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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,548
    >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.
  • 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: 327
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 46,003
    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.

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  • 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!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 46,003
    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.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,357
    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
    image

    image
    image

    I do see it here.
    image
    image
  • 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: 34,357
    Oh that '48 is purty
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 46,003
    Ah, the famous Nissan tail light heritage?

    I don't get that one, either. :P

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  • Too bad that last one looks a bit like Chevy Cobalt taillights. image
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 46,003
    Here's 60 years of genetic material, and to me at least it's pretty obvious:

    image
    1948 Benz

    image
    1958 Benz

    image
    1968 Benz

    image
    1988 Benz

    image
    A Benz Today

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  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    xrunner said: The new 2008 CTS has very strong identity to past Cadillacs in front end (back to 40's) and rear styling.

    Bumpy said: I don't see it.


    You are trying to compare 2008 CTS rear to 40's Caddy rear. I did not make that comparison. Check my sentence again. I only said that front of 2008 and Caddys BACK TO 40's have strong identity. Did not say that back of 2008 has strong identity to 40s'. But, nonetheless, 2008 back end of CTS is very strong to past Caddys, Eldos I think.

    Old car you show below red BMW (seems to have BMW badge) is a very generic design of the 30s and was used by many brands. Is it supposed to match up with red BMW? Don't see it. I guess they both have headlights, but shape is not the same only function.

    I would bet that any car savvy teen of today could correctly guess the Cadillac brand by looking at the grille of the old Caddy picture you show. Same teen no way would guess the correct brand of old BMW. There is nothing unique tying that car to current BMW.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    What I see is the three pointed star as clearly recognizable. The radiator grill has evolved slowly, and if one sees all of the intermediate grills, one sees the evolution.

    To judge Cadillac's styling changes over time, one needs to look at the prime Cadillac model, which is the De Ville since World War Two. The DeVille has been Cadillac's prime seller, and has been what Cadillac is for most people. The deville name was not always used, as it started out as the series 62 after WWII.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    I bet a 10-year-old kid - or 30-something adult not particularly interested in cars - could identify a Cadillac built after 1942 (when the shape became more "modern" and the front took on a stronger identity), through the models of the early 1980s (before the really radical downsizing to front-wheel-drive took hold).

    As for the taillights on the new CTS - they recall the thin, vertical taillights that Cadillac began using with the 1967 Eldorado. They aren't meant to evoke the cars of the tailfin era.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 46,003
    The egg crate grille is too a weak symbol for Cadillac. I mean, look at who's had it for years already:

    image

    So no car company owns the egg crate like Benz owns the star or BMW owns the kidneys.

    Having said that, AT LEAST the new Cadillac is not a "cookie'cutter" design from the GM lineup...and that's a GOOD THING!

    Another problem with the "heritage thing", aside from little link to the past, is that Cadillac has no performance history, (racing, sedan racing, hill climbs, rallyes, etc) except maybe in rock and roll songs.

    So really Cadillac has to rely on the "glam" image from the past---that's all it has going in terms of accessible "history" (what anyone can remember) as far as the general public is concerned.

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  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    mediapusher,

    You've crossed the line dude. I've had my computer down for about a week and have been trying to catch up on the posts I've missed on this forum. Dude, if you don't like General Motors products that's fine. You own a Camry and a Accord which is a very popular appliance. I don't see how you can sit here and rip a brand that has consistently offered in their most disgusting years a better car than anything you drive now or ever have driven......seriously.....The anti-gm/cadillac garbage is getting old.

    And would you please tell me why a G.M. assembly line worker expects to make executive level wages and beyond to put together a car?? ($42+ per hour)

    My father had a skill job as a job setter and right before he retired from GM/Delphi after 27 years he made $29 an hour as of July of 2006. He had great benefits and a pension and didn't make $42+ an hour like you and the media claim unless you factor in the cost of health insurance and his pension. If you break it down year by year it still doesn't even come close to that figure. GM, has stated it costs them a bundle of money for health insurance per car as much as $1500 per car which IMHO from other studies is quite a stretch. They of course factor in retiree health insurance and due to the past bad investments and under funding of pension and health insurance funds they yes are paying quite a bit. If the company's past CEO's would of properly invested their money instead of blowing it on projects like Suzuki, Suburu, Fuji, Saab, Isuzu, etc etc etc, perhaps those billions wasted would of made the current pension and healthcare costs a moot point. GE, has nearly 30 Billion with a "B" to cover pensions and healthcare for it's retirees here in the U.S. and in fact the fund continues to make money and id self supporting.
    I don't deny Roger Smith, was a bad CEO and took the North American for granted and is the sole person responsible for GM's collapse in here in the U.S.
    I however take offense when people take pop shots at UAW workers who put in a lot of years and deserve a slice of the pie when they are asked to leave or take early retirements when cut backs are needed because of modernization. Look at this way your tax dollars won't be used to support my GM family members on medicare or medicaid. ;)

    My point is yes GM, has made some mistakes in the past. however should we not move forward and admit General Motors is at least offering the consumers of this counry some handsome products finally ???? The 2008' Cadillac CTS is just one of many examples that are out or will be rolling down the assembly line. If you want to live in the past you have the right to do so. :sick: I however wished you'd quit with your anti-GM smear campaign and contribute something positive to this forum. If you don't want to I wished you'd at least be mature enough and leave because I'm yet to see one positive remark from you in the 352 posts I've missed posted on this forum. ;)

    Thanx, and have a great day ! :)

    Rocky
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,548
    Does anybody have pictures of the interiors in 80s Hondas, toyos, and Datsuns? Let's compare Allante with the others.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    cooterbfd,

    That's the smartest thing said in the last 150+ posts I've read...... ;)

    Rocky
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,548
    I was out with the kid this afternoon spending some bonding time and almost dragged him into some dealerships to check on this quality gap. The Jaguar, Porsche, and BMW store was right next to HH Greggs. I would rather have stopped at the Honda store to check those miracle plastics that are so much better than GM's but I hate the traffic on the mall bypass road they're on.

    Some people are a "One Note Samba" to name an old song.

    Check your email box, Rock.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    imidazol97, how much was the Allante going for back in the days and how much were the 80s Hondas, Toyotas and Nissans going for?

    Again, let's compare apples to apples shall we?

    Just like today I would definitely stand up and object if I see someone is trying to compare an Acura TL to say a Chevy Impala or Malibu even though I am in here known for as the "imports lover" and "domestics basher".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 46,003
    Some time ago I posted that I thought Cadillac would be foolish to build the V-16 at this time of sensitivity to gas guzzling cars....but I think I was wrong...

    Really, Cadillac's only card to play to gain more prestige is the glamor car, the exclusivity card. They don't have a heritage card and they don't have a racing card, but they do still have a history of American-style glamor and foreign owner "opulence". It was the car of "pleasure-seekers".

    Therefore, I think Cadillac SHOULD build this car, in the following way and for the following reasons:

    I think Cadillac should build a V-16 FOUR door luxury car, in both short and long wheelbase. It should be glamorous and fast and should be filled with every conceivable gadget known to mankind. It will be a Maybach but with a plunging neckline and bulging muscles, not an undertaker's car.

    This car won't be for profit. It will be built in very small numbers and sold only ONLY to the most highly visible and "worthy" glamorous, powerful, rich people. (This is essentially what Ferrari does with cars like the Enzo, etc).

    It should be priced at least at $150,000, and painted only in dignified colors. Buyers must agree not to alter the cars exterior and Cadillac will have a buy-back option contract on every car. It will have a fabulous warranty as well and we will NEVER see one broken down on the side of the road...it will be whisked away if it breaks down.

    A special group of people (perhaps in addition to their regular duties) will be assigned to place the car in the media, movies and at events, and will be in contact with the owners as a kind of valet service.

    Should this program succeed, a coupe version could be built, even more powerful and more glamorous. It will cost $250,000.

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