Can Cadillac compete with the Big Three Germans?

Interesting, Others | February 17th, 2015 by 14
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The folks over at GM want Cadillac to be the brand to take down the BMW giant at its own game.

Recently, BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine moniker has been scrutinized. People seem to think that BMW has gone soft. Some people seem to think that BMWs are for yuppies and bankers. Others seem to think they are for the true driving enthusiast. But what do you think?

Cadillac is a brand that wants to beat BMW at all costs. The folks over at GM want Cadillac to be the brand to take down the Bavarian giant at its own game. Caddy hasn’t been just all talk, though. It’s truly come out with some great cars. The ATS is regarded by many as a better driver’s car than the 3 Series. The CTS is one of the best luxury sedans I’ve ever driven. Both car’s V versions are aimed and ready to fire at the M Division’s best. So why is Cadillac having such a hard time selling these cars?

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Despite the success of the ATS and CTS models in automotive publications and comparison tests, they just aren’t selling as much as GM would like. Every month, both cars are far behind, in the sales numbers, than all of Cadillac’s German rivals. So much so that Cadillac recently started slashing prices on both cars, to try and create some incentive for customers to second guess zee Germans. Unfortunately for Caddy, it hasn’t worked. People, every month, still flock to the big German three.

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I think the problem (for Cadillac, a virtue for the Germans) is brand prestige. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi still carry far more weight in the emblems on their respective hoods than Cadillac can even hope to. See, Cadillac is making good cars at the moment, but it is just recently that it’s been happening. For decades, Cadillac has been belting out atrocious cars at ludicrous prices thinking it could con American buyers into thinking its cars were premium. And after decades of falling victim to the con-artists over at GM, the American people seem to be sick of it.

The German trio, and even Volkswagen, have been producing far superior products, for not too much more money, for ages now. People have come to trust the zee Germans, therefore they buy them. So despite whatever sales pitch Cadillac is giving and despite what the press is saying, people still want Bimmers and Benzs.

And on the flip side, despite whatever the press may be saying about BMW losing its way or having gone soft, the BMW badge still carries weight. People still love the brand. Why? Because, even though BMW isn’t making the pure driving experience it used to, the cars still have the same quality and capability its customers are used to. So maybe BMW has gone soft, maybe the Ultimate Driving Machine name has become a bit tarnished, but that badge still means something.

And after watching Jeremy Clarkson’s brilliant review of the i8 in Top Gear’s most recent episode, I don’t care what people say about BMW’s reputation, because the Bavarians are still making spectacular cars, however different from the old days they may be.

14 responses to “Can Cadillac compete with the Big Three Germans?”

  1. […] Read the original … Can Cadillac compete with the Big Three Germans? […]

  2. Hugo Becker says:

    One thing we have to keep in mind – Cadillac is in transition, they do compete against the German luxury brands, but Cadillac has yet to reveal how they will be different than German or Japanese luxury. Good post by the Autoextremist on Caddy:

    Notice that Cadillac has at least one BMW alumni in its midst, Uwe Ellinghaus.

  3. Mike Vella says:

    I think it will be a while until they are able to appeal to all ages in the income bracket shopping these brands.
    Aside from the fact that because of the shenanigans that GM was involved in with their last huge recall I would never own one of their cars, it would be tough for me to choose a Caddy over a BMW or Audi.
    Maybe my tune would change if I drove one, but there’s still that thing in the back of my head that they are cars for middle aged dentists and well-healed retirees..
    I would take one over a Merc, probably – not including AMG, but that’s different.. :)

  4. CDspeed says:

    As long as they have a customer base that equips there cars like this they’ll never compete : )

    • jason bourne says:

      Spot on.

      And the designs are typically American: thick and brick-like, with no sense of understatement.

      • CDspeed says:

        I agree, Cadillac’s styling doesn’t really work internationally, it looks more like modern American muscle car design. The three big German luxury brands have styling , and an image that has global appeal, they can fit in anywhere.

    • johnls39 . says:

      You do know after-market packages like that becoming more rare right?

      This is the first pic of the XTS that I have seen with a carriage roof and have not seen anything like this on the road.

      • CDspeed says:

        They are common where I live, to be fair Cadillac isn’t the only brand I’ve seen them on. I’ve seen landile roofs on Toyotas, Lexuss. Lincolns, and Nissans. The Cadillac in the pic was particularly bad because it had extra chrome, low profile white wall tires, and to top it all off it was beige on beige interior. And I have seen similar elderly accessories on the new ATS, and CTS.

  5. The.FOG says:

    As far as dynamics and luxury, Cadillac ALREADY competes with “zee Germans” and they’re transition is JUST BEGINNING. There’s really no such thing as a reliable German car. And, to include Volkswagen in any kind of “better” argument is a serious ding to your credibility. People buy simply for the badge. Maybe Cadillac will have the same badge appeal (again) some day, maybe not. But I’m sure they’ll pick off enough buyers to make plenty of $$$. And, after all, a little exclusivity is never a bad thing.

  6. […] we discussed the constant battle between the American, automobile giant, General Motors and its desire to take on zee Germans. We also discusses, how the majority of people don’t really recognize GM as a premium car […]

  7. IceDree says:

    In Performance & Driving Dynamics obsoletely (might even beat em), in interior Quality, Fit & Finish they are very close & getting there. In Prestige & luxury cache… They are suffering the consequences of GM’s bean counters … The SeVille, Cimarron & Catera are biting them in the ass … Can’t erase those overnight. I’m afraid it will take time to recover from that … They need to keep building world class car, market them properly (we’ll see Uwe’s new marketing campaign in a few days) & hopefully they can regain their 30s-60s prestige & status with the next generation of cars.

  8. […] Recently, we discussed the constant battle between the American, automobile giant, General Motors and its desire to take on zee Germans. […]

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