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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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Comments

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Get ready for a really big shoe...

    1. GM has eight vehicle brands, and at least half of them—Saab, Saturn, Pontiac, and Buick—are struggling.

    2. Saturn, Pontiac, and Buick cars are mostly redundant "badge jobs" with the same underpinnings as Chevrolet, GMC, or Cadillac vehicles, and Saab is a low-volume niche brand that most likely loses money.

    3. Another reason GM won't kill off any of its mainline brands is that it will instantly lose market share, since there's no guarantee a Pontiac or Saturn customer will automatically become a Chevrolet or GMC customer. So GM is effectively sustaining underperforming divisions to keep its market share up, and no company can succeed for long by paying for market share.

    4. GM knows it has to offer small cars just as good as Hondas and Toyotas. Maybe even better, since GM is so far behind its Asian rivals in this segment. GM has greatly improved the quality of its passenger cars, and some new small entries are on the way. Recent plans call for shifting even more resources from trucks and SUVs, which are rapidly falling out of favor, to smaller cars. Honda and Toyota have a huge lead, though, and even with some killer offerings, it will take years for GM to challenge them.

    5. GM hopes that the plug-in Chevrolet Volt, due in 2010, will be a buzz-mobile that helps it regain industry leadership. While cautious of GM hyperbole, analysts and industry experts are buying it—so far. If GM cuts funding for the Volt or stumbles, it will be a major credibility blow. But if GM delivers—on time—the Volt could signify a resurgence in Detroit.

    6. The most agonizing part of GM's recovery—if it happens—is that huge savings from a deal reached last year with the unions won't begin to materialize until 2010. That's when GM will finally start to deal with its mountainous healthcare obligations to retirees. While not exactly saying so, GM leaders seem to have been putting off other big changes while hoping the retiree fixes that are on the way will help solve many of its problems. It's now clear that GM needs a lot of other surgery before then.

    The Doctor says surgery is very risky, however, and medical insurance will not cover the groundbreaking alternative medicine that could save it's life...the transfusion of US management with new Asian and Euro blood! Will the family come up with enough money to pay for the alternative medicine?

    Stay tuned...it's going to be a nail-biter!

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    you tell me.

    This is a sad story from where I come from...with a yet unknown ending.

    link title

    Regards,
    OW
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    I've said this before, GM and other domestics seriously need to learn from Nissan. They went from nearly bankrupt to the top of the food chain again in about a decade, a very short time in the corporate world. Learn what they can and cant do, then crawl back from the bottom.
    Personally, I think what GM needs to save itself is simplifying their subdivisions. Kill the useless minor ones, like Pontiac, Saturn, GMC and Hummer. Keep Buick, as it has strong reputation in China, and China is the world's biggest market right now. Keep Saab, sales are doing decent in Europe, much better than Chevy itself. Keep Subaru (obviously) and Isuzu also, why Isuzu? Because their trucks and diesel engines are still among the best, and best selling in the asian market. However, kill the passenger car market, its pointless. Save the money they spend on badge jobs and running the worthless, money losing subdivisions, use it to hire a real pro like Carlos Ghosn instead.

    Oh and one more thing, Cadillac. Start concentrating in China, there are more an more newbie millionaires in China than anywhere else today, and they dig Escalades. Stroll around in Beijing and Shanghai and you'll see a bunch of them there. China is an odd market where Audis outsell BMWs, and Cadi should take that advantage.

    Of course, with all things said I actually appreciate Cadillac's 1st comeback, the 1st gen CTS. When you compare it with another rebounding luxo brand like, say, Infiniti's 1st gen G35, its actually a decent car. Although I dislike the interior, its not that different from G35's in quality. When you think about it they're actually worthy equals, dont you think? The only problem with it is none other than: pricing! Too close to even Audi!! If only they can lower their expectations and start low, Cadillac may be seeing a better comeback scenario right now.

    Just my personal thoughts...
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Keep Subaru (obviously)

    How? Since GM already sold all its shares to Toyota. With holding 17% of the shares, Toyota right now is the largest shareholder of Subaru. A joint-venture entry level RWD coupe is also in development between the two companies.

    China is an odd market where Audis outsell BMWs

    If you know the history of China's auto industry then there is nothing odd about that. There is no way Cadillac will have the same success as Audi did in China.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    GM has the small vehicles. They are only for sale in Europe, though.(where they soundly stomp on the few U.S. models that are brought over.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    GM has the small vehicles. They are only for sale in Europe, though

    I don't get it, how's the GM small vehicles has anything to do with Subaru and Caddy being successful in China?

    :confuse:
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    Those small cars are mostly the brands that GM wants to kill or made by them(Holden for instance is essentially Pontiac in Europe). Downsizing is a lot harder than it first appears. But one thing is clear. They must bring smaller cars to the U.S. as SUVs are *finally* becoming less popular.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Not quite sure what your point is, but:

    In the middle of the twentyith century Cadillac's advertising made people percive Cadillac to be something more than it really was. After WWII Cadillac was probably the leading near luxury make in production, with Lincoln and Chryslers Imperial prime competition. Those who wanted true luxury bought Rolls Royces, but right after WWII a Rolls was probably in very short supply. In the thirties, the Cadillac V16's, with custom made bodies probably were true luxury cars. The depression wiped out most of the true luxury cars, with Packard on its death bed after WWII.

    Those of you who think Cadillac was somehow the "Standard of the World" at some point in the past, surpassing all of its competition, have bought the "advertising hype" hook, line and sinker so to speak. I think that Cadillac has always been a good value for a near luxury car. For a short time Cadillac did have some high end models, but this was during the depression. Since WWII Cadillac has only produced the lower end of the models it had before WWII.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Your assessment is right on the money. Caddy was never a luxury standard.

    GM's reputation for building high quality luxury passenger cars is ruined forever anyway, until every last person who bought a Caddy in the 70's and 80s is dead! :sick:

    Regards,
    OW
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    .....Caddy was never a luxury standard.

    As he said, prior to WWII, it was. That died with the death of custom coach builders. BTW, I don't think that MB or BMW were luxury standards in the post WWII era either. That has only come into play in the last 30 years or so.

    I do remember reading how Cadillac in the '50's tried ( and succeeded) in "mass marketing" luxury cars, based on the fact that by the mid '60's they were selling over 125,000 deVilles, and by the early '70's, that number climbed to over 200,000 EACH YEAR. Now, if you want to argue that luxury and exclusivity should go hand in hand, OK. Fine. But in many ways, as people back then would retire, get their gold watch, a comfy LaZboy, and then "splurge" on a deVille and ride off into the sunset of their lives, it WAS a gold standard of sorts, in that people aspired to own one.

    Now, as far as the new CTS goes, if this is any indication of how the brand is going, now adding a coupe and wagon variant, they WILL be a player for years to come. Maybe not the "standard", but a player. You could also argue that with competition from both sides of the world as strong as it is, the true "standard bearer" is the one with the best current product, whether that be Caddy, MB Lexus, or whomever, and that title won't last more than a year or two.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    As he said, prior to WWII, it was.

    Not a global standard.

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    What's not a global standard in these

    Because there are these...

    link title

    link title

    Regards,
    OW
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    Cool, I like that unrestored V16

    Rolls even had a factory in the US during the roaring 20s, so it must have been enough of a standard to warrant such an expense.

    MB was virtually unknown in the US before WW2, save for a few movie star types in Hollywood and eccentric east coast , but the custom bodied supercharged cars ranked up there with RR in Europe.

    Caddy was exported then and was a highline car, but did not trump RR or MB in those markets when it came to prestige or period luxury. It could have been equal in many aspects, but was not an overall standard.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    But here, it was the standard....The Cadillac of automobiles (OK it wasn't a "Duesy"). I found this clip from a Time magazine article from 1934. It seems even Rolls Royce produced cars for the common man:

    Rolls-Royce of America, Inc., founded nine years later with U. S. capital, and British control, began producing cars in 1921. Even before Depression, the makers found that many a well-to-do U. S. businessman, financially able to own a Rolls, hesitated to buy one for fear of appearing unduly swanky in so luxurious a car (average price: $18,000). Rolls-Royce hastened to blast away this sales resistance with advertisements boldly captioned: To the Man Who is Afraid to Let His Dreams Come True. But during Depression the number of such fearful men grew so great that Rolls-Royce sales since 1931 fell off over 50% to $926,000.

    "Last week, after four years of Depression deficits, Rolls-Royce hit upon a brand new idea. President John S. Inskip put on display in Manhattan a hybrid 'luxury" car, the Brewster "Cabriolet de Ville," with which he hoped to develop a new market. It had a Brewster body, a Ford chassis, a Ford V-8 engine. Price: $3,500. President Inskip had wangled a contract out of Henry Ford to supply engines and chassis in bulk. At the Springfield, Mass. plant of Brewster & Co. Inc., onetime famed carriage makers, now wholly owned by Rolls-Royce, the chassis were to be lengthened and partly reshaped to fit Brewster bodies."

    Not to mention, RR used coachbuilders extensively, just like Cadillac did. Considering the difference in prices, I guess you would have to say that RR was (and is) in a class all by themselves.

    The article says that the avg price of a Rolls was $18,000, whereas those V-16 Caddies were between $6-9,000 (unknown if that included coachwork).
  • aldwaldw Posts: 82
    The landed aristocrats in the US preferred Packards, with Pierce-Arrows and Peerless among them, but in terms of performance Duesenberg was the American Ferrari of its day, besting the Rolls-Royces and Bugattis of the same period. Cadillac was best in terms of mechanical reliability and manufacturing, as well as better transmissions, due to GM's economic muscle. Any of these vehicles, though were fit for royalty and were purchased as such.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    Exactly, it was the standard in the US - with Packard and Pierce Arrow up there for a time, too.

    Not many Brewster's were built, it was kind of a desperation move. I do seem to recall Charlie Chaplin owned one...I guess that's worth something. And by the decade Caddy would have lower priced cars too.

    If one is to be the world standard, is price an issue?

    I think those prices were for Fleetwood/Fisher bodied cars, other custom bodies would be more.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    "I think those prices were for Fleetwood/Fisher bodied cars, other custom bodies would be more."

    Fleetwood/Fisher were exclusive to the 8 and 12 cyl models. As far as the 16's, other coachbuilders were involved as well.

    The 8's and 12's ranged in price from$3,295 to $5,800.

    As for the 16's, my book quotes $5,700 to $9,800. BUT, just like other fine manufacturers of the time,many of these left the factory as a cowled rolling chassis, and the coachwork was custom, leaving many to be considered "one-offs", and their provenance may have to do just as much with their current values as anything. This is where i put Cadillac on par with many of the other manufacturers of the time. I'm sure if someone layed out 12,15,18 thousand for a car back then, attention to detail and craftmanship was top notch, whether the body rested on a Caddy, RR,MB,Packard, Pierce, or any other name.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Now, fast forward to today, and the luxury of Cadillac is far from ANY standard around the world. The difference back then was a heck of a lot smaller.

    Regards,
    OW
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    The difference back then was negligible, based on the fact that many were coach -built.

    The difference today is that Caddy is trying to re-establish themselves in the luxury car market. Had we not had an oil crisis, and Caddy decided to build the Sixteen.....
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