Photos by Mike Hayes at the Cohort.
Curbside Classic: 1950 Cadillac Series 61 Coupe – The Ultimate Curbside Classic
Car Lot Classic: 2000 Cadillac Eldorado ESC – Press Escape To Return To Main Menu
Now they sell raised wagon versions of the Fleetwood and 4 door RWD versions of the cramped ETC, almost all with mostly black interiors because they haven’t enough sales volume. Can I have a low floor, a tall roof, and a comfortable ride, please?
If GM doesn’t know what a Cadillac is, why are they still using the brand name? Levi Strauss makes denim and a particular style and fit. When denim was worn by most people, Levi dominated the clothing industry in popularity, profits and was a signature look for a generation of Boomers. Cadillac has a particular style and look as well. Yet, what we are seeing produced with the Cadillac brand name makes one question if GM even knows what a Cadillac is. We saw Levi attempt to make Tuxedos fifty years ago, and that was when the absurdity of the company peaked, or “jumped the shark”. Today, we are seeing Cadillac attempt at being a truck company? There is no reason for Cadillac to make a truck anymore than it is for Levi to make a line of disposable diapers. If GM doesn’t know what a Cadillac is, what makes them wonder why we don’t either? If Bing Crosby was still alive, would he be riding up in a Cadillac pick up wearing his infamous Levi Tuxedo?
“Levi dominated the [industry] for a generation of Boomers…”
Well, that statement applies even moreso for Cadillac, in that brougham-seeking boomers are more of a vocal minority than a profitable target market, but as as readers of this site, we both know that’s been the case for a long, long time.
“Today, we are seeing Cadillac attempt at being a truck company? There is no reason for Cadillac to make a truck…”
Yes, we are seeing Cadillac becoming a truck company. Why? Again, we all know; because they have every reason to, the same reasons why we have seen Ford, Buick, Lincoln et al. do the same for. Because that’s simply what the market wants and catering to the %5< of buyers including enthusiasts, boomers and people who wait until after depreciation hits would be a foolish endeavor. That oft-derided quote that "GM is in the business of making money" really does have some truth to it.
I used to be one of those guys complaining about Cadillac and their SUVs. Especially the Escalade. “That’s not a Cadillac!” “That’s a Chevy truck doing coz play!” I don’t look at them that way anymore.
I think that Cadillac has done pretty good. They had three different car platforms in production in addition to their line of SUV/CUVs. The CT6 was a Cadillac only platform that even carried a specific new V8 engine. That was a huge investment that just didn’t find enough buyers to keep it in production. That still leaves two cars, the CTS and ATS.
Cadillacs have been platform sharing with other GM makes since before the Second WW.
Cadillacs are regular production cars, which depend on volume sales to survive. Having a range of models keeps them in business, and I don’t think that it detracts from the marque.
Lincoln invested in a new Continental with the same results as the CT6, and now they don’t make any cars at all. Their new models of SUV/Cuvs will hopefully be popular enough to keep them afloat.
Cadillac’s new, custom order only, Celestiq, seems like a good approach. If they build only what they can sell, the dealers won’t have unsold inventory sitting on the lot. Can they handle limited production construction profitably? American car manufacturers have not been involved in cottage manufacturing for well over a century.
Like a lot of Cadillac fans, I mourn the end of the big luxury coupes, sedans, and PLCs, but the market has moved on. I bought a last generation Riviera because i miss those types of cars. I also have an older Navigator and I know their appeal. They are a lot like the big old luxury cars of old.
I suspect they will eventually make a mass production EV sedan using the battery configuration and some mechanicals of the Celestiq to defray what must be huge development costs. Probably taller and not as long. But then, when the CT6 V8 was announced, I suspected (hoped) they’d then produce an unturboed version to replace their V6s, which really shouldn’t be in Cadillacs. Alas, turbos and then EVs took over.
I love that Cadillac script in the last shot. There used to be an old Cadillac dealer building in downtown Indianapolis that had a similar script on an old part of the building.
Cadillac today is a very different company than what it once was, and what a car means has changed a lot in the last decades.
In the near future , when all cars become different bodies over an electric “skateboard” platform, maybe Caddy will be great again.
The ’50s Cadillac does nothing for me or *most* of my generation, it’s virtually indistinguishable from most other iron of the period.
The ’90s Eldorado represents a time when Cadillac was still appealing to some buyers with their cars and was seemingly a HUGE improvement on the baroque ’70s and ’80s porn-star / pimp demographic rides of choice. I had a coworker at the time who was also in his mid-20s that purchased a new Eldorado ETC in black over black (family money, not our salaries) and it was a very nice car that drove and rode very well. He was likely the youngest Cadillac buyer that year. By far.
Then Cadillac made the smartest move they could have made, either accidentally or by design and luxed up a Tahoe/Suburban and entered the luxury SUV game which has since represented nearly all of their profits and probably where they should focus their future efforts to have much chance of survival.
The much ballyhooed CT6 was a big disappointment, I distinctly recall looking at one (and shares pix here) when introcuced at the Denver Auto Show and being disappointed by the paint blemishes and other items not up to expectations, especially when the Hyundai Genesis (G90 ?) was positioned nearby and improved an all of that.
The current CT4 (if that’s the name, the smallest sedan) actually shares it’s 2.7 T4 engine with the Chevy Silverado and Colorado, not that you’ll see either brand mentioning that, so the truck connection continues there as well.
Now they want to go all-electric with stuff like the Lyric (pictured below), of which I’ve seen maybe three in the metal, they are okay but don’t seem anything special and the built-to-order Celestiq which doesn’t seem bound to move the needle in the right direction.
The most baffling thing for a marque that keeps talking about going all-EV and is heading to an all-truck future as far as real sales is concerned is their tie-up with Andretti Motorsports to launch a new F1 team…if that happens for 2025 as is their wont it seems that they’ll be forced to rebrand a Honda engine with a Cadillac badge and then hopefully engineer their own from 2026 on when the rules change again, yet would still be limited to hybrid instead of all-EV (there’s a separate race series for that), so what’s really the point?
Your mention of the ’50’s one having little impact on you resonates for me. And more relevantly for the future, my kids age group (late teens/early ’20’s) literally don’t know what a Cadillac is, except maybe, maybe, as some old shiny car used as a limo, right? If the brand had any equity left, they would. Hell, even me, who hasn’t bought a fashion item in his life, knows that Chanel No.5 isn’t a drainage system.
For this sad reason alone I hope the black one gets saved and put back on the road by a good owner who’ll also allow young folks to ride in it .
No way in hell was I ever going to get a ride in one of these when new but when 5 years old ex Livery cars were used to ferry a bunch of kids to school every day of the week, I’m prolly the only kid who cared but I cared a _LOT_ then and now .
Not the car I can ever see buying because I don’t like driving Land Yachts but I sure appreciate them .
The primary business of business is, _business_ .
Glad someone at GM still grasps that simple concept .
Yep, just so.
The rest is just the noise of older car nuts mulching about in nostalgic wallows. (Which can be fun, of course, but isn’t to be taken seriously).
Uh, oh ~
You’re talking about _me_ there Justy ! .
I’ll never buy a new Caddy (or other car I imagine) but I’m so glad I got to grow up back then .
(looks fondly out the window at his battered but un bowed 1959 #113 VW DeLuxe Sedan)
CC effect, saw one of these old Caddies cruising down 35W in Minneapolis the other day. Passed him with the ATS4, gave him a thumbs up. He did have his hands full as the old beast was wandering a bit as he was sawing the wheel to keep it in his lane.
The ’50-53 Cadillacs were in some respects a harbinger of things to come for the marque: scramble mode. They misjudged where the market was going with their ’48-49 models and had to short-cycle them to create heavily modified versions with straight-through sides, forward part of which was too low, making the cars look bloated. The character-less front didn’t help either, but the cars had a memorable rear, modern greenhouse, quality everywhere and a great drivetrain, so the market ate them up. The ’90s Caddies were more scrambling, only this time too much of the market found them deficient. Today, Cadillac finds itself almost completely dependent on overwrought SUVs to pay its bills, the result of poor product strategy from the top of the company on down, and Design Center continues to refuse to learn how to become good product strategists, instead content to do not much more than draw cars. If the whole bunch of them don’t get off their rears and get enlightened soon, Cadillac’s next few decades will not end well.
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