Car Names Don't Make Sense Anymore
The Germans are responsible for this mess, but Cadillac is probably the worst offender.
BY JASON CAMMISA
JUN 23, 2020
Road & Track
Face it: The idea of putting a badge on a car is silly. Does your garage door have a badge on it? No. Everyone knows it’s a garage door. And nobody cares how wide it is, how quickly it opens, or which kind of helper spring it uses. Yet car companies slap badges all over their products in an attempt to broadcast different facts about them to the public, which probably doesn’t care.
Forty years ago Cadillac learned the hard way that it should never place its badge on something that hadn’t earned it. The Cimarron was a rebadged Chevrolet Cavalier, a substandard economy car that now makes regular appearances on listicles of the worst cars of all time. Badge engineering an expensive “luxury” version without any actual engineering—or additional content—was a blatant insult to Cadillac’s own customers, a ploy so disingenuous that it almost killed the whole brand. Luckily, Cadillac hasn’t done anything so egregious since. But it did recently begin applying questionable badges to its otherwise fine products. I recently drove an XT6 with a “400” badge. Upon seeing it, I thought perhaps I’d missed the memo that Cadillac had installed a 400-hp version of the ATS-V’s twin-turbo V-6 in the new SUV.
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