Here PDL AE rant of the weeek www.autoextremist.com
Cadillac swings for the fences, and...
DateMonday, September 29, 2014 at 09:06AM
By Peter M. De Lorenzo
Detroit. Editor-in-Chief's Note: It's clear that the news of the moment will continue to swirl around Cadillac for the foreseeable future. Last week I responded to the news of Cadillac embarking on a new - and misguided - nomenclature strategy with a special column, which we've decided to leave up again this week because it's a point that has to be pounded in again... and again. I have been writing for several years now that in order for GM's luxury division to succeed going forward, Cadillac must learn to be Cadillac again, that it's okay for GM's luxury division not to mimic or fall into lockstep with everyone else. The division has gotten part of the way there by alighting on a distinctive design point of view, which is absolutely crucial as a product differentiator in this, the most competitive market in automotive history. But it has taken at least five steps back with this absurd new naming strategy, which does nothing for the brand but park it into MeTooVille, while allowing its fiercest competitor - BMW - to dictate Cadillac's naming cadence, and that is patently absurd.
If China is going to be the dominant market for decades to come, then fine, hang different names on the cars aimed for the Asia-Pacific market. I get global architecture strategies and economies of scale in manufacturing, but it doesn't always translate with marketing issues, or what's desirable when it comes to the naming of vehicles. Saddling the Cadillacs sold here in this market with that colorless naming strategy is counterproductive at best. Think about what GM Design captured with the Elmiraj concept for a moment. It's an emotionally compelling design statement that reminded everyone of what Cadillac could and should be. I can't tell you how many times I heard hardened and jaded auto journo types muttering out loud, "Now that's a Cadillac" when standing around the Elmiraj in the flesh.
And what does that say? It says to me that Cadillac needs more. No, Cadillac deserves more. Calling a design that will be heavily influenced by the Elmiraj concept the CT6 is a cop-out. Even worse, it suggests to me that the powers that be at Cadillac have so much on their plates that they figured they could fall in lockstep with BMW's historic naming regimen and be done, so that they could move on to more pressing issues. And what are those pressing issues? Well, 132 days of car inventory as of September 1st, two and in some cases three times more than what their direct competitors have. And a dealer body that is used to churning out cars with deep discounts, because they know of no other way to do it.