Cadillac, Build the Elmiraj
by, 08-21-2013 at 09:04 PM (13603 Views)
Niche products can work, but you have to build them.
August 21, 2013
By: Nick Saporito
Cadillac has a rich history of churning out exotic cars - in the form of concepts. There was the Cien, Ciel and now the Elmiraj. Yes, there is now no longer any question that Cadillac designers know exactly what the brand needs to take its luxury image to the next level, however the suits in RenCen now need to take the stunning Elmiraj and make it work for production in the real world.
In Cadillac's defense, they've tried niche products before. The Corvette derived XLR was just that; a proactively designed roadster that never really sold in any meaningful numbers (no surprise). The problem for the XLR was not a lack of design panache - in fact, it still looks decent some five years later - the issue was that during its development Cadillac had yet to master product execution. Poor execution left the XLR with a so-so interior and an underpowered base V-8.
Fast forward to today and Cadillac has apparently mastered product execution. The ATS, CTS and ELR are all mostly no-compromises luxury vehicles. There's no so-so interior components, no random uses of GM corporate parts bin parts and the exterior designs are where Cadillac needs to be.
With product execution mostly nailed, only image and legacy throw Cadillac's trajectory upward off course at this point. The fix for a brand image problem is never quick, cheap nor easy. A component of the ultimate fix for Cadillac's brand image is a balls-out, daring product that has the swagger and head-turning powers a Cadillac is meant to have. The bold, almost pretentious attitude that made Cadillac famous in its heyday, and is making Audi famous now.
Cadillac, build the Elmiraj. It's the pefect niche product for today's Cadillac brand. It has all of the adjectives I just used above and will get the Cadillac brand image noticed in a positive way. Granted, a niche product alone is not going to fix Cadillac's damaged brand image, but a production Elmiraj combined with solid marketing efforts and a world-class customer experience will bring Cadillac long-term success.
Just ditch that conceptual Cadillac logo on the Elmiraj - it's too animated and cartoonish for a luxury brand. Might I suggest going with a modern interpretation of the old V-shaped wreath. A Cadillac logo should be elegant.