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1996 Fleetwood Brougham
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Discussion Starter #1
BMW chief gives kudos to Cadillac


By Bob English
Automotive News / May 19, 2003

CAGLIARI, Sardinia - At the launch here of the redesigned 5 series, BMW's top executive took time out to praise Cadillac.

Helmut Panke, chairman of BMW AG, says Cadillac is leading other North American brands in trying to establish a brand identity and common design theme throughout its lineup, from cars to SUVs.

"It has made a strong effort to reposition itself and do it consistently, not a model here and then something completely strange and inconsistent on another side of the market," he says.

Brand building takes several years and several model generations, he says. Cadillac has to move step by step to build on its strengths, something BMW has been doing for the past 30 years or more.

"Everybody (now) knows what BMW stands for, and maybe at the end everybody will know what Cadillac stands for," he says. "Maybe this is one of the secret successes of (Vice Chairman) Bob Lutz, giving the brand enough freedom within the GM organization that they can follow this direction and bring those products to market.

"Let's see if all those products will be accepted or not, but at least it's a clear-cut effort to make the brand discernible and recognizable in the marketplace."

Cadillac will start this summer selling two new vehicles with the angular CTS design theme: the XLR roadster and the SRX sport wagon.

Also moving to re-establish their North American image, Panke says, are Chrysler, with cars such as the 300C, and Ford, with its Mustang concept.

With the 300C, a full-sized sedan with rear-wheel drive, Chrysler is going back to what is authentically American, not following either a European or Japanese lead, he says.

"What you see is a revisiting of where the strength of the North American industry lay in the past, not just copying what others are doing." The production car off the 300C concept is due in the first quarter of 2004.

The Dodge Magnum, a wagon, also is an attempt to revive an American classic. "We all wonder whether station wagons are really coming back. But going back to some of the elements of what a station wagon used to be, making it modern, making it clearly a Dodge, is saying we don't want to copy," Panke says. The Magnum is due in spring 2004.

Says Panke, "We should all look to a coming back and strengthening of position among the North American makes."
 

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Banned
1996 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
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7,237 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Ralph said:
I think FWD is getting old-fashioned nowadays.
My *opinion* of FWD, is that is was great for the cost saving Japanese car's and other lesser brands to use. But luxury car's are more than just about style and plush couches to sit on. Some people actually like to tour mountainous regions at a higher rate of speed. We enjoy being able to properly control our car's, without the drive train adding it's own decisions to the process.

GM (and Chrysler) seem to be waking up to a new age, which is the old age they rejected in order to compete with the Japanese.

I'm more interested in GM's Solstice and more importantly, the possibility that it will generate compact coupe and sedans with RWD. Let the Japanese compete with that! (Yes, they will be 4 bangers. But it is really power to weight, and not cubic inches that matter on the twisty roads, which is the fun stuff!)
 

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Banned
1996 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
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7,237 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Ralph said:
Do you think that Cadillac is behind the times with its' large cars still being FWD. It seems that the future trend will be all wheel or RWD again? I liked the fact that in 1991, you could have a FWD Fleetwood or a RWD Broughm.

Behind the times??:confused:

I don't think there ever was a time when it was proper for a world class luxury vehicle to be FWD. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Lexus, and Infiniti never had *all* models FWD. Only Acura and Cadillac did.

The entry level makes went FWD because it was a cost savings measure and it helped in pakaging. Chrysler went FWD, because in the midst of their life or death turn around, they could really only afford one platform and they used it to pull themselves out of debt.

While it made sense for the low end GM brands to offer FWD, the only reason Caddilac's became FWD is because they were built on Buick/Pontiac/Oldsmobile/Chevy platforms.

Because of Cadillac's 25 year experiment with FWD, the weren't able to spend the money developing a world class RWD suspension, traction control and AWD like the other makers had been. Now they have to spend money on evertything at the same time. Which is probably the reason why they are trickling out improvements on the CTS. They can't wait for everything to be right, so might as well make it as good as they can, and keep working to make it better.

At least they are awake and fighting.

I wonder what the Fleetwood would look and ride like now, had they not killed it to make more Chevy trucks?
 

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Assuming this, it is ironic then that GM killed the RWD Fleetwoods (the proper platform?) to make more trucks. I kinda liked the look of the last broughm Fleetwoods in RWD in 1996. But I think they could have kept making them in RWD if they wanted to. Old timers seem to like tradition and tradition would seem to indicate RWD. I tend to be skeptical when companies change platforms or make cuts in areas to "save money", etc. while the guy at the top gets a huge raise in income. Or they could have kept the RWD Caddies and dumped the FWD Caddies in the name of exclusivity and tradition?
 
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