Here's How You'd Fix Cadillac

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Here at TTAC, we ask you a question of the day just about every day. Sometimes, we go back and look up the answers you provided.


So, one thing we'll do here and there -- we'll go back and grab a small sample of your answers from a previous QOTD and list them here. Sometimes we'll go back a bit -- today's is from a couple months back -- and sometimes it might be from the previous day.

With that bit of background out of the way, here's how you folks in the B and B would fix Cadillac. There were over 140 comments on the original post, so I've grabbed just a few here.


We'll let MaintenanceCosts start us off: "(1) Crash program to redesign all of the interiors, now, to banish all evidence of cost-cutting and have at least as much flash as current Mercedes.

(2) XT6 gets the 3.0T engine. Both XT6 and XT5 get an Acura-style AWD system that will make them stop feeling so much like front-drivers.

(3) XT6, XT5, and CT5 all get a restyle along the lines of the '89 restyle of the DeVille and co. - that is, add length even with overhang if you have to, add swagger, add fancy.

(4) New platform for large unibody SUVs, either electric or hybrid, to compete straight across with the top two Range Rover models. If they are going to be a real luxury brand they need SUVs more refined than the Escalade. Keep selling the Escalade alongside the new ones for the existing cigarette-boat audience.

(5) XT4 and CT4 get put out of their misery, or maybe brought back as Buicks.


In reply to that post, Philip Precht wrote: "And, get rid of the stupid names of letters and/or numbers. Get back to using names, like DeVille, Eldorado, etc. People do NOT remember the letters or numbers, but they remember the names!!!!"

The presence of alphanumeric names across the line were a popular punching bag. From Tane94: "Model names from the past are not the answer. Cadillac is still recovering from the New York Joe deNysche error. What is Cadillac's identity? It walked away from its Standard of Excellence image long ago. Is it Electric Luxury? European Luxury built here? luxury performance? I don't know. Is all-electric models by 2030 still the goal?"

Of course, that's as much a complaint as it is a solution. Outside of changing the naming convention, other solutions to fixing Caddy's woes included dropping prices, cutting dealers, and, uh, time travel. One solution I saw? Aim for younger buyers.

Commenter Lorenzo spells it out: "You can't sell an old man's car to a young man, but you CAN sell a young man's car to an old man (pardon the sexism, it's not my quote). Solution: Young man styling, but old man amenities, hidden if necessary, like easier entry/exit (young men gradually turn into old men, and will appreciate them)."

And circling back to pricing, commenter Glennbk writes: "First, Cadillac no longer has brand cache. And as such, the prices need to drop. Second, reliability. Cadillac doesn't have that either. Dedicate GM funds to re-design the High Value Engines. Third, interiors are too gimmicky. Take a step back and bring back more buttons and less black plasti-chrome. Forth, noise isolation. These are supposed to be luxury cars, but sound like a Malibu inside."

You'll notice that the interior was a constant theme throughout the comments. Glennbk mentioned it, and so did Klkrause: "I've thought that Cadillacs have at least been decent looking for the last decade or more, but their interiors have been quite lacking. The build quality and materials used in the interior seem like slightly upgraded Chevrolets instead of in the class of Audi, BMW, or Lexus. If I'm paying a premium for a luxury brand I expect to feel 'pampered' when I'm driving or sitting in it."

Commenter Larry wants luxury, period, to return: "Bring back the Cadillac luxury, the Cadillac "float" ride suspension and beautiful plush interiors that always separated it from the rest, even Lincoln Town Cars did not measure up.

I have an xt4. While a beautiful design, there is no LUXURY, the ride is hard with a stiff suspension, there is a no name poor sounding sound system, ugly cheap wheels and more unflattering features. This 2023 doesn't come close to my old 1980 Fleetwood Broughm or even my 1994 Sedan Deville."

A few of you mentioned competing brands like Genesis or Lincoln as benchmarks.

Fixing Cadillac is a complex task, but perhaps the combined efforts of you commenters could get it done. Thanks, as always, for answering our questions.

[Image: Cadillac]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Cprescott Cprescott on Jul 08, 2024
    To fix Cadihack, I'd do the following: Get rid of the rancid and failed Arts and Scientology (!) design disaster that has caused eye damage for the last 15 or so years. How is it you can design some stunning show cars but you can't take any of that and put it into production.Immediately eliminate all models "base" level trim and then make the "V" series as the new base/entry level. Then take performance upwards from there. Make every Cadihack special.Immediately only build to order for Cadihack. Allow for custom paint and interiors so that Cadihacks are special. Obviously Cadihack can compete on price so having something fairly affordable but made for customers would be a strong selling point. This would require complete rework of production systems to cut down turnaround time, but it is not like they are trying to build 500k of something. Custom built item would be sold at sticker price so no discounts needed. Upgrade customer service and vehicle service to make this special as well. All staff must have a customer focus attitude and there is no need for any residual lot lizard managers. Basically sales staff becomes order takers and adopting a one price sales technique would make the pain of buying a GM car go away.
  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Jul 08, 2024
    With every year that goes by, this question is harder to answer. A few ideas; Bring back a large sedan and coupe. I think the deVille name has too much baggage, but Seville sounds fresh and the last generation Seville was a damn nice car. The mothballed CT6 could also be revived, the exterior was pretty close but the interior needs a complete makeover. A turbo V6 or the Blackwing V8 coupled with a Hybrid AWD driveline would be mandatory. Escalade owns the full-size SUV market. Using the new Colorado platform, build a mid-size replacement for the old and pathetic XT6/XT5 and throw the above mentioned turbo V6 into it. Ditch the XT4 altogether, Cadillac shouldn't' be in the economy car/CUV business. Finally, build a flagship. A big, 4/5 seat convertible. The Eldorado name could fit here. Limit production and sell the same vehicle in Europe and the Far East. A torquey, lazy turbo V6 or V8, cushy suspension and beautiful leather and wood adorning a full-size bench seat front and rear. Finally... fix your dealers. Co-branding with GMC and Buick really cheapens the brand. If I walk in my local Caddy dealer, the same guy can sell me a 35k GMC Canyon, a 25k Buick Encore or a 100k Cadillac. He doesn't know anything about any of them but is damn sure he can get my payment under $500 month if I give him a shot. If he comes within $200 a month of that bogey he thinks I'll buy. Lots of investment required to fix Cadillac, my bet is GM does nothing but milk the brand then ultimately euthanize it.
  • Bd2 Probably too late to do anything about it for the launch, but Kia should plan on doing an extensive refresh of the front fascia (the earlier, the better) as the design looks really ungainly.
  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.
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