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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,250
    CTS review by local newspaper writer

    This morning's paper had a review by the local auto reviewer. She usually doesn't like GMs as much as the other cars she writes about.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    You have to go to the JDPower website and look at the graphs - the green area is for over 55 and that is the biggest area. This was also true for the 2007 CTS's too, but the numbers are somewhat different.
  • mr215mr215 Posts: 89
    I dont consider 3 year old data to be relevant. Do you? C&D had info in their roadtest of the IS-F in the January issue and they said Lexus has an older ownership base. I would agree based on people I see driving every Lexus except the RX and IS. The ES is their biggest seller and I see mostly seniors piloting that model. MAkes sense because they see it as a Japanese Buick and most of those people grew up on Buicks.
  • mr215mr215 Posts: 89
    what do numbers from 2005 have to do with the 2008 CTS which has been on sale since August? If you read some of the consumer reviews on Edmunds you will see that many of the people who have commented cross-shopped and/or owned import luxury brands. Not sure what that says about their age but I suspect its a sign that they are younger than typical Caddy buyers. The other thing to look at is trends. Cadillac is getting younger buyers as time goes forward. I dont think we can say the same about lexus. I can tell you most drivers I see of the SRX, CTS (especially V) and Escalade are under 50. DTS and STS owners tend to be older based on my observatiosn.
  • mr215mr215 Posts: 89
    Jim Taylor has more or less confirmed that diesels are a strong option and Caddy will be phasing out DOHC V8s for cars after the Nstar is done. He mentions the DI V6 and diesels and hybrids as replacements. People can get bent out of shape but this is the future and honestly it will be good for Cadillac's image. Imagine how good it will be for Caddy PR to be able to say we have abandoned gas guzzling V8s in cars even though our competiors have not. In the future a V8 is likely to be an image liability instead of an asset. Even though the numbers are impressive we dont need 360+hp V8 cars and with the new emphasis on economy I would think such cars are only going to get less popular. As it is I rarely see 550i's or E550s.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,184
    I dunno. I think the lack of a V-8 hurts Acura and will kill Lincoln. Fuel economy isn't as high a priority among the luxury crowd as it is for the more mainstream crowd. I passed on a Buick Park Avenue in favor of a Cadillac back in the day because the Buick lacked a V-8.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Even though the numbers are impressive we dont need 360+hp V8 cars and with the new emphasis on economy I would think such cars are only going to get less popular.

    We don't "need" Cadillacs, period. We don't need BMW's, Mercedes, or Porsches for that matter.

    All of these vehicles offer absolutely nothing over a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord in terms of utility. They are purchased because the buyer has certain "desires", not because the Accord or Camry don't satisy their basic "need" for reliable transportation.

    Rare is the company that can succeed by telling the customer that "you don't need 'X', so take 'Y' and be happy with it".

    If YOU are more inclined to buy a Cadillac because they have gone green and stop offering V8's, that is certainly your perogative. But I agree with lemco on this one. Acura has never had a competitive flagship to take on the BMW 550i or Mercedes E550 in part due to the lack of a V8 (and, IMO, lack of RWD platforms). If Cadillac wants to compete with Honda or Toyota, perhaps a V6 will suffice, but I don't think they will be competitive in the performance sedan market. Even BMW, with their excellent 535i, has not announced plans to abandon the 550i.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    If the Volt electric drive system with the new battery technology works out, then what GM should be moving to is motor generator electric drive power train. So the performance would be depend on the electric drive. The motor generator would only need to be used to keep the battery charged, although the Volt concept is that the battery will provide about 40 miles of charge so that the day to day use would come off the power grid rather than the motor generator.

    The point is that with an all new technology for the drive train the old idea's of what makes a luxury car will have to change somewhat.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Even BMW, with their excellent 535i, has not announced plans to abandon the 550i.

    I also agree with pretty much everything you say but do no wait for BMW to announce dropping the V8 in the near term. They will continue to pay gaz guzzler taxes until the tax is so high actual buyers refuse to pay it. BMW will just pay the penalties as long as consumers support them. When will this happen? Well if everything stayed the same (gas prices, economy, regulations, etc.) it will probably be at least 5-10 years. And of course the V8 penetration would go down during that time. If gas doubles (I doubt it) it will go away faster, if gas remains the same (most likely scenario) then V8 will be around til the regs cut it off.

    DETROIT – The big, powerful V-8 engines that have been a mainstay of
    Cadillac's big sedans since the late 1930s are fading away, victims of
    the move to fuel efficiency.

    Cadillac's trademark V-8 engine will give way to smaller high-tech V-6s
    – and possibly some diesel engines – in Cadillac's cars.

    In an interview with Automotive News, Cadillac General Manager Jim
    Taylor said last week that Cadillac is considering a 2.9-liter
    turbocharged V-6 diesel for its mainstream U.S. sedans.

    Taylor's revelation came in the wake of General Motors' announcement
    last week that it has dropped plans to replace the Northstar V-8, which
    goes out of production in 2010. The Northstar has powered Cadillacs
    since 1993.

    It's all part of the new world of high fuel prices, rising fuel economy
    standards and pressure to reduce emissions.

    "On Dec. 19, the world changed," Taylor said. That's when President Bush
    signed a law mandating a 40 percent fuel-economy improvement by 2020.

    In the future, Cadillac's mainstream sedans probably won't offer V-8
    engines, Taylor said. Instead, the CTS and the successor to the STS and
    DTS will be powered by the 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6 that went on
    sale in 2007.

    In 2009, the new 2.9-liter diesel goes into production for Cadillac's
    CTS to be sold in Europe. Cadillac also could use that engine in U.S.
    models, Taylor said.

    After 2010, Cadillac could use a pushrod V-8 in its Escalade SUV and
    also in niche vehicles like the CTS-V and XLR roadster.

    Marketers once considered a V-8 engine an essential selling tool for the
    luxury market. But in a world of $100-per-barrel oil, those days may be
    gone. Lincoln, for example, does not offer a V-8 in its MKS sedan.

    And the percentage of Cadillac buyers who want a V-8 is declining. Only
    10 to 15 percent of Cadillac buyers insist on a V-8, while the others
    choose the V-6 powertrain.

    "You have such a narrow gap now in terms of performance ... that smart
    consumers are saying, 'I don't need it,' " Taylor says.

    Dealers appear to accept Cadillac's decision to reduce the size of its
    engines. At Moore Cadillac in Richmond, Va., two-thirds of buyers choose
    a V-6. They feel they get better fuel economy while achieving near-equal
    performance, says owner Jacques Moore.

    "The V-6 is adequate today for virtually all of Cadillac's sedan fleet,"
    Moore says.

    While the V-6 gasoline engine enjoys wide acceptance, a diesel-powered
    Cadillac might prove risky – at least in marketing terms. In the early
    1980s, Cadillac had a brief, disastrous experience selling
    diesel-powered cars, with powerplants hastily modified from gasoline
    engines.

    But that was then.

    Today, Mercedes sells a diesel version of its E-class sedan in the
    United States, and BMW plans to introduce diesels here. Cadillac's
    compact 60-degree European diesel, made in Italy by VM Motori, would be
    competitive. The engine will generate 250 hp and 406 pounds-feet of
    torque – performance comparable to a V-8.

    While Cadillac could accommodate a diesel in its U.S. fleet, Taylor says
    it probably would remain a niche product. "As long as BMW and Mercedes
    are going to have (diesel engines) and market them, those guys will lead
    the charge," Taylor notes.

    In the future, hybrid powertrains may replace V-8 engines as a mark of
    prestige, Taylor says. This summer, Cadillac dealers get the Escalade
    hybrid. GM has not announced pricing, but a fully loaded Escalade now
    sells at about $67,000.

    Asked whether customers would pay $70,000 for a hybrid Escalade, Taylor
    says yes. Someday, hybrid powertrains might become the new V-8, he says.

    "The world changed with the signing of the new fuel economy bill,"
    Taylor says. "That's the new world."
  • mr215mr215 Posts: 89
    The RL hasnt sold for a number of reasons. A lack of a V8 is one of them but not the only one. Also, the RL may prove to be ahead of its time if V8s start to become scarce in the midsize luxury class. The MKZ doesnt have a V8 and its the only modern car Lincoln makes and its sold decently.
  • mr215mr215 Posts: 89
    "All of these vehicles offer absolutely nothing over a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord in terms of utility. They are purchased because the buyer has certain "desires", not because the Accord or Camry don't satisy their basic "need" for reliable transportation.

    Rare is the company that can succeed by telling the customer that "you don't need 'X', so take 'Y' and be happy with it".

    You are angry and confrontational for reasons I cant discern at this time. Not sure why you are getting so bent out of shape because I am not one of these people who says we should shame anyone who owns an SUV or luxury sedan. That said, the rules have been changed and there is nothing we can do about it. From an image and CAFE standpoint V8s are going to get less popular. Not sure why you or anyone else wouldn't think this is coming after the law was signed. I see you made no mention of how small V8 sales are in European sedans. You say that no V8 in the CTS and STS (remember CTS-V will have V8) means Cadillac is trying to compete with Toyota and HOnda (funny) but the fact of the matter is 80% or 90% of sedans that offer a V8 are sold with a V6. This has been the case with the STS even though until the 2008 model year the V6 made only 255hp. Now that it has 302hp you can rest assured the V8 will be even less popular. BMW made its own V8 obsolete when it put the 300hp I-6 in the 535. The 535 is just as fast as the old 545i and barely slower than the 550i.

    BTW, lets not confuse Acura with cadillac. Cadillac has a RWD chassis with near 50/50 weight distribution and develops cars on the Ring. Acura does neither. A powerful RWD sports sedan with a six cylinder engine will sell as evidenced by the 3 series, G35 and new CTS. The DTS comes standard with a 275hp V8 right now so I dont see how its replacement will be at a disadvantage with a standard 304hp V6.

    I wish things werent this way but I'm glad GM is being proactive instead of investing millions in a small volume V8 that would only hurt their CAFE numbers in the long run.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I would agree based on people I see driving every Lexus except the RX and IS.

    You are right.

    The ES is their biggest seller

    Wrong, the RX is their biggest seller so see above.

    By the way, what Cadillac product have the youngest owner age? I would bet it's the CTS and maybe the Escalade. But according to the JP Power data we can see that even with the new 2008 CTS, Caddy is not attracting many owners under the age of 40.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I wasn't attempting to vent anger or be confrontational in my previous post. I was merely responding to your comment suggesting that Cadillac can/should/might drip V8's from their line-up because of your opinion that the buying public doesn't "need" them. "Need" is not the issue. As long as they are desired by a segment of the luxury performance sedan market, it would be somewhat risky, IMO, for Cadillac to drop them from their model lines while Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Infiniti have them.

    The fact that 80%-90% of sedans are sold with a I6/V6 can also be misconstrued. BMW sells 85%+ of its 5-series with an automatic transmission. But their image as being king of the hill in the sport sedan segment almost mandates that they cater to the enthusiast minority, many of whom require a manual transmission. A decision by BMW to drop the manual transmission would, again IMO, have an impact beyond the 15% that actually buy a manual.

    On the side note of confusing Acura with Cadillac, I have been unbashful in my criticism of Acura in other forums for not using its engineering prowess and Formula One expereince/success more to its advantage. This in spite of having a 2004 TL 6-speed and 2005 MDX in our garage. Nevertheless, let's not confuse a RWD platform, 50/50 weight balance, and a marketing show at "The Ring" with world class driving dynamics. Acura may be guilty of conservative underachievement (with the exception of the Honda S2000), but Cadillac is no BMW when it comes to driving dynamics.

    I do agree with your point that the new fuel efficiency / CAFE requirements are going to result in some changes in both attitudes and model offerings. I myself am looking forward to my first drive in a BMW 535d. My marketing director has a E320 Bluetech and routinely gets in the high 30's MPG at 75 mph on the highway. She claims to have never gotten worse than 24 for a tank in mostly city driving. The high performance diesels, in my opinion, are likely to be the big victors in this battle to achieve better fuel efficiency.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    You need to read the original post again, the average buyer age data is from 2005 (the most recent that I can found) but the IS and CTS owner age breakdowns are for 2008 model. Just in Case you missed it I'll post again.

    JD Power Model Age Profile (all 2008 models except the Lexus LS which is 2007):

    Cadillac CTS:
    Ages 16-35 - 12%
    Ages 36-55 - 34%
    Ages 56+ - 54%

    Cadillac STS:
    Ages 16-35 - 5%
    Ages 36-55 - 22%
    Ages 56+ - 73%

    Lexus IS:
    Ages 16-35 - 41%
    Ages 36-55 - 43%
    Ages 56+ - 17%

    Lexus ES:
    Ages 16-35 - 8%
    Ages 36-55 - 38%
    Ages 56+ - 54%

    Lexus GS:
    Ages 16-35 - 30%
    Ages 36-55 - 30%
    Ages 56+ - 40%

    Lexus LS:
    Ages 16-35 - 6%
    Ages 36-55 - 29%
    Ages 56+ - 65%

    Cadillac really don't have much of a case here declaring it has a younger image than Lexus except maybe the ES. However, even the ES has the same age profile as the CTS, the youngest model of all Cadillac. What more amazingly is that even the Lexus LS has a younger age profile than Cadillac's "sports sedan" STS. :surprise:

    Cadillac is getting younger buyers as time goes forward. I dont think we can say the same about lexus.

    Really? Lexus is getting a whole lot more buying into their 2nd generation IS and with the age profile it has I am sure it has contributed A LOT to getting Lexus younger. On the other hand, Cadillac really can't say that about their new 2008 CTS because very unfortunately, the old 2007 CTS has a younger age profile:

    2007 CTS:
    Ages 16-35 - 14%
    Ages 36-55 - 39%
    Ages 56+ - 47%

    I can tell you most drivers I see of the SRX, CTS (especially V) and Escalade are under 50

    2008 Escalade:
    Ages 16-35 - 23%
    Ages 36-55 - 53%
    Ages 56+ - 24%

    2008 SRX:
    Ages 16-35 - 4%
    Ages 36-55 - 41%
    Ages 56+ - 55%

    You maybe have a case here for the Escalade but the cold hard data from JD Power doesn't support your statement for the SRX and CTS. I am sure CTS-V has a lot young owners but unfortunately Cadillac doesn't make those in significant numbers so it has little say to the overall picture.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,785
    Interesting you mention the Bluetec...I read MB is coming with a diesel hybrid S-class for 2010 (estimated 40mpg highway), and it is slated to be sold in the NA market. Hybrids are coming to the upper end, will Caddy have one too?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I wonder what the age breakdown is for a Ferrari 430 or a 911 Turbo? My guess is that a high percentage of buyers are in the 56+ category, not because the car doesn't appeal to a younger demographics, but rather because of affordability issues. I would think the Lexus LS, especially the $100k hybrid version, suffers a little of this.

    Lexus doesn't exactly have a young "hip" image but, on the other hand, Cadillac still has an image among some of appealing to the very old and dead demographic. Perhaps that is changing. But they do spend as much advertising dollars on the Senior PGA tour as the regular PGA tour. Saw that in the WSJ a few weeks ago. Author joked that they should come with Viagra (another big Senior Tour advertiser) in the glove compartment.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I agree that comparing who has a younger image between Lexus and Cadillac is like comparing who is less messed up between Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. What I was trying to point out is that the perception of "Lexus is quickly becoming Buick and Cadillac is getting younger than ever" couldn't be as more wrong.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    But according to the JP Power data we can see that even with the new 2008 CTS, Caddy is not attracting many owners under the age of 40.

    Very true but if we look at Mercedes their average age is 59, 6 years older than Cadillac (53). Heck Rolls is a dead old age of 63 :P . Lexus is just under Cadillac with 49. Even BMW with their very youthful/sporty/performance high volume 3 series has an average of 46.

    So it really looks like the major reason that Cadillac and others in the same $ ball park are buyers with an average of close to 50 is due to wealth, and most of the wealth in this country is held by older folks.

    And if you look at the younger average ages you see that they are all low priced marques. Who woulda thought!!

    But there is no doubt that if Cadillac wants to attract the same buyers as BMW they have their work cut out for them. CTS is just a start. When they drop the DTS next year most of those buyers will swap over to the STS but many will just keep their DTS untill they can no longer drive. In the short run dropping the DTS should drop Cadillacs average age but in the longer term they need to continue to go after the baby boomers with a different kind of product.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    The 2008 model year just started a few months back so I think we should see where the CTS stands after a full year. I would think it appeals to more younger people than before.

    One probable reason why CTS is selling to an older crowd relative to it's 2007 version is because the ATP is probably $5000 higher. The 2008 has more content and the ATP is always much higher for any new vehicle at it's new model intro. People pay closer to MSRP, buy more options and get the higher models. Couple years into it's life cycle it goes the other way. SOOO, again the wealthier buy in the first years and that means the older consumer is buying.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Where are you getting the average age data? I'd like to look at some others for the fun of it.

    I'm actually surprised that the average age of a Rolls owner is only 63. About half of the ones I see are being driven by a chauffer and "Miss Daisy" looks to be in her 80's or 90's. Maybe it's the kids buying the car for mom and writing it off as a medical expense.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Well that new Twin-Turbo V6 with 340 hp and 367 tq. sure looks might fine while gaining I think a 30% fuel economy boost. The engine known as Eco-Boost or something like that is posted in the MKS forum. The MKS, like the CTS, is the car to have !!!! :shades: Lemko, have you checked the MKS, out pal ? Man that car is Sharp !!! :shades: :shades: :shades: :shades:

    -Rocky
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Thanks for the link, but it does raise an interesting question.

    According to the article:

    the baby boomers, who will start hitting age 65 in 2011 ..... Eventually, 79 million baby boomers will hit 65.

    Cadillac has remade itself as a powerful, youthful brand, and its last old-fogy car — the DeVille — is in its final model year. General Motors, which owns Cadillac, dropped the Oldsmobile brand because of its older image and waning sales.


    GM's Buick, Olds and Cadillac divisions were catering to an older demographic when that segment wasn't very large and younger buyers flocked to other brands and makes. Now that the American popluation is about to enter the most significant "graying of America" period in it's history, Olds has been killed and Caddy is trying to be young and hip.

    Regardless of my personal preferences in cars, it appears that GM is perenially out of sync. They needed young and hip cars 20 years ago. Today they might actually want models that appeal to the older generation which will be increasing significantly over the next 20+ years. That doesn't mean "stodgy", as the article suggests. But it also doesn't mean ignoring the only demographic segment and loyal customer base that has kept the company out of bankruptcy. It's not the older buyers that are the "enemy" of GM. It was the incompetent employees in the design, engineering, marketing and manufacturing departments that couldn't put together decent cars to appeal to younger buyers in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's. Now might be exactly the right time to embrace the older buyer.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    it appears that GM is perenially out of sync. They needed young and hip cars 20 years ago. Today they might actually want models that appeal to the older generation which will be increasing significantly over the next 20+ years.

    I thought the article said it but perhaps it was some other. The baby boomers do not want old people cars. Since I am just about 50 (WOW) I can see that. The cars of yesteryear designed for older folks were well done and did their jobs great. Buicks, Olds and Cadillac did great. But today's soon to be old population does not want that. They do not want to drive old cars. Buick and Cadillac are doing exactly what the older population coming up wants. The Cadillacs are more performance oriented and hip. Buicks are becoming more stylish and premium lux, including the ride. I see nowhere where GM has thrown away the older market. If anything they continue to get it, as evidenced by our previous threads.

    Now if you feel Caddy and Buick are taking the wrong direction I wonder who you think the boomers will be buying into? Lexus? Well they are as close to Buick in so many ways that Buick will be there for them. Mercedes/BMW? Again Cadillac is right there with their new products coming out. Both divisions are squarely aiming at the boomers with money. Most Chevrolet models also can satisfy boomers that do not have the money or do not feel the need to spend it on a car. Only Saturn and Pontiac seem to be going after a more youthful market.

    Heck what makes a vehicle more attractive to the boomers? Ride? Ergonomics? Styling?
  • mr215mr215 Posts: 89
    For those who continue to doubt that Cadillac is serious about competing I suggest you check out the specs on the CTS-V. I'm sure there will still be naysayers claiming "it looks good on paper but that doesnt mean it can compete with M cars" but I will let the car speak for itself. Based on GM press release the car has 550hp and 550 lb-ft from the 6.2L V8 as well as 19" rims on Z rated tires, huge Brembo brakes with 6 piston calipers in front and 4 in the back, recaro seats with 14 way adjustment, magneride, launch control system to keep the car from burning up rear tires, choice of 6 speed auto with paddle shifters and 6 speed manual and new interior trim. It may not be standard of the world, but its sounds good to me and enough to meet or beat the E63 and M5.
  • mr215mr215 Posts: 89
    I would like to see some interior pics but It looks like we may have to wait a few days for that to happen. So far it sounds quite impressive.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    It's not the older buyers that are the "enemy" of GM. It was the incompetent employees in the design, engineering, marketing and manufacturing departments that couldn't put together decent cars to appeal to younger buyers in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's.

    Give majority blame for GM woes of 70's-90's to lack of proper direction and leadership. Success/failure of any company lies primarily with top management.
  • mr215mr215 Posts: 89
    I agree. Better management and investments in the last few years have generated GM's best products ever. The most important thing is consistency- GM seems to be able to turn out consistently good vehicles these days. None are below average in design and performance and some are near the top of their respective class.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,794
    "The five-passenger Provoq has a 300-mile driving range, of which 280 are provided via the hydrogen power through the electric battery. Caldwell said Cadillac is not estimating the horsepower of the Provoq. The new concept sprints from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds"

    Cadillac Provoq Concept Offers Provocative Look at the Future (Inside Line)

    image

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