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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I agree completely. If I were head of Cadillac I'd have the GM badges removed. Who Cadillac buyer wants to be reminded that this is the same company makes a POS like the Ion?

    Merc, in a few years cars like the ION won't be in production any longer so having the GM emblem on the sides of the car won't tarnish a nice car like a Cadillac. I do understand exactly why you said it but in a few years it won't be so disgraceful. ;)

    Rocky
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Which brings me to my last point. In the newspaper today I notice that they are allready offering 6k off of new Escalades. Gm needs to just drop the MSRP on these bohemoth dinasours. They are only hurting themselves with this nonesense.

    Took a look at the incentives and right now GM does offer 5.9-7.9% interest but no cash. Perhaps this is a dealer incentive? This is for '07 and '06 models.

    There is an average inventory supply (80 for Escalade vs. 79 for industry but GM does force up the average significantly)so perhaps individual dealers are taking it upon themselves to advertise and sell them.

    Sales wise the Escalade is up for the calender year as of December 1. 34k vs. 27k. This would include last years model as well.

    Now is it overpriced? Depends on how many GM wants to sell. Demand today seems to be there but next year it may not!!
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,767
    "in a few years in a few years in a few years"

    Rocky, I admire your verve but GM ridding itself of a negatvie reputation that is well earned is not going to be as easy as flipping a light switch.

    In a few years the Ion will be gone and all the competitors will have better product too. In the new sedan comparo in C&D, the Godsend Aura placed middle of the pack and that is a vaunted new model.

    GM tarnished their reputation over a period of decades. It will take years and years to change everyone's perception of them IF they make a commitment to product that is not yet evident.

    btw: the SRX looks like a CTS converted into a hearse. That's why no one buys it even with $339 a month leases.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    In a few years the Ion will be gone and all the competitors will have better product too. In the new sedan comparo in C&D, the Godsend Aura placed middle of the pack and that is a vaunted new model.

    Yet it is one of 3 NA car of the year finalists and will most likely be #1 (close to 50 press reporters poll). One mag review does not make a car or kill it.

    But it will take years to change opinions AND buying preferences.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Not sure if this was posted here. Autonotive News analysis.

    Could not post a chart shich showed the CTS having remarkable sales progress. In '02 39K sales and increasing to 60k in '05. For '06 it looks like it will be 55k. Time for a new one!

    The Cadillac CTS sedan may be about to start a family.

    General Motors insiders say Cadillac is seriously considering a plan to create a family of CTS sedans, coupes and wagons that would emulate BMW's 3-series lineup.

    Mock-ups of a wagon and coupe already lurk inside GM's design studio in suburban Detroit. Of course, that doesn't mean they'll ever go into production. But GM executives clearly have spotted an opportunity to create a CTS minibrand within Cadillac.

    The sedan would remain the centerpiece of a CTS family, generating the bulk of total sales. And GM is prepared to brag about it. The redesigned sedan - which sports a new interior and a grille reminiscent of the Cadillac Sixteen concept - will debut during the Detroit auto show in January.


    Niche strategy

    With sales of 50,024 units through November, the CTS sedan has a secure market niche. Because the wagon and coupe would share mechanicals with the sedan, Cadillac can make money if those new models generate sales of 20,000 units apiece.

    That's where Cadillac's European strategy could prove useful. Most Americans supposedly don't care for wagons - but Europeans do. If Cadillac can sell a couple of thousand CTS wagons in Europe, it would help reach the wagon's breakeven point.

    If GM goes ahead with this strategy, expect the CTS family to be $30,000 to $40,000. That would target the fattest portion of the U.S. luxury market - a segment that generates annual sales of 1 million units.

    Here's how the rest of Cadillac's lineup would fit the brand's strategy:

    Stop dreaming about a production version of the Cadillac Sixteen. That concept car drew rave reviews, but a production version would cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars. The Mercedes Maybach and the Rolls-Royce Phantom have demonstrated just how small that segment is.

    Forget about an uber sedan that could challenge the Mercedes S class. Volkswagen's Phaeton flop-aroo has demonstrated the risks of moving upscale too quickly.

    Cadillac executives think they could pull it off. But product development is costly, and GM is trying to conserve resources. An S-class competitor simply isn't a priority.

    In fact, Cadillac's flagship car is actually a truck: the Escalade. The Escalade still has room to move upscale with new powertrains and interiors. Stay tuned.

    Cadillac needs only one $50,000 sedan, not two. We are told that Cadillac executives might dump either the STS or the DTS sedan. The $40,000-to-$50,000 price segment generates industry sales of 300,000 units.

    In a segment of that size, Cadillac's old something-for-everyone strategy is obsolete. Customers don't walk into a Cadillac showroom asking for "traditional American luxury" or "European-style performance." Says one executive: "They just want a nice car."

    But here's the problem: The front-wheel-drive DTS handily outsells the rear-wheel-drive STS. But traditional DTS buyers are dying off, and Cadillac wants to promote rwd performance.

    What about the SRX and the XLR roadster? Cadillac needs a crossover, so the SRX has a future. The roadster seems expendable. But the XLR shares mechanicals with the Corvette, so it is not hugely expensive. I'll leave it to the buff magazines to track the roadster's future.

    The bottom line: GM executives are convinced that Cadillac can attract younger buyers, that the CTS lineup can expand and that the brand can afford to get sassier.

    At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if tail fins reappear someday.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I went back to your original post. You claimed that the Allante's basic problem was a lack of horsepower. You understated the Allante's horsepower and overrated the 1987 Mercedes 560SL's horsepower. The 560SL was rated at 227 hp
    see - http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9732/Mercedes-Benz_560%20SL/default.aspx

    That was my point in my first post.

    What I have tried to say after that is that the Allante, essentially an Eldorado with the back seat missing, was just another FWD Cadillac with no real engineering design to make it into a sports car. I think that the buyers of the Allante were Cadillac owners who wanted a convertible.

    What I really don't understand is why Cadillac upgraded the last Allante's to the new Eldorado's platform (new for the 92 model year) and then stop production. Why not kill the Allante with the 91 or 92 model year? Or, having gone to the expense of upgrading, keep it in production through the 95 model year. I would think that sales would have continued at a rate of 3000 or so annually, which would have been another 6-7,000.

    In terms of design, I think that the old SL was a much better car than the Allante. What the Allante had was style, but not much more. The 1990 Allante did offer traction control, and was the first vehicle with it I think. I don't think that the 86 Eldorado chassis would have worked with 300 hp. The 92 Seville/Eldorado chassis was a complete re-engineering with the northstar's 300 hp engine in the works. The 94 DeVille chassis was then upgraded to the new design.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I think that a CTS wagon would take sales away from the SRX, especially if the CTS has AWD. However, a CTS wagon could be the new SRX. There are rumors that the DTS will be a zeta platform car. The STS could/should be upgraded into a more upscale car perhaps. A zeta DTS would not be a "sports sedan". The current STS is a sports sedan. Perhaps the V6 STS should disappear, with the CTS V6 being that car.

    If Cadillac is going to make an S-class car, the sigma platform would be the right platform to make it on, but it would have to be at least as big as the DTS, but much better in terms of refinement, luxury and priced accordingly.
  • trimastertrimaster Posts: 163
    Saw a nice commercial over the weekend. It showed various makes & models over the years driving down a rural highway. Pretty nice. I liked it.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,767
    It's a good commercial but it skips about 25 recent years. It jumps from a humpback Seville to a CTS. What about all those great cars of the 80s and 90s?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,835
    HEY! That's JUST what I posted about two years ago as advice to Cadillac!! Follow the BMW line, forget about Lexus and Benz for now.

    HOW TO BE THE BEST IN THE WORLD:

    Cadillac would have to excel in three major areas:

    1. Performance
    2. Prestige
    3. Beauty

    Just ONE of these doesn't do it. And just copying someone else doesn't do it.

    And Cadillac would have to excel in these 3 areas while climbing 4 mountains.....Benz, BMW, Audi and Lexus.

    So it would have to beat all four of those makes in all 3 of those areas.

    Right now, I'd say Cadillac is working hard on Performance and making progress...good progress...against its 4 opponents....but in prestige and in beauty, they have a long way to go yet.

    At best, their styling is quirky and dates quickly (not bad, but not great) and in prestige, it's mostly just some notoriety, which isn't the same thing.

    Probably their best success has been the Escalade (which ironically, is the least distinctive Cadillac), and their worst flop has been the XLR, which was supposed to compete against the SL and has dropped off the radar in less than two years.

    MODERATOR

  • trimastertrimaster Posts: 163
    That list makes sense. All 3 are important but they can mean different things to different people. The hardest to earn would be prestige (IMO.) Prestige might mean raising the prices, but if they do, they have to get the performance & beauty up to par.

    It could be done, but it will take time.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,767
    They've already tried to price themselved into the elite particularly with the STS and people aren't buying it. They have to do what Lexus did in the beginning and underprice the cars to get people into them. Even if it's fantastic, they'll get conquest buyers when the cars are 10 grand less than their rivals, not the same or more.

    Shifty, I think that you offered an excellent succint analysis.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    I think that a CTS wagon would take sales away from the SRX, especially if the CTS has AWD. However, a CTS wagon could be the new SRX.

    i think the SRX will be short lived. For 2007 they have redone the interior but not the exterior which will give it legs for a few more years. I read somewhere that Cadillac will get a CUV based on Theta. This will, to me, look about like the BMW X5. This would not look like a station wagon which would sell in Europe. Gives Cadillac two good looking SUV type vehicles.

    So:
    CTS sedan, coupe, wagon, convt?
    Theta CUV
    DTS (large sedan)
    STS (not so large sedan)
    XLR
    Escalade

    Stay away from S class price point but build a big sedan. (DTS)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,707
    Yeah that is a good ad, possibly the best GM ad of recent times.

    Of course, the heritage theme has been used by MB for at least the past decade.
  • aldwaldw Posts: 82
    A Zeta-derived Sigma-heavy platform would be needed to have the size necessary for a S-class fighter or greater.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    I most wholeheartedly agree. I was pretty disappointed with the interior on the new STS, especially the lower-end V-6 models. I'd have to go all the way to a top-flight V-8 STS or even an STS-V before I'd be happy with the interior. If they gave the low-end STS as nice an interior as the high-end car, but keep the price the same, I'd show some interest. They should then make the high-end car even more desirable with no compromises in fit and finish and materials.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    170hp doesn't compare to 227hp.

    FWD doesn't compare to RWD in a luxury roadster with a 60K plus pricetag.

    I honestly don't see what you're going on about. This is like arguing about which room a fire started in when the entire house has burned to the ground!

    The Allante didn't compare and by the time it got the right engine, the 500SL was on the market and the Allante still didn't have a prayer.

    It is about the most matterless debate going.

    M
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Lemko,

    My pal so you are disappointed with the current STS interior ? The design is beautiful but I agree the material execution could of been much better. I want the Cadillac SLS interior to come to our market ASAP. I think it would be in the best interest of GM, to build a 400 hp. Northstar V8 SLS/STS hybrid as the next car and keep the top trim model fully loaded under $60K. $63RWD-$66K/AWD for the current one is just way to much dough IMHO. What made my 02' like yours so successful of a car was we could as middle class americans could stretch our pocket books far enough to afford one brand new.

    IMHO The next STS/SLS fully loaded models should look like this:

    RWD-V8 Northstar-6-speed automatic "loaded w/ every option" $54-56K

    AWD-$56-58K-->Pearl Diamond White Paint $1K=$57,000-$59,000

    That is where the next STS needs to be if they want to sell in high volumes like the last generation (98-04) did. ;)

    Rocky
  • trimastertrimaster Posts: 163
    Yeah, that's true, they didn't buy it. That's why I was thinking the other factors are just as important at that point as well. If they're priced higher, they must also have the other variables in place to justify that price...

    Lexus had a great strategy, but they also had luck & good timing on their side. When they came out, Mercedes & BMW were at their low in quality. People were fed up wanted a viable alternative. The LS400 was it, AND thousands of dollars cheaper to boot.

    Cadillac won't get that lucky because that window of oppotunity has closed. Their best bet is to price their cars slightly lower than the other upper tier cars in their segment, but at the same time have them just as good.

    Since they don't have anything to compete with the LS, S, A8 & BMW, they have to focus on the lower levels & go from there.

    But then again, to get that prestige, they HAVE to have a car at the upper levels. Kind of hard to have prestige if you don't have cars that people of higher income brackets won't even give your brand the time of day.

    Talk about a tough assignment...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Lexus had a great strategy, but they also had luck & good timing on their side. When they came out, Mercedes & BMW were at their low in quality. People were fed up wanted a viable alternative. The LS400 was it, AND thousands of dollars cheaper to boot.

    Not entirely correct. Mercedes was tops in quality in 1990. They were actually #1 on the JDP surveys then. It wasn't quality that opened the door for Lexus is was the price of a S-Class at the time. The LS400 had a base price of 35K and went to about 41K with options. The base price of a 190E was around 32K, which made the LS400 look like the raging bargain it was. BMW was in somewhat worse shape. They didn't have a V8 in 1990, Mercedes had several.

    M
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    AWD-$56-58K-->Pearl Diamond White Paint $1K=$57,000-$59,000

    Would it have an available option of burgundy padded top? ;)
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    We don't need no smart azz's :P

    Rocky
  • Caddy has to have a A8/XJ/7-series/S-class/LS competitor at some point to really be considered any kind of standard. They need a halo car and the XLR is not it.

    BUT...

    You have to have the proper supporting cast there to sell your lead actor.

    Caddy does not have the supporting cast yet. I actually kind of like the external styling of the CTS. It has some edge( :P ) to it you know and it does make a statement.

    They drive ok but not stellar and the interior needs work.

    What I would love to see is for GM to build a sports sedan/coupe using the 4200 inline 6 engine as a base. It already makes almost 300 hp and is very smooth. Destroke it a little bit down to four liters or so to make it rev better and stick it in a car.

    Maybe offer a turbocharged version, they already made a couple of turbo prototype trucks so it should be easy, that is destroked and has a little less bore to handle the extra boost. No reason you couldn't see 400 hp out of that engine.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    british,

    I thought that (4200 I-6) up several months ago and would like to see that implemented. ;)

    Rocky
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    The 6k off is here in Houston. It's numerous dealers offering it. Whether or not it's a manufacturer, or dealer incentive is irrelevant. The point is, you don't see any other brand having to do that. [relevant to the class]

    Keep in mind that Houston is a big NBA city, and the bling factor is huge. [Why else would anyone want one.]
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    That is the largest discount by quite a large margin I've heard of. :surprise:

    Rocky
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    Keep in mind that Houston is massive, and the level of competition is very large. The only other thing that's close to that is Infiniti dealers are starting to loosen up on the 07 G's, but no where near 6k off.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    That is quite crazy to see that big of a discount already. Like you said earlier they need to stop the discounting and just lower the MSRP's. ;)

    Rocky
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    My point is that your numbers were wrong. It is not unreasonable for you to misrepresent the Cadillac numbers since you are a Mercedes expert of sorts. However, your Mercedes numbers were also wrong. This is not acceptable.

    I agree with you that the Allante was not in the same class as the Mercedes SL. However, even with the 4100, the Allante performance was not particularly bad. I really think that the current drive to bring performance on the 0-60 MPH acceleration times down to 4 to 5 seconds is completely silly. Any car that will accelerate to 60 MPH from a standstill in 8 seconds has more than enough power.

    Comments have been made that the XLR is not selling well. The XLR sold about the same number of units in 2006 as the Allante was selling on average.
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