What Cadillac Should Have Done… and Still Could

89
7898
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As Cadillac’s market share continues to wilt, it’s worth considering what Cadillac once was – and could be again.

If, that is, it could take off the Me Too blinders it has been wearing for the past 30-plus years and resumed building . . . Cadillacs.

Not BMWs with Cadillac badges.

Certainly not electric BMWs with Cadillac badges.

Batteries are about as sexy as Depends – and Depends at least work.

Cadillac was successful – once upon a time – because Cadillacs were not BMWs. Or Audis or Benzes or any other such foreign thing. They were American things. Boldly – even belligerently so.

It  wasn’t so much about finesse as it was about a very particular style – obstreperous, insolent. Not merely the opposite of politically correct but the hairy thing which stomps with both feet on political correctness.

You know – what America used to be and which Cadillac once embodied.

The other thing was size.

Cadillacs were big cars as well as bold cars. The biggest cars – and proud of it. Mile long hoods and trunks that fit three.

The idea of a small Cadillac is as silly as the idea of a fuel-efficient drag racer. It’s contrary to the point.

It’s worth noting – especially because Cadillac seems not to have noticed it – that the most successful (and one of the very few successful at all) new Cadillacs is huge – a Leviathan of the roads with no real peer and also the only one that offends exactly the right people. Which is a turn-on for the people who like (or used to like) Cadillacs.

It is the Escalade, the only new Cadillac that resembles the Cadillacs of the glory days – and the thing is a truck, basically. It is massive and intimidating and powerful and unapologetically consumptive of every resource within reach.

It comes with the biggest V8 GM makes, which used to be the standard for every Cadillac. Liners like the Fleetwood and Eldorado – great names; great American names – came with 8 liter engines, unsurpassed in displacement by anything else that wasn’t a locomotive.

The Escalade also has the most room inside – not merely of any GM vehicle, but period.

There is nothing else as titanic – exactly the right word. The thing is awesome, in the original way that word was meant. That is to say, it inspires awe.

Precisely what Cadillac’s cars used to be all about.

Today’s Cadillac cars are about other things. The things every other luxury brand already specializes in – most particularly, “sportiness.”

There is nothing wrong with being “sporty” – but the trend has gotten out of hand because (like tattoos) everyone has one – and that detracts from the difference of having one.

People bought BMWs because they were sporty – and Cadillacs were something else. Two different kinds of buyers, with different preferences. Contra that, people bought Cadillacs because they weren’t sporty BMWs, nor trying to be.

Those buyers had a different preference.

They wanted to make an impression. To be the car that stood out from the herd, not only in terms of physical size but also physical presence. In their heyday, when a Cadillac rolled up to the curb, it was like seeing Hulk Hogan at the airport. You couldn’t help looking, even if you didn’t particularly like the look.

The point was, people looked. Everyone looked.

Todays Caddys – the Escalade excepted – blend in, the afterthought angles and tail-light designs which try to conjure the ghosts of Cadillacs past notwithstanding. You lift the hood and are greeted by the same turbo fours and V6s found in Chevys and Buicks, tweaked perhaps but (echoing Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle) they are no 472s and 511s – the Cadillac specific (and Cadillac huge) V8s you commanded when you held the keys to a Brougham de  Elegance.

These were American Bentleys – only better because they were American. Uproariously, defiantly in-your-face American. The car to intimidate a Bentley in.

And did.

What Cadillac succeeded in doing by trying to be another BMW was to alienate its core buyer demographic while failing to attract the one it sought – which continued to prefer (like Coke) the real thing.

This isn’t a slam of Cadillac. It is a reminder that Coke isn’t Pepsi – and Coke buyers don’t want Pepsi (just as Pepsi buyers don’t want Coke).

Cadillac has been trying to be the New Coke of luxury cars by downsizing its cars and Me-Tooing the sportiness of other cars. This has been a huge mistake. No matter how quick a V series Cadillac may be relative to a BMW M or Benz AMG, it will never be a BMW M or a Benz AMG and ought to give up trying because by trying be those cars, it becomes just another one of those kinds of cars.

A Cadillac ought to be unlike all other cars. It ought not to care that other cars are quicker – because they are not Cadillacs and never will be, no matter how fast they lap the Nurburgring or get from zero to 60.

A Cadillac ought to own the curb.

Klieg lights should flash – or seem to be flashing. A movie star just stepped onto the red carpet.

Owning a Cadillac ought to make you feel like one.

They don’t anymore, because they are just another car – with a different badge and not much else. Adding batteries will only make matters worse because it will make them even more homogenous.

If Cadillac wants to make a comeback, it ought to be the one luxury brand to mock batteries – and any other form of virtue signaling. No Cadillac should have less engine than any other GM vehicle. 

Fours ought to be out of the question. They are as un-Cadillac as having a Diet Coke with a ribeye steak.

Even V6s are questionable.

Fuel economy? What Cadillac that ever sold well gave a tinker’s damn about that? Do people buy Escalades because of their fuel efficiency – or their demure “carbon footprint”?

These are not verities of political correctness, of course – and thus eschewed by Cadillac’s current management as well as the woman who runs the company, who is surely triggered by the very thought of Don Draper and his de Ville.

But that was Cadillac’s glorious – and successful – past.

And could be its successful again future.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

EPautos
721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: Get an EPautos magnet (pictured below) in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $5 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)

My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.  

 

Share Button

89 COMMENTS

  1. Eric, the other day was watching the latest release from the ministry of truth (aka the news) – in the back ground noticed the Dear Leaders car. The Beast. Maybe its me bit it looks like an amazing vehicle. From what I understand, it is based on a reinforced Suburban chassis.

    Heres what cadillac can do without much work – make a civilian version of that car, (ok maybe slightly smaller than the beast) but bigger and more brash than anything else offered on the market. With as you say a big engine and very rich materials…. very customisable to users taste. And even offer an armoured version because thats big business now from what I understand. And sell it…. across the world….. particularly emerging markets….suspect it will do fairly well…

    • Hi Nasir,

      I’ll raise you: GM has a great V8 and the RWD architecture to build a sedan comparable to the Charger, but lighter and much more powerful. Not as a Cadillac or other high-end car, but a Chevy. For under $35,000. Such a car could get very good mileage given OD boxes and a light chassis; Corvettes can exceed 30 on the highway and there’s no reason a sedan couldn’t match it or beat it.

      I even have a name for it:

      Impala SS.

      But GM is run by a post-wall Frau – so there’s no hope of this ever happening.

      • One of my favorite cars we had was the 90’s Impalla SS. I would buy two of them if they made them today. To be fair though, the current Charger/300 is a lot better, and can be had in a nice V6 for $35K and a nice V8 for $40K.

        GM’s just canceled SS, from their Holden group in Australia was a great car, they just packaged it wrong (what else is new) buy making the suspension more like a sports car, when we wanted a softer ride.
        I would have loved to see GM sell the cop car version which was a little longer wheelbase, etc… but they didn’t. That would have been a great Chevy model easily comparable to the once great 90’s Impalla SS.

  2. Socialism is the same as Islam.

    Submit to the State, or die.
    Submit to Allah, or die.

    Both are defined as “Surrender your own will”

    Why do you think the Democrat Terrorist Organization supports Islam? Even the Feminist Parasites don’t say anything bad about Islam.

    • Morning, Cambo!

      You’ve raised an excellent point – about submission to the state and submission to Allah.

      The peddlers of both doctrines pretend (and the deluded believe) it is about submitting to a higher authority, a literal deity in the case of Islam and figurative one in the case of the state. But in fact, in actuality, both demand the submission of the follower to the will of the leadership; that is to say, to the authority of the men (and women) who claim to represent the “deity.”

      Ayatollahs – and bureaucrats; it amounts to the same thing.

      Bu of course, they are just people – not gods. People, usually very mediocre ones who are no wiser than other men – and certainly have no moral right to lord it over them.

      Yet people accept being lorded over by these people – and many even demand it.

      The whole thing is very odd.

      • 90%+ of the people on earth are not fully human and will always seek and obey what they view as “External Authority”. It’s because they still have primitive tribal brains. They are literally retarded children. Now you understand what a Democrat is and why they say and do as they do.

        Therefor, the global political terrorist’s New World Order is going to be LITERALLY socialist/fascist hell on earth. Prepare yourselves accordingly. Move someplace warm where you can fish!

      • Hey Cambo, Eric. As you may suspect from my name I’d somewhat disagree with you about Islam. You guys are right when you say “Islam is about submitting to Allah”. But there is a fundamental difference the way I see it between submitting to the state and submitting to Allah (or any other God for that matter) – Submitting to the god is completely voluntary and for the most part self regulated, whereas submitting to the state today is anything but voluntary or self regulated.

        Now I understand how people in today (particularly after the image presented by the media in the west of Muslims/Islamic countries) probably find that hard to believe, and I dont blame you. Most of modern Islamic interpretations on matters have been paid for by corrupt monarchs who have completely ignored any spiritual element and used it as a tool to control the masses.

        Eric, when you say Ayatollahs=bureaucrats, you are 100% correct. But looking at the original text and early rulings / doctrines, it’s anything but. You regularly refer to Fatwas in this blog – an interesting fact about a Fatwa is that it’s not actually legally binding, EXCEPT for the person who issued it, and it will be judged by Allah alone. So much so that you can go find another Fatwa on a matter if you dont agree with the first one. Now I know thats different from what say a Fatwa is in Iran or Saudi Arabia today. but again its when people wanting to grab power themselves use religion to do so. Just like say Christianity in Europe in the Dark Ages…..

        Cambo you also mention that democrats/feminist supports Islam – that’s only because they think we are “oppressed” or “minorities” and we tick the “diversity” box or some dumb shit like that. But trust me, the minute we get to stuff like say believing in traditional family values and stuff. And when a guy like me who is a Muslim, and then goes against all the commie crap they sell…. well they hate me more than a white guy who says the same stuff because I’m tearing apart everything they believe in. And they will come after us eventually. I know it…..

        • Good stuff, Nasir – thanks for all of that!

          I am all for any religious doctrine – or political one – provided it is voluntary. I have no issue with Communists, even – provided they practice it among themselves and people are free to “buy in” or say “no thanks.”

          And your point in re Islam and traditional values is spot on. The “pussy hats” and SJWs and LBGTQ people who are pushing for “diversity” have no idea, apparently, that Islam has as little patience for “alternate lifestyles” and the rest of it than the Catholic Church had as recently as 50 years ago.

      • I for one welcome our new Muslim Overlords. It’s about time we got the wimmenz back in the kitchen and killed all the queers.

        // sarcasm alert for the humor impaired

  3. Cadillac has a government gun to their head so they will ALWAYS submit to the political terrorist’s demands. America is now overtly Fascist where the government uses taxpayer money to “pick winners” in society. Fascism (like all “Socialism”) is literally “Submit, or die”.

    • Hi Cambo,

      Cadillac – or any car company – could do the following, without risking murderous repercussions or even a ticket:

      Tell the truth. Hold a press conference – several of them. Explain to the public just how clean new IC cars actually are in terms of the actually harmful emissions – and how much electric cars are going to cost them for dubious gains. Explain to the public that there is no technological reason preventing any car company from building a sub-$10,000 commuter car capable of averaging 60 MPG without hybrid or other elaborate technology; a car that would have AC and most if not all the power accessories and gadgets people have come to expect and which would emit negligible harmful emissions.

      If the government allowed it.

      There was a time when the car companies did raise such objections – as recently as the ’90s.

      The reason things have gone so haywire since the ’90s is because the car companies stopped advocating for their customers and instead became an adjunct of the government.

      • The political terrorists will threaten and destroy their entire extended families. Do you think the terrorists in DC are any different than the ones in North Korea? Political terrorism is psychopathic hell on earth and really it is unstoppable now. I know first hand!

        You are just now getting the sense that the corporations are not doing what customers want and satisfying demand. It is going to get even more obvious with time. Censorship will be more pervasive and threats to “belligerents” (I guess your political terrorists call them “Deplorables”) will start to be carried out. You will see what they really mean by “De-platforming”.

        • Hi Cambo,

          With profound sadness, I tend to agree with this assessment – and have had to weigh the repercussions likely to descend upon myself. I am ready. But only because it’s just me now. If I still had a wife – or a family – I would probably be more cautious, as far as the things I write about.

          But I am only responsible for me now. And so I can assume the risks with a clear conscience. There is a scene in the movie, Deep Impact, that conveys what I mean.

          A character who has a house near the beach knows the asteroid is going to obliterate it, along with almost everything else. Rather than scramble to find a rathole, he goes to his house to wait for what will come. His estranged daughter joins him.

          So be it, if it comes to that.

  4. The evolution of Cadillac is directly related to the business at GM. You may recall in early 2000 when GM announced that new models would be based off of ‘platforms’. In the first 2 years many of the Chevy vehicles started from these platforms, with the other vehicles moving on to platforms by 2004 (ended up being 2006).
    The trucks ended up changing directions in 2004 and not using full platforms across models, but the rest of the GM vehicles went to platforms, including Cadillac.
    Notice the Escalade is on a GM truck chassis? Its because they were not full platforms.
    Every other Caddy used some or all of a platform for its chassis and drivetrain. Since GM did not make special platforms for Caddy or for any large vehicles, they tended to be similar in size, shape, and amenities as the rest of GM’s lineup.

    Please do not believe ANY car company has a clue what you think or what you want. That does not make them money, and it does not matter.

  5. Although Lincoln is also struggling, I think their recent change to be more American luxury focused, rather than chasing the Europeans, is a good idea. The Continental and new Aviator are good examples. Let’s hope that works for them.

  6. “What Cadillac succeeded in doing by trying to be another BMW was to alienate its core buyer demographic while failing to attract the one it sought – which continued to prefer (like Coke) the real thing.”

    I used to be a Coke Zero drinker. Coke alienated me by forcing the inferior Coke Zero Sugar product on the market and pulling the old product. Now I’m a Pepsi Zero consumer. It takes a lot of temerity to dictate what your customers want. Are you listening, Microsoft?

  7. Sorry, but the Escalade is NOT the boulevard barge I’ve grown to know and love. It’s just a big ugly truck with fancy trim.

  8. Being old (DOB 1950) I well remember the Detroit Barges of yesteryear. They were in a class of their own, Caddy was on the top and had a distinctive look.

    A buddy of mine recently bought a 2019 Caddy SUV (I have no idea what it’s really called). His main reason was that he’s tall and it was the only thing he could find that had enough legroom.

    At any rate, it is as non-descript as one wildebeest within a herd. And a four-banger under the hood? The whole idea of a four-cylinder Cadillac is silly.

  9. Growing up in the America of the 50’s and 60’s, I always thought the American flag should have a
    V-8 engine or a Caddillac on one side of it..

  10. The Cadillac customer base is rapidly aging out. There just aren’t enough cigar chomping masters of all they see, and all they see is the crest way over there at the other end of the hood, to push sales of a land yacht that will leave them looking at the back side of an SUV.

    • Not practical for most people who want a basic SUV that will meet their needs: Hyundai, Toyota, Honda or Kia smaller or mid sized SUV’s is what most people/families need and drive today.

  11. All Cadillac really has to do is put a few more bucks into interior material quality. There is no limit to the stupidity of old dinosaur companies run by American MBAs.

    • Hi Cambo,

      I disagree it’s mainly a quality control issue. Current BMWs seem chintzy to me in terms of interior materials (for the money) and are certainly no huge upgrade over Cadillac. The problem is that the world needs another “luxury sport” car as much as it needs another crossover SUV…

      • I mean just to differentiate from the Chevrolet brand. Who would pay twice the price over a Chevrolet?

        Have you noticed the “Luxury” brands getting more chintzy whilst the “Budget” brands moving higher in quality? Hyundai/Kia/Mazda and even Toyota and Honda.

        • Hi Cambo,

          Yes – because there is no longer that much to meaningfully differentiate a luxury car from a “non luxury” car. Things like heated leather seats (and steering wheels), climate control, a very good sound system and power everything are common in cars priced under $30,000 – so there’s no longer any big whoop.

          Back in 1970 – just to make the point – a car with AC and power windows and locks was considered extremely luxurious.

          So, today, it’s about who has the latest gadgets rather than the luxuries. And even the gadgets are becoming common in cars around $20,000…

          • Eric, you are very right in what you say with this, particularly with crossovers. You really see it in Europe with VAG cars….. from one platform, they make a dozen crossovers…. everything from the basic Seat ones to ultra luxury and sporty Porsche Maccan.. And this is just VAG. And like you say all the basic ones have niceties like climate control, power everything, and leather options. Why someone would want to compete in that, i have no idea…..

            This over saturation in the market is becoming evident because the once in crazy demand SUV/crossovers also have discounts now, something which a couple years ago you couldnt imagine (Guy i know was looking to get an X5 about 4 years ago and couldnt find a dealer to take the order because they all had only a small quota which was sold out for ages).

            Really think Cadillac should stay well clear of market- Again with VAG is that if you look at their crossovers, there is a difference (at least look wise) between the 15K Seat one and the 60K Porsche Maccan. For some reason looking at the crossover thing on Cadillac website – it looks just like a Chevy something or another with some slightly different plastic !! Selling that IMHO really de-values the brand…. which should more be competing with say a Rolls or Bentley (ambitious yes but again there is nothing that brash today for less than half a million dollars after options – something im sure GM can do). I mean instead of moving Cadillac to NY they should have moved it to Texas or something !!!

  12. “They don’t anymore, because they are just another car”

    They are just expensive Chevrolets.
    I would rather have an Impala than any Cadillac…sans the “Slade”.

  13. As of this moment Cadillac is just a little over two hours from taking both top steps at the 24Hrs of Daytona. Why can’t this be a springboard to the resurgence? Front engine RWD sedans and coupe’s with a luxury sports car, mid-engine, along the line of the Maserati Bora. Sure, fast as stink in a straight line but, not quite the curve carver of a Ferrari, let’s say, with a long enough wheelbase to make it truly and interstate Gran Turismo. Besides, who really drives them like that on the street, anyway?

    Caddy needs to find its soul again or go to that great junkyard in the sky.

    BTW, running ads showing millennial chicks out for a night on the town ain’t gonna feed the beast.

  14. “It’s the Cadillac of cars.” -Homer Simpson

    Imagine if someone called the iPhone Xs “The Cadillac of mobile phones.” At one time that was quite the complement. Of course, how many people use the terms Kleenex and Xerox these days? Usually it’s best to let businesses die. But a lot of people can’t imagine seeing General Motors going away. Kodak went away and we all survived. The scraps of AMC that had value are still around but the rest of the company is long gone, and no one seems to care. Why is GM so special that they get to survive in perpetuity?

    Only reason I can think of is because so many pension funds are loaded up with worthless GM stock that all those school teachers would start to vote Republican if they were to fail.

  15. Spot on Eric, as usual. I would like nothing more than to be able to buy a new 70’s Cadillac land yacht. I loved how they just floated on the highway. Didn’t care that they didn’t handle well.
    The Escala and Ceil concepts are really good. Doubt they will be built though.
    Their current ‘flagship’ is the CT6, it’s pretty good, and I would buy one if they would let me build it how I want it, except they don’t. The newly announced V8 for the CT6 is finally here, but again, they won’t let me build it my way. Which, BTW, is just picking the options I want or don’t want.
    For me, simple, no AWD, or at a minimum provide a button to disconnect the fronts (bmw now does), no sunroof, no ‘autocrusie or whatever they call it’, etc…..

  16. Cadillac is in trouble because people are buying crossovers, but also because unless you’re very rich, your garage isn’t large enough to hold a Fleetwood and probably not a Continental. I know for a fact that most cannot hold a F-150 pickup.

    I think there’s only room for one large American Luxury car brand in the US market. And Lincoln has figured that out.

    • Hi Chip,

      Crossovers are a factor, I agree – but I don’t think adding them is going to save Cadillac – for the same reason outlined in my rant: Everyone else has them too. What would make you buy a Cadillac-badged crossover that’s not meaningfully different from every other lux brand crossover already well-established on the market?

      Lincoln figured this out. The new Connie is a brilliant car; the car Cadillac could have made first, too.

      • My sister had a first-gen SRX SUV, and while the Art & Science design was good looking (for it’s day), it fundamentally wasn’t a very good car. So much went wrong on that thing..

        The definition of luxury is getting that last 1% right. but GM only gets 95% of the way there. Usually they skimp on materials. But often it’s a fundamental design decision they get wrong.

        So far as the Continental – with the Coach Door Edition selling out in 48 hours, I think Lincoln may understand now that the new Connie always should have had the suicide doors. And they shouldn’t be ashamed to sell it for more than $110k. Price is a signal of worth.

      • I think Lincoln Continental looks good. However, it’s FWD based, so no go for me. I wonder if they will build some sedans off the new RWD based explorer chassis?

        • Ford will continue building sedans as long they’re high-margin. So yes, the CD6-based Zephyr and Continental could still be in the works. There was also a plan for a new Mark coupe and convertible along with a new Thunderbird. The Mustang will also be moving to CD6.

          • Nice. So if Ford finally makes a RWD large sedan, then I will visit their showroom. I never have. I know they had them with the crown vics, but they never had a decent engine in them.
            My son recently bought a Ford though. First Ford in my family since the only other Ford we bought used for $5K back in the 90’s, a truck.
            Hopefully they will not follow GM’s CT6 example and make it AWD-only. We’ll see.
            opppss, I did visit their showroom once, to drive the Lightning pickup which intrigued me, but it did not go like lightning.

      • It’s nice for sure. It has too much eletronic nanny big brother stuff for me and it also is a FWD platform. If they would go to RWD and actually differentiate themselves by telling the prospective buyer that they were not going to monitor your every move, they might have something.

  17. Great piece, loved it.

    Wonder how long it will before the newly legalized “500 and under” outfits start start building “new old” replicas?

    Imagine being able to buy a new ’70 Fleetwood or a ’68 Continental for that matter.

    Bet they’d sell like crazy.

    • Thanks, AF!

      I’d love to have a mid-late ’70s Sedan deVille or Coupe deVille… I’ve driven them and they are what no new car is except for Bentleys and Rolls Royces… luxurious. Everything is soft, quiet and posh; the point is not to get there quickly but to enjoy getting there.

      • I had a 90s Sedan deVille. In its 120,000 life I replaced three alternators. One day the front seat broke. I never had another car where the seat broke. I learned it would cost $2,600 to replace the elaborate front seat so I drove the last miles with a skewed seat. The fake wood peeled on the dashboard. It drove comfortably but I will never again buy anything with the Cadillac name.

        • Hi Patrick,

          Your Caddy was one of the first-generation of downsized and FWD Cadillacs bequeathed unto us by CAFE. They were not particularly well-built, as you experienced – and worse than that, they were small and unimpressive – a betrayal of what Cadillac once was.

    • I drove 1975 and 1976 Buick Park Avenues and Olds 98 Regencies for about 20 years. Two doors and four doors. You, know, the ones with the pillow seats. Back then, I travelled a lot. Now, I couldn’t afford the gas to drive one of them. I also had a ’68 and a ’69 DeVille convertible in that time.There are no more cars like that now.
      Now I drive a new Honda Civic. Not a luxury car, to be sure, but I get 38 mpg,

      • A choice that suits your motoring needs and your pocket book, and Eric and I, as professed Libertarians, would uphold your “Gawd”-given right to make it, as long as you can find (or somehow build yourself) such a vehicle.

        As I recall, save for a relatively dark period about 1978-1982, when gas prices shot up over $1 a gallon, which was princely at the time, then remained stagnant for about 15 years, during the time period when you had those Buick and Olds battlecruisers, gas was relatively ‘cheap’. True, at about $2.75/gallon in “Commiefornia” (much less in other states, but that’s for another thread), you’d pay up the nose to fuel those old sleds, BUT….consider what the top of the line Buick, a CROSSOVER, would run in payments, or lost investment of the some $45K it will set you back, never mind the higher INSURANCE premiums. You can buy a helluva lotta gas with the difference!

  18. The big three is scared to death of not making CAFE and it has been destroying the american car and the american car companies little by little for four decades as it was designed to do. European countries tax fuel and engine displacement but the USA, no that allows too much freedom. The USA attacks the automakers financially if they offer too many products uncle doesn’t approve of for sale. The ruling class knew taxes alone couldn’t kill the american car so they came up with CAFE.

    No automaker wants to be the first that jumps in with both feet and tells the government where it can stick it and just passes the CAFE penalties on in the price of the cars. With the right cars and marketing at the right time, like when gasoline is relatively cheap, it could be done. It could break CAFE forever.

    • Morning, Brent!

      I keep holding my breath, hoping one car company will take a stand… but I doubt very much it will happen because the management just doesn’t have skin in the game. They are people who want to Play The Game – for $20 million per annum – and then hand off the wet bag of scheisse to whomever succeeds them.

  19. Eric, the worlds gone so crazy. people who get it are sitting in the sticks writing articles – and people who should be getting you to download an app on your phone or something are at the top of GM. How!??!?!

    Its sad that in an effort to make American cars more PC, they have completely lost the very personality that made them so desirable to so many around the world. You are right there is hope for Cadillac. The world needs a proper, non PC car that doesn’t give a damn, that’s not in say rolls royce price range…

    That said, do you see any hope for their concept cars ? Is it just me or do some of them look amazing (particularly the ceil).

    • Morning, Nasir!

      I have been a working car journalist for 25 years-plus. During this time, I have witnessed a sea change in the business. Guys like me used to by typical in the car press. Today, guys like me – not just male, but guys who like cars and driving, who understand something about both – are almost nonexistent. I am an aurochs. The new standard is a metrosexual urban hipster, topped off with all the latest nostrums – “diversity,” “sustainability” – and indifferent if not hostile to driving and cars, except as app-encrusted transportation modules.

  20. “Cadillac: They wanted to make an impression”

    Which made them top sellers amongst Pimps.

    Cadillac has a fundamental problem. It’s a car for old people and pimps.
    Used to be Cadillac was for Successful executives in their 40s. That’s why
    Don Draper drove one when he made partner. Clover

    Now Cadillac is the landyacht for the clara peller set.
    That’s an aging shrinking demographic.

    I don’t know why a Libertarian like you is whining at GM.
    You want a better Cadillac, that’s bigger. Buy the biggest one out there.
    Get an Escalade and customize it.

    Cowboy up. Hell, you are unhappy with Cadillac buy a Ford F650 and fit it out.
    Stop telling The Ren Center what to do and start buying….

    • Clover,

      You apparently know as much about Cadillac’s lineup and history as you do about slavery as a concept – and the economic/functional afflictions of electric cars.

      Cadillac hasn’t been geriatric since the ’90s. Its current (and recent) lineup is visually and functionally very aggressive and does not appeal to old people (who have trouble getting in an out of its low-to-the-ground/sport-bucketed luxury-sport cars like the ATS, CTS and so on).

      The problem, Clover, is that people – old, young and in the middle – aren’t buying them. And the reason for that – the main one, anyhow – is that they’re trying to be just like BMW or Lexus and people don’t want the same thing under a different label, with probably less reliability and higher depreciation.

      Poor ol’ Clover!

    • Actually, Pat b, aka “Clover”, Caddy, as Eric pointed out, has gotten away from that very demographic. They’ve tried being an American version of BMW, Lexus, and so on, and it hasn’t worked. Cadillac was a huge moneymaker for “Generous Mother” precisely because old farts and old broads wanted to drive a big ol’ land barge, with plenty of ‘armor’. They were COMFORTABLE. If you had the bucks to pay CASH for a Caddy, which the majority did, it only mattered that gasoline was available at all, and price was irrelevant. Most old folks put low miles on their land yachts, and when they did drive ’em, a lot of the miles were gently paced on the highways. Hence they were prized as used cars, being often garaged and in almost showroom condition even if they were seven or eight years old, with at times barely 40K on the odometer.

      I say Cadillac needs to bring back the DeVille line and especially the El Dorado…that was a “Panzerkampfwagen Asuf VIB Konigstiger” (King Tiger tank) with chrome, whitewalls, and hubcaps! Indeed, besides the hugely thick frontal armor of a Tiger tank, and that big 88mm main weapon, know what made the Tiger tanks so feared? Believe it or not, in spite of their very heavy weight for a battle tank, they traversed terrain very well, often being more nimble than the American Shermans and the vaunted Soviet T-34s! Their crews liked them because they RODE very well, crew fatigue being a factor in battle tank effectiveness. Likewise the American public, in which the senior market is getting only BIGGER, appreciates a big ol’ battleship. The leading edge of the so-called “Baby Boom” (1946 to 1964), is now 73 years old, and the trailing part turns 55 this year…considered the time to start getting mailers or spam from AARP. So, if anything, this is the time for GM to make Cadillac Great Again!

  21. GM has become a cesspool…..as sleazy and tone deaf as the NFL. No spawn of this abomination could ever come close to the opulent, extravagant luxury car vision you have depicted.

    Better to simply euthanize the Cadillac brand than allow it to languish in its now and forevermore degraded state.

  22. I was out in a parking lot working a charity gig and a big red shiny Coupe Deville glided past. I estimated it to be a 1976 or so. It looked new. It was glorious.

    I loved those big luxury cars. My first few vehicles were trucks. My first actual car was a 1972 Olds 98.

    There really has been nothing like them since.

  23. Brands always get in trouble by trying to be all things to all people. There’s very few names left that haven’t forgotten the true essence of their brand. Even BMW isn’t what it used to be.

    • BMW is another brand that have totally lost their purpose. They were known for their drive – today one can argue they just make one car (the M2) which is a proper drivers car. Most of them are more iPad than car…..

        • Thats crazy – but you feel it when you drive these things. You dont get that nippy feeling you once had, especially if you are driving in a city or even the slightest bit of traffic….

          Drove my buddies M6, technologically its a masterpiece…..but god its so big with such bad visibility I feel my fairly ancient X3 is easier to maneuver in and out of places in city driving. Furthermore, for long range city driving, the practically lying own position isn’t comfortable!!!… also, doesn’t have much space….Perhaps if I was Jeremy Clarkson doing doughnuts on a track it would be brilliant…..but in the real world whats the point!!

          Now that long range powerful, spacious motorway cruiser….. one that doesnt give a damn, much like a Rolls Royce, but without the price tag – thats the ground Cadillac can easily take…..

          • I got stuck behind a Merc S-Class doing 10 under. Couldn’t get into the passing lane because everyone was 10 over and bumper to bumper. Took a look at the driver on the way past, absolutely ancient man behind the wheel.

            That’s the German car buyer in the US: Can’t work the pedals, can’t figure out the radio, can’t see 4 feet in front of them. Doesn’t give a damn about performance, or keeping up with traffic (let alone exceeding the PSL).

    • Agreed. One thing that gave GM such dominance at one time was that, unlike Ford or Mopar, which had to use a common family of engines, whatever brand you favored was unique. Chevys had Chevrolet engines, Pontiacs had Pontiac engines, Cadillac had but that huge V8, and so on. You knew what you were getting. It started to go downhill, IMO, in the early 70s when GMs rebadged the Chevy Nova into the Buick Apollo, Oldsmobile Omega, and Pontiac Ventura. Sure, the higher the marque, the better the trim and upholstery, but it was still the SAME vehicle, so why pay 20% to 30% MORE? Then you saw mid-sized Pontiacs and Oldsmobile start to get Chevy V8s, which was a decent engine, but it meant that you might as well just save several hundred bucks, if not more than a grand, and just buy the Chevy, because absent the trim, that’s exactly what it was! Folks could see through this shine-o-la and started looking at Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords, which were just coming out, and liked them and bought them INSTEAD. And never mind the abysmal build quality, which GM paid lip service too. Instead of buying advertising, they should have spent in on engineering and quality control. It also didn’t help that the GM bigwigs tried to get Washington to keep their Japanese and European competition out with tariffs and other politics instead of simply making better products, and that labor unions, in their arrogance, though they could buy Dummycrat politicians to force lucrative contracts on GM, Ford, Chrysler, and AMC.

      It won’t be long before more Americans are employed in Japanese-owned auto factories than “US” companies. And since Chrysler was bought out by Fiat, which at least saved the marquee from oblivion, is it really an “Murican” car company anymore?

  24. It’s like I said on the other article; it can’t be a coincidence that Cadillac’s first attempt to me-too the imports – the Cimarron – was also its first major failure (the other reason being that it really was just a gussied-up and overpriced Cavalier, when the Cavalier was still about 10 years away from getting good). For what it’s worth, their styling is one of the better attempts I’ve seen at making pedestrian-safe/fuel-efficient/whatever lozengoids stand apart from everyone else’s, being both somewhat distinctive and not utterly hideous (yes, Lexus, I’m looking directly at you, even though that’s probably going to crack my skull if I do it for much longer). However the machines still do not stand apart on the level they should.

    The V-series seems to me to be targeting the people who also buy Corvettes. Now, you take that list, then pare it down to the ones who need a sedan, want a high-end one, and haven’t already defected to BMW, and you’re left with… not very many people. Perhaps that market would be better served by giving Chevrolet some RWD sport sedans, and actually freakin’ making people aware of their presence? The thing is, as I’ve said before, “V” simply lacks historical precedent. The Germans can get away with being both luxury brands and sports brands at the same time because they were racing and rallying before WWII. The history of “M” in particular goes back to 1978 as far as I can remember and “AMG” to the 1960s at least. “V” is simply a meaningless letter chosen just for sounding “cool” or “aggressive” or… something, in a blatant attempt to match the Germans move for move whether it fits or not. Cadillac has tried on and off to get a racing program going, but almost certainly for no reason other than to justify the “V” lineup they’d already decided to build, and it was way too little, way too late.

    Noteworthy is that Cadillac’s “lineup rot” took quite some time to kick in. Even after they started with me-too performance cars and alphabet soup names, the cars themselves were still fairly brash and still fairly Cadillac, even in “V” trim. However, when the trend in performance models started became “carbon fiber everything because race car”, Cadillac blindly followed that once again and started building the most in-your-face “HEY LOOKIT ME I’M A RACE CAR” sports models out of any of the luxury brands, even as the cars themselves became more beaten-down and less worthy of the “high-end” designation. Perhaps the situation wouldn’t be as bad if Cadillac had stayed the course and kept their aggression hidden under a layer of leather and chrome, the way their best concept cars have.

    I mean, look at Bentley. They make sports models, but for all their carbon fiber and trendy-bordering-on-cliche black details, they are still giant bricks with sumptuous interiors, more highway bombers than canyon shredders. Somehow or other, they do a good job of maintaining an ultra-luxury look while working in the “sporty” details, and thus become super-high-end grand tourers rather than mere supercars.

    • “Perhaps that market would be better served by giving Chevrolet some RWD sport sedans, and actually freakin’ making people aware of their presence? ”

      G’Day mate. We tried. But GM forgot to market it when it was in the States. Ford didn’t even let their version come over to you (better motor with the I6 turbo, too).

      Not just Cadillac, but the US was totally at its peak when your cars were huge. And RWD for the most. That was the high water mark, big Apollo rockets sending vehicles out past the Van Allen Belts… Why did you guys go FWD? That surely must be the beginning of the decline, when you guys went FWD in full size cars. (no offence meant, at least you still have an auto industry. We stayed RWD till the bitter end.)

      • Cheaper to build a FWD car. The whole drivetrain is built off-site and delivered in one “just in time” package. Easily goes in on the assembly line with one station. No driveshaft to hang or balance, no rear differential to install (or design around), and easy to market advantages like more leg room and better handling in snow. 95% or more drivers never squeal the tires, let alone ever need to deal with understeer, so the few people who care of such things are ignored.

        • Yep thanks for the reply, it was a commercial decision. Better in snow would be an advantage in the northern half of the US I guess, too. The first Toronado’s FWD was a different arrangement to what came later – north/south facing motor, no torque steer, etc? Is this true? Renault 12 was a similar configuration (and hilarious to drive on sand/gravel as a kid!)

          It’s heartening to see the new Explorer/Navigator platform going back to RWD based architecture. There is hope, please bring them here…

          • Right. That engine/transmission combo was pretty interesting for the time, since the driveshaft was actually a chain drive. One of the best uses was in the GMC Motorhome (AKA the EM-50 from the film Stripes), since it allowed for a much lower center of gravity and flat floor under the living space.

            One of those vehicles that I love the idea of owning, but not really practical.

  25. When I was a teen in the 80s I dated a girl whose wealthy father always had a couple recent model Cadillacs. They even had a phone. Being a very nice man, he would let me drive one when his daughter and I went out. I’de leave my paintless, 1970 Plymouth rust bucket in the drive and off we would go in the Caddy. (Another plus was the cops let us off when caught parked and drinking underage.) Good times!
    Anyway, I always sort of aspired to have a Cadillac. Now that I could buy one I have almost no interest. The Escalade is nice but I really don’t want something that large.

  26. My dad was a shorter guy who had trouble with the big cars. He always bought intermediate sized or smaller cars. In the 1960’s, he bought a Jaguar 420 sedan, which was about the size of an XJ6. He never would have considered a Cadillac. Since he kept his cars a long time, he tended to go up market. In April of 1975, the Seville came out and he liked it. In October 1977, he bought the 78 model. The Seville was an intermediate sized car, but there was no mistaking for something else. Bill Mitchell’s sheared design techniques were in full swing in the 1970s, and the Seville was a clean design throughout, though underneath, it wallowed, darted and bounced like other Cadillacs. Perhaps GM should set the spring settings on soft when that one came out.

    I miss the older cadillacs. It would be nice to have a large car with a stiff set of leg muscles to plow around corners while at the same time retaining an imposing presence.

  27. It speaks volumes that the elitists attempting to force the rest of us mundanes into glorified golf carts are the ones being driven around in Escalades, often with an armed government escort. No concern for the “climate change/emissions/carbon footprint” BS that they pontificate about; typical do as we say not as we do rules for the serfs.

    • One need only look at Al Gore’s monstrous home in Tennessee (assuming that he managed to hang onto it after divorcing Tipper) to know that, “Hypocrisy, thy name is DUMMYCRAT” (Democrat).

  28. Amen! First step, get rid of Mary Barra. As long as she is there Caddy has no chance. Every day she kills the brand a little more.

    Cadillac will never get BMW buyers. They just won’t. Especially if they go electric. So stop trying.

    V8’s should be the base engine. They need to get into V12 and V16s as well, even if only halo products (yes, with the right cars they could have $300k products that would sell). No 4 bangers, no V6’s and for gods sake no electric. And get rid of the in view shared cheap looking parts. The Escalade has the same cheap looking gear selector as every other GM product.

    Won’t ever happen, they are hellbent on electric. Bye Bye Cadillac….

    • Plusbig problem is that GM sees China as their future, and the Chinese oligarchy is mandating electric vehicles. The U.S. is being relegated to a secondary market.

  29. Is an Escalade bigger than a Chevy/GMC Suburban ???

    I thought the Escalade was just a fancy version of a Tahoe, which is a short version of a Suburban.

    Not arguing your basic point about Cadillac; maybe they should just only make a fancy version of a crew-cab long bed Duramax 3500 – ha!

    • That’s the thing. People who would be buying Cadillacs if they still made them are buying blinged up fancy pickups. So in that way they won’t do it because it will steal sales from fancy expensive pickups….

LEAVE A REPLY