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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    >Toyota connection...that's proof of the marketing success.

    That is my point exactly. GM probably has spent nearly as much in advertising but hasn't been as effective as some other cars because of past image tainting in 80s and 90s and lack of willingness to cut the umbilical.

    I still cringe when I recall the "My father's Oldsmobile" sequence of ads trying to get newer buyers who had been weaned into the Civic, Accord, Corolla, Camry, etc., cars out of those cars into an Oldsmobile.

    Why were the wine glasses stacked in a pile on a Lexus hood so effective and the ball bearing rolling down a body panel crease so effective with the intended market? Why didn't GM pick a theme that would be equivalent for GM.

    This message has been approved.

  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Do you seriously think that Lexus' success is base alone on glasses stacked on the hood and ball bearing rolling down a body panel crease? Does it have nothing to do with its reasonable price, excellent quality and awesome dealer service?

    Marketing is important no doubt but without a decent product to back it up it's pretty much worthless.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    GM's ad agency were morons, or else GM management were in approving and selecting the ad campaigns especially for Olds. If Olds had put wine glasses on the hood of the Aurora, it may have attracted some Lexus owners - but when they saw how ugly the interior was, they would run away screaming, as I did. One, it's the car, two - the ad campaign of "not your father's Oldsmobile" was a complete flop and wrong direction to go. Dad's Oldsmobile was the most successful brand GM had, but they had to change it. You have to change - but if it ain't broke, maybe that's not the brand to change, or not to change that way. If GM would have paid more attention to the ball bearing test, they would be much better off today. Instead, they focused on alienating all of their current buyers, with "Not your father's Olds". Well, Dad quit buying Olds because it wasn't his car anymore, and bought a Grand Marquis instead.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    The Aurora's interior plastics were bad looking. Worse than the CTS's. I think that this is where Cadillac (GM too) still needs to improve. The SRX interior is nicer looking, but still could improve in subtle ways to seem more luxurious.
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 323
    I agree with your statement that people by Hyundais because they believe they are the cheapest. I would even argue that recent models, the Santa Fe, Entourage, and Sonata, are vastly improved and are solid cars. Cadillac, Chevy and the rest of GM have a problem because they have not accepted their position. Hyundai has priced their new minivan cheaper than the Odessey even though many people view it as being a direct competitor. Cadillac, for example, views itself a little to highly. Most people do not view it as the equal of a Lexus. Same goes for Chevy. It is not viewed as the equal of Honda or Toyota. With this in mind, GM must price their cars accordingly.
  • Cadillac and any other of GM's cars will never be "Standard of the World" for several reasons. The following reasons are listed below.

    1. The only people who think they ever were standard of the world were those that were of adult age in the 1950's and 60's. At that time Cadillac only sold "luxoboat" sized cars; which makes me question the "standard of the world" question, because standard of the world in other countries means performance cars, and up until 2002 Cadillac didn't have a street legal performance car (Cadillac CTS) The CTS was born from car enthusiasts, engineers and racing heritage, the same type of energy that for many decades, not just a few years, has gone into building BMW 300 series cars and many Mercedes cars, etc. Another thing is there was an extreme shift in the way Americans purchased cars starting in 1975, because of the "oil crisis". When this happened, most weren't worried about the standard, they were worried about how they could stop wasting money on fuel, like they are today due to sky high vehicle fuel prices.

    2. To be "standard of the world, a car company needs to be concerned with more things than style. How about substance? How about craftsmanship? Good Service? Good Warranty? Detail? These are things that GM misses the cue on so many times. There are those that say the CTS meets these points, but that's the only car that Cadillac has that meets these points. And we still don't have a CTS that is the standard of this world until this fall.. Why? because of the 2007 CTS' cheap interior. The STS may meet these points as well, but the STS also is not fun to drive, it's too heavy, to much body lean, and too large for most to consider it fun to drive.

    3. The main reasons I feel they will never be standard of the world is because of poor marketing, but most of all, poor management. In addition, they also have too many layers of management, and in the minds of many Cadillac's cars were never the standard of the world to begin with.

    4. Why is GM worried about making Cadillac "Standard of the World"? Doesn't it make more sense to worry about brands that were once flourishing, now have become fledgling? What about trying to rebuild GM as a whole brand? Now that they have Saturn, they may not need Buick?. Buick, Olsmobile (which seems to sporadically resurrect itself from time to time), and Pontiac are not doing that great either in the U.S.A.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    The "Standard of the World" nonsense is an advertizing scheme that Cadillac has used off and on, based on their ownership of the one Dewar Trophy that was given for "standardization".

    BMW cars are 3-series, 5-series and 7-series, not 300, 500 ... series. BMW is the standard for sports sedans. Not everyone wants a sports sedan though.

    I do not think GM is trying to make Cadillac some sort of "Standard of the World". This forum is about this ill defined issue. I think GM is trying to improve their entire lineup of cars, but Oldmobile is no long a production item. Oldsmobile was a make that was in production continuously for over 100 years when GM finally shut down production.
  • I think sls has hit on a key factor here when he mentioned BMW "series".

    BMWs success is actually based not on a revolutionary idea but rather an EVolutionary idea, of constant perfection of a single formula, constantly evolving into new and more effective forms.

    GM seems more like "oh, the brontosaurus is dead, so here's a...umm...mammoth....oh, didn't like that huh? Okay a sabre tooth tiger then!"

    So the sooner Cadillac gets into this evolutionary style of production, the sooner they'll compete as a credible member of the luxury and "sports/luxury" class IMO.

    We touched on this briefly some time ago, when someone posted pictures of BMWs going back to the late 1930s. They would be recognized by the average American even today as some kind of old BMW, without reading any names or emblems on the car. Those twin grilles still persist in a recognizable pattern. Ditto Mercedes.

    But the relation of a '50 Cadillac to a modern one? It's just not there.

    Not saying it HAS to work this way, but it sure didn't hurt BMW and Mercedes to have that genetic string going.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    But the relation of a '50 Cadillac to a modern one? It's just not there.

    Not saying it HAS to work this way, but it sure didn't hurt BMW and Mercedes to have that genetic string going.


    The new 2008 CTS has very strong identity to past Cadillacs in front end (back to 40's) and rear styling. Think that Cadillac has done just as good a job as BMW in maintaining consisitency of front end look. Cadillac maybe has done a better job of maintaining its rear look than has BMW.

    One issue that Cadillac might have parlayed if they had close to equal performance/handling of 3/5/7 series would be ease of use compared to BMW. Didn't BMW kind of goof up by providing an overly complicated I-Drive?
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Cadillac has to be recognized as coming a long, long way in the last 10 years. They offer products that do compete with Lexus and BMW/Mercedes ect.. The leaders in Cadillac need to stay on course with new products to entice people to visit showrooms. Thier image is getting better year after year to be on par with best luxo sedans from Europe and Asia. Give credit where cedit is well earned. Great work Cadillac!
  • Well I do sorta kinda see the resemblance in big square grille parts, you are right, but I don't see any strong resemblance to brand identity per se. Lots of cars in the 40s had that type of grille. I couldn't find a rear shot of the CTS, so I can't comment on your observation there.

    But really now I don't think a buyer unschooled in the history of cars would pick up on it, whereas a ten year old kid could spot a 1938 Mercedes in a heartbeat. I'd bet $20 bucks on a random test.

    And since we are talking about a sort of gut-level subliminal identification between past and present, I'm not sure that Cadillac has enough genetic material from the past in its modern cars to inspire instant brand equity and historical respect in new buyers. Call it the "heritage factor" if you will, vague as that sounds.

    I do see in modern Cadillacs that charming kind of bombast in the grillework that I sort of likee in most of the older American cars--so yeah, there is genetic material in that sense--to a glorious past of American 'big iron" in general IMO.

    If Cadillac wanted real genetic material, it would have to bring back those big boob bumpers and tail fins, and you know, those days might be over for automotive stylists.

    When I think of the Golden 50s for Cadillac, i'm seeing pictures of like Marilyn Monroe and Dwight Eisenhower waving from huge chromey cars that looked like they were ready to conquer outer space. Parked next to the average American or foreign sedan, Cadillacs positively overwhelmed them visually.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,907
    Evolution vs revolution...that's a very good point.

    IMO all of the Euro lux players understand it. MB is fantastic about evolving a model over decades. Reorganizing the lineup every 10 years confuses the non-loyalist consumer. MB is so evolutionary that back in 1994 when the model name conventions changed (ie 500SEL vs S500), some people were upset.

    It also helps in the heritage ideal, which is important for MB and BMW loyalists.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The new 2008 CTS has very strong identity to past Cadillacs in front end (back to 40's) and rear styling.

    I don't see it.

    image
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    I do see it here.
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  • Oh come on those first two have four wheels and two headlights/tailights...

    Ooops wait forgot about the third brake light.

    The only common element I see is the milk crate front grill and that is stretching it.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,907
    Oh that '48 is purty
  • Ah, the famous Nissan tail light heritage?

    I don't get that one, either. :P
  • Too bad that last one looks a bit like Chevy Cobalt taillights. image
  • Here's 60 years of genetic material, and to me at least it's pretty obvious:

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    1948 Benz

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    1958 Benz

    image
    1968 Benz

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    1988 Benz

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    A Benz Today
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