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]

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  • 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 Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.