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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?



  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Traverse / Acadia / Enclave / Outlook = Clones, same platform, sharing same engines, suspension, awd system, and also most exterior and interior parts.

    I do not get this. There is not one exterior part that is shared. They all look completely different. Interior is the same way except they do share carpet and the basic seat hardware. Each IP is comletely different. Yes they share the suspension and engines but that is true for almost every model in the world. There are NO high volume marques out there that do not share those parts.

    Now do I think there are to many Lambdas? Yes but this is one of the few areas in GM where that is an issue now. IN full size SUVsI think GM has a good number (3) witu one each for the dealershop channels but they shold have made them much different looking from each other. Then again until the gas prices they were allo selling great.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    My post #5615 said in part: "You can define clones as you see fit, but I think what you mean is same platform = clone. " I was responding to one of your posts and that was my interpretation of what you were saying in principle.

    Automatic climate control is a feature that was available on all of GM's full size models in the 60's, but by the 80's was only available on full size Buicks and Cadillacs, with the exception of the 83 Skyhawk. After having fully automatic climate contol on a 1971 Riviera, I looked for this feature on cars that I bought thereafter.

    I think when you say "clone" you are implying some negative connotations. I see nothing wrong with marketing more than one make from a single platform. The whole idea of a platform is to reduce engineering differences. To me the Touareg & Cayenne are clones, but you can define clones as you see fit.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The Malibu and Aura are as different as the Lexus is to the Camry for all intents and purposes

    Obviously, you have no experience with Lexus or Toyota, or you would not make that statement.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    I hate to disagree but I spent weeks comparing the ES to the Camry both on the road and in teardowns and was given data showing the differences. They are basically identical except for appearance items. The ES is tuned with lower spring rates and lower dampening shocks and has a more floaty feel than the Camry. It is more "Buick" like. Powertrains, as far as V6, are basically identical.

    The ES does have more "features" but that is not what was being discussed.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,737
    I spent weeks comparing the ES to the Camry both on the road and in teardowns and was given data showing the differences. They are basically identical except for appearance items.

    Without having looked at the data you are probably right about these two. Part of the reason it seems less ridiculous with Toyota is there are very clear distinctions between Lexus and Toyota in image and intent.

    Now imagine as a thought experiment that Toyota has Toyota, Lexus, Scion, and then add Japeno, Bumbo, Tammer, and Flexo as new divisions. But Japeno is a "near-luxury" division slated below Lexus. Bumbo is the sport division. The Tammer division makes American-style cars. And the Flexo is the young, hip growth brand after kids outgrow their Scions. Toyota as a brand is a bit muddled in there, but the images of the brands are *sort of* clear, sometimes.

    OK, let's give the Japeno and Bumbo divisions cloned versions of the Camry/ES. So now there are four of the Camry clones. However the Celica Supra belongs to Toyota, even though the Bumbo division is the sport division, because Toyota had the Celica a long time ago and no way is Bumbo going to get it.

    Now let's take the RX/Highlander twins and give a couple of clones to Tammer and Bumbo. Well Bumbo is the sport division, but their dealers still want an SUV since they've been so popular. So now the images of these divisions are making a lot less sense and the images are NOT the way today's Lexus/Toyota images are clear.

    Move on to the Corolla. Let's rebadge that car and give one to the Bumbo division (which is the sporty division). Put some cladding on it and tighten up the springs a bit. And we also give Flexo a Corolla clone since the kids moving up from their xB's want something small but a little bit better.

    You get my drift. In this case the four Camry clones are much more ridiculous since a) there are four of them, not two; b) there are a lot of divisions and everybody knows they're all Toyotas anyway; c) there are lots of sets of twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.; d) There are ton of dealers to support and advertising to provide.

    GM has done a great job (probably its best work) in the last few years resurrecting Caddy and adding differentiation to this brand. The problem is that they don't have the money to support doing that to so many others. I'm not even sure you could slice the market up enough to provide enough brand distinction for *8* divisions and yet have each division provide enough product to keep the dealers in business. So it looked expensive in 1999 or 2002 to cut a couple of divisions, but if that had been done then, GM would be a lot smaller now but much more competitive. It would be a shame if all the good work done at Caddy goes down the drain because of the boat anchor of all the other complexity in their business.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    I feel there is a market for 3 "divisions" within GM with 20% market share here in the US.

    Chevy at the affordable bottom
    GMC/Pontiac/Buick in the middle
    Cadillac at the very top.

    Saturn could go as could Saab.

    Now in the middle you could call it one brand, perhaps Buick, but selling Buick trucks would be a tough sell to those GMC buyers. And you could replace the name in any of those 3 with any of the other and the same thing happens. So you are stuck with 3 brands (OK you could call all those Pontiacs, Buick, and that could sorta work).

    So a midsize Malibu starting at $20k, LaCrosse at $25k, CTS at $45k. All Midsize. Give the LaCrosse a GNX option.

    With the above plan you only have to buy out the Saturn dealers and there are not very many of those so it would only cost $2 BILLION to close them down.

    Above could be done today but there would be a loss in volume which is why I dropped it to 20% from about 25%.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    I could agree with three but still have my doubts you need the 'tweener. You could call the lower Division Chevy/Buick.

    Siverado, (Denali)Tahoe (Denali) Traverse, Malibu, Lacross (w/GNX option). Camaro, New Compact, small CUV.

    Caddy gets the Lucerne and Enclave and Yukon goes away.

    That's a little cleaner in my mind...but if the merger happens, the white board gets erased!

  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Maybe look at it this way. Honda has Acura. Do you feel that an Acura has the price point or prestige of MB or BMW or some other highline low volume marque? NO. So if Honda added a 3rd marque at the top and could somehow earn that prestige then would you drop the mid priced Acura? Probably not. So low volume Honda Corp would have 3 divisions. Would you use Acura to fill this segment. Well it surely has not worked because they still want to continue to have an affordable Acura but that puts a strain on the marque if they had to straddle the $30k to 80K market.

    For GM to make this work they have to move Cadillac a bit higher in the playing field. With the CTS they have done that. I know we have all this talk about the CTS compared to the 3 series and the 5 series but how about to the Lexus ES or Acura? I think most would say the CTS is steps above the ES in almost all ways from performance to prestige to content. Yes Lexus does have models in the MB and BMW range but the ES is almost an outlier compared to them. So my point is that Cadillac needs to continue to place themselves in these upper segments with top of the line product. This will allow vehicles in the just under Acura pricepoint to slightly above price point.

    With a true 20% market share (cut out some more fleet if you wish) GM can support 3 main lines.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Could work with 3 but look at MB and divisions. That works as well. I would think 2 are enough vlaue and upscale. You poeition the crs in the upsacle by market segment target audience DTS vs. S-class and 7 series, CTS vs. 5-series and E -class and a 3-series new fighter. The Lucerne can be a Caddy aimed at Acura and Lexus ES - RL.

    It's just cleaner for me.

  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788

    The DTS is not an S-class vehicle. The Lucerne and DTS are the same car for all practical purposes. The CTS is not in the 5-series class, much less the E-class.

    Cadillac's have never really been in the Mercedes class for luxury cars. For GM to try and move Cadillac up market will not work. For one thing, I don't think GM has the vision to see what needs to happen to make Cadillac more of an up market car. If and when the global RWD sedans are put into production, then perhaps GM will have a platform that will allow Cadillac to build something like the old Fleetwood Sixty Special, which has been gone since the mid-seventies as far as I am concerned.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Could work with 3 but look at MB and divisions

    First those two primarily exist in the above $40k market. Yea they have some cars that start under $40k but the average ATP is gotta be over $40K so they only sell the high end. They do not exists in the medium market with much. Sure the 1 series starts just over $30k but I bet most sell for over $35k and that is really a compact sized vehicle!!

    So if BMW came out with a value line, VALUEXXX, the compact would be $17K. There seems to be room inbetween for another vehicle and I would not want to call it a BMW or VALUEXXX because brand equity would not allow it. So PREMIUMXXX would have a compact at $25K.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    For GM to try and move Cadillac up market will not work.

    But it has worked. The CTS has moved upscale from the last model and the last model moved upscale from the 90's Catera/Eldorado. I know opinion is strong on this but in areas that buy the BMW's and MB's you do see CTS's and STS's. Is Cadillac at equity with those two? No, but it is much closer. ATP for the CTS is around $40k, much higher than it was just 4 years ago and sales keep increasing. Teh STS/DTS replacement will be like the CTS in a larger/higher price range.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    The future is open. Caddy can compete if it wants to. There is no reason why a S-Class-type Caddy can not compete. The idea is that Caddy can have all of the premium GM cars from low price to ultra high price. Set a standard and meet it. Oh, and use the best parts in the world.

    The Chevy/Buick division would have all of the pick-ups, economy cars, sport cars and value priced sedans along the price scale. Make them all bullet proof and designed for 10 year ownership.

    Simple works better than complex is all that the business model should be going forward.

    2 Dealership Brands with a wide range of models in each targeting the entire market.

  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    The Eldorado was not a Catera. The Eldorado was basically a two door Seville coupe. With the new interior and a somewhat larger body, the CTS is probably worth a bit more than the old CTS. But the old CTS was not quite what it should have been for the money either.

    For Cadillac to sell a car in the S-class price range will require a platform with the refinements that the S-class has and should really exceed them. Cadillac should try to build a body that is somewhere between the S-class and the Maybach that they can sell for just under the S-class price. I do not see how this is possible.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    While what you say is true, if Cadillac wanted to build something in the S-class range, they could. However to build something in the S-class range will require a platform to build it on. GM's global RWD platform is not quite robust enough to build a sedan with the refinements that S-class buyer will expect. By refinements I am talking about NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), not electronic do-dads.

    One thing Cadillac could do with their current models is put nicer leather into their cars. The "leather" in my SRX looks and feels more like plastic than leather. I have very serious doubts that GM knows how to build Cadillacs in the low priced luxury range, much less how to build something in the mid-priced range. The S-class is above mid-priced luxury.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Listen, Toyota didn't either but started with Lexus and the LS. I am challenging Caddy to become the standard. They don't become the standard by just making what get's by and changing trinkets each year. Design a world beater. As you said, the parts need to be word class as well. Not bean counter standards but class-leading standards.

    I congratulate Hyundai for the Genesis. It costs a lot but that's what needs to be done if you want to play with the Global industry. I understand it's not perfect but what a good start.

    So, you can't support , what is it, 8 divisions, and be top dog in each while the old business model gets put to bed. It is just not feasible.

    I'll take 2, please. Now let's get started today!

  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    The Lexus LS is not in the S-class refinement range either. It may be somewhat better than the E-class, but not much. The Genesis is a good car for the money, but is not much more than the Toyota Avalon.

    I think before World War Two, Cadillac did know how to build a world class luxury car in the standards of the S-class. However, after WWII, Cadillac backed away from the high end luxury cars and went with low priced luxury where sales are good enough to make profits.

    Building a high end car and selling it at a profit are two different things. Cadillac did make a high end car, the Eldorado Brougham in the late 50's. They sold this car for about $13000, but spent about $23000 building it. The sales rate was about 200 per year, more to start with, but ending with fewer.

    Sure Cadillac could build an S-class car, to sell for say $100,000. But it would probably cost at least $150,000 to build, if not $200,000. The good thing is that very few would actually sell.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    The Eldorado was not a Catera. The Eldorado was basically a two door Seville coupe.

    No kidding but both were replaced by the CTS in a number of ways. The CTS is the cheapest Cadillac. As my example shows the the CTS is a HUGE step up from the Catera and a large step up from the Eldo.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I would say that the XLR is the new Eldorado. The Eldorado started out as a nice convertible. The CTS replaces the Catera, which was a place holder for a Cadillac sports sedan that GM could not build with existing platforms. Cadillac needed the Catera to compete with the Lincoln LS (not BMW).

    The CTS is really a new car for Cadillac. Cadillac tried to make the Seville FWD into a sports sedan with the FWD STS. This was not successful. As sports sedan the fwd STS was not taken seriously by anyone but Cadillac management. The Eldorado was never a sports sedan, but more of the luxury personal car. The luxury personal car was invented by Ford when they made the Thunderbird into a coupe instead of a sports car to compete with the Corvette. Then Buick got the Riviera, which was a very nice car until the FWD Toronado and Eldorado forced Buick onto the larger platform they were using. The Eldorado continued as a big luxury couple until it was dropped. While I think that the customers who used to buy the "personal luxury coupes" are now buying sports sedans instead, the sports sedan customers are younger, while the old customers have probably moved on to something else.

    In particular, I have owned a number of Riviera's, but now have an SRX, which is a sports SUV. Otherwise, I might have bought the CTS wagon.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    The CTS was junk and now it is world class, no? ALL CADDIES NEED TO FOLLOW.

    I assume the CTS makes a profit.

    It cost $13,000 to build an Excalade also. The S-Class can be beaten by Caddy for a profit. That is the challenge, otherwise don't even bother competing in the luxury market.

    Hyundai isn't waiting around for Caddy to make up it's mind nor is any other luxury Marquee.

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