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This is How Cadillac takes the Luxury Crown from the Germans


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When thinking luxury automobiles, we typically think German. Audi, BMW and Mercedes have been the kings of craftsmanship going on a decade now. It is now Cadillac’s time to dethrone the Germans and reclaim the title of greatest luxury auto manufacturer. However, if General Motors (GM) wants to slay the three-headed German monster they’ve got to visit the history books to understand how they first lost the crown.

Read more: http://www.rightfootdown.com/2013/cadillac-reclaims-worlds-greatest-luxury-brand-status-germans/

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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I think that the article misses the mark entirely with rationales like "hid behind their lobbyists" and "failed to cooperate with their unions" and "used loopholes to focus production on trucks and sport utility vehicles" directed at GM with no hint of relevance to Cadillac. Yes, the crisis for Cadillac began in the 1970's with slow model development, was exacerbated by overreacting with the HT4100 and no alternative powerplant, and a brazen foray into badge engineering with the Cavalier Skyhawk Cimmaron.

In contrast with "failed to cooperate with their unions," GM was the first of the Big Three to be struck nearly every time because they rolled over easily, giving momentum to negotiations with Ford and Chrysler. The largest single driving force behind the bankruptcy was the unsustainable burn rate of the union-driven staffing, salaries, and pensions, and the plants that the unions insisted that GM keep using in favor of more efficient new plants elsewhere.

The Roger Smith era was noted by flat-lining Cadillac as an independent entity within GM and making GM a commodity manufacturer across the board. Some remarkable things survived deep in the organization, such as the Oldsmobile engine development team that produced the remarkable Quad 4 that, with the development team of the DOHC LT-5 for the Corvette ZL-1 resulted in the Northstar during the reawakening of Cadillac at the end of the Roger Smith era. I recall a GM questionnaire that I filled out after buying my 1990 Pontiac Grand Am GT with the Quad 4 HO, with its questions like "must a car be best-of-class for you to buy it?" and such, evidence that some soul-searching about being in the commodity business was going on inside GM. The wording of the questionnaire made it clear that the writers wanted responders to validate that buyers would pay for any old thing for their next car, and I was having none of it; I intended to buy a Ford Taurus SHO when I ran across the Quad 4 HO, which I was looking at because I had a GM discount and wanted to see what was out there on that deal.

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