Part of what has helped re-position Cadillac in the US market has been its edgy Art & Science styling.
However, that same styling punch that has garnered attention in some markets is now being seen as a liability in one market that Cadillac sees as key to its future success – China.
The Chinese consumer is much more conservative with regards to styling – something that has helped sales of such soft-styled products as Audi and GM’s own Buick brand. The desire for smooth and sophisticated style leads the Chinese to avoid the sharply creased lines of the modern Cadillacs.
Combined with GM leadership’s desire to boost worldwide sales of Cadillac – Cadillac may abandon some part of their current styling theme to avoid alienating these potential Chinese buyers.
What changes might we expect? A continuation of the vertical lighting theme is practically certain, but a continual softening of some lines should be expected. We may see a preview of this softer Cadillac style with the flagship concept that Cadillac is expected to show in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
Personally, this feels like a massive mistake as any brand worth success first starts by knowing what its core values are and sticking to them. Consumers must know what a brand stands for in order to know that they are interested in associating themselves with its products. Time will tell if Cadillac can pull off a change of styling without losing what has given them the success they’ve seen in the last decade.