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Is Cadillac's Image Dying and Does Anyone Care?



  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    I was referring to the V6s they installed when they downsized all their boats into the midsize cars they turned into...

    I am not ignoring Toy sludge or Honda 4s...but the simple fact is that Toy and Hon have not had as many lemons or poorly designed products as our makers do...I would never call Toy/Hon perfect but, as I listen to people over the years, many more people have been burned by a Big 3 product than Toy or Hon...I believe that more folks have abandoned Big 3 and moved over to Toy/Hon than the other way around, and I believe that it is because we were force-fed a lot of junk from the Big 3 that COULD have, and SHOULD have been a product with more quality...but they thought they were invincible, and did not care, and never saw the imports as real competition, that is, until we started buying them in droves...

    Big 3 have a lot of convincing to do to make many of us come that the imports have a rep for quality, the Big 3 have become on the you must SHOW the buyer why your product is as good as the imports, which means you had better be good, or the buyer will leave and NEVER come back...they may be openminded now and give you a look, but if GM/Ford do not equal the supposed rep for quality of the imports, they will soon be history, or at least a lot smaller...

    Years ago, KMart was the big boy and Walmart was an it is different...Kmarts are here and there, and Walmart is EVERYWHERE...GM and Ford may become the size that Toy and Hon were in the 80s and 90s, as their products are in lesser demand over time...

    Sorry if I misinterpret you, but I am not obsessed...I DO pay attention to the junk they sold us in the 70s and 80s, even tho it was some time ago, because that rep for junk, IMO, truly followed them into the 90s and possibly into the millenium, meaning that what they did to Americans twenty-plus years ago has a strong influence on what is happening to them now...of course, YMMV...
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    I'm confused. Are you talking about the downsized C-body cars that arrived in 1985 and the downsized B-body cars that arrived in 1986? If that's the case, oh believe me, I HATED them! I was in college at the time and was afraid I would have nothing to look forward to purchasing when I graduated. Thank God, GM kept the Chevrolet Caprice and the RWD Brougham around a while longer. I purchased a new 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic a few months after getting out of school.

    Ironically, I ended up with one of those FWD V-6 cars, (1988 Buick Park Avenue) and they're really not as bad as I thought they were 20 years ago. They're extremely reliable, quite durable, and deliver great fuel economy.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    It stands to reason that with GM's market share in the 70 and 80's, more people should have had some sort of problem with a GM product than with any other manufacturer. However, you have not proved that 90% of GM owners have had a bad experience. If the nonsense you keep posting were even half true, GM would have no customers left, which would have put them out of business a few years ago, if not decades ago. So I conclude that you are simply obsessed and are ranting with no real understanding of anything.

    The V6 you might be referring to is the 3800? The engine that started out as an aluminum V8 and became an iron V6, sold to Jeep and bought back from American Motors? Again do you really know anything?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Personally, I loved the downsized C-body cars, and I owned a bundle of 'em. From an 85 Park Avenue, 87 Olds 98 Regency, 88 Eighty Eight, which I had up until about 5 years ago when my son finally finished it off - they were quick, easy to drive and see out of, big inside, small outside, and good on gas. I thought they were perfect, and the only real downside to them was the Oldsmobuick ness they all had - not enough individuality between the makes. Even had an 89 Fleetwood, the Caddy version, and liked it. Funny how what I thought was GM's best effort got them the most demerits....
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    I promise I am not obsessed...I have not stated that 90% of GM owners have had a bad experience, I really do not know how many have...never knew...but the growth of the imports, and simply having known folks over the last 20 years, who owned American products, tried imports, and said they will not buy Big 3 again...lots of folks, and, multiple that by all the folks I do not know but that now buy imports, and I see, what is to me, the obvious conclusion that there are lots of us who do not see the Big 3 as having the same quality as may certainly know different people than I do, but there are a lot of Hondas and Toys sold to people that will never buy GM is that simple...

    I am certainly failing to remember the years of the poorly designed V6s, but my Dad was in the auto parts business at the time, and he was telling me about all the design defects that should have been found by a 1st year engineering student, yet GM was selling cars that had serious engine defects, from simply a metallurgical standpoint...since Dad is no longer with us, I cannot verify with him...
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    As I stated before, the Japanese knew that they would have to build quality cars to sell them. What really got the Japanese cars selling was the first oil crisis, not the big three's quality problems.

    I will certainly agree that the big three's quality before 1990 was not as good as the Japanese imports. However, quality and reliability are two different things. The big three really started to improve quality after the 80's, and J. D. Power helped them to understand the problems that they had.

    GM has had a number of V6 engines. If your dad was an engineer and really qualified to design engines, why was he working in an auto parts store? On the other hand, the Buick V6 (or 3800) was a quick and dirt solution to an engine need in the early 60's. It was not a particularly well engineered V6, and was sold off to Jeep when Buick was able to replace it with better engines. In the late 70's some idiot decided that it was a quick way again to get a more fuel efficient engine into production. They did re-engineer the design a number of times to get it to the present day.

    Your Dad could have been talking about one of the truck engines too...

    You did say some posts back that "most of GM's vehicles were junk". If most were junk in the 70's and 80's, then by the mid 90's most of GM's customers would have been gone, leaving the company in bankruptcy. Since GM is not in bankruptcy, and is still selling more cars in the US than anyone else, I think your perception of how bad GM has been in the past is completely overblown. I think that a lot of the problems people have with their cars is a result of poor mantinence which is entirely due to the owner.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,111
    What really got the Japanese cars selling was the first oil crisis, not the big three's quality problems.

    Not my experience. Ford and Chevy rushed the Pinto and Vega to market. The Pintos were exploding and the Vegas looked nice, drove nice, rusted fast, and engines died very early. If those cars had been competitive then perhaps the reputation for junk would not have been as pronounced.

    I will certainly agree that the big three's quality before 1990 was not as good as the Japanese imports.

    So it wasn't the big 3's quality problems, yet the Japanese imports had better quality before 1990? Which side of the argument are you trying to promote?

    If your dad was an engineer and really qualified to design engines, why was he working in an auto parts store?

    If we all have to be working at the manufacturers' to be qualified to have knowledge, then perhaps we don't need these forums, as we don't all work for GM and Ford?!!!!! :P
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    If I implied that my Dad was an engineer, I must have been typing too was not an engineer, just an auto parts man, mechanic, and a machinist, who knew his cars cold...I never meant to imply that he was an engineer, so if I said that, I apologize...but he was an expert on his cars, and we saw the junk soon after it was sold, as they only had 12 month, 12,000 mile, selling parts meant we worked with a lot of local car dealers, GM/Ford/Chrysler, and they would often call us with the warranty work they had to perform, and it was amazing just how much junk was out there...can I give you numbers??? it was there, as we were often seeing the stuff once out of warranty, only a year after it was sold new...
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    so what about the toyota sludge problem :P
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    again if everything was junk, why is GM still in business :P
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    Trucks are decent and Corvette. Now Malibu and CTS is better. THe rest, second grade and sales show it.

    Let's put it this way, nothing exciting.

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Fleet and employee sales. GM would have ruptured years ago without its "in the bag" volume.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Obviously you don't know any more than you read in the car mags. Yes, the Malibu, CTS, Corvette and trucks are excellent, but I know the rest.

    I know from long term experience that GM truly makes fine automobiles. You let others make a prejudiced opinion for you. I just had my new Cadillac DTS Performance on a long driving vacation and the car performed admirably. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. I was also surprised at the great fuel economy! I guess it's getting better as the cars getting broke-in. Heck, my girlfriend speaks of her Buick LaCrosse as if it were some high-end luxury car like an E-Class Mercedes or a Lexus LS. Here's one young girl who will make a Buick her next car.

    The imports also aren't all that. I hear a lot of people complain that their newer Hondas and Toyotas aren't as good as previous ones both in appearance and quality. I have a co-worker who likes Hondas so much that he should write copy for their ads, yet he is turned-off at their new direction and actually told me he was considering a Buick as his next car! I certainly don't care for Lexus' new styling direction. I liked it a lot better when they aped the last generation S-Class Mercedes. The LS new look is blandness personified.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    I believe you know more than me. Most people do.

    I appreciate your preferences and respect your choices.

    I can not get excited about the current choice GM produces. The ones I referenced not included but the CTS has competition that will limit it's success unless expectations are exceeded each year. Corvette has no competition either in the price range except GT-R. I still am put back by the sedan but the coupe concept widened my eyes. Now, that's what I'm talking about. No GM has that persona outside of the Corvette.

    Since this is a Caddy blog, I can tell you that none of their current cars strike me as a must have. Period. When the coupe becomes reality, I show up early at the dealer!

    I applaud your exuberance in every case. You need to keep the pressure on GM to improve and stay cautious of complete commitment, IMHO. If you truly know more, you know that.

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,111
    so what about the toyota sludge problem

    We were talking about the American cars and their reputations established before the 1990's, I don't think Toyota had sludge problems in those days.

    And it's not like GM had - "well, the Vega was a lemon with sludge, but every other car of theirs is high quality, highly reliable, and people are just flocking to GM for the past 30 years because of such excellent engineering." People cite Toyota sludge or Honda transmissions, but frankly, those are the only significant two problems people have heard of with Honda/Toyota, the problems weren't that bad, and those Japanese companies quickly rectified the problems. Not true with Ford/GM/Chrysler. It's a pretty weak argument.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    They seem to forget about the Japanese car bodies that rusted with a vengeance in the winter and the interiors that cracked and split apart in the hot summer sun. My girlfriend's father bought a Datsun in response to the first 1970s fuel crisis and said it was underpowered and downright scary to drive in Philadelphia rush-hour traffic. It ended up throwing a rod after a few years.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    This is a Cadillac forum, so your posts are completely off topic as are marsha7's.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,221


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  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I am not sure what it means to be the "Standard of the World" and I am not sure that Cadillac ever was, but for Cadillac to become the Standard of the World now (or for some other make to become that):

    Cadillac would have to dominate the world luxury market (like Cadillac dominated the US market in the 50's and 60's) and GM would also have to dominate the world market (with at least 40% of the world market). I don't see any manufacturer doing this in the near future. For Toyota (and Lexus) to do this would probably mean there would be only 3 major manufacturers left with the other two nearly bankrupt.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    ...refers to standardized parts used on Cadillacs from way back. Really, it's just a meaningless slogan like:

    BMW is the Ultimate Driving Machine...for whom, really? Yuppies?

    Or Lincoln: What a Luxury Car Should Be - in my opinion it's a Cadillac.

    Perhaps Lexus' Relentless Pursuit of Perfection - yeah, make the car bland enough that it won't offend anybody.

    Rolls-Royce has described itself as "The Best Automobile in the World!" Heck, lately I find my hooptie '88 Buick Park Ave as the best car for my purposes.

    Porsche - There is no Substitute - uh, what about Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, etc.

    And the list goes on and on...
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,111
    This is a Cadillac forum, so your posts are completely off topic as are marsha7's.

    Point taken. This thread started with your post 5142, we shouldn't have let ourselves get off Cadillack in this forum... :)
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,111
    Cadillac would have to dominate the world luxury market

    Clearly to be the standard of the world they would have to be recognized as such in Europe and Asia.

    I'm guessing that the closest makes to that standard that aren't tiny niche makes are BMW and Mercedes. So Cadillac would need to be able to compete as an equal to those brands.

    They have made a good start in the past few years but they would need to:
    1 - Add a smaller model than the CTS that can go head to head with the BMW 3 series (rumored)
    2 - Improve their high end offerings to be viewed as competitive or superior to the BMW 7 series and/or Mercedes S class.
    3 - Maintain and continue to improve their quality, technology, and reliability through successive refinements to these vehicles.

    The one thing that Cadillac has going for it to accomplish this is the weak dollar. They could conceivably be more competitive overseas with American made cars due to a cost advantage. They need to have the vehicles and establish good dealer networks overseas. I also suspect they need to have right-side drive versions of these world-class vehicles for markets like Japan, Australia, and the UK.

    The difficulty in doing this is the current financial and competitive position of GM. It's going to continue to cost a lot of money to make major improvements in their vehicles. We all agree (I think) that the CTS comes closest to being there, but that is not a full lineup, especially for non-US markets. I don't see them wanting Escalades in Japan!
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 3,094
    Round and round we go, how to define "Standard" nobody knows. It's been really pretty well covered from the Dewars trophy through tailfins, Cimarrons, Allantes, V8-6-4, downsizing, badge engineering to today.

    No car can be a standard to all people. The car that you purchase, that is your standard.

    It's well past my bedtime, but I'm actually working... So, I'm not sure of my coherency here...

    '13 Jaguar XF, possibly my favorite of all the cars I've owned. But, my '09 Jag XK was a beauty, as was my '05 Acura TL, '88 Acura Integra, '84 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo & '78 VW Scirocco (my first!). And, of course, the '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R and '95 Saab 900s I bought for the ex... Ok, I like a lot of the cars in my life.

  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    first is to define the term world standard, cuz for me Cadillac's only time as a world standard was in the 50s, when Cadillac was cross-shopped with the likes of bentley and jaguar.
    To return Cadi to that position will require more than just one good product, CTS. The Northstar is a start, the newfound ride and handling too, but it takes more, and time. Try to catch up with lesser divas first, like Acura and Infiniti, then target BMW and MB later on.

    I dont see them wanting Escalades in Japan

    Well, I see them wanting Escalades in China, especially Shanghai. Escalades, H2s and Chrysler 300cs are everywhere there.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    I believe you are right about personal standard.

    It's not fair to put Caddy in the same field as Bentley or Rolls. Ultra Luxury really.

    BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus, Infinity is more a level playing field. In this field, Caddy is not the standard. Period.

    Can they ever really top this class?

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    We can start here and say Caddy at least has a desire to return to some standard it lost years ago. Caddy is certainly not the luxury standard in terms of a sales leader and mark anyone needs to meet or beat. Quite the other way around, don't you think?

    In reference to personal luxury:


    American 'personal luxury' cars began to die out in the late 1980s as younger buyers moved toward imported European and Japanese cars, or toward sport utility vehicles. After years of steadily declining sales, the Oldsmobile Toronado died after 1992, the Lincoln Mark after 1998, the Buick Riviera after 1999 and the Cadillac Eldorado after 2002.

    Nevertheless, conceptually similar imports from Japanese manufacturers like Lexus SC and Infiniti and European marques like BMW and Mercedes continue to sell well, even though their vehicles tend to be higher priced than their former American counterparts.

    Here's what Wkipedia has on luxury car definition:

    Luxury vehicle is a marketing term for a vehicle that provides luxury — that which is beyond strict necessity — in exchange for increased cost to the buyer.

    The term suggests a vehicle with greater equipment, performance, construction precision, comfort, design ingenuity, technological innovation, or features that convey brand image, caché, status, or prestige — or any other discretionary feature or combination of features.

    The term may be applied to any body style — from minivan to convertible, crossover or sport utility vehicle — and to any size vehicle, from small to large.[1]

    Though widely used, the term is broad, highly variable, ambiguous and abstruse — and lacks both measurability or verifiability. "What is a luxury car to some.. may be ‘ordinary’ to others." [1]

    In some nations such Australia, a luxury car is defined as one whose value exceeds a certain threshold[2] (see: Luxury Car Tax).[3] while in Portugal, a luxury car is defined by the cubic capacity of the engine.[citation needed]

    So Caddy is not the one standard of the world. Never was, never will be.

  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I think your timing is a bit off. Younger buyers (at least the observant ones) were interested in the BMW's in the late 70's and early 80's. This is one reason why Cadillac wanted a "small" car and put the Cimarron into production.

    I think Cadillac was at one time (in the 50's and 60's) a car that a lot of Americans would have named as the one to own if they were rich enough. Hence, the saying "this is the Cadillac of ___", This of course is not really enough to make a car of today the standard of the world, but should be part of the definition. BMW's are recognized world wide in some circles as desirable cars. However, BMW does not dominate the luxury car market world wide.
  • aldwaldw Posts: 82
    Manufacturing excellence was the most important standard for Cadillac to have, that was what made their reputation to begin with, and impacted the customer's direct usage more than many other factors. This quality was such that Rolls used Caddy transmissions for year starting in the 1950's. This is the quality that Caddy strives to gain even more so than being a performance standard, regardless of personal tastes.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    Caddy WAS great at one time. The operative word was. Now not even close.

    That's the current reality. The past is gone but not forgot! Not by a long shot. That's the key reason Caddy lost it's way. It forgot!!!!!!!

  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    What the heck are you talking about "badge-engineering of today." Cadillacs are significantly different from other GM marques, you could not simply call it badge-engineering. They have their own unique drivetrains for one. If you want to talk about platform-sharing, well that goes on over at Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura as well. They share a lot of parts with their lesser Toyota, Nissan, and Honda counterparts. Sheesh, you make it sound like Cadillac just takes a Chevrolet Impala and slaps a wreath and crest on it and calls it a DeVille. Hello? They didn't even do that back in the 1980s which was OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO!!!

    Cadillac is the standard to me! I can at least count on it to get me to work in the morning, I can count on everything working properly, and it won't cause me to file for bankruptcy any time it needs to be serviced or repaired like those cherished German marques.
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