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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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  • Wow what a bunch of doom-and-gloomers.

    The CTS was Cadillac's first successful attempt at building a 3-series fighter. And yes, they are frequently cross-shopped with BMW, MB and Audi. If you look at the number of CTS’s on the road, Caddy has clearly finally gotten the formula right. The interior isn’t on par with new BMW’s, but so what? The 3 series interior in the 90s was total crap also, so it’s not like BMW has a huge head start. The newest Cadillacs, and all new GM vehicles, are now fitted with some of the best interiors. Second maybe only to Audi when compared to other mass-produced vehicles. Also, the S4 and the M3 are always measured alongside the CTS-V. So clearly it’s a player in this class. The CTS-V also can accommodate back-seat passengers comfortably while the other two can’t. The current CTS has proven to be competitive in the entry-lux category. That there are only a couple of other class-leading cars that it is ever measured against is quite a compliment. I hope that the next CTS closes the gap that still exists.

    The DTS is a really nice car, especially after its last update. But it’s outclassed by the LS, A8 and S-class.

    The STS - It's okay, but horribly overpriced for what it is. Honestly there isn't anything in this class that I find appealing. The E-class isn't nice, The 5-series styling is overwrought, the Lexus G looks bloated. The A6 is nice, but looks homely unless you spend $78k on the one with the Lambo engine. But I would buy the S6 in a nanosecond versus the much more expensive STS-V.

    The Escalade is a winner. Any which way you slice it. I never liked them much until I saw one of the new ones. Very sharp.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    The DTS is a really nice car, even if it seems outclassed by the LS, A8 and S-class, but I don't want to pay the outrageous price for those "better" cars. I cross-shopped the Lexus LS430 and the Cadillac Seville STS when I last purchased a car. The LS was nicer, but not $5K nicer than the Seville. I'm quite happy with the Seville. The LS was something of a let-down as driving it reminded me very much of my old Park Avenue.
  • bigo08bigo08 Posts: 102
    The Escalade is a winner. Any which way you slice it. I never liked them much until I saw one of the new ones. Very sharp.

    I agree with that.. i wasnt a very big fan of the last generation slade.. the new one is nice... to me alot better than the dressed up Armada (QX56) or Land Cruiser ( LX470).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,261
    Look at that Road & Track longterm road test. They LOVED the car and yet....and yet....either it wasn't built right or it wasn't prepped right....makes you want to go to Detroit and shake somebody by the shoulders....

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    I agree. The new 'Slade is nicer than the old one and a quantum leap over the first one. The QX56 looks like the unholy child of a Mack truck and a 1957 Rambler wagon.
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 327
    The CTS is a successful car, but can not be called a successful competitor to BMW. It is successful because it has sold reaonably well. However, it was never in the same class as the 3 series.

    I actually like the DTS but it doesn't compete with the bigger BMWs, Audis or Lexuses. It probably competes with the Lexus ES or the Avalon. All are nice cars, just not sporty cars. Furthermore, the DTS and the STS are much better buys used than new. Lets face it, resale value (which is a direct result of reliability whether perceived or actual) is one of the main reasons the Lexus has done so well.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    All this talk about "Standard of the World", BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc. is giving me a headache!!! If Caddilac needs a slogan, they already have an old mantra at their disposal: The fact is, they were, are and always will be, " THE CADILLAC" of the auto industry... :shades:
  • If I were CEO of GM I would make Cadillac "Cadillac" again. I would make it a car so excellent, and so expensive that if you didn't make at least $1,000,000 per year, you couldn't afford one. What's the point of this? The point is to invest in Research and Development, Engineering to make the best cars in the world again, regain the technical edge and allow the rest of the cars in my other divisions benifit from it.

    Buick would then be my intro luxury model. Pontiac would be my sporty division and Chevy, my bread and butter. I don't understand Saturn. I would lose it.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Yea I definately agree. Also, I see GMC as truely being professional grade, comprised of GM's heavy duty trucks, and full-size vans. And yea, I'm not so sure about Saturn, but Cadillac should be fighting Mercedes not Acura.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Chrysler, would be a great car company for GM to get. They could make a Cadillac Imperial and drop the DTS name.

    No, the morons would call it the CIS, and you know it! :confuse:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    For that matter, I don't know if ANY marque can aspire to be the "Standard of the World" across the board anymore. But it would be nice if Cadillac could be known for doing something better than anyone else (as BMW is for building "the ultimate driving machine," for example).

    Well spoken (entire post) grbeck (as usual). The STS-V and CTS-V get closer to BMW status or Mercedes, but you're exactly right, the rest of the Cadillac brand and all of Lincoln as well, sort of measure up to Acura most closely. They exceed them if you order the V-8 STS, and the DTS is larger and different than the RL by a mile, but on many factors, including resale value, we don't have anything to go up agains Lexus, BMW or MB right now.
  • Exactly. Cadillac should be up against the super luxury segment, like Bentley or Aston Martin, or better yet in a class by itself. Let Buick and Pontiac dodge it out with the likes of Lexus and BMW. Move everything up a notch. I like the "professional grade" aspect of GMC. Saturn was a good idea originally, but it got lost in the shuffle somewhere. By the way, Saab needs to be Saab. Just like Ford benefits by letting Volvo be Volvo and Mazda be Mazda.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Wow, I never actually thought of Cadillac that highly, commanding the premiums of a Bentley. That would be interesting but I doubt GM would ever aspire that highly. It seems like they're content with a mediocre Flagship Marque. But what exactly IS a Saab?
  • I doubt there would be that many buyers pluncking down huge bucks on any GM. It probably would be a failed experiment to build Caddy's that are expected to go after Bentley and Rolls. That is a ton of investment and frankly, I don't see GM having the money or putting in the necessary effort.

    A very risky move...
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    I think it would be a risky move as well. It doesn't seem Maybach has done all that much for DCX. Of course if I had that kind of money, I'd be first in line for a new Sixteen!
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 327
    I disagree. I think for now Cadillac should be fighting Acura. Over the last couple of years, Cadillac has become sportier and somewhat younger thanks to the CTS and Escalade. The CTS, for example, is more sporty than luxury. Hence, it is more like an Acura TL than Mercedes C or E class. Also, I don't think the Cadillac name is in the same league as Mercedes anymore and therefore the buyers are not willing to pay the same price for a Cadillac as a Mercedes. Furthermore, after discounts, aren't Cadillacs priced closer to Acura than Mercedes?

    I think Saturn is the best hope for GM because it doesn't have as much baggage associated with it. Hopefully, the Aura will raise the public's perception of Saturn.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    ROTFLMAO !!!!

    I agree the slade is the best of the best. :shades:

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Perhaps.... :(

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Cadillac, doesn't need to fight Acura per-say. I think that's where Saab, and Pontiac, need to be. Cadillac, needs to be better than BMW. Pontiac needs to be just like Acura, a premium entry-lux brand that need to go upmarket a notch.

    Chevy (bottom of scale) then Saturn, then Pontiac, Buick & Saab, then Cadillac (Top scale)

    Just my $0.02 ;)

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Well lemko, you can also buy me a ULS-sedan with the V-16 in it when you when the lottery. :D

    Rocky
  • aldwaldw Posts: 82
    No such thing as impossible, Caddy didn't fall in a day and won't rise in a day, but they will rise up with continuous improvement to match and exceed the BMWs and Benzes of the world.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Well I guess I'm of the opinion that GM's premium brand should compete with the best out there. If they didn't what would we do with Saturn, Pontiac, Buick and Saab? Now, I'm not saying that NOW it seems like they don't compete with Acura, I'm saying that the Cadillac brand should move even more upmarket to give the other brands some more breathing room.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    When Cadillac was building the Eldorado Brougham (series 69 or 70) in the late 50's to early 60's, they sold very few, less than 1000 total. It was priced at about double the price of the Fleetwood Sixty Special (series 60). Somewhere I read that Cadillac spent about $10,000 more per car building them than the selling price of $13,000. So Cadillac lost about $10 million on the Eldorado Brougham.

    The point here is that if GM is going to move Cadillac into the price range that only people with incomes greater than $1 million annually can afford, then Cadillac will not make GM any profits. The Lexus LS probably is not a money maker for Toyota either, but, by adding a cheap ES model, based on the Camry, Lexus is profitable.

    Rolls Royce, the larger company, was profitable enough that for a time they could afford to keep the car in production as a status symbol. I assume that VW and BMW are building the Bentley and the Rolls for the same purpose. I can't imagine that they are profitable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,261
    Probably the biggest obstacle for Cadillac will always be, imn my opinion, its own corporate culture. In some ways, it is geared only to "good enough" and then they stop trying.

    No sooner do they come out with a great new model that they then proceed to no longer improve it or take their sweet time about it, and thus the competition gets a leg up on them over and over. How many years does it take to make a smooth gear shifter?

    I think I'll stop being a loyal but suspicious skeptic about Cadillac when the results of all the long term testing come out better than they have. Some mags report very disappointing long term durability. AFter all these years and all those dollars, this is still troubling to me.

    After all, reputations are built on endurance and well as on exceptional performance.

    I also think Cadillacs still lack enough sophistication throughout the model line to be standards of the world.

    But you know, time will tell. The jury is still out on Cadillac and they've come a long way in the last ten years.

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  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    So far, 4 years and 53,000 miles, my 2002 Seville has been mostly trouble free, with one transmission solenoid replaced under warranty. I have not extended the warranty, thinking that even a major problem would probably cost less to repair than the warranty would, and more probably, a major problem would pop up after the extended warranty expires anyway. If the local dealer finds me a program car, I will probably trade it for one with a six year/100,000 certified used warranty.

    I would say that your comments about Cadillac are also GM's basic problem. They tend to stop at good enough.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    Almost five years and 62,000 miles later, my Seville STS has only experienced a funky fuel gauge sender unit which was repaired under warranty. I did get the extended warranty because any failure on any luxury car will cost ya. I most definately would get the six year/100K mile certified warranty on any used luxury car. Who knows what the previous owner did or failed to do with it?
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 327
    It is unrealistic to believe that Pontiac is/or could ever become a premium entry lux brand. For example, for this to be even possible Pontiac would have to quit making anything but a GTP version. If that is the case, how may cars would they sell? Not many.

    Saab is a rare bird. Most of the people who buys Saabs only buy Saabs.

    Saturn is GM's best hope. The reason for this is that it has a better image that Chevy, Pontiac or Buick. If Saturn would drop the Ion and replace it with a car larger than the Aura and make sure that is "european inspired" essentially you would have a company that would compete with the VW (jetta and passat) or Acura (tsx and tl).
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    ...and copy the successful methods of Honda and Toyota. Honda has Acura for the luxury version of Honda, and Toyota has Lexus. Based on the sales volume of GM, they should get rid of Buick and Pontiac and stick with GM and Cadillac (and Ford should get rid of Mercury and stick with Ford and Lincoln).

    It's not like the old days, so GM needs to seriously downsize and mimic the best in the business (Honda/Toyota). Then they can concentrate on a lot fewer vehicles and make them of a high quality. That's the only way they'll survive. If they continue wasting money developing dozens of new models and versions they're just pouring more money down the drain. A small, medium, and large sedan, CUV/SUV, and truck for GM and a luxury Cadillac version of some of them...and that's it. Focus on fewer numbers of models but give them all standard safety features, up the warranty to 10 years/100,000 miles, and keep the MSRP down rather then relying on huge incentives.

    It's stupid the way GM will advertise a car for $30K even though they end up selling them for $25K. If they advertised them for $25K in the first place they'd have more folks wanting to buy them when they're in the window shoping/researching stage. GM isn't getting any new customers and are barely able to hang on to the ones they have...mostly from folks buying them on the GM family plan because there are so many relatives of retired GM workers.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    It is unrealistic to believe that Pontiac is/or could ever become a premium entry lux brand. For example, for this to be even possible Pontiac would have to quit making anything but a GTP version. If that is the case, how may cars would they sell? Not many.

    Well they have to do something....Pontiac, is caught in the middle of Chevrolet, and Saturn. They would lose sales initially but for the long-term it would be healthy. I'm not saying Pontiac needs to be the next BMW, but if they could position themselves somewhere in between BMW and Acura, that would be healthy for the brand. Saturn, could then pick up ex-pontiac sales that wanted a $30K Grand Prix with Aura XR sales.

    Rocky
  • The GM "stops at good enough" comments ring true ... indeed, the GM corporate culture (beancounter driven) seems to be even worse at "how cheap can we get away with and still push the metal out the door."

    While theoretically Cadillac (and GM in general) could again become a player, I wouldn't hold my breath.

    First, it may not last long enough - it's saddled with the UAW, and so bankruptcy may be inevitable. After all, at any particular price point GM's products HAVE to be inferior in one or more respects as compared to the non-union competition's products - GM has to cut quality and/or content and/or engineering sophistication in order to try to offset the costs of the UAW (pay, benefits, featherbedding and work rules). Long term production of inferior products is not a recipe for success.

    Second, starting with the early 1970's, GM has had continuous record of producing junk. The Vega, the X-cars, the 8-6-4, the infamous diesel, the current models for which there seems to be a recall issued monthly. Their whole corporate culture is built around junk, with rental cars seeming to be the (internal) epitome of accomplisment.

    Third, once one gets outside the Midwest, the Cadillac brand has zero cache, and has been this way for decades. Outside the Midwest one who purchases a Lexus / BMW / Mercedes is perceived as someone who has money, is successful and sophisticated ... whereas one who purchases a Cadillac is perceived as someone UNsophisticated (and/or geriatric in mindset, if not age) who somehow happens to have (some) money.

    In fact, in general GM cars are seen as something one "settles for" ... second best, palatable only because of a discount.
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