a fishing boat, growing weed on the West Coast, etc. And it doesn’t necessarily break down to top/bottom of the class, either.

          To dive further into this, the lower quartile of admissions to highly selective universities tend to be the legacies and/or athletes. Stands to reason that these students are at the bottom of the class in the least difficult majors. A lot of these guys come from old(er) money and graduate with useless psychology or history degrees but their families have jobs lined up for them. OTOH, if you barely graduate with the a chemical engineering degree, you’re still employable as a chemical engineer which is a decent starting salary.

          Anyway, here’s a bio for Melody Lee from her Georgia Tech alumni magazine:

          http://www.gtyac.org/from-engineering-to-international-affairs-melody-lee/

          Usually, the people with the drive and ambition to make senior executive at GM in their early 30s are not the ones who were at the bottom of the class.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That bio reads like a resume…

            “She was a core member of a team that helped provide important international communications”

            What does that mean?

            In college I was a correspondence coordinator for a major communications company. Which means I worked in the mailroom at General Telephone

  • avatar
    readallover

    One of the reasons Apple is so beloved is because it was compared to Microsoft. MS product routinely were released with consumers as the beta testers. Compared to MS, Apple stuff worked right the first time and was intuitive to start with. Cadillac is Microsoft: over-promise and under-deliver. Lexus is Apple. If she wants Caddy to be the new Apple she needs to start at the dealer level – the èxperience`at the dealer level is on par with any used car lot. She may think she is selling only the image, but way more people care about the product.

  • avatar
    Stovebolt

    Awesome.

    Saw a 91 Sedan DeVille for sale yesterday, just like we rented on vacation years ago. I understand the typical issues, glitz, gas, and FWD, but what a great interior. Thick leather seats. legroom for miles, wide open visibility. I could buy it just to sit in.

    But that’s a car, not a “brand concept”…

    Double awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Wow, a real car. Go snap it up.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Of course that car was a “brand concept.” EVERY car is a “brand concept” on wheels. That “brand concept” was super-quiet, cushy, pinky-steered glitzy big cars to be sold to old folks…who pretty much are all dead now. Luxury cars like that won’t sell today. If they did, Ford would still be selling Lincoln Town Cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The idea that everything is a brand concept is only true if you’re a marketing person who doesn’t know anything else.

        Branding is a pillar of business, and should influence product design.

        But, engineering is another pillar.

        So is manufacturing.

        Sales.

        Accounting.

        Leadership.

        If you want something truly outstanding, then all of these pillars have to work well, and work together.

        That’s what’s concerning about Ms. Lee’s statements. It’s true that a great car might not be ENOUGH to sell Cadillacs at luxury car prices, but a great product is certainly a prerequisite to making the attempt at the upscale market.

        If she “gets it”, she probably thinks the rest is implicit, or is trying to challenge people who think the product is the oonly thing that matters. If she does’t “get it”, Cadillac is over. I’ll need to read a lot more of what she his to say before I make up my mind.

        Thin is the same process I go through when senior people at my company say crazy things. About 2/3rds of the time, they “get it”. If they don’t “get it”, well, let’s just say I have my resume ready.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    The challenge for luxury brands is that the mass market brands have gotten very good, with performance, comfort and features that exceed what the expensive cars had to offer not too long ago. So, most of the high end vehicles try to justify their existence with a) gimmicks and gadgets that are increasingly peripheral to the driving experience, or b) good ol’ fashioned snob appeal.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    Cadillac apparently wants to be a brand that is similar to Ferrari. Cadillac wants their brand to be as synonymous with luxury as Ferrari is synonymous with speed and, well, being Ferrari.

  • avatar
    Stovebolt

    Is POS a global brand? (Not luxury, but it’s a start.)

  • avatar
    Randomite

    What a nitwit. Somebody please fire this woman before she completely guts the brand. I don’t think she’s aligned with what Cadillac is trying to achieve at all. Her statement jeopardizes the credibility they’ve been working so hard to rebuild. If I were her boss, I’d be pissed.

    I don’t choose Apple products because they’re cool. I genuinely like using their products and I happen to think they are well-made, innovative, beautifully designed, and perform well. Car people care about these things, too. These are the people Cadillac does not want to alienate.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    My generation saw Cadillac as the synonym for quality of design, manufacture and customer care. I haven’t seen it that way for at least three decades, because it isn’t.

  • avatar

    Someone previous in this thread said Cadillac should just double-down and go all guido/ghetto/brash/fuggedaboutit. I agree. What is there really to lose and – again – at least its honest.

  • avatar
    Joe K

    It’s one thing to do this with a phone or a music player, it is something completely different when your #1 product costs 40,000 dollars or more.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    After reading this, I think it would be a badge of honor to be rejected for a position to work there. I don’t think she understands that people like Apple because of its products. Also, they’re at a more entry level price point.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    It seems Cadillac is positioning itself for a ‘breakthrough’.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    To steal an idea from auto extremist, whom wrote about this woman earlier this week, it’s product. GM doesn’t get it, Chrysler does. Product is what sells, first to enthusiasts, then to magazines, and finally the general public takes notice. Ram has what, a 20% (double anticipated) take rate on their eco-diesels? That wasn’t because of marketing, it was because its a superior product. GM’s trucks are still last generation, Cadillac, although improved, is still behind its competition, especially audi, jag, and MB, and is still overpriced. Chevy is behind both Koreans by a large margin at all levels of product with the exception of corvette, and Buick product is competitive with also rans such as Acura and Lincoln. The product isn’t there and so far, GM hasn’t shown that it is coming anytime soon.

    Here is a tip for Mary Barra: Fire these idiots. Fire your marketing department and contract out a third party. Fire your product accounting department and let the engineers work with their given budget as they see fit. Fire the non-believers, the underperformers, and those who don’t get it. Become a car company that gets it. When Elon Musk stated he sought to make the very best car in the world, he wasn’t joking. GM, why can’t you do the same?

  • avatar
    JD321

    A glimpse of New World Order Corporatism – American Style.
    Kind of a Mussolini meets Mary Poppins meets Ivy League university sociopath.
    In other news – Cadillac announces Janet Reno as their new Director of Public Compliance.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    As someone on the cutoff of the “Millennial” generation (born in 1982), when people like her speak for my generation, I want to throw up. At least I’m on the older end of the spectrum, perhaps I should start claiming Generation X, especially because no-one who matters from Generation X is presumptuous enough to speak for their generation.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Cadillac is a reknown brand name globally.

    There are many reknown names globally, but not all of them inspire. Lada is a name that doesn’t inspire.

    Cadillac is one of those uninspiring names globally.

    Associated with unreliable and very American products.

    If many of our US commenters don’t know, there are some US products that aren’t accepted as well globally as Macca’s and Coca Cola.

    Some Ford and GM global products have done better. But they expended lots of effort and energy to make their brands more local. McDonald’s does this. Go to any country outs!de of the US and McDonald’s commercials always has a slant regarding the country it’s marketing in.

    Cadillac to achieve this will take more than a couple of decades.

    Globally Cadillac has a poorer brand name than does Kia or Hyundai.

    So, how are you going to sell an “unknown” overpriced vehicle like a Caddy?

    Really GM would do better to make Holden their premier vehicle manufacturer and sell them off as HSV’s around the world.

    Just call them Caddy’s for the US market and sell them along s!de those Silverado Station wagon things…….what are they……Escalades I think?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Big Al does make a reasonable point here. Not that GM shouldn’t *try* to make Cadillac into a more credible luxury brand, but at least marketing these cars around the world as Buicks, Holdens and Vauxhalls would help amortize the platforms. That’s a better short term solution.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      It’s “renowned”, not “reknown.”

      And once again you make absolutely no sense. One moment, you applaud Holden for stopping Australian production and now you’re calling for Holden to be GM’s global premium brand. Why in the world would people want cars from an Australian brand that aren’t even made in Australia?

  • avatar
    Car-los

    Sadly that lady is right. The car industry like many other industries, has become a badge industry.

    Look at what happened to the VW Phaeton, a great car with an “uncool” badge, while Bentley was selling pretty much the same car at three times the price in record numbers VW had to withdraw it from the USA market.

    The car industry doesn’t make money from the car enthusiasts but from those morons buying a LV suitcase for thousands of dollars when they go to buy the badge of a car.

    That is how we got where we got, where you no longer can buy a Ferrari with a clutch peddle any more. Enzo must be turning in his grave.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Kids these days! At least we know she can dream. A reality check is in order.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The thing about global brands is that they trade on the identity of the native country. Cadillac understood the phenomenon with the Volt commercial, but they took it a step too far, and they failed to back it p with any meaningful product developments.

    Where does BMW do its carbon fiber development? Washington state. That’s interesting. While Cadillac is moving to NYC to schmooze with fashionistas and “branding experts” zee Germans are mining the US for aerospace technology.

    There is so much Cadillac can do to leverage US identity and technology. NYC isn’t necessarily a bad play, but it can’t be a bunch of bone-headed rhetoric about conning people into buying American.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Maybe one thing Cadillac could do is put some ads out there. Just watched Packers-Patriots and didn’t see any. Everybody else, no Caddys.

      Anyone else see one? Did I just make a pit stop at the wrong time?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “The thing about global brands is that they trade on the identity of the native country. Cadillac understood the phenomenon with the Volt commercial, but they took it a step too far, and they failed to back it p with any meaningful product developments.”

      +100

      Right idea, wrong product. That should have been the commercial for the ATS-V.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Instead of trying to convince people that the crappy Cadillac from the past is not crappy anymore, they need to put a bullet in it and start over from scratch with a new brand.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      In all fairness, GM pulled it off once with the “Geo” cars bait-and-switch. It took almost ten years, but in the meantime Chevrolet (oops, Chevy) gradually came back as a brand with a decent reputation. And that was the plan all along, really.

      I’m not saying that is a good strategy to putting the past behind with Cadillac, I’m just saying they don’t necessarily need to “put a bullet” in the brand just yet.

      • 0 avatar

        Seems to me Chevy simply focused on its core competencies (full-size pickup trucks, the Corvette and Camaro) while leaving everything else in the hands of the Koreans and Germans.

        Aside from the Impala and Malibu, pretty much everything else in the Chevy lineup (that isn’t a pickup truck) was designed or derived from GM Korea (nee Daewoo) or Opel. Ditto Buick.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    I wonder if I’ll be able to get a bottle of Eau de Cadillac Parfum to wear while driving in a Mercedes or a Lincoln?

  • avatar

    Dead Brand Walking.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Wanna start a deathwatch? Can a brand get one if those? How hard would the GM backlash be? Would the extra buzz be net positive for TTAC?

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      In all seriousness, what would you do with Cadillac?

      • 0 avatar

        exactly what they are planning to do. sell it. they have no clue, have no internal talent, can’t hire any ’cause they can’t recognize it. it’s too far gone now. get what you can and kiss it goodbye.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’m not sure how saleable Cadillac is, but I think killing the brand is the best option. This is all just a phenomenal waste of resources right now.

          If GM thinks they 100% NEED a luxury line that isn’t a GMC Denali then they should plan to launch an all-new brand (in China) around 2022.

          Ford should do the same with Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Maybe they are going to spin-off Cadillac. It would certainly explain the move to NYC and the feverish pace of the executives who probably stand to make millions in stock awards, if their vaporware marketing rhetoric and naming conventions translate into a successful IPO.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        They’d have to create some kind of independent value first. If true, this speculative spin off is a long, long way off. I seriously doubt this is management’s intent at this point.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Thank you Ms Lee for confirming my suspicion that millenials are narcissistic, buzz word-loving label slaves.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      This gave me a good belly-laugh since I have a 23-yo grand daughter who is all that; narcissistic, buzz-word loving AND a label slave.

      I crinch at the thought of what my 17-yo grand daughter will be like when she turns 21.

      These are not bad girls. But they are just like their peers.
      Just like their peers!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Why are we assuming that her being a millenial is the problem, and not that she’s in marketing, or in a prominent position with a major company?

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        She chose that as her qualification. She’s a millenial – pick her! her opinion must matter because she’s down with the young and dumb! At least she isn’t quoted as saying, “Hey, ovaries here! Melody’s got the estrogen!”

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The vast majority of millennials (and I loosely include myself in that group as I’m on the edge, age-wise) that I know drive used honda civics, used pontiac grand ams, old dodge trucks from the 90s, and likewise. The majority of us are not in a financial position to use cars as status symbols. It’s one thing to pay 20 dollars a month for an I-phone over a 2 year contract, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to pay $500 a month for the “privilege” to drive a tri-star badge. The millennials that I know that ARE in the position to drive expensive cars are more worried about saving for a ridiculously overpriced house, paying off student loans (the student loan has replaced the car payment for our generation), and hoping they have a few dollars left to put towards their 401k–if they are lucky enough to be working for a company that offers one.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      As if previous generations weren’t the same at that age. There’s a reason marketers have been targeting this demographic forever.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This makes me want to scream.

  • avatar
    TurboX

    This just shows that despite of all the changes GM is still a totally dysfunctional being.
    As a consumer I just want to buy a car — I don’t want to pay for posh NY offices or for Ms. Lee’s salary as it does not add any value to me. By reading the Forbes article it seems that GM’s Marketing department seized the opportunity of weakened organization due to the ignition switch debacle to get things “their way”. Unfortunately that will result in additional costs for the corporation and higher prices to the consumers.
    Thanks, but despite of the nice cars Cadillac has been making recently my money is going somewhere else where I don’t think it is being wasted up in marketeers’ salaries.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    It’s bad enough when an Asian Woman is in control of a car, now there’s one running a CAR COMPANY.

    Couldn’t resist.

  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    Roger Smith was reincarnated?

    “I don’t buy products, I buy brands. I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

    Umm, actually people do buy Apple computers because they are the best.

  • avatar

    I suggest these foreigners and adolescents Google Seger Detroit made for starters. not that it would make much difference other than them seeing what they are in the final stages of destroying

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m amazed at how many companies cite Apple’s appeal as their template to clone; I work for one of them.

    But The Truth About Apple is that Microsoft still rules the OS world, and Google dominates the handheld market. I’d like to hear someone come out and say they’d like to emulate Microsoft, for a change.

    As for product – on second thought, the ELR actually DOES match the Cadillac brand image, so they should just keep doing that.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      Google dominates the handheld market? I doubt that they’ve made a dime from all their Android efforts to date.

      Windows, as a brand, has negative equity with consumers. People use their OS because that’s what’s on the cheap POS laptop their company’s IT department issued to them.

      Meanwhile, Apple, the most valuable company in the world, with a market cap 70% higher than Microsoft, pulled in $8.5 billion in net profit last quarter, mostly from handheld devices. Who’s dominating?

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Obviously she is setup to be a fall guy when things go further south – which they will

    Autoextremist pretty much nailed it except for a couple of things. Yes NYC is actually ahead of the curve on a lot of things. The reason it was a bad move is because one of those things that it is not ahead of the curve on is actual auto ownership. Owning a car in Manhattan or the near boroughs is the punishment that keeps on giving.

    You want to get ahead of car culture? Go to California or Texas. And not f’ing Plano, Texas – but Austin or downtown Dallas/Houston. If Toyota wants to aim for more suburban mediocrity, Plano is a great place to move – especially as they find that getting top talent from Harvard/MIT/CalTech to move to Plano versus LA just isn’t going to happen. At all. But NYC? Great place to be if you want to study public transit. Not so great for car purchasing. Maybe Long Island, but they are not on the edge of anything at all.

    If I was Cadillac, I would have moved to the Bay area. Try and pick up some of that Silicon Valley vibe that Tesla enjoys.

    PS – And all of you Apple bashers, they are number one in market cap, profit share, etc. Basically you can cry all you want, complain that people are sheep, but there is absolutely no way that one of you holds a candle to any of the top talent at Apple in any of supply chain, ops, strategy, marketing, or product design. You could only wish you worked at a company as focused as Apple is on excellence.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      If taken seriously, then the effort to create an Apple-like aura around the brand will probably result in fewer cars being sold, not more. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

      Cadillac has a lot of branding baggage that places it at a distinct disadvantage in a direct competition with the Germans. Ignoring this reality in the name of Apple is a very bad idea; the marketplace isn’t going to perceive Cadillac as a lifestyle hipster brand just because GM says that it should.

      • 0 avatar
        akatsuki

        Exactly right.

        Tesla has that hype anyway – they are the ones trying to break the mold and establish the next generation. Doing “me-too” cars that are class-parity at best (and that is being more than generous).

        Launching with a cut-rate ‘tweener and the overly masculine Art & Science theme then failing to maintain that position showed its limits as they try and transition to mainstream.

        The real shame is that Cadillac could really step out and dominate in spaces, but their strategy is based on skating to where the puck was. They should literally have launched with a full-size S-class beating crossover. That would have shaken the market up and established the luxury link.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. K

      I get your point and would say affluent suburbs would be the place to move.

      Where did Audi/VW move to?
      Where is MBz US HQ?
      Where is BMW US HQ?
      Where is Porsche US HQ?

      Just sayin…

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        OK thinking a bit more NYC makes good sense to reach international folks – because, as a semi wise man just said, Ms. Lee is there to grow the China market…and I guess they will hire some EU type to sell more in the Euro zone…

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Oh how “Car Guys” would profess their hate for Saturn(s). Yet Saturn developed a cult like following. They treated their customers with respect and their customer service people followed up on things; be it your car’s birthday or your birthday. Silly I know but it was liked by their customers BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE DID THINGS LIKE THAT. Saturn had female service writers. That led to trust with their women customers. Cadillac needs to full court press and hire all kinds of people to be their service writes/salespeople. Cadillac should also offer the best warranty in the luxury car market. I think 80k bumper to bumper would break them out of the pack. Follow up with superlative customer service the entire time your own your car. Maybe the Saturn customer guidebooks are stored in the bowels of the REN CEN. They would be a good start. If not, I’m getting four-sqaured by salesman and my service writer is advising a CD player degaussing. People want to spit out the bad taste of I’m buying an overpriced Chevy and bad service from a stealership;Caddy doesn’t have that

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. K

      How many sales does BMW get b/c of 3/36 free maintenance?
      That makes a lease a no cost deal for customers – pay the lease buy insurance and gas and perhaps a set of tires when it’s time for the next one.

      The lease comes back and is sold as CPO.

      What a unique idea, huh?

  • avatar
    Ratsnake

    Guys, I think Apple is a bit of a red herring here.

    These comments, coupled with the pricing strategy, show that Cadillac is looking at Burberry under Angela Ahrendts as a case study. Burberry pricing and product range had skewed toward affordability, and so lower-income “chavs” started to buy the product. Then, price increases in the traditional line of coats and such, as well as new lines of ungodly expensive stuff (“Burberry Prorsum”) were introduced. This supposedly increased profits and greatly improved people’s estimation of Burberry. I don’t know whether this resulted from “conquests” over more more traditional fancy coat-sellers such as Barbour or Filson, or other fashion houses; or perhaps it made the traditional Burberry customer willing to buy additional products from (or pay more for each item from) a brand he’d always purchased.

    Like Apple, Cadillac has to engineer, design, and obtain some regulatory approval for its product before it is cool or not-cool. That is a much bigger investment in brainpower than is involved with most “luxury brands.” Apple is emphatically not a luxury brand: your iphone is the same whether you carry it in greasy jeans or a Hermes case of some sort, and whether you use it to order pizza or jewels.

    But the Burberry turnaround isn’t a particularly great model for Cadillac. It is competing against other cars, not expanding the market for cars. It is the original winner AND original loser of expanding market share through aggressive pricing.

    People will like Cadillac (call it cool) if the cars look right and do something they want from an automobile. You know what they don’t really advertise? Escalades. And what do the people want from Cadillac? …Yup, Escalades. I’m sure there’s lots else that Cadillac could improve, but aspiring to be a lifestyle/luxury brand is just that: aspiration. Based on my guess, they should make some kind of blackout trim smaller SUV with a “V” engine that will smoke Porsche SUVs.

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    OK, as far as my browsing has turned up no here has gone to Ms. Lee’s Linkedin profile that Ronnie linked to.

    She speaks Chinese.

    Huh, what could that mean?

    Here is what I think it means – to GM China is becoming their #1 marketing opportunity and the US with our declining standard of life for most folks is becoming less critical.

    ” I remember, when you were down
    And you needed a helping hand
    I came to feed you
    But now that I need you
    You won’t give me a second glance
    Now I’m calling all citizens from all over the world
    This is Captain America calling
    I bailed you out when you were down on your knees
    So will you catch me now I’m falling

    Help me now I’m calling you
    Catch me now I’m falling
    I’m in your hands, it’s up to you
    Catch me now I’m falling

    I remember when you were down
    You would always come running to me
    I never denied you and I would guide you
    Through all of your difficulties
    Now I’m calling all citizens from all over the world
    This is Captain America calling
    I bailed you out when you were down on your knees
    So will you catch me now I’m falling

    Help me now I’m calling you
    Catch me now I’m falling
    I’m in your hands, it’s up to you
    Catch me now I’m falling

    When you were broke you would come to me
    And I would always pull you round
    Now I call your office on the telephone
    And your secretary tells me that she’s sorry,
    But, you’ve gone out of town.

    This is Captain America calling
    This is Captain America calling

    Help me now I’m calling you
    Catch me now I’m falling
    I’m in your hands, it’s up to you
    Catch me now I’m falling

    Catch me now I’m falling
    Catch me now I’m falling
    Catch me now I’m falling
    Catch me now I’m falling

    I stood by you through all of your depressions
    And I lifted you when you were down
    Now it’s your chance to do the same for me
    I call your office and your secretary tells me
    That you’ve gone out of town

    This is Captain America calling
    This is Captain America calling

    Catch me now I’m falling
    Catch me now I’m falling

    I was the one who always bailed you out
    Of your depressions and your difficulties
    I never thought that you would let me down
    But the next time you’re in trouble
    Better not come running to me

    Now I’m calling all citizens from all over the world
    This is Captain America calling
    I bailed you out when you were down on your knees
    So will you catch me now I’m falling
    Catch me now I’m falling

    Catch me now I’m falling
    Catch me now I’m falling
    Catch me now I’m falling
    Catch me now I’m falling”

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      This is just a factually incorrect screed.

      The U.S. definitely has severe structural economic issues, and is in a perverse iteration of radical central bank full fractional fiat experimentation to prop up a massive portion of its NOMINAL economic activity (now a larger portion of wealth shifting via legislative, judicial and regulatory capture vs wealth creation than at any point since the 1920s, with a huge economic inequality divide growing by leaps and bounds as a result), but let’s consider and examine the following competing economic powers, as a compare and contrast exercise, to challenge your assertions:

      China -‘major problems and it’s now on the cusp of economic contraction per even massaged government figures, as well as having a pending banking crisis and major property bubble meltdown;

      Japan – probably the most seriously ailing major economic power on the world stage today, with the most sever accrued debt-to-GDP ratio of any developed or emerging nation;

      UK – very much as sick as the U.S. for largely the same reasons.

      EU – The PIIGS block of ailing (and some failing) member states can now add France to their roster of critical condition economies, and incredibly, Germany is now starting to buckle under the strain of sick co-EU members and a still overvalued euro.

      Everything is relative – least ugly at the show – throwing stones at glass houses from within glass houses. Etc.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    I’m sorta surprised nobody brought up Harley Davidson in this thread. They seem to be the flavour-de-jour of the corporate-consultancy-tour, the prime example of the “lifestyle brand”. I could see Cadillac in that role, but not with the products they have now. Maybe if they had something that would out Hellcat the Hellcat. As it is, Cadillac just seems sad, and here in East-By-God-Tennessee, they are just another division of Obama’s Governmnent Motors.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    What has all this got to do with the price of a Cadillac in China?

    (See what I did there?)

  • avatar
    Robbie

    The only way Caddilac will stop being an automotive brand is when the God of Cars in its infinite mercy decides to stop allowing these abominations to populate American roads.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Interesting that in all the rush to the Semi-Weekly TTAC Cadillac Two Minutes’ hate, this quote, which directly followed the one in the headline, was lost:

    “There is nothing that exciting about an ad with a car in it by itself. We need to start injecting more humanity into our brand and into our advertising.”

    Now, if anyone wants to argue with that, or argue that image is unimportant in selling luxury cars, have right at it. Good luck. She’s right on both counts.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    “I don’t buy products, I buy brands. I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

    facepalm.jpg

    As an scientist and engineer who’s been using computers since childhood, contributed Linux driver code and *uses Apple computers because they are better,* there is nothing that annoys me more than someone who uses Apples because they are cool.

    These people who are a part of the Apple fashionista brigade are actually the ones who are largely responsible for the great popular anti-Apple backlash – without knowing what made Apple computers cool in the first place, their insistence that Apple was better made all Apple users look like drones.

    These types are also the ones who are responsible for the decline of Apple. Instead of Apple producing Better Stuff (for the most part, occasional missteps aside) Apple has shifted to trading on its brand with hardware/software that is becoming more and more mediocre since Steve Job’s passing. The jump the shark moment came with the purchase of Beats Audio – a company largely known for selling mediocre hardware almost purely on brand image.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    They can screw around with inane marketing tricks and unsellable cars all day, as long as the Escalade still exists Cadillac lives on.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Let Ms. Lee handle the marketing as she will.

    Here’s my take on what Cadillac needs to do:

    1) Don’t back off the current styling trends.

    2) Start developing Cadillac-exclusive engines, or at least engineer Cadillac-specific versions of basic GM designs if the former option isn’t feasible, the way Chevrolet did with the Corvette. You shouldn’t be able to buy the engine in a Cadillac in any other GM car (the exception would probably be the Escalade, which is its’ own beast anyway).

    3) They desperately need a heavily refreshed SRX, and a smaller CUV along the lines of the Lincoln MKC.

    4) Don’t cut prices. If that hurts sales for the time being, then so be it.

    5) Retool CUE. Now.

    6) Introduce a CLA fighter. If, as Ms. Lee says, the brand is after millenials, then there’s your entry product (along with the compact CUV). How about an AWD compact sedan based on the Cruze platform (or a shrunken Epsilon), with an uprated 2.0T engine, unique styling, and a high quality interior? Sell it for $35000. THIS would bring in moderately well heeled millenials.

    7) The ATS needs to come with length. If China can have it, then so should the U.S. And the base engine needs to be a massaged version of the 2.0T – the 2.5 needs to be deep-sixed.

    8) And fix the gauges, if for no other reason than to shut DW the hell up. Hire whoever did the gauge cluster on the new Chrysler 200.

    We know Cadillac can build good looking, high quality cars that handle beautifully. Now it’s time for the next step.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “How about an AWD compact sedan based on the Cruze platform (or a shrunken Epsilon), with an uprated 2.0T engine, unique styling, and a high quality interior? Sell it for $35000. THIS would bring in moderately well heeled millennial.”

      Proof you are just absolutely clueless.

      Yes, a 35k rebadged Chevy Cruze is what Millennials will clamor after (although, in the interest a fair disclosure, a 16k Chevy Cruze is a better vehicle dollar-for-dollar, by far, than a 40k ATS, and more reliable & durable, likely, as well).

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I’ve been beating this same drum for so long… Why isn’t the ATS a crossover to compete with GLA, X4, Q3/5 etc?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          They need a compact sedan to compete with A4/C-class/IS/3-series AND the compact CUV, I’d say.

          But I’d say no to the full size CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The ATS is supposed to be the 3-series fighter.

            The ATS has a sticker price that starts in the low 30s. Having a car slotted below that with a sticker price $2k higher wouldn’t make much sense.

            I would suggest that an effort to move more ATS and CTS would make more sense than spending another few hundred million or more to add yet another passenger car to a lineup that doesn’t perform that well as it is.

            I have serious doubts about this go-global/be-like-the-Germans approach. However, if I was to follow that path, then I would copy the BMW leasing/free maintenance/CPO program, and implement it aggressively. Don’t worry about profit for now — focus instead on volume and customer satisfaction.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The problem with Cadillac going downmarket is that Buick exists, and the Buicks in this space sell in reasonably good numbers. What can Cadillac offer in these segments that Buick doesn’t? GM should worry about Cadillac getting into this territory. Cadillac apparently wants to because it’s low hanging volume fruit that would make things look better for Cadillac.

            The best thing for Cadillac to do as a brand would be to get out of lower end cars that compete with Buick altogether. Focus on high end stuff. This has multiple benefits in increasing brand cache and not cannibalizing Buick. If they can’t do that, shut em down.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Danio:

            I think you can have both brands exist with minimal overlap. Buicks should be more traditional cars – more isolated, softer, less performance-oriented. Cadillacs should be more sophisticated and technically advanced, and should ride on unique platforms where possible.

            Where you have shared platforms (I’d foresee the overlap being with a small compact or CUV), the Cadillacs should have unique engines and suspension setups, and better quality interior fittings.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Trying to differentiate even more models within that price band doesn’t make much sense, as they’ll just cannibalize each other. Danio is right.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I disagree, PCH. The top end of the Buick sedan range is about $45,000, for a loaded-up LaCrosse. Someone in the market for that car is not going to cross-shop an ATS, any more than he’s going to cross-shop a C-class Benz or a 3-series BMW. The converse also holds true.

            These cars may be similarly priced, but they have completely different target markets. I really don’t think you’ll see a lot of Buick-Cadillac cross-shopping.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, then, by all means let’s hear your solution to this product need. Perhaps they should engineer a whole new platform, just like Audi did with the A3…whoops, forgot, that one’s a Golf under the skin. And the Mercedes CLA is an A-class under the skin. Don’t know what an A-class is? Look it up. You’ll find it’s a compact sedan that competes with the Cruze in Europe.

        But no one would EVER base a compact sport sedan on a compact economy car. No siree. Gosh, Audi must be clueless. Ditto for Mercedes. Well, at least I’m in good company, I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          This is old GM thinking repackaged for today’s market.

          Instead of dreaming up even more new cars, try to figure out how to move more of the ones that they already make. That’s far cheaper and much more efficient from an organizational standpoint.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      1) Why? The ATS/CTS are not even A&S anymore, and are anonymous in a market that is dying for and responding positively to bold style (CLA, CLS, F-Type, A7, Panamera). A CTS with the too small 18s in East Berlin Gray is a sad sight and pretty much the opposite of the statement Cadillacs should make.

      2) Why? Literally everyone else with non-luxury brands shares engines with mainstream brands. Customers don’t care where the engines come from, as long as they are good and competitive. If anything, Cadillac should be looking at its next gen of engines. Their 2.0T is thrashy and no more powerful than the 30HP less BMW N20, and BMW, Audi and Mercedes are all using blown 6s that wash GM’s 3.6.

      3) Agreed.

      4) Market is already cutting prices with lower transaction prices and rebates. You can’t sell generic brand goods at name brand prices.

      5) Agreed.

      6) They should have done this and the MKC style crossover instead of the ATS/CTS. Truthfully, the Alpha platform should never have happened. Instead, a CLA fighter, some mini-Escalades (a la Range Rover’s lineup) and a midsize plug in hybrid “Super Volt” based on existing platforms and tech would have been a much smarter and more successful launch, relevant to the markets Cadillac has any chance in (i.e. everywhere but Europe).

      7) Wouldn’t need length with FWD platforms. And the 3 series has a roomier back seat with about the same wheelbase. ATS/CTS’ rear seat problem is just bad design- probably room taken up for the complex rear suspension for at the limit handling nobody cares about.

      8) Just another example of GM’s lack of attention to detail. Tune the car at the Ring and throw in a gauge cluster from a 1992 Pontiac.

      ATS/CTS/Alpha platform never should have happened. Or if they did happen, they should have happened 15-20 years ago. BMW itself is moving away from the hard edged at the limit focus Cadillac is gunning for because it realized people don’t care about that anymore. GM is just completely lost. ATS/CTS prove they can build great cars, but are still lost in direction and have no idea what the market wants (or just doesn’t care).

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Sportyaccordy, Cadillac has already tried selling a much nicer version of a FWD family sedan – it’s called the XTS, and it’s been a failure. Both Alpha sedans outsell it handily.

        But if you need more proof that what you propose won’t work, look no further than Acura. They decided to not make RWD-platform cars, and focus on SUVs – and they have suffered MIGHTILY for it, even though the SUVs are highly competitive. Think about that for a second. Acura failed miserably selling uprated versions of FWD sedans, even when the sedans were based on the Accord, which is a brilliant car (I think it may just be the best sedan in the world, dollar for dollar). I’d say that pretty much covers it.

        Clearly the luxury car “market” has spoken – they don’t want nicer versions of mass-market family sedans. They rejected the XTS, and they rejected Acura.

        They want unique platforms with more technical sophistication and performance. No, you don’t have to be “hard-edged” about it, but there should be a higher performance plateau, and that means RWD.

        Yes, Cadillac needs CUVs. But they need more FWD platform cars like they need a brain tumor.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          @FreedMike at the TL’s peak it handily outsold the ATS/CTS combined (79K in 2005 vs 70K in 2013), and the excuse that the ATS was in its first year is no good as it doesn’t look like sales will be much better this year. With the TSX, Acura’s combo was moving 100-110K units a year- numbers Caddy would DREAM of, most likely at a similar per vehicle profit given Caddy’s incentives and price cuts.

          TL/TSX failed because Honda, in its typical fashion, let a non-core product languish without meaningful updates. On top of that, both cars got significantly uglier with their 2008/2009 FMCs, in the midst of a recession. Plus there was also a lot of overlap- TSX V6 kind of made the base TLs pointless, and the growth of the TSX put it too close to the TL in size.

          XTS is failing because it’s ugly, and because large sedans in general are in decline sales wise, FWD OR RWD, mainstream OR luxury. A sexed up PHEV LWB Impala for $40-50K would do well, just as Lexus’ ES does. Actually, Lexus’ ES is Lexus best selling sedan, and outsells all other luxury sedans but the 3 series and C Class. So so much for FWD being a “brain tumor”. ES does well because it is what customers want… that basic thing is something Cadillac hasn’t been able to figure out, outside of the Escalade, for a good 40-50 years

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          @FreedMike I had a long response that disappeared in the void so I will be brief

          – XTS failed because it’s ugly and large sedans in general, from all brands and levels, are in sales freefall. Also didn’t really have a clear market- who is supposed to want the XTS? Who is the archetypal XTS customer? In my experience it’s a NYC executive livery company.

          – TL at its peak (2005) outsold the ATS/CTS combined (78K vs 70K combined). TSX added another ~40K to that. TSX/TL declined because they got ugly, and Honda as it always does didn’t update them enough.

          – FWD is fine, Lexus ES is the #3 top selling luxury sedan after the 3 series & C-Class and has been so for years.

          – Caddy’s main problem is they still have no idea what the market wants or where they can fit in it. The Alpha platform was a mistake, period… whole market is moving away from sport sedans as evidenced by the 3’s softening and the new C Class’ complete abandonment of sporty pretenses

          – Dont be a fanboy, it’s a bad look

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I’ve never seen a more self-contradictory photo than that little Undifferentiated East Asian Lady posing with a Cadillac.

    It’s like a vision tormenting our dying fathers. And her verbal chiffon of perfectly good English phrases whipped into meaningless froth is even worse.

    Oh, well, it’s just a luxury brand dying here and as the Germans’ down-marketing and model proliferation show, they’re not nearly as significant as the fat middle of the market.

    Like many other grossly bloated diabetics, GM will get away this time with just an amputation.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’m going to state this right now as an invitation to rumble, not for the sake of rumble, but because I believe it to be true, and would love SUBSTANTIVE counterarguments:

      Here are just a few vehicles that are 2/3 to 1/2 the price of most new Cadillacs that have at least as good (or better) fit/finish, that have at least as good (or better) refinement, that have at least as good (or better) ride quality (a former Cadillac badge of distinction, now destroyed), that have at least as good (or better) cabin quiet, that have at least as good (or better) transmissions, that have at least as good (or better) engine refinement (whether 4 or 6 cylinders), and that have better reliability, durability and better resale value (as a % of original new transaction price) –

      Honda Accord
      2015 Hyundai Sonata (the new one is vastly improved)
      Toyota Avalon
      Chrysler 300
      2015 Hyundai Genesis
      2015 Volkswagen Golf/GTI (yep, I said it)

      There are many more. This is a partial list. All but the VW will shame Cadillac in terms of long term dependability (the VW will be close, though).

      And all but the Golf/GTI have far more large back seats, with far more legroom and shoulder room, than either the incredibly interior space inefficient ATS or CTS.

      The best Cadillac at present, because it comes closest to capturing Cadillac’s reason for creation and being, is a FWD version of the Chevrolet Impala, but the Impala costs 1/2 as much as the XTS.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        You must have meant this to be a free-standing comment, no? That is, not as a reply to me.

        Well, actually… let me use the opportunity to ask you about something that puzzles me:

        Why do you devote so much energy to trashing Cadillac when almost nobody ever disagrees with you? There is no battle.

      • 0 avatar
        GS 455

        Wich car on your list has the best ride? How does the ride quality of the 2015 Genesis compare to the Chrysler 300? Wich one absorbs bumps and potholes better?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          For those who prefer a more plush ride associated with a large sedan oriented towards comfort, the 300 has the best ride quality, IMO. In most ways, including ride quality, it out-Cadillacs Cadillac, and by a wide measure (interior room, quiet, heft, down low torque from the 3.6 and obviously, the optional Hemi in the C – compared to the unrefined 4 bangers in the ATS and CTS, and the just okay 3.6 liter that’s used in every GM branded vehicle).

          For those inclined towards a slightly more European ride, the 2015 Genesis is best, and a huge improvement over the last gen Genesis.

          From anywhere from 30k for the 300, and 38k for the Genesis (less in terms of real ATP), I’d buy either the 300 or 2015 Genesis any day of the week over any Cadillac, even IF THEY COST MORE (but they cost 25% to 50% less!).

          The kicker is they’ll be far more durable over time than either the ATS or CTS (which disintegratesp at the speed of a bottom rung GM product – the Chevy Cruze is a better reliability/durability pick).

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    She’s your atypical superficial, soulless, obsessed with name-brand products Chinese person and she is there to get more superficial, soulless, obsessed with name-brand products Chinese people to buy Cadillacs because that is GM’s best chance to sell more Cadillacs since it is flaming out here in America. People are reading way too much into what she said and over-analyzing her, what I described sums up the typical culture-less new Chinese consumer today. You could probably sell these people a golden turd as long as you told them it was exclusive and it was the best or that the other rich and powerful people of the world thought it was the best and most prestigious.

    However if GM/Cadillac really wants to sell to these people, they better get cracking on making their dealerships and salesmen as humanly close to Lexus/BMW and Mercedes because most of the Cadillac dealerships I have ever been to will not cut it. Once they get the dealerships in order, then the next step will be to have some special edition Prada, Louis Vuitton or Tom Ford editions and done right and well, they will sell them all and then some. Nothing like a Prada CT-whatever to go with your Prada belt or handbag.

    Honestly Cadillacs are strikingly good looking vehicles, the problem is the prestige all goes away when it is on the lot parked next to a Cruze or some other Chevy or GMC product and you have to deal with Chevy/GMC types of guys in the showroom and service departments. It’s always a crapshoot what type of service you are going to get.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “the typical culture-less new Chinese consumer today.”

      What I’ve seen of Chinese princes and princesses and their familial relationships makes me disagree. Their acculturation is so early and profound that after their youthful giddy-schitzes they’ll revert to the pressure cooker of family-centered Confucian clustering just like baba and mama.

      You don’t take the hutong out of the Han so easily.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “the typical culture-less new Chinese consumer today.”

      What I’ve seen of Chinese princes and princesses and their familial relationships makes me disagree. Their acculturation is so early and profound that after their youthful giddy-schitzes they’ll revert to the pressure cooker of family-centered Confucian clustering just like baba and mama.

      You don’t take the hutong out of the Han so easily.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      The latent racism is strong in these posts. American born Chinese-American but the first thing you guys can’t get past is that she’s Chinese.

  • avatar
    ccode81

    If she was representing something like KIA, it was a perfect comment to convince people to pay for real value.
    For Cadillac, it sounds to trying rip off for over decorated Chevy.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I get what she’s saying, but the delivery is certainly enough to make true car-types squirm. She’s absolutely right about the brand, though. all the carmakers in this space make good products, branding is how they will set themselves apart and command higher prices.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    I think it is ironic that the article contains one of the most common Millenial failures – ability to write in English. I mean, this is Fortune, a major publication, right?
    “Luxury is a crowded spaced, he added, and it will take time for Cadillac to see results.”

    When you read something like this, the reaction is akin to when sitting in a Cimmaron – where did this POS come from?!

    And Ms. Lee was, what, 12 when Apple came out with the ipod? Does she really comprehend how far ahead technologically and usability-wise was that product? I honestly don’t think she does and I attribute it all, entirely, to her young inexperienced age.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    So, the question I’m asking — and that no one else here seems interested in — is who thought it would be a good idea for this woman to ventilate her thoughts in such a public forum. This is “inside baseball” stuff, even for a nominally business-oriented publication.

    If branding is like magic, built on illusion and misdirection, then, like magicians, you don’t let anyone see what’s going on behind the curtain.

    Cadillac hasn’t been a serious luxury car since the late 1950s. I had the pleasure — as a kid — of riding in my great uncle’s 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood. That car was light years ahead of the plebian Ford sedan my dad owned, or the equally plebian Plymouth sedan my grandfather owned and certainly any of the Mercedes sedans that I had ridden in when he was stationed in Europe. Air conditioning, power windows, power brakes, automatic transmission, effortless power from the big V-8, a soft, quiet ride — that was the last of the cars that defined the Cadillac brand. And let’s remember, that brand was at least 30 years in the making, as of the late 1950’s. It was Cadillac, for example, that introduced the electric starter, ending the dangerous and unpleasant practice of cranking an engine by hand.

    During the succeeding 30+ years after 1960, Cadillac traded on the value of that brand to sell increasingly sad and pathetic automobiles.

    This is the case with any product. Want to talk about Apple? Sure, let’s talk about apple. Before Apple “went corporate” and had John Sculley replace Steve Jobs, it was the company that made a graphic OS that actually worked, unlike the buggy, inconsistent Windows. (The first decent Windows OS was Windows 95.) Then Sculley and company sucked the life out of Apple, not updating the OS to a true multitasking and making mediocre products that failed to deliver (remember the Newton). Jobs brought back a smooth OS and re-focused the company on truly elegant product design. Compare the first I-Mac with any number of the computer-in-a box desktops that it challenged.

    If Cadillac really wants to establish itself as a luxury brand, then it should study what Toyota did in launching Lexus with the LS-400.

    Interviews like this make it seem more likely that Cadillac will be the equivalent of silver plate on base metal, not sterling.

    • 0 avatar
      dominic1955

      The LS400 is basically what Cadillac should have designed back then instead of half-assed attempts at making Benz/Bimmer fighters complete with oldschool Broughamtastic gingerbread.

      I’m firmly in the Brougham camp, I love the “classic” big, RWD, vinyl topped, spoke wheeled Cadillac. I really do, but I understand the need to remain competetive and by not just having a proper “modern” Cadillac, they were too little to late. Even though I like the old school, I also like the LS400-it seemed to combine the best of both worlds.

      New Caddies do not interest me in the slightest, and this new BS attitude they have makes me even less interested.

  • avatar

    Premonition:

    you will see Cadillac sold to the Chinese, most likely underwritten by agents JPM and GS. Rothschilds themselves advising the Commies.

  • avatar
    zlive

    Hi, I’m looking for the racist, misogynist, millennial hating party for old and probably white men? Oh great, here it is! Just wanted to thank everyone who’s been indulging in the above, for continuing to make car enthusiasts look like a bunch of backwards, luddite turds! Rock on, guys. You’ve been holding that angle down since tail fins were new, and your attitude has done wonders for keeping out women, minorities, and lately, anyone under the age of 30.

    Seriously though, whatever you think of Melody Lee’s comments, the sexist and racist comments that have been made by certain people in this comment thread are disgusting. Equally as disgusting is the complete lack of comment moderation that allows the situation to persist. I love reading the comments and points from very informed posters on TTAC, of which there are many. Stuff like this, however, not only turns off hardcore gearheads like me – it also contributes to an attitude that keeps women, minorities, and millennials away from car culture. And we wonder why the younger generation “doesn’t get it”. If they wandered onto this site and found this comment thread, I think they could be forgiven for “not getting it” to a the point where they “wouldn’t touch this site with a 10 foot pole” and would therefore be “far less likely to want to engage with car culture in general because of previous negative experience”. If you catch my meaning. And I think you do.

    • 0 avatar
      dominic1955

      They let your comment through, no?

      Seriously though, I agree that the idea needs to be criticized. Its just shallow to make cheap cracks at the person but could have you worded that in any way that doesn’t make you look like 1990s birkenstocks and plaid over-sensitive guy?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      In addition to her syntactically idiotic statement regarding “Cadillac should be a brand, not an automaker,” and her synergy buzzword speak (nauseating), Ms. Lee chose to do an interview about “What I Wear To Work.”

      She’s a retard.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There are plenty of younger commenters on this site, some just as sexist and misogynist as any of them. There are also hardcore wacko leftists, right wing nut jobs, white, black, asian and indian folks (among others I’m sure), homosexuals and even a some women. Try not to paint everyone with the same brush because there are a vocal few you actually noticed in this particular thread.

      While I agree there are a lot of dumb and off color remarks in this thread, they reflect the commenters, not the site. Calls for censorship are off target. Don’t let others define who you are. If reading people’s opinions upsets you, the internet might not be for you.

      • 0 avatar
        zlive

        I’m specifically talking about certain comments in this thread, not other threads or other articles on the site. I’m not painting everyone with the same brush, I’m calling out certain individuals on this thread (you know who you are) for lowering the level of the conversation to the point of being outright offensive. I’m not calling for censorship, I’m calling for people in the car community to be more inclusive and to actively repudiate intolerance from those in our midst. Otherwise it continues to fester, continues to poison the culture. If my lack of acceptance of racist jokes upsets you, then the year 2014 might not be for you.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          You have a right to be offended, no objection about that. This sounds like a call for censorship, though.

          “Equally as disgusting is the complete lack of comment moderation that allows the situation to persist.”

          This site prides itself of having an open forum and promoting free expression of “truth”, whatever that may be. Freedom of expression sometimes means having to tolerate a few jerks in order to ensure that we can all have the same courtesy to express our own subjective “truths”. The last two managing editors have been very sparing with the banhammer, and the site is better for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      I just ordered the world’s smallest violin. Should be arriving soon.

  • avatar
    guardian452

    This coming as a long time mac user, I use mac OSX for work, have a few macbooks and an iphone, but when or how are apple “cool”? It’s basic utilitarian stuff, like a toyota corolla. Guaranteed to start no matter what.

    I’ve aways found ibm/lenovo thinkpads to be the “coolest” and sexiest computers out there, clean and sleek black. Followed closely by sony VAIO. A thinkpad is the sort of machine han solo would have if he ever had a need for a laptop.

    I have a thinkpad w510,x220, and the wife has a pink vaio Z. I want a vaio UX, too, but not sure what I’ll do with it :)

    Apple ranks somewhere slightly below dell but above HP for me.

    The kicker is they make by far the cheapest portable unix machines which are also reasonably durable and attractive. Maybe I should have a closer look at cygwin again after caddy’s comment, I don’t want to roll the dice with linux but I also don’t want to be seen lumped in with the “cool” crowd.

    FWIW, the apple sign on the back of my “work” MBP is covered with stickers. :)

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I agree that she comes off sounding like an idiot, regardless of age, gender, or nationality. Here’s the only thought I have to throw into the ring:

    What if her comments — especially about buying what’s cool — are about playing dog-whistle marketing?

    Many of the Applephiles I know embrace the Apple lifestyle not just because they think Apple is cool, but also somehow think that Apple employees are actively trying to make Apple users cool.

    Perhaps Cadillac is trying to replicate that strange simultaneous mix of inclusiveness and exclusiveness that surrounds Apple (and Tesla, come to think of it). That would at least explain what otherwise seems like amazingly vapid remarks.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    She doesn’t want Cadillac to be the best, she wants it to be “cool”? What a brainless idiot.

    The reason that Apple is “cool” is because they create excellent products. Regardless of how shallow and superficial the average consumer is, the reputation doesn’t come without a truly excellent product.

    With thinking like hers, Cadillac deserves to fail.

    • 0 avatar
      Otterpops

      Apple create products deliberately crippled by consumer-unfriendly policies, or incidentally worsened by decades-old design decisions. They sell high-mid range hardware for super-premium prices. On paper and in practical terms, they do not have the best products, but they are able to charge the highest prices of anyone who isn’t festooning their phones with diamonds.

      She is absolutely right about Apple. If she were shopping for a great phone or computer purely on its own merits she wouldn’t give Apple a second thought.

      With thinking like hers, Cadillac deserves to fail. But thinking like hers alone won’t make it fail. With thinking like hers, CIVILIZATION deserves to fail, and I’m not convinced it won’t.

  • avatar

    “Cadillac hasn’t been a serious luxury car since the late 1950s. I had the pleasure — as a kid — of riding in my great uncle’s 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood. That car was light years ahead of the plebian Ford sedan my dad owned, or the equally plebian Plymouth sedan my grandfather owned and certainly any of the Mercedes sedans that I had ridden in when he was stationed in Europe. Air conditioning, power windows, power brakes, automatic transmission, effortless power from the big V-8, a soft, quiet ride — that was the last of the cars that defined the Cadillac brand. And let’s remember, that brand was at least 30 years in the making, as of the late 1950’s. It was Cadillac, for example, that introduced the electric starter, ending the dangerous and unpleasant practice of cranking an engine by hand.”

    Personally, I think the 1953 Cadillac better represented what the brand stood for. The closest European equivalent of that came a decade or so later in the form of the Mercedes 600. The 1959 Cadillac was not just the zenith of American kitsch, but also the beginning of GM’s soon-to-be legendary form of cost-cutting and volume chasing. Mercedes stayed the course while Cadillac did its “40 years in the wilderness” bit before finding its footing with the CTS.

    The biggest problem among our Oldest and Crustiest is that Cadillac doesn’t have a “gives-no-f**ks” type of flagship vehicle to showcase, aside from the Escalade. They still have sepia-toned memories of their low and long American Boulevarders that plied the highways with that unique form of self-assured American dominance. These days, you’d only find that sort of thing in full-size pickup trucks, but buying a GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD would be akin to buying an Oldsmobile 98 Regency – almost there, but not quite.

    The biggest problem with Cadillac itself is how it spent the past 40 years squandering its brand equity, to the point where people think Buick has better brand cachet. Which brings us to Melody Lee, who thinks re-framing Cadillac in terms of iPod-era Apple will help repair its cachet. But Apple had a visionary (Steve Jobs) who helped usher in great, must-have products (iPod, iMac, iPhone, etc.) that helped change people’s perceptions about that brand. Caddy has the CTS, SRX and ATS (regardless of how flawed it is), but not much else. The XTS is, for all intents, a legacy product for the scant few Oldest and Crustiest who’d be better served by Buick. Caddy’s CUV lineup is riddled with holes. The Escalade is what it is, for better or worse.

    Cadillac needs good product that speaks for itself, right this very minute. And that product needs to be designed with the utmost care and with insane attention to detail (after the mid-1950s, Cadillac got sloppy with the details). It needs a traditional low(ish)-slung flagship sedan with RWD (and optional AWD) and a standard V8 with a V12 option, all wrapped up in the same sleek body styling that made the Sixteen and Elmiraj concepts a hit. In fact, scale up the Elmiraj as a four-door and roll with that, please.

    Next, GM should shore up Cadillac’s CUV gaps with credible mid-size and full-size alternatives, instead of sending people to Buick and GMC to get their luxury CUV fixes under the GM banner. Forget about the ELR unless you want to make it as distinctive and as innovative the Tesla Model S was when it was introduced (which IMHO was the perfect Cadillac – technologically advanced and in a wrapper that was sleek and distinctive). Forget about chasing MB and Audi down the primrose path of compact luxury unless you want to repeat the mistakes of the 1980s again – focus on the big boys (A8, S-Class, 7-Series) to get your credibility back.

    Keep the Escalade. It works. In fact, it’s probably the only Caddy that people respect and recognize instantly. The brand’s Range Rover. Not bad for what was once a barely-dressed Denali with an overdone snozz. Keep working with it.

    Finally, learn to live with the fact that Cadillac will be nothing more than a novelty automobile in Europe. That’s okay. It really ought to be focused on cultivating brand equity in Asia and other emerging markets. Parlay some of that 1950s mystique into a media campaign that has people talking about your brand for all the right reasons, and then back that campaign up with good, high-quality and appropriately luxurious products. Make buying and owning a Cadillac an earned privilege instead of a throwaway joke.

  • avatar

    “Cadillac hasn’t been a serious luxury car since the late 1950s. I had the pleasure — as a kid — of riding in my great uncle’s 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood. That car was light years ahead of the plebian Ford sedan my dad owned, or the equally plebian Plymouth sedan my grandfather owned and certainly any of the Mercedes sedans that I had ridden in when he was stationed in Europe. Air conditioning, power windows, power brakes, automatic transmission, effortless power from the big V-8, a soft, quiet ride — that was the last of the cars that defined the Cadillac brand. And let’s remember, that brand was at least 30 years in the making, as of the late 1950’s. It was Cadillac, for example, that introduced the electric starter, ending the dangerous and unpleasant practice of cranking an engine by hand.”

    Personally, I think the 1953 Cadillac better represented what the brand stood for. The closest European equivalent of that came a decade or so later in the form of the Mercedes 600. The 1959 Cadillac was not just the zenith of American kitsch, but also the beginning of GM’s soon-to-be legendary form of cost-cutting and volume chasing. Mercedes stayed the course while Cadillac did its “40 years in the wilderness” bit before finding its footing with the CTS.

    The biggest problem among our Oldest and Crustiest is that Cadillac doesn’t have a “gives-no-f**ks” type of flagship vehicle to showcase, aside from the Escalade. They still have sepia-toned memories of their low and long American Boulevarders that plied the highways with that unique form of self-assured American dominance. These days, you’d only find that sort of thing in full-size pickup trucks, but buying a GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD would be akin to buying an Oldsmobile 98 Regency – almost there, but not quite.

    The biggest problem with Cadillac itself is how it spent the past 40 years squandering its brand equity, to the point where people think Buick has better brand cachet. Which brings us to Melody Lee, who thinks re-framing Cadillac in terms of iPod-era Apple will help repair its cachet. But Apple had a visionary (Steve Jobs) who helped usher in great, must-have products (iPod, iMac, iPhone, etc.) that helped change people’s perceptions about that brand. Caddy has the CTS, SRX and ATS (regardless of how flawed it is), but not much else. The XTS is, for all intents, a legacy product for the scant few Oldest and Crustiest who’d be better served by Buick. Caddy’s CUV lineup is riddled with holes. The Escalade is what it is, for better or worse.

    Cadillac needs good product that speaks for itself, right this very minute. And that product needs to be designed with the utmost care and with insane attention to detail (after the mid-1950s, Cadillac got sloppy with the details). It needs a traditional low(ish)-slung flagship sedan with RWD (and optional AWD) and a standard V8 with a V12 option, all wrapped up in the same sleek body styling that made the Sixteen and Elmiraj concepts a hit. In fact, scale up the Elmiraj as a four-door and roll with that, please.

    Next, GM should shore up Cadillac’s CUV gaps with credible mid-size and full-size alternatives, instead of sending people to Buick and GMC to get their luxury CUV fixes under the GM banner. Forget about the ELR unless you want to make it as distinctive and as innovative the Tesla Model S was when it was introduced (which IMHO was the perfect Cadillac – technologically advanced and in a wrapper that was sleek and distinctive). Forget about chasing MB and Audi down the primrose path of compact luxury unless you want to repeat the mistakes of the 1980s again – focus on the big boys (A8, S-Class, 7-Series) to get your credibility back.

    Keep the Escalade. It works. In fact, it’s probably the only Caddy that people respect and recognize instantly. The brand’s Range Rover. Not bad for what was once a barely-dressed Denali with an overdone snozz. Keep working with it.

    Finally, learn to live with the fact that Cadillac will be nothing more than a novelty automobile in Europe. That’s okay. It really ought to be focused on cultivating brand equity in Asia and other emerging markets. Parlay some of that 1950s mystique into a media campaign that has people talking about your brand for all the right reasons, and then back that campaign up with good, high-quality and appropriately luxurious products. Make buying and owning a Cadillac an earned privilege instead of a throwaway joke.

  • avatar

    “Cadillac hasn’t been a serious luxury car since the late 1950s. I had the pleasure — as a kid — of riding in my great uncle’s 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood. That car was light years ahead of the plebian Ford sedan my dad owned, or the equally plebian Plymouth sedan my grandfather owned and certainly any of the Mercedes sedans that I had ridden in when he was stationed in Europe. Air conditioning, power windows, power brakes, automatic transmission, effortless power from the big V-8, a soft, quiet ride — that was the last of the cars that defined the Cadillac brand. And let’s remember, that brand was at least 30 years in the making, as of the late 1950’s. It was Cadillac, for example, that introduced the electric starter, ending the dangerous and unpleasant practice of cranking an engine by hand.”

    Personally, I think the 1953 Cadillac better represented what the brand stood for. The closest European equivalent of that came a decade or so later in the form of the Mercedes-Benz 600. The 1959 Cadillac was not just the zenith of American kitsch, but also the beginning of GM’s soon-to-be legendary form of cost-cutting and volume chasing. Mercedes stayed the course while Cadillac did its “40 years in the wilderness” bit before finding its footing with the CTS.

    The biggest problem among our Oldest and Crustiest is that Cadillac doesn’t have a “gives-no-f**ks” type of flagship vehicle to showcase, aside from the Escalade. They still have sepia-toned memories of their low and long American Boulevarders that plied the highways with that unique form of self-assured American dominance. These days, you’d only find that sort of thing in full-size pickup trucks, but buying a GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD would be akin to buying an Oldsmobile 98 Regency – almost there, but not quite.

    The biggest problem with Cadillac itself is how it spent the past 40 years squandering its brand equity, to the point where people think Buick has better brand cachet. Which brings us to Melody Lee, who thinks re-framing Cadillac in terms of iPod-era Apple will help repair its cachet. But Apple had a visionary (Steve Jobs) who helped usher in great, must-have products (iPod, iMac, iPhone, etc.) that helped change people’s perceptions about that brand. Caddy has the CTS, SRX and ATS (regardless of how flawed it is), but not much else. The XTS is, for all intents, a legacy product for the scant few Oldest and Crustiest who’d be better served by Buick. Caddy’s CUV lineup is riddled with holes. The Escalade is what it is, for better or worse.

    Cadillac needs good product that speaks for itself, right this very minute. And that product needs to be designed with the utmost care and with insane attention to detail (after the mid-1950s, Cadillac got sloppy with the details). It needs a traditional low(ish)-slung flagship sedan with RWD (and optional AWD) and a standard V8 with a V12 option, all wrapped up in the same sleek body styling that made the Sixteen and Elmiraj concepts a hit. In fact, scale up the Elmiraj as a four-door and roll with that, please.

    Next, GM should shore up Cadillac’s CUV gaps with credible mid-size and full-size alternatives, instead of sending people to Buick and GMC to get their luxury CUV fixes under the GM banner. Forget about the ELR unless you want to make it as distinctive and as innovative the Tesla Model S was when it was introduced (which IMHO was the perfect Cadillac – technologically advanced and in a wrapper that was sleek and distinctive). Forget about chasing MB and Audi down the primrose path of compact luxury unless you want to repeat the mistakes of the 1980s again – focus on the big boys (A8, S-Class, 7-Series) to get your credibility back.

    Keep the Escalade. It works. In fact, it’s probably the only Caddy that people respect and recognize instantly. The brand’s Range Rover. Not bad for what was once a barely-dressed Denali with an overdone snozz. Keep working with it.

    Finally, learn to live with the fact that Cadillac will be nothing more than a novelty automobile in Europe. That’s okay. It really ought to be focused on cultivating brand equity in Asia and other emerging markets. Parlay some of that 1950s mystique into a media campaign that has people talking about your brand for all the right reasons, and then back that campaign up with good, high-quality and appropriately luxurious products. Make buying and owning a Cadillac an earned privilege instead of a throwaway joke.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    I don’t have to make any remarks about her gender or appearance, since that’s irrelevant when an idiot is an idiot.

    I do buy cars depending on who’s running the show at the company. I bought a Ford because I felt Alan Mulally would sell the best cars in the world or die trying and he delivered.

    On the other hand, why should I buy from Cadillac if they want to sell me a bunch of buzzwords instead of the best cars in the world?

    I was born in 1985 and refuse to call myself a millennial. I hate their focus on buzz over substance and thinking that gender or race can be a substitute for competence.

  • avatar
    Otterpops

    “I don’t buy products, I buy brands. I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

    Everything wrong with consumer capitalism in one paragraph.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      Yeah, it makes you think Ms. Lee hasn’t sold her college textbooks yet, this sounds like so much blather from a PhD who teaches marketing but hasn’t gotten within a garage sale of selling anything himself.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Cadillac produces great cars that except for the Escalade, no one really wants. The edgy styling and the massive grille is dated, if you want a cool looking sedan look at a Tesla S, or a Fisker Karma. Cadillac’s brand screams ‘old’ or as they used to (and may still do say) about Buick, that the average age of their buyers was deceased. You’re not going to be able to deceive the consumers into thinking Cadillac is cool until you transform the product.

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