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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,967
    GM couldn't build a Honda, I don't think. That's not a realistic goal IMO. That's like asking Harley to build a better motorcycle than a Japanese superbike.

    It's not going to happen, wish as we may.

    After all, GM has been trying to do this for 35 years.

    GM needs to do what Harley did...not build the best motorcycle, but build a better one AND come up with brilliant marketing.

    That's good enough for success. You don't have to build the best of something to win...you just have to convince a lot of people that it is something they simply MUST have, for image, prestige, "sound of the engine", whatever.

    This is what Harley did---they came back from the very grave...they were in WORSE shape than Cadillac 20 years ago, and look how well they've done, and all without building a particularly good motorcycle. They just improved on themselves and left the rest to the marketing guys---and they did a brilliant job of it. They changed their entire customer base in a few short years! They sold motorcycles that formerly went to outlaws, but now to accountants. (Can you see how Cadillac needs to do the same type of customer switch?)

    So I'm all for letting Americans do what they do best---marketing a product.

    As for "ruining" one's reputation by coming out with a V-16, what could be worse for reputation than coming out with cars that don't have a strong identity?

    In order to have ANY kind of reputation, you first must be noticed, right?

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  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    GM is in a prime position to pull a "Honda" on the luxury makes.

    Not trying to be mean about this, but GM is more is a position to pull a "Hyundai" rather than a "Honda".

    That is, GM will have to overcome the baggage of their past on the reliability front.

    Having said that, I like the new CTS very much. It's a clean looking car that has a Cadillac look, and a very nice interior. Good work, GM.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    It would be Hyundai, except that GM's never really had a major reliabilty problem - not like Hyundai did. The cars are reliable enough - just stodgy, boring, and with miserable interiors(until the current CEO started taking the company seriously, that is).

    Some showcar won't impress. Why? Because GM can't make a Bently, they can't make a DB9, and they surely can't out Porsche a Porsche. And something like a Saleen S7... The high-end market is saturated and they'd need billions in R&D to really compete.

    It's much better to do what they are doing. The maintainence costs on a CTS with the new 100K warranty are going to be a mere fraction of the costs of a BMW or Mercedes. Just price the costs of anything not covered by the warranty - or more realistically the costs in the 5-10 year range.

    With the BMW, it eats a hole in your walet to the point that you are smarter off *leasing* it and avoiding the pounds of flesh routine. The CTS? Even the older CTSs were tanks by comparison. And, they sold all they could make. Even with a puke-inducing interior they sold a ton of them.

    They don't need to get fancy - they just need to take the philosophy that they have with the new Buicks and Cadillacs and apply it to everything that they do. And of course, toss about half of their deadweight models like the DTS. The Lucerne CXS is a DTS. Just call it a Buick DTS or something (for the top-end Lucerne) and avoid the overlap.

    The same goes with the Grand Am. Small and nasty and who needs it? Most of Pontiac could evaporate and abberations like the Aveo just need to be gone. GM, by just stopping rentals and budget entry-level sales could undo a lot of the damage, IMO.(and probably boost their bottom line, since those small tin cans don't make much profit).

    Leave the entry-level and 4 cylinder markets to Scion and Hyundai. Concentrate on midsize and larger vehicles that you aspire to own after suffering through your econobox instead of souring peolpe since their entry-level GM is such a heap.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I like the new CTS a lot too. Now in order for GM to pull a "Honda", the CTS has to be loaded with navi at $38K MSRP for the 300 HP model and $35K for the other one.

    We'll have to wait and see about that...
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    After rebates, the base model is going to be closer to 30-32K I bet. Less money and less cost to own. And honestly, for the normal driver, a BMW, a Mercedes, a CTS... all top out way beyond the levels at which they can drive.

    At 30K or so for the base model, the upcoming 3.6 CTS is a huge step up from an Accord or something like an older Regal. It may be the bottom-end of the luxury performance crowd, but it still is part of it - and quite affordable, especially a once it's a couple of years old.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    A base 2008 CTS loaded with navi at $32K?

    That'll definitely be a winner. You know what else would be great too? The 300 HP model with navi and loaded with every options for $35K after rebates and incentives.

    Somebody please punch me, I know I am dreaming...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,528
    Agree. Agree. Agree.

    The only thing I question is "GM has been trying to do this for 35 years."

    That would be about the 70s... and the American car makers thought the little, economy cars wouldn't be a factor; they would just go away. Especially true after the Carter "oil shortage" with gas lines. The companies didn't try to build a truly small economy car. They adapted their big car to slightly better mileage with high weight and lots of parts to go bad because of features like power windows. But their shortsightedness let the little cars become more entrenched and endeared to buyers as econoboxes for which they served their purpose well; cheaper to buy, cheaper to run. They did have flaws but for commuter cars, they were better than a Falcon, Vega, Gremlin, etc.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Keep in mind that not everyone wants a sports sedan. The DTS is/has_been selling at about the same rate as the CTS. Both the CTS and DTS are Cadillac's best selling sedans. With a nicer interior, the 2008 CTS should continue as a good seller. The CTS is not exactly a 3-series or a 5-series, but is something a bit different.

    The DTS will need to move onto some other platform to remain in production. I think that the Lucerne will also need to move onto another platform. What platforms will be available is somewhat fuzzy. I think that the DTS should remain the large sedan at a nominal price, for those who do not want a sports sedan.
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    I think that you are right about the "Harley-Davidson model" for recovery.

    When I saw the Chrysler 300, my thoughts were-

    1. "That's the first REAL American car I've seen in decades".Tough looking, V-8, RWD, Tough and Confident looking.

    2. That car should have been the new Cadillac. Of course, the styling now belongs to Chrysler, but conceptly the concept should have been a BIG GM car.

    I think that's the model for U.S. Manufacturers. Forget about being all things to all people Forget FWD (but not 4WD). Build big cars with RWD and plenty of room for 5 or 6.
    Think Delta 88, Impala, Buick. Don't build sports cars, build Mustangs and Corvette style cars. Leave the work-a-daddy commuter stuff to the Japanese.

    I'd have bought a Ford '49 Concept in a heartbeat if they'd built one.

    Ford '49 Concept
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,788
    I think that retro is dieing.

    "Leave the work-a-daddy commuter stuff to the Japanese." That's a receipt for 2 of the big 3 to go out of business. The market that you're talking about just isn't big enough to support all three companies. As well as the 300 has done, look how hurting Daimler is now.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I said base model. Not loaded. :)

    But, still, a no-options CTS with stickshift and the 3.6 engine should be a nice ride at just over $30K after rebates. Even with no options, it'll still be a very nice interior I bet, and MP3 and the rest are likely going to be finally standard.

    One nice things about the DVD-audio, btw. That means you can load a DVD with MP3s on it and get about 500-600 songs per DVD - then with a changer... Who needs an Ipod when you have 3,000 songs in your dash? :)

    Yes, retro is dead. Big showy boats are also dead. Gotta go with reliability, like Toyota did. When they first came out with Lexus, you could get 80% of a Mercedes for 2/3 the price. And they sold a lot of them, because most self-made peolpe are pretty frugal with their money. Saving 5-10K or more for something that rides almost as well... it's not a tough compromise for many to make. They don't want bling for bling's sake so much as to feel that they aren't relegated to driving the minivan or commuter-box anymore.

    Now if GM could just switch the Buicks to RWD...
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Now if GM could just switch the Buicks to RWD...

    Are customers, potential customers, mass market clamoring for this? Do people want intrusive big humps in back seat areas for drive shaft? Have there been market surveys, studies showing that people want RWD with all of its handling disadvantages in non-dry weather?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,967
    The 300C is a perfect example of great marketing and good product. The car was distinctive and good-looking, they marketing the hell out of the "hemi" thingie (even if the engine had nothing to do with the Hemis of the 60s), and the car magazines loved the car. It was a flagship car for the middle class American buyer.

    Was the 300C a super high quality, ultra-reliable car?

    Not particularly, but it was good enough and different enough and the marketing was superb.

    I have no doubt Cadillac can continue to sell lots of cars, but that's not the point, is it? If they just want to sell lots of cars, they'll survive but they'll be competing in the brutal "lots of cars" market with Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura and all the rest in the middle class market. They'll just be a Chevrolet with more stuff bolted on it.

    Given that GM is losing market share, year after year, decade after decade, Cadillac is going to have to come up with something beyond being a Chevrolet---because that seems to be a slippery slope.

    I say GO UPSCALE Cadillac, as far as you can reach! Do to a V-16 what Chrysler has done with the 300C, but in a much higher bracket.

    In other words, a flagship that would be so spectacular that the reputation would trickle down to the middle class cars.

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    It's possible to put a driveshaft in the current "hump" in the rear.(it's not perfectly flat in the rear as it is). Volvo did this in their 960 with a three piece arrangement, so GM should be able to work out a solution as well. The huge center consoles should make this easier, in fact, since all you need is one link to be flat and low under the car - and only in the rear foot area(about 2 ft long section).

    Gone are the days when you had to have a big solid 3 inch diameter piece of pipe under there.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    One nice things about the DVD-audio, btw. That means you can load a DVD with MP3s on it and get about 500-600 songs per DVD - then with a changer... Who needs an Ipod when you have 3,000 songs in your dash

    What ???? DVD-Audio discs don't hold 500-600 songs do they ??? I own a couple but never knew that ? The bad thing about a I-pod is the music can't be converted to 5.1 Dolby Digital which IMHO makes then useless unless you like Pro-Logic II which mimics surround sound however it's not even close to the same. ;)

    BTW- Expect a fully loaded CTS to be priced at $44-45K fully loaded which undercuts the IS350 by a $2-3K and similar equiped 335i by several more thousands. ;) The current TL isn't in the same league and the G35 doesn't have the quality and fit and finish of the new CTS. ;) Audi ????? well are they even a competitor in this segment anymore ?????

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I doubt we will see a strike unless GM, flat out get ridiculous with their demands which could happen. I hope it's a peaceful somewhat fair contract even though the UAW workers will end up getting the shaft no matter how you look at it because concessions are a fact this next contract but perhaps the UAW can pull off a miracle like getting a "enhanced 401K" with a huge company match so after 20-30 years of service the employees won't have to live in poverty on medicare/medicaid/social security. Of course a 401K plan as I know it is like playing roulette in Vegas if you want to make any money. :surprise:

    Rocky
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    But, still, a no-options CTS with stickshift and the 3.6 engine should be a nice ride at just over $30K after rebates

    After rebates?

    Rebates have to GO
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    The current TL isn't in the same league

    The only thing I see that separates CTS and TL to 2 different leagues is one being FWD and another RWD. Otherwise these 2 are pretty comparable, given that both of them are larger in size than other entries in this segment. I also expect to see the new CTS' interior to be at TL's level in terms of material selection, fit-n'-finish and refinement.

    G35 doesn't have the quality and fit and finish of the new CTS.

    Have you been inside the G35? Have you been inside the new CTS? How can you make such statement when you don't even have a chance to compare them side by side? No doubt the CTS' interior is light years better than its predecessor but I think until we got a chance to touch it and feel it we shouldn't make any premature comparisons like "CTS' interior is much better than xxx's". The new G's interior is actually pretty nice, not quite at Lexus or Acura's level yet but is almost side by side with the 3-series.

    Believe me, I really do like this new CTS and I think this is definitely a honest effort from Cadillac. If I am in the market today for an entry level luxury sedan I'd surely to put it on my list.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I owned a TL and yes the material was pretty good. I'd say it's better than the BMW and yes I did take a look at the new 3 series in person. I've read enough about the G35 interior from various publications to know it's not up to 3 series levels which IMHO isn't great in design. I'd say my co-workers AWD Lexus IS 250 has a better interior than the new 3 series especially in design and lay-out. I know I haven't had the chance to "touch" the CTS interior but the pictures I've seen that were magnified that "readerreader" posted were so good I could feel the sewn in soft fabric on the door panels. I have no doubt the 08' CTS has the best car interior outside of a Volvo S80 for under $60K ;)

    Rocky
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    One must keep in mind that when Owen Nacker developed the V-12 and V-16, introduced in December 1929, the success of the engine began Cadillac's ascent to surpass Packard. Rolls-Royce, Lincoln, Packard, Marmon, and numerous others recognised the excellence of the design and immediately set out to build their own. The results became the Phantom III V12, the Lincoln KB series, and the Packard Twelve---several years after the appearance of the V12 and V16.

    That GM stayed with the design and even built a second varient of the V-16 engine introduced in 1937-38 shows that GM stayed the course to make Cadillac a premium brand in the Amercan market. Today Cadillac is faced with a serious problem, having teased the public, whether or not to build the car.

    Frankly, the soft pedalling by GM about the Sixteen since its showing in the public leaves them the room to surprise the public and roll out a production model. Rolls-Royce toured its 9.0 Litre V-16 100EX show car, having Jay Leno drive it for an article and review, all across America and numerous other markets. According to R-R potential buyers nixed the V-16 engine, because they felt "they did not need it..." But a Rolls-Royce convertible is an entirely different genre than a Cadillac sedan. Precisely why Cadillac could succeed with a very limited build-to-order run of cars---1-1,500 per year.

    Maybach failed in the market-place because no one outside of Germany knew what 'Maybach' meant---an auto firm that never sold more than 150 cars per year between 1919-1944. Had DaimlerChrysler introduced the car as a "Grosser 770 Mercedes-Benz" and priced it several thousand below R-R it might have succeeded in the manner intended.

    Thus Cadillac has the chance to capture imagination, engineering prowess, and regain the territory it so well marked out from the Leland era forward. GM migh break-even on every car it sells, but what it will do for the image portends a remarkable renascence of what 'Cadillac' means to the public. At the end of the day Cadillac must defend the "American" market, but should not remain the only defender...spurring Lincoln and Imperial to regain the market and compete against Cadillac.

    DouglasR
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738

    What ???? DVD-Audio discs don't hold 500-600 songs do they ??? I own a couple but never knew that ?


    You'll note that I said that if it played DVD-A format and also plays MP3s, it will play a DVD filled with MP3s as well, like a typical computer drive will.

    You can fit roughly 100 songs ona normal CD in MP3 format, and about 6.5 times that on a DVD in MP3 format.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I have a 1990 Cadillac brochure that includes the Allante. No where does the word Mercedes appear, much less SL beater. I think that it was the media that claimed the Allante was an SL beater, or you are claiming that Cadillac claimed the Allante was an SL beater.

    Cadillac claimed it. When have you ever seen a model brochure mention a competitor and that the word "beater" in it? This is getting more ridiculous by the post. I can't believe you actually think such a claim would be present in a brochure!

    The 1990 Allante did have traction control. I would think on icy roads the Allante probably would handle better than an SL, particularly with the stock tires.

    Whooptie do, I have a convertible that handles better in snow and ice, just what I want one for.

    If you can't sell something in sufficient numbers to be profitable, what is the point of production? The Mercedes 600 was equally a total flop and failure, in spite of its technical advantages over the Rolls.

    Total and utter BS. For one the price of the 600 was not anywhere the price of the Allante. Secondly the 600 was unlike the junkish Allante, and engineering masterpiece. How do you know that they didn't sell enough of them to make a profit? You have Mercedes' books on this? I'd love to see them. Or is this just a sillestimate born of carrying a torch for a long dead piece of junk like the Allante?

    M
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Okay, clear...... :)

    Rocky
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    I have no idea why we're talking about a 1987 Cadillac in 2007, but hey, it's fun.

    The comparison to the Mercedes 600 is a false analogy, I think. The comparable Mercedes according to most of the links I've found on the 'net seems to be the Mercedes 560SL

    As an example,on Wickipedia (yeah, but I can quote them without copyright issues),we find this:

    Originally designed under the code name "Callisto", the Allanté was intended to restore Cadillac to its position as a credible competitor to the Mercedes-Benz 560SL. A total of 21,430 were produced.

    Cadillac Allante

    I can't seem to find production numbers for only the 560, but I did find this:

    The 560 SL was only exported to the USA, Australia and Japan, but as a detuned version with a catalytic converter and only 230 hp because of the emissions regulations in these countries. The production of the 300 SL - 560 SL ended in August 1989, more than 18 years after the first 350 SL was built. The 107 SL series thus set a record for Mercedes-Benz that is unlikely to be broken: no other Mercedes-Benz model series was produced for such a long period. A total of 237,287 of these cars came out of the Sindelfingen plant, a figure that demonstrates just how popular the 107 series was.

    Mercedes SL Info
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The comparison to the Mercedes 600 is a false analogy, I think. The comparable Mercedes according to most of the links I've found on the 'net seems to be the Mercedes 560SL

    Yeah tell me about it, but I wasn't the one that started that mess.

    M
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    We just spent the weekend in our new SRX and if the CTS is like the SRX then it is pretty darn nice. My wife was really impressed by all the real thread going down the doors, IP and console(she sews as a hobby). The wood is gorgeous and seats are comfortable. The only complaint we had is the vehicle sits pretty low to what we are used to. Always felt below the other vehicles on the road. Just something she will have to get used to. Oh yea and the interior is tighter in the front than the pickup she drove or my Envoy but I guess that is to be expected since those are decent sized vehicles.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Glad ya like the SRX, it's a nice automobile. :)

    kd, gave me some more bad news as he showed me info showing the VUE is going to Mexico in the toyota forum. What is this country going to do with this continued flood of good jobs going south ??? I didn't know the HHR was also....

    I told him I will refuse to buy anything made in mexico if I can help it. :sick:

    Rocky
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    The data is a little old but the Vue will replace these vehicles which were built at Ramos Arizpe

    http://www.gm.com/company/corp_info/global_operations/north_america/mexi_ramos.h- tml

    Pontiac Aztek, Chevrolet Cavalier, Chevrolet Chevy, Pontiac Sunfire, Buick Rendezvous

    In actuality the HHR is being built there and the others are now gone so the plant was pretty empty and has room for the VUE.

    They also have the Silao which builds full size trucks and Toluco which build HD trucks.

    So GM has 3 assembly plants in Mexico supplying vehicles to all of NA. In NA they will have a total of 24 which includes Oshawa in Canada. There is a 4rth plant being built which is supposed to build subcompact cars for mexico and South America.
  • rwisemrwisem Posts: 96
    Rocky, With your family's connection to the auto industry, I'm surprised you don't appreciate the border country plants.

    In the early days of the auto, Canada and Mexico had very little domestic production - and later, none. The most prominate Canadian company was bought out by GM. Within a space of a couple of decades, the balance of trade between the US and its neighbors went completely out of whack due to the exportation of US cars.

    In a spirit of cooperation, the US companies built plants in Canada and Mexico. These plants supplied many of the most popular models for domestic consumption in those countries, but many models were only built in the US, so there were still exports.

    The agreement acknowledged this and made provisions for exports of certain vehicles BACK to the US to roughly even out the values going back and forth.

    The US industry is really a North American industry and has operated as such for at least 80 years.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I have high hopes for this new CTS' interior, however I would reserve my judgment until I actually got a chance to sit in there. Because it only takes one piece of hard plastic (of course, not including the metallic part) for it to drop to the same level as G35.

    During my G35 test drive I was very impressed with the new interior, especially the washi aluminum trim. However, that quickly changed after I found out that the bottom part of the door panels was made out of hard plastic...
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