Guest Commentary – GMInsideNews.com’s Mark Bono – Part 2

Originally appeared at GMInsideNews.com on March 1, 2010.

GM: Give Cadillac The Product it Deserves or Kill it.
Another commentary on what Cadillac should be
by Mark Bono (ChevyRules), GMI Staff Writer

…continued from Part 1

Keep Cadillac Focused on RWD and the Germans

Now this is Cadillac’s 2004 mission statement. Focus on going out and beating the Germans.

This means the SRX needs to return, as a rear-wheel drive vehicle on the Alpha platform and the XTS needs to move to the Zeta platform. Though I have little faith that they will do this. With the new SRX’s success, I am concerned they will go and think, “ See front-wheel drive is the answer to Cadillac’s troubles” and continue on with front-wheel drive and accept Cadillac being a volume luxury brand. I have been hearing as well the biggest drawback to a Zeta based Cadillac is that, while the vehicle itself would be profitable, the required investment into making a proper full size Cadillac would result in GM never seeing a return on investment with the vehicle. I find this reason to be full of crap. The typical life of full size luxury sedans is seven years with a mild refresh three to four years into it. Is GM really saying that they will not see a return on investment with a vehicle that has a life span of seven years? Even if it is the case, GM should go through with it because the vehicle itself will be profitable so it isn’t a total money loser.

Now I know this is where it gets hard for GM. Trying to keep two premium brands separate from each other. But, it is easier then it looks GM. You already have the vehicles needed to complete Buick’s line up. You just need to transfer over the current SRX and XTS over to Buick. Buick should be a front-wheel drive based brand to go against the likes of the lower end Lexus, Acura, Lincoln, Volvo and now Saab models. While Cadillac is rear-wheel drive based and goes after BMW, Mercedes, Infiniti and Audi.

Kill Cadillac

GM, if you cannot do the other two options listed above, I really do have to suggest just killing Cadillac. I wish it would be Buick that would be killed instead, but we all know Buick is already established as a global brand and is highly successful in China, while Cadillac is not. So it comes down to Cadillac now being the weaker of the two luxury marques at GM.

If you continue on the paths you have chosen for Cadillac and Buick, they will continue to trample on each others toes. You have the SRX and XTS going after models GM has given aim for Buick to take on. We also have rumors of the US getting the next generation Park Avenue which will trample on Cadillac’s feet by having a full size RWD sedan. Cadillac’s image will not recover where you want it to be if Cadillac goes after the volume market.

Conclusion

Those are the best options that are presented to me for Cadillac. If it were up to me, in a perfect world I would have Cadillac go after Rolls Royce and Bentley. But, the world isn’t perfect and I seriously doubt Cadillac will be able to climb that high on the ladder again. So realistically, I would have Cadillac go after the Germans, which was its original mission statement. Cadillac does have the ATS coming, which rumors say it will crush the F30 BMW 3 series. GM does have the DT7 on the shelf and just needs to dust it off and GM needs to make the decision now to move the SRX over to Alpha for the third generation to make the lineup complete with proper Cadillac’s.

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  • JLM

    I have read various opinions on GMI, interesting to say the least. However, I come back to the question that I think remains fundamental, what are the requirements of the luxury buyers and does Cadillac’s product plans, service levels and events meet or exceed those requirements. I am an auto enthusiast, so I can appreciate these opinions from that perspective. But clearly the vast majority of luxury car buyers are not auto enthusiasts and their criteria the selecting a luxury car will be focused and valued in different areas. It is Cadillac designs that are so compelling in my view for the luxury buyer and Cadillac’s designs are simply one of the most exquisite on the planet today.

    It is clear the new Cadillac SRX has become a hit with luxury buyers in this segment and Cadillac is getting credit based on sales results that are clearly beyond what Cadillac expected. These sales results close the discussion on did Cadillac create, market, price and deliver the correct Cadillac luxury crossover for luxury buyers in this segment, Cadillac knocked it out of the park, so to speak. The only question for Cadillac now is, how does Cadillac improve upon it.

    JLM

  • PC

    I have not bought a Cadillac in 14 yrs and I will not until there is a “proper Cadillac” again. I will keep my 1996 FWB which I bought new as ther run was ending and have driven maybe 10,000 mi per year. Still like new, and, damnit, the thing is a Cadillac. Looks like a Cadillac, rides like a Cadillac.

    My test, as odd as it may be, is to look at as (supposed) Cadillac and say to myself, “Would Marilyn Monroe ride in that?” For 14 consecutive years my answer has been “no”.

  • So, when Cadillac does not build a new Fleetwood for you (and no other carmaker does as well)…what will you buy?

  • PC

    I won’t. I’m old enough to ride mine to the cemetery if need be, and if I need a replacement there are many fine old ones out there that I can afford to have reconditioned.

    But, Cadillac has done this type of thing before and have always recanted. “Hope,” as Stephen king wrote in Betty Grable and the Shawshank Redemption, “is a good thing. Perhaps the best thing.”

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