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Cadillac Escalade courts hip trendsetters
By Earle Eldridge, USA TODAY

When Cadillac launched a redesigned Escalade sport-utility vehicle two years ago, it scored a hit with rappers, athletes and hip-hop wannabes.

Cadillac certainly hadn't planned that. But now, it's actively courting hip-hop trendsetters, giving them secret previews of the next-generation Escalade, offering them limited-edition versions and creating a contest for celebrities to show off their customized trucks.

In September, Cadillac rented a closed movie studio lot in California and invited rap artists, hip-hop entertainers and professional athletes, including several Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers basketball players, to a secret meeting.

Cadillac wanted to give them a private preview of the 2006 Escalade, which has not been shown publicly. To improve attendance, Cadillac promised not to publicize the event and even today refuses to name the 30 or so athletes and entertainers who came and stayed for several hours.

Most of the invitees own at least one Escalade, and Cadillac executives wanted to get their thoughts on the future model. While Cadillac wouldn't confirm it, it's a safe bet that L.A. Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal and rapper Snoop Dogg were invited. Both are loyal and vocal Cadillac lovers.

"We were amazed at the number that accepted," says Jeff Kuhlman, a Cadillac spokesman who attended the preview.

"They are passionate about the Escalade," says Mike Jackson, general manager of General Motors' western region. "When you've got a product like next-generation Escalade that is very, very critical to Cadillac as a whole, you want to make sure you get it right."

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Some commentary...

Okay, now I'm becoming a bit concerned that Cadillac is going full-throttle after the hip-hop set. At first, it seemed like a logical thing to do, i.e. capitalize on a demographic that works for you and build from there; but at this point, it seems to be working to the exclusion of geeks like me who were driving Cadillacs before it was cool to drive Cadillacs.

I'm ecstatic that Cadillac seems to be re-emerging as the symbol of achievement and a synonym for describing the best there is, but I wonder if I'm going to start missing the days when I was subjected to Geritol jokes while Cadillac was trying to capitalize on the older set, who still appreciated them.

At least at that time, I was the guy who got invited to see Cadillacs of the future. Heck, it was guys like me that looked at the Evoq and sent written letters and e-mails urging Cadillac to go for it. It was guys like me who plunked down the money for the new Escalade and CTS and drove them around so the hip-hop types would stand up and take notice in the first place.

Darn it, I want to see that 2006 Escalade! Just because my name isn't "Coolio-Caddy" and I don't have a record contract and my Cadillacs are blasting Quiet Riot rather than Outkast and I respect police officers, I don't get an invitation.

Listen up, GM: I made Cadillac cool, and I can make it uncool again!

Okay, so that's a bit of a stretch...but I am a reliable customer and a true-blue fan. Could ya' make room for just one more seat at these things for lil' ol' me? Please?? :wacko:
 

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The Escalade serves its function well for Cadillac. I pray that athletes'/rappers'/famous people's attraction to the vehicle is not short-lived, which would emphasize the need for Cadillac to not only capitalize on the Escalade's moment in the spotlight but to also find some way to make its entire line equally as appealing.
 

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Originally posted by coolcaddy@Mar 23 2004, 10:21 AM
Listen up, GM: I made Cadillac cool, and I can make it uncool again!

i hear ya man!!! and you have a point, they can only sell so many escalades to rappers and sports stars, its the true cadi loyalist like yourself that will keep cadi cool for years on..

and cadi better not make the mistake of ignoring their other demograhics, MOST rap fans cant afford an escalade, i know i cant. i only see maybe a handfull of customized esclades in my town being driving by people 25ish, rest are bone stock driven by 30+ men and women (from what i can tell), doubt they care what snoop drives. a 30+ yr old who doesnt like rap, could be turned off by the association it has with hip hop, and lean towards alternatives in the market like the armada based infiniti, or navigator.
 

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well its good news they are showing it off, im guessing now they will be getting ready to actually show it off, hopefully not next january, hopefully before that sometime.

im more interested in the interior than i am in the extirior, if they want to stay on the top, they really need to give it its own identity, sharing very little with the tahoe crowd... not that they are bad, but this is a CADILLAC
 

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I had a 00' Escalade, those were some good days, not too common. Now I see one every street corner. Everytime I go somewhere Im in to seeing at least 5 of them. BTW, I can barely afford one now. I usually lease cars and I saw more than 200 difference from a 2000 to a 2002. If they just keep highering the price, god knows when I can get one again. :brick:
 

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I hate to break it to those who are not friends of Hip-Hop:

Cadillac didn't make the Escalade part of hip-hop: Hip-Hop made it part of its culture. I don't think that there is reason for alarm. Just because the put together a little party for those famous people doesn't mean they don't care about the geeks or the status seeks of the world. Just imagine how much money Cadillac is spending on those Cadillac drive Summits for consumers like yourself and for all the other things that are coming down the road. I can't afford a Cadillac right now either, but maybe in a year or two. I don't feel excluded in anyway. Stop taking it personal. It's not meant to be.

:roflmao:

Yeah, you're right. Most fans can't afford a Cadillac. But inspire to own one even if it is an older model. Check out "Pimp My Ride" (MTV) and look around. I see atleast 3 - 4 Fleetwoods everyday. It is still cool to own a Cadillac, no matter what the model year is
 

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I just purchased a black Escalade (AWD) with 24 inch rims and and every tasteful custom option available to mankind.

Let me get right to the point, I don't mind Cadillac getting involved in the Hip-Hop world; What I'm more concerned about is them only keeping the 2002 Escalade alive until 2006. I know American autos are known to change on you quickly( I bought a 2000 Escalade, only to find out they were introducing the 2002 in the year 2001) but if they change again, I will probably stay away from the escalade all together.

I'm in LA, California and am surronded by the most incredible cars in the world. I'm a Mercedes kind of guy-always have been. The Escalade is what's hot; but If they change it that soon, we high line SUV consumers will learn not to buy luvury SUV's that depreciate and change so quickly-AKA - The current generation Cadillac Escalade-AKA- the only American SUV with a good residual value and strong Auction/wholesale/trade-in price.

my 2 cents
 

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Originally posted by coolcaddy@Mar 23 2004, 10:21 AM
Some commentary...

Okay, now I'm becoming a bit concerned that Cadillac is going full-throttle after the hip-hop set. At first, it seemed like a logical thing to do, i.e. capitalize on a demographic that works for you and build from there; but at this point, it seems to be working to the exclusion of geeks like me who were driving Cadillacs before it was cool to drive Cadillacs.

I'm ecstatic that Cadillac seems to be re-emerging as the symbol of achievement and a synonym for describing the best there is, but I wonder if I'm going to start missing the days when I was subjected to Geritol jokes while Cadillac was trying to capitalize on the older set, who still appreciated them.

At least at that time, I was the guy who got invited to see Cadillacs of the future. Heck, it was guys like me that looked at the Evoq and sent written letters and e-mails urging Cadillac to go for it. It was guys like me who plunked down the money for the new Escalade and CTS and drove them around so the hip-hop types would stand up and take notice in the first place.

Darn it, I want to see that 2006 Escalade! Just because my name isn't "Coolio-Caddy" and I don't have a record contract and my Cadillacs are blasting Quiet Riot rather than Outkast and I respect police officers, I don't get an invitation.

Listen up, GM: I made Cadillac cool, and I can make it uncool again!

Okay, so that's a bit of a stretch...but I am a reliable customer and a true-blue fan. Could ya' make room for just one more seat at these things for lil' ol' me? Please??  :wacko:
Please, you sound like a little cry baby....like queensheba said, hip hop brought the escalade into their culture, just like they did with the Navigator when it came out. What cadillac did that lincoln didnt was just showing appreciation that the hip hop world made the escalade into a recognized name. Mercedes Benz, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus and the rest are mentioned in hip hop songs. Cadillac just went out and showed appriciation.

I would like to see how you can make cadillac uncool.
 

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I agree, The Escalade, in my opinion, was not created for certain rappers or athletes; It was picked by them because of its many positive attributes, not to mention that its a cadillac truck(something I never thought would happen- but hey look at porsche cayenne-???)


Off topic

Today I rolled into the Landrover dealer to drop off my girlfriends car and it was incredible how much the sales staff disliked having the cadillac right next to their Ford owned products. The rangerover goes for 75k and is very elegant but w/ under 300 horses and a look that is an aquired taste--lets face it at least some of the buyers aren't getting it for its famous offroading ability; They may have a lot of liquid and want to go a step further w/ their "stature level"-not that the escalade isnt a step further-its more like a leap for me. I feel like it matches my personality-weird huh? Never in my whole life have I thought of anything so absurd as a car matching my inner self.

By the way, I'm not knocking Ford or Landrover, I'm just showing with words how GM's success of an idea called Escalade, may have aquired some of its fans whether rappers or not, because of it being appealing. The Ranges are cool if you dig 'em- Its your money - buy what you want.

my 3cents
 

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i think this is a smart move by cadillac because rappers and athletes love the escalade, by showing the '06 model to them they can get a feel for what people will think and make changes if needed.
 
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