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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I owned a 69 GTO, 71 Riviera, 76 Riviera, 78 Olds diesel, 83 Skyhawk, 86 Electra T-type, 91 Reatta, 90 Riviera, 95 Riviera, 98 Aurora, 2002 Seville, and 2007 SRX. Of these cars, the 76 Riviera was using oil and coolant when I traded for the diesel, but never needed serious repairs while I owned it. The diesel's transmission was a bit wobbly when I traded it for the Skyhawk. Otherwise all of these cars needed little more than oil changes while I had them. I was never left standed somewhere by any of them due to something breaking down.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    Oh, now how can you make a comment like that, IMPOSSIBLE they say. YOU GOT LUCKY, they'll cry. GM made nothing but s$%t back then. ;)
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,982
    Some wiseacre will say that's 8 cars since '83 while I've only had 4 (between two drivers at that).

    Not me though. :shades:

    (one of those four was a Chrysler, and the other was assembled by Ford, if that helps...)

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    I never said that EVERY single vehicle was junk, but I do imply that the vast majority were junk...I would bet there are some folks who even bought creampuff Yugos, Vegas and Pintos, but they are in the minority...

    The simple fact is that as the auto market has grown over the last 20 years, much of that growth has been taken by imports...when I grew up, teens and young adults were dyed-in-the-wool Ford, Chevy or Chrysler guys...that is rare, today...

    For every one who posts here that raves about their Big 3 car, I will NEVER argue your experience...what I will argue is that I believe there are MANY more folks who have been burned by Big 3 cars that will never go back to Caddy or Lincoln...the numbers are simply against you...every geezer you see behind the wheel of a MB C or E series, or behind the wheel of a Lexus LS or ES, that is a sale that will probably never again walk into a Caddy or Lincoln (no more Imperials, eh???) showroom...

    And as the older folks, now 60-80, die off, the folks coming behind them, the Yuppies from (loosely) 40-60 are DEFINITELY not tied to Big 3 cars and have zero brand loyalty to GM or Ford...so, GM/Ford will have to produce a product superior in EVERY WAY, especially that indescribable "feel" of quality...

    If you remember the way that the original Lexus 400 was compared to the Caddy and Lincoln of the early 90s, the Caddy was barely qualified as a boat anchor...that comparison is what Caddy and Lincoln must do now to win sales back from Lexus...Caddy must blow away the competition or it will stay as an also-ran, because those who have deserted American cars are a larger group than those who will buy American only...

    I still maintain that when the cars are made down south by non-union labor, without stupid work rules, without Job Banks, and where they can be fired and replaced that day for shoddy workmanship, THEN, and only then, when the union has died and fades away, will American cars across the board show massive quality increases...now, one points to the CTS, Lucerne, and a few others, and nobody seems to notice how ridicupous that is, that 80% of the entire GM line does not stand out with quality...

    That is the problem to overcome...until it is, GM will be an also-ran...quite large, like Baby Huey, but an also-ran nonetheless...
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    I still maintain that when the cars are made down south by non-union labor, without stupid work rules, without Job Banks, and where they can be fired and replaced that day for shoddy workmanship, THEN, and only then, when the union has died and fades away, will American cars across the board show massive quality increases...now, one points to the CTS, Lucerne, and a few others, and nobody seems to notice how ridicupous that is, that 80% of the entire GM line does not stand out with quality...


    Then explain all the problems Nissan has had with the products coming out of Mississippi.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,402
    My Dad owned 2 Caddies:

    84 FB and an 88 Fd'E. The 88's brakes sucked big time (changed 2 times by dealer in the first 30K miles and twice again by 70K, the valve gasket blew at 60K along with the water pump. Stranded for 4 weeks without this reliable baby.

    The '84 Fleetwood had about as much power as my mini bike with a 5 horse Tecumseh.

    I am now rushing out to get hosed at the closest Caddy dealer! Wish me luck. :P

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,402
    Here is someone who had a problem with an STS. It's not just little old me out there.

    I apologize if y'all think I'm a one trick pony here but I would like to add my .02 worth. I, for one, did not have a low opinion of Cadillac when I purchased mine and perhaps that is why I am having such a hard time dealing with the way Cadillac is regarding my situation. I bought my STS because I felt guilty about buying a brand new Honda Accord in 2000.

    The "buy the cars that are built by your neighbors" thing seemed to make sense. Yes, I know it's built in America, but, being a Canadian, Americans are my "neighbors" too in my book. At least the profits don't go offshore.

    So I figured that if I was going to buy North American I would buy the best that they offered and to my way of thinking that was Cadillac. My 2000 STS is now rusting on all four doors in the same place and Cadillac accepts this and will not take responsibility (details on other threads and at http://www.geocities.com/myrusty2000cadillacsts/ )

    I am now totally disillusioned and hope that others that still think the Cadillac name actually means something special will consider my situation and decide for themselves.

    P.S. BTW I am investigating the possibility of a Class Action Suit regarding the vibration problem...if you are interested let me know.

    This person will have a hard time going back to Caddy any time soon.

    Regards,
    OW
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    I would like to see it but it is a fake/nonworking link.

    Interesting that it is a rust problem. Cadillac has been using two sided galvanized door metal since at least the 90's. Where is this rusting at? I did find the original posting and it was in 2003 so it was rusted within 3 years. This is very strange. Too bad we cannot see the actual issue.

    I guess we could start googling and posting all the Cadillac problems on this forum. I am sure that is exactly what the moderators want. On the other side we could post all the good experiences here also. In fact I think that is pretty much what this forum has turned into. That is too bad because at one time we actually discussed future product and interesting stuff.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    As far as I know the American auto industry back in the old 50's days wasnt that good. It was the competition that hadnt caught up yet, they were far worse. The Japanese industry was in its adolescence, still trying to match American quality. The Germans? They were still struggling from the mess left from WW2. Over the years the Japanese and German industries made bigger steps in advancement, eventually catching up with the Americans who didnt make as much progress as the competition. The result is what you people see now. Of course, not all of them succeed. Look at Jaguar, theyre basically in the same condition as Cadillac and Lincoln, even worse since Ford bought it (and now they sold it again).
    I'm not sure as of what happened to the US brands, but personally I chalked it down on arrogance. They got overconfident and didnt think the others would ever catch up, well, they did. I believe Mercedes walked a similar path, they got too confident in their products, making slow progress while charging stratospheric amount of $$$ for their cars. What happened o them? They slipped while Audi, BMW and even Lexus caught up with them.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,402
    The point is not a problem here or there. The question is: Can Caddy become a world standard again?

    Absolutely. Build product so I can buy one again. Then, it will be my World Standard along with a whole heck of a lot of other good folks.

    Yes, the change is apparently happening...but world standard is so far a reach from here, IMHO.

    Regards,
    OW
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    If, as you say, the vast majority were junk, then the majority of buyer would have stopped buying GM products and they would now be bankrupt.

    The Vega was junk, the engines were aluminum, and the design was faulty.

    The Lexus 400 was built to compare with the Mercedes S-class. Cadillac bodies were still designed to flex. I think that GM had come to realize that they were way behind in body design about 1990. Of course Mercedes had been building stiffer bodies in the 60's, but GM ignored them. But GM started working on the so called G-body which went into production in 1994 as the Aurora and Riviera.

    J. D. Powers surveys suggest that GM does well relative to the industry average, with most brand near or above the average. Saturn is not so good, but better than Volkswagon. I very seriously doubt that you can substantiate your claims with facts.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    But if it was only a "world standard" in the advertising department, as I pointed out before, not because it was better than everything else, then it was never the so called world standard. I would like to know what car you consider to be the present world standard and why.

    I think that Cadillac was tops only in the USA market in the 60's because there was no real competition. Lincoln, and Imperial were the competition, with imports of no concern in terms of sales. The Mercedes 600 was considered to be a far better car by the Car magazines, but it was priced with the Rolls Royce, and so was not considered to be a real car at the time. The current Rolls is so expensive that almost no one can afford one, and so is not a serious car.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    My facts are simply the loss of market share of the Big 3, and the growth of the imports at the expense of the Big 3...it is also odd that one of the traits often stated when someone is asked why they abandoned Big 3 and bought imports is "quality"...scientific or not, when the buyer leaves one product because they believe the other product has better quality, whether it is actually true or not, the Big 3 have lost a sale...and, as long as the buyer believes his import is better, he will continue to buy the "better" product...that, is a fact...

    When an entire nation is buying fewer of their own products and buying imports, SOMEBODY does not "see" the quality in the American product that you do...so you may argue with me all you want, but the perception of the buyer is their reality until something happens dramatic with the import to shake that reality...

    The Big 3 are in trouble, the imports are not...while not scientific fact, that is sufficient market proof for me...

    COOTER: I have no thoughts on that in Mississippi except to wonder why...
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    In the 60's the Big 3 were the primary automobile manufacturers. The imports were very limited. GM had about 50% of the market because Chryslers quality was not consistent.

    The primary reason that people bought Japanese cars in the mid-seventies is because they had the highest fuel economy ratings and people expected fuel to be rationed. Once people owned an import they found quality was better than expected and many continued to buy them.

    AS I SEE IT: if people have a choice of 3 product lines of equal quality, they will choose on average about equal numbers of each. So, Ford, GM and Chrysler should have each had about 30% of the market in the 60's, with the last 10% going to lesser car makers, imports or whatever.

    NOW: with all manufacturers building quality cars (including Chrysler), I see about 6 distinct major manufacturers (GM, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler, everyone else). This means that anyone with more than about 15% of the market has more than their fair share and keeping it will be difficult to impossible.

    GM with 30% of the market in the 1990's could not hope to keep that much. GM currently has over 20%, and can't possibly keep that much. This does not mean the GM products are junk, and saying that it does mean that is a stupid argument.

    The market in the US is expected to be about 15 million this year->meaning that GM should only have sales of about 2.5 million, anything more is over their share.

    Customers have far too many choices that are all good quality these days. Back in the 60's there were two good choices, GM or Ford, with Chrysler a shot in the dark to speak. American Motors was a fair choice perhaps, but clearly did not have the sales.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,402
    I would like to know what car you consider to be the present world standard and why.


    World Class to me is Bentley and Rolls. Not Caddy.

    image

    image

    image

    You can SEE why.

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,402
    when you were getting hosed?

    Before gas hit $4 a gallon, General Motors relied on large trucks and SUVs for most of its profits. In fact, one GM exec once told Leftlane that it only costs about $6,000 to $7,000 more to produce a Cadillac Escalade than it does to produce a Chevrolet Malibu – resulting in an incredible $30,000+ profit difference! However, the good times are over for GM and the auto giant is now looking to its small cars for big profits.

    I guess the cat's out of the bag! Imagine if they would have invested some of those killings that in world-class design and parts? Who knows? Could have been a contender.

    Regards,
    OW
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    While I agree that from the luxury point of view Rolls and Bentley are very good, to my thinking they are oversized and not cars that I would buy if money were not a consideration.

    At one time in the 70's I thought that the Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special was something I would like. When I was looking at trading in my 71 Riviera, I drove a used 73 Fleetwood for a short test drive. It took about two blocks to see that it was an oversized car. I really liked my 86 Buick because it was smaller.

    The problem I see with picking a "Standard of the World" today is that there are too many very good choices. If the "Standard of the World" is supposed to be the car that most people would choose if they could pick out any car they wanted, price of no consideration, then I think that there would be several cars on the list, none of them with 50% of the total.

    Personally, if there were a BMW dealer within a 100 miles, instead of more than 300 miles away, I would probably own a BMW wagon, probably a certified used 5 series. Still the SRX is a good choice for me, not too big and heavy, but burns more fuel than I would like. If the winters are shifting back to more snow then I probably have the right vehicle.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,402
    Sometimes, only a few will want or choose to own the world standard. I agree there are many great cars and why I leased a 330xi.

    Enjoy the SRX. Winter is coming soon!

    BTW, I saw some really nice pricing on late model A-8's yesterday. Very interesting.

    Regards,
    OW
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,209
    Wow, a lot of lucky people! I had a 1968 Buick Special Deluxe, 1975 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, 1979 Buick Park Avenue, 1979 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency, 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, 1988 Buick Park Avenue, 1989 Cadillac Brougham, 1994 Cadillac DeVille, 2002 Cadillac Seville STS, and a 2007 Cadillac DTS Performance.

    We still have a fleet of four GM cars: 1988 Buick Park Avenue, 1989 Cadillac Brougham, 2005 Buick LaCrosse, and 2007 Cadillac DTS Performance. I'm 43 and my girlfriend is a year younger. We'd have been those hypothetical kids and teenagers back in the 1970s and 1980s. Funny how we still buy GM cars.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,209
    ....the Yuppies from (loosely) 40-60 are DEFINITELY not tied to Big 3 cars and have zero brand loyalty to GM or Ford

    Not everybody who is 40-60 years-old is a yuppie. To be called a yuppie was an insult where I came from and certainly something I didn't aspire to be. A yuppie wouldn't have bought a Cadillac or Lincoln even if they were the best vehicles ever built. Cadillacs and Lincolns were their parents' cars and represented the so-called "Establishment" and they were out to rebel against said establishment by purchasing foreign luxury vehicles when they had the ability to afford one. They could care less if that BMW was unreliable and expensive to service and repair. They were more interested in a trendy brand name more than anything else. I also can't think of anybody who grew up to be a yuppie who drove a Chevrolet, Ford, or Plymouth in their teen years. They were more likely to drive VWs or some other Japanese or European facsimile.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,209
    I think that link is fake too...unless the guy was from New England and never washed his car since day one and let all this road salt accumulate on his car during the winter. During the summer, he parked the car on the beach and let the tide come in and flood the car. Oh, that and he spilled battery acid all over the car and had a nasty habit of leaving and spilling bottles of Pepsi all over the finish.

    I also don't believe the story about the 1988 Brougham with the bad brakes and gaskets. My 1989 Cadillac Brougham is mechanically identical to a 1988 Brougham and I have never experienced any major mechanical maladies with the car, let alone ones as severe as the ones he described.

    If you're going to make stuff up, be sure there are no other posters who have those kinds of cars who can call shenanigans on you.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,353
    I think if every GM owner cared for their cars like you do, GM would be in better shape today ;)
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,402
    That is pretty funny!

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,402
    Wow, pretty touchy when the truth comes out. I must have imagined my brother taking off the entire top of the engine and changing the passenger side head gasket.

    Oh well, you are a real GM guy! That's for sure.

    By the way, my German Shepard beat the 1984 FWB for 100 feet of the line. No big deal because almost anything that could breath could blow that thing into the weeds. Nice ride, though!!

    Regards,
    OW
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    COOTER: I have no thoughts on that in Mississippi except to wonder why...

    When I saw this (I can't remember where) I was disappointed. As an American, I'd like to think we are up to ANY challenge, ala WW2. I don't believe that they have to be union (or not) to build a quality product, I just believe it helps to stick together to make sure you aren't taken advantage of. I don't agree with banding together to "Stick it to the man", but I also think that we have an obligation to stand up for ourselves when we feel wronged, as well as stand behind others we see wronged.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    How does GM account for the costs of trucks vs cars? There are a lot of overhead expenses that cost GM money, but probably can't be directly charged off as either a car or a truck expense, and so are charged off evenly accross all models. The Escalade probably does not cost much more than the Chevy Suburban, but is priced higher, making it much more profitable. I question whether they can or should be comparing the cost of the Escalade with the Malibu.

    We know for example that GM's gross sales were about $180 billion in 2007 and sales were about 4 million. that averages out to $45,000 per vehicle. but probably need to account for world wide sales. In 2006 sales were 207 billion on 9.1 million vehicles world wide = $22,800 per vehicle. So the minimum price tag should be $25,000 :blush: :P :cry:

    One of the long term problems that GM has had is how to make profits off the small cars. They have never been able to see them as anything but cheap cars to sell at no profit. I think that this has been an accounting problem of sorts. I think one thing they wanted out of the Saturn investment was accounting that would show a profit.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,209
    Are we talking about the same engine? That 307 V-8 is darn near bulletproof. My car has 157K miles on it and I never had to take the engine apart. It would take an extraordinary circumstance to blow a head gasket on that car.

    As for a 4100-powered 1984 Fleetwood Brougham, I can believe it. I drove a 1983 model once with the 4100 and 0-60 could be measured with a calendar. It was, however, a very nice car.

    I think that Cadillac should've stuck with the 425 V-8 from 1977-79 until a suitable alternative could be developed, just paid the CAFE fines, and told the eco-weenies where they could shove their Birkenstocks and granola bars.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    to say that GM should have simply thumbed its nose at the government and continued to build smoggy gas guzzlers regardless of the political, social, and economic climate of the time. However, in doing so management would have been abrogating its fiduciary duty to the shareholders, and most likely would have been out on their bums in short order.

    As for the Oldsmobile engine in those not-really-Cadillacs-anymore, they were understressed machines that held together well enough, assuming the guy on the line didn't decide to take his liquid lunch before he finished torquing down the head.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,776
    One of the long term problems that GM has had is how to make profits off the small cars. They have never been able to see them as anything but cheap cars to sell at no profit.

    To the earlier post, this is the problem. With all of those SUV profits in the late 90's and early 2000's, you would have thought that management would diversify the product line a bit. How about investing that money into a *truly* competitive small car, small engine? Did they think oil prices would never go up? It looks like gross management incompetence to me. I wish I could be that bad and make those salaries...
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,353
    Seems like more damage was done to shareholders by making the low quality products instead.
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