Cadillac Subscriptions Return In 2020

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
cadillac subscriptions return in 2020

If you read our coverage of Book by Cadillac, you’ll recall it was a minor financial disaster that had to be shut down in 2018. Cadillac was trying to develop a subscription model, following the lead of other premium manufacturers attempting to usher in a new age of consumerism, sans ownership. But the public didn’t take the bait.

We’ve had niggles about subscription-based sales models for years, whether it be for something hidden in your digital dashboard or affixed to an entire automobile. While they make sense for some services, we couldn’t make the numbers work for cars. It’s almost always the most expensive way to get into any given automobile. However, you do get a few nice perks as a consolation — things like insurance, registration, and maintenance — since you’re effectively renting the car. In the case of Cadillac, Book also allowed you to swap vehicles via a concierge service that would deliver the swapped vehicle pretty much anywhere you wanted — offering bottle water, umbrellas, and a positive attitude upon arrival.

Those extravagances may have been justifiable for those with money to burn, but the general populace wasn’t there to help General Motors shoulder the burden. The pilot program ended roughly a year ago. Yet GM’s chief marketing officer, Deborah Wahl, said Book would return in 2020, bigger and better than ever.

Speaking Tuesday at the J.D. Power/NADA AutoConference amid the Los Angeles Auto Show, Wahl said Book will return in February, providing more flexibility and value to consumers. Her stated goal was staying ahead of consumer preferences, echoing the automaker’s broader aspirations. Subscriptions services and data-based business models have been at the forefront of the corporate minds at GM for years. Like many automakers, it’s also investing heavily in mobility projects.

“We do still see a lot of interest from consumers in finding different ownership models, but the right price, value, how we do that, how we bundle those services is what we’re working on,” Wahl said in an interview with Automotive News from earlier this year. “There’s really no one-size-fits-all solution for personal transportation.”

But this also smacks of GM shoving something it wants down our collective throat. Cadillac revised its subscription service numerous times, despite facing criticisms and presumed lack of customer interest. There was even a period, immediately after it was placed on hiatus, where Wahl suggested Book would return in 2019.

“Book 2.0 really works even more closely with our dealer network because we think there’s a lot of opportunity as you go forward,” she said last January. “We’re going to base it off the dealer network.”

Closer ties to dealerships are part of the new plan, as well, but pricing is unknown. Book initially charged customers a $1,800 monthly fee before making rolling changes. Too steep for many, but the service did encourage some people to finally check out a Cadillac. Wahl said about 70 percent of Book customers were new to the brand — which may give us a hint as to why it hasn’t completely abandoned it.

[Image: fotomak/Shutterstock]

Join the conversation
2 of 40 comments
  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Nov 21, 2019

    Genesis (Hyundai's Lexus) has vehicles that are waaay better in terms of assembly, quality of components/parts, quality of materials, engineering, durability, reliability, etc., than ANY vehicle Cadillac (now Chevillac, as almost all current production Cadillacs are really Chevrolets, ala Roger Smith v2.0, but only worse now). Cadillac is 2nd tier at best, under the most generous view possible. I strongly argue that it's 3rd tier relative to its price point.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Nov 21, 2019

    Genesis appears to be a better choice. I bet you can get a deal on a pre owned Genesis. Lexus is good but the pre owned prices are not a lot lower than buying new. My pick would be the Genesis much better value for the money.

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.