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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Just saw the new "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit" commercial. It shows 3 old Caddies plus a STS-V and at end it states: Since 1902. It's relatively short, like less than 15 seconds. Okay commercial I guess but kinda of lame comparing to Chevy's "It's ooooouuuuurrrrr coooouuuunnnntry".
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,708
    I of course meant the end-of-year rebates and incentives. Even Honda offers a little off on their previous year models, and many Ford and GM buyers buy this way(as opposed to fleet sales and such). This knocks the price down a good 3-4K on most upper-end models. BMW and Mercedes and Lexus... Gotta haggle like crazy to maybe get $1K off.

    Check this out:
    http://www.carsdirect.com/build/options?zipcode=91107&acode=USB60BUC101D0&restor- e=false

    Even Buick has $2500 off on the 2006 models. Officially, ther is a bit off on the 2006 CTSs as well, but finding one is getting really hard(seems they can sell all they make - that's not a bad sign, is it?)

    http://www.carsdirect.com/build/options?zipcode=91107&acode=USB60MEC021D0&restor- e=false
    Note that this is the top-end model with all the goodies. Add every bit of option and bling you can, and it's not even $24K.(actually a pretty nice car as it is at $21K)

    So seeing a CTS in a year and a half(end of 2008/2009 models coming in) selling for $30K is definately a possibility. And honestly, 250+ HP out of the 3.6 is plenty if you have a manual transmission. That's actually about as much as you *want* with a 6 speed gearbox, since cars start to exhibit a binary throttle response once you get over 300HP or so.(though with automatic, it's understandable why you'd need 300HP to move it quickly, though)
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    Those wages are not justified if most of the cars aren't selling well. I wouldn't have a problem with if they were selling well.
    Who's fault is it they aren't selling well? Line workers can only install what upper management buys for them.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    They did not give that $210 million to him "as a boot...", but it was part of the contract to hire him in the first place. It would be wise to know what one it talking about in the first place
    Well, GM signed a CONTRACT to pay these people this type of money. My point is what is MORE out of whack?
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    There's nothing wrong with a company using its heritage to sell new cars, especially when the competition (i.e., Lexus) doesn't have much of one.

    Saw the heritage ad on tv. Recall there was a late 50's red Cadillac convertible shown. It seems that there were much much better designs by Cadillac - designs that were truly elegant - than that gross looking convertible with gigantic fins. There was another old Cadillac shown that also was gross, goofy looking - think it was a late 70's Seville with a bustle back. The front and rear of this car had absolutely no relationship, no integration. An abomination of a so-called design.

    Cadillac has plenty very good designs from past that could have been used. A mystery to me how they chose the models that they did for their heritage to sell current product. One possible rationale is: look how great the new 2008 CTS looks and how far we have come in design over the years.
  • " was hoping this discussion could end up on a positive tack instead of the old whining. It made a start but is now pulled back into the Cadillac's JANG mode (just ain't no good)."

    Well I tried to get the message across but alas...I'm sure the regular host will intervene if the brand-bashing "rut" continues to dig itself deeper. The host has been most tolerant.

    We try to be as democratic as possible so please be patient. Sometimes these things right themselves without intervention.

    ON ANOTHER NOTE:

    "Nostalgia" in marketing is a quick and easy way to right an ad, but an automaker has to be careful about this, especially in an age of such galloping technology. It wouldn't be wise I don't think for Cadillac to emphasis too much the Age of Excess....if I were them I'd stick to the glorious Golden Age of Cadillac, the 1930s, when it could indeed hold its own with just about any car in the world and when "princes and stars" really did own Cadillacs all over the world.
  • Xrunner2-
    The bustle back Cadillac Seville was the "Cadillac Catera" of it's era in the late 1970's in terms of aesthetics. The only people who thought it would be cool to release such a hideous looking vehicle back in those days was G.M. /Cadillac......totally out of touch with reality.
    ---mediapusher
    _____________________________________________-
    . There was another old Cadillac shown that also was gross, goofy looking - think it was a late 70's Seville with a bustle back. The front and rear of this car had absolutely no relationship, no integration. An abomination of a so-called design.
    ---xrunner2
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Another reason the Allante is still talked about today is because people really wanted the idea of the Allante to work out. It was a gorgeous looking car and not only gorgeous, but "smart" looking.

    And the models including Kelly (Al Bundy's daughter) were truly beautiful young women that were trying to highlight and show off the Allante's gorgeous design in a Married with Children episode. Remember Kelly practicing saying the word Allante to get it just right.

    Apparently, Cadillac gave permission to the show to use the car and promote it to the demo group that watched Married.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    Cadillac built 2,185 cars in Europe in 2006. GM also sold more cars outside North America than it did in the Continental United States. Cadillac only builds about 29-34% of its cars, and remainder are provided by suppliers like ZF, Magna, and Inteir---among many.

    Cadillac even sold 1,171 cars in Japan...where Lexus in NOT popular having sold only 10,293 cars in the Japanese mainland versus more than 183,037 CARS in the U.S. to Cadillac's 142,765. Cadillac is regaining share in America, and also begining to make inroads in crucial overseas markets. Lexus would be a dead product if it were sustained only by its Japanese sales, (and for which, it was not available in Japan at the outset, allowing them to "dump" them in the U.S. market at $38,500 a copy.) WE do not do that. Cadillac has wisely chosen to open assembly plants in Europe and China in order to beat tariffs and some local taxation on imports. Yet the sales would not be there if the product did not exceed the buyer expectations---for they also have Audi, Mercedes, BMW, etc. to chose from. Lincoln is almost out of the game, so it falls to Cadillac to uphold the American marques oveseas. Favorable reviews of many American made cars in Detroit by the world press may yet signal the turning point in the public perception where American cars are not automatically regarded as inferior or shoddy vis a vis Japanese, German, and European counterparts.

    Every car maker has built lemons, or had production disasters that yeilded some pretty terrible product. But what GM and Cadillac are doing now corrects much of that oversight. If Cadillac were a stand-alone company it would still require roughly 100,000 employees across dozens of global suppliers across several tier levels to make one car, and the combined assets of the company would run to $40-50Bn in revenues. The synergy of the design has now become paramount in the auto-industry, especially given the increasing technological level of the computer and electronic systems now demanded and necessary to meet engineering, environmetal, and regulatory performance criteron.

    Cadillac is not quite back at the top yet, but they are now very near the summit. When Cadillac begins to outsell Lexus in Japan, even despite tariffs and taxation that make them a frighteningly expensive propasition, or for that matter in China, then we know they are winning again. The truth is in the driving, and the last brand new Cadillac I drove, their latest SUV had a seemless and excellent driveline. Interior quality was very good, but could still move up a notch. It was a car I would pay money for...and I don't consider myself a "Cadillac" man.

    Quite simply, it looks as though Cadillac is getting it right...going after markets globally with American and Cadillac style. It was what made them a great car decades ago, and that idea is still consonant even today with a great product. Manufacturers don't spend ad dollars showing what they used to build when they don't have much faith in what they build now...when the old cars appear in the ads, then you know what they are building now is ostensibly better.

    'Standard of the World'? Cadillac is now built around the world, and chance is in the offing that it can claim that title again.

    DouglasR

    (sources: automotive news.)
  • I don't watch any of free broadcast national television so I wouldn't know about the promotion tie in that the Allante had with the TV show "Married with Children". From what I heard about that show I don't think I would have watched it anyway if I was inclined to watch national tv.

    However it does seem kind of silly that they would have promoted the Allante with that show if they wanted people of high class to buy that vehicle
    ---mediapusher
    ______________________________________
    And the models including Kelly (Al Bundy's daughter) were truly beautiful young women that were trying to highlight and show off the Allante's gorgeous design in a Married with Children episode. Remember Kelly practicing saying the word Allante to get it just right.

    Apparently, Cadillac gave permission to the show to use the car and promote it to the demo group that watched Married.
  • Well there's a mixed message from automotive news. They didn't mention (or perhaps they did, I haven't read the original source) this interesting fact:

    Mercedes easily outsells Cadillac in Japan despite costing twice as much. (Fleetwood - 5.5 million yen, Benz S Class 12 million yen).

    What plausible reason? Prestige, of course, can be the only answer.



    source: http://www.intelbridges.com/japaneseconsumeruk.html
  • DouglasR-

    What does "Standard of the World" mean? The Cadillac CTS already is the "standard of the world" in U.S.A., but so is the Lexus LS430, E350, E250, BMW 325, 530, etc. This title cannot be a singular claim by any make of car. It belongs to many as it always have.

    ---mediapusher
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    The actual numbers are for the Japanese market are:

    Mercedes-Benz (all models) 46,161
    Cadillac 1,171
    Jaguar 3,461
    Audi 15,420
    Astons 110
    Ferrari 391
    Maybach 26
    BMW AG 58,755
    Bentley 355
    Lincoln 0
    ----------------------
    Total Imports: 261,534

    Mercedes and BMW sell across all ranges of product, which Cadillac does not match (there are no "3 series" type Cadillacs!) Given the 33% tarriff on imports plus an additional 20% VAT and licensing/registration fees, an imported car in Japan is a very expensive propasition. (Not to mention every car has to be inspected by the government, and you must prove you have a parking space for it!)

    Mercedes & BMW are far more entrenched in terms of service and retail outlets, thus can sell more cars. 75% of Japanese sales above $45,000 are imported cars! A recent article in the WSJ reported that Toyota/Lexus was very disappointed with the performance of Lexus in Japan---where they thought there would be no problem selling the car---but it ends up competing against foreign cars. At that price, Japanese (like American consumers) want cache and exclusivity, so they turn to products they can't get in Japan. Even Rolls-Royce sold more than 50 cars in Japan last year. There is also the issue of RHD, which Mercedes, BMW, Astons/Jaguar, Bentley & Rolls-Royce all provide, and is necessary in Japan as they drive on the left. Cadillac has only recently started built some of its models with RHD (as Chrysler is also doing in Europe.) So that is one more reason why Cadillac sales in Japan can be considered successful: the Japanese have the inconvenience of driving a LHD car in a RHD world.

    Thus Cadillac is inching along. (Better than the 10 Buicks or 14 Mustangs sold there...!) Toyota, after-all, sold its first TWO cars in L.A. in 1957! And they thought that was a "success" (when 'Made-in-Japan' meant it was cheezy cr-p) The revamped CTS made for the Chinese market has been accepted resoundingly and the KD plant where they are assembled can't build them fast enough, and demand is sharp for imported Cadillacs despite the staffering price on the Chinese Mainland (tariffs and taxes effectively doubling the price.)

    "Standard of the World" best refers to the famous 'Penalty of Leadership" ad written by McManus for Cadillac in January 1915 and used by Cadillac Motors as a talisman for the brand. Having won the Dewar Trophy twice in its ascendant stage (for interchangeability of parts built to 1/10,000" tolerances, and the Kettering self starter) Cadillac was persuing Packard, and left no stone unturned in persuit of engineering and quality. Not just an ad slogan, Cadillac began to set the tone in the industry, especially when it introduced V12 and V16 engines in December 1929. Spurring both Packard and Rolls-Royce to build their own along with Lincoln among others. Cadillac became noted for many "firsts" in the industry (which Packard was also proud of and competing with Cadillac to maintain) such as Automatic Transmissions (in luxury markets, though also available on Oldsmobile in 1939) among other features.

    Just as "excellence was expected" at Porsche, and "engineering supremacy" is demanded at Mercedes, "Standard of the World" meant the latest in engineering/performance and/or convenience features blended with excellent build quality. What is means, at the end of the day, is that the brand becomes a benchmark against which all others are automatically compared. That was the point of "Penalty of Leadership" by McManus.

    It is what Cadillac must regain again. At least they are trying.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: Automotive News Market Data Book 2006)
  • Here's an interesting view of what constitutes "best in the world".

    This isn't about cars, it's about Swiss watches!

    Let me know what you think:

    (quoted text)

    "Swiss made" embodies a concept of quality that has been forged over the years. It includes the technical quality of watches (accuracy, reliability, water-resistance and shock-resistance), as well as their aesthetic quality (elegance and originality of design). It covers both traditional manufacturing and new technologies (micro-electronics).

    The Swiss are not the only watchmakers to manufacture high-quality timepieces and are consequently faced with strong competition. However, thanks to their unique infrastructure and to their know-how and spirit of innovation, they have succeeded in maintaining their leading position.

    The intrinsic value of the "Swiss made" label, therefore, is the result of considerable efforts on the part of watchmaking companies, who are ultimately responsible for maintaining its reputation.

    While prestigious brand names have thrived, they have never relegated the "Swiss made" label to a secondary place. The brand names and "Swiss made" have always worked together in an alliance that provides the consumer with the best of guarantees. "

    source: http://www.fhs.ch/en/swissm.php
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    The intrinsic value of the "Swiss made" label, therefore, is the result of considerable efforts on the part of watchmaking companies, who are ultimately responsible for maintaining its reputation.

    It would be interesting to compare the management style of a long time Swiss watch maker vs GM and Cadillac. Has Cadillac division been forced to make many compromises in research, engineering, materials, etc for the overall goals of GM? If Cadillac were staffed with top notch people of all disciplines and then split off from GM, would it have a better chance of meeting/beating the best in the world? Many companies have split off a division through the years to enable the newly formed company to flourish and prosper.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,568
    the problem is you like many others expect people to instantly forget the unreliability horrors of G.M's past.

    Well people immediately forget the problems and mistakes of the imports, so its not a stretch to forget about a car that was last built some 14 years ago.

    Cheap interior in a car like the Cadillac CTS sends a very insulting message to a potential buyer that has money.

    Then it must also send the same message to the imports that don't have a much better interior.

    There are three types of people in this world. Those who are good at math and those who are not.

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,568
    What?

    I'll explain it to you, you are a GM basher, The only reason to bring up a car that hasn't been in production for 14 years is so that you can continue to bash GM. Is that simple enough for you?

    I have plenty of today for you.

    Well no one is forcing you to read or respond to my posts. But somehow I think I struck a nerve.

    There are three types of people in this world. Those who are good at math and those who are not.

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,568
    Yet they weren't always like that. I collect 19th century pocket watches and American ones were just so much better than their Swiss counterparts of the period. And even though they are rarer Swiss watches from that period generally have half the value of an identical American watch.

    There are three types of people in this world. Those who are good at math and those who are not.

  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    As XR2 says, Cadillac and for that matter GM did its best when the divisions had control of the product. Roger Smith destroyed all of that, and the establishment of GMAD did not help the independence of the divisions. As John Delorean once said (of the Vega): "We can't put a not in the glovebox saying, 'We didn't build it GMAD did'..." Despite his later misfortunes in Dunmurray, JZD was right...and Alfred Sloan knew as well that the products had to be left to the divisions.

    Of course today it seems an impossibility to go back to that system given global requirements and platform sharing. But the overall tasking and design could be left to renascent divisions. Then....anything might be possible. Just look what has happened at Ford Motor to see the opposite effect.

    DouglasR
  • Well there's always the new kid on the block to take over...I mean, there was no Lexus in 1989 (at least not one we really knew much about).

    The article talks about the "perception" of quality and the buyer's "trust" in the name or product.

    I guess we would call it brand equity. Obviously the Swiss have built this up while others have let it go.

    I don't know if you remember when German cameras were considered the best in the world.

    Same deal. Of course it doesn't help your product to declare war on the world, but.... :P

    I think exploring the notion of "quality" is quite interesting....
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