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2000 Catera and 14 previous Cadillacs, Mercedes E320 Cabrio
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Discussion Starter #1
The Catera has been critically blasted for many things, from reliability to it's adds at the time. It all boils down to GM and it's attitude towards it's customers. The adds at that time actually told little about the car and just tried luring customers with a silly cartoon and street juggling clowns. NO substance of what the car was. They obviously haven't learned a thing over the years. Doing away with car lines that made them great over decades, buying other brands and then ruining those brands, to finally bankruptcy. The latest ads for the Chevy Colorado is nothing more than an example of what they think of the American people. Pictures of a guy next to a Colorado and a generic looking sedan getting a group of women, children and then bearded men to pick which guy is more appealing based on the vehicle he's standing next to! What a way to buy a vehicle! The only thing in these commercials showing actual merit for the vehicle is the end where the Motor Trend truck of the year award is displayed.... Nothing is stated about what the truck can do. No payload, towing, or information about the economy of running the vehicle. GM is really good a something though, ruining good products through greed.
 

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Platinum 2001 Cadillac Catera Sport
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You don't convince buyers to fork over $33,000 in 1997 dollars with a cartoon character. Their marketing plan was a disaster. Even Lexus (or was it Infiniti) with its vague non-car commercials did a better job creating curiosity and generating sales.

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As for that Colorado truck commercial, I bet truck buyers are nodding their heads and high fiving their buds in agreement. Current owners bought their trucks in the belief it makes them seem tougher and attracts the babes. That said, this campaign should be a success. In that market segment pandering to the lowest common denominator is the way to go. Idiots.
 

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I have a sports car "to attract the babes!" Sadly up on dollies and pushed to the side of the garage until the end of this endless freakin' winter
 

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2000 Catera and 14 previous Cadillacs, Mercedes E320 Cabrio
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77 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I always thought the duck commercial was a funny tongue in cheek 'introduction' of the "Caddy that zigs", but follow-up commercials should have been it's German heritage and credentials. For decades now the $30k neighborhood has been the entry level to German cars in the 'luxury' class/sport sedan. But GM insists on selling cars on image rather than merit. Their Buick ads focus on that as well. Other companies seem to get while image plays a part in sales, what the car is capable of is just as important to lure customers in if not more so. Car safety, performance, and creature comfort are mentioned in the popular vehicle ads, but GM keeps missing those facts. Not to mention the fact that support was sorely lacking for Catera owners of the time. Just as parts support is almost non existant today for our cars.
Although the Catera was based on the Omega, a less prestigious make than Cadillac would have liked, companies have done that successfully over decades and created some spin-offs that worked well. The Eldorado was successful Toronado spin-off. The first generation Seville was a successful Nova spin-off. The Lincoln Mark III was a successful Thunderbird spin-off. There are many more that worked, and the vehicles that didn't have laziness written all over the project. Whether that be not enough styling cues, not enough mechanical updates or changes that actually spoiled a good base platform, it all boils down to greed. The Lincoln Versailles failed because it looked too much like the Granada/Monarch, many of the body panels will actually bolt on the Versailles. Yet if you drove a Versailles it actually felt nothing like the lesser platform. The mechanical changes were there, not the visuals. Taking short cuts to save money rather than look to the longevity or success of the vehicle has killed off many decent cars. Advertising then can either help or hurt the product, there are many average vehicles out there that do well because of really good advertising. It's a shame really, that we can be persuaded by individuals that think they know what we want.
 

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Platinum 2001 Cadillac Catera Sport
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Myself, I always considered "Ziggy" an insult. Maybe it's just me but Cadillac always projected luxury, though sometimes with a bordello air. They would never use the duck to sell Devilles or Eldorados. It seems to me Cadillac wanted the Catera to fail in order to get a greenlight on the CTS. Catera, German/ CTS,'Murican. Germany bad/ 'Murica good. GM wanted a piece of the American market Sport Sedan pie the Europeans were slicing up between themselves. Not having anything they could quickly produce the had Cadillac rebrand the Opel Omega and pass it off as a Cadillac. To advertise the Catera as a German car was an anathema to Cadillac. An admission that they couldn't build a car to match them. Cadillac played along with GM's order but only half heartedly. If the German Cadillac failed they'd have an arguement to build a sporty car in the USA. I guess their plan worked.
 

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2000 Catera and 14 previous Cadillacs, Mercedes E320 Cabrio
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Discussion Starter #7
Point acknowledged, funny how the duck has stirred so much discussion over the years since, even to the point that they all have been dropped from the crest since then. After all the years being part of the crest one advertising blunder erased them. Looking back over decades of Cadillac advertising luxury was always up front and the single most important image portrayed with the marque. This new younger breed they were trying to lure was obviously out of their scope of understanding. It's been said the cartoon duck was an appeal to the younger group of people that grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons and such. My sentiment on that is maybe so, but we all grow up(most of us anyway) and again, a disregard for what the car buying public is especially in that market segment. Most buyers in that market are not only looking for image but also for performance as well. The Catera fell short in some of the performance categories but overall it was respectable. The price was in the category of the BMW 3 series and the Mercedes C-class. Interior dimensions were closer to the 5 series and E class respectively, as was the weight factor, hindering the Catera's spec sheet performance. Cadillac had to soften it out too so as to keep some of the Cadillac 'feel'. They missed the mark on the target group entirely. Marketing, advertising and the executives all had a hand in that, add to that the fact the Omega was not a stellar performer in reliability and poor warranty support and you can see why the Catera was doomed from the start. If they had not screwed with the basic package so much, and looked closer or understood the target group the fate of Catera would have been much better. The CTS has progressed over time to back that up. Maybe, just maybe they are learning a little. The GM executives keep bringing in Opel products under other branding and some work out pretty well. Someday their advertising may stop treating the car buying public as more than just people concerned with image alone.
 

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Platinum 2001 Cadillac Catera Sport
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GM rebadges Opel's products to the detriment of their builder. A better idea would be to sell them as Opels and build buyer loyalty and a reputation. Instead they invented new divisions to sell captive/joint venture cars such as Saturn (Opel) and Geo (NUMMI, CAMI, Isuzu), and fail with both. Selling Opels as Buicks is a standard GM trick. They even put the Opel name in an Isuzu to further confuse buyers and degrade the Opel name. In Opel they have an old European manufacturer with a long proud history in their back pocket. If they would sell Opels as Opels in the USA GM would make money and Opel would be on a stronger footing instead of existing under the Sword of Damocles like they have for the last 10 years.
 

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2000 Catera and 14 previous Cadillacs, Mercedes E320 Cabrio
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Discussion Starter #9
A very interesting concept...but it would need to be a stand alone dealership with support unlike GM is used to giving to their dealer network. The failure of SAAB is a good example of that, among other blunders made during it's tenure under the fine ownership of the General. The lack of support for the Catera alone is another testament to why they can't think outside 'their' own box. For decades the various marques GM owned all had a different flavor/character that kept it's customers coming back building and maintaining brand loyalty. From the '70s on the standardization across the line led to confusion among the loyal buyers as well as poor reliability for many of them. When you could option out a Chevrolet Caprice or Pontiac Bonneville in the '70s to be as luxurious as a Cadillac the handwriting was on the wall. Over the next couple of decades the lines became too blurred and the need for different brands waned. Look at what is happening with the Asian automakers now. All the major players are adding 'luxury' models as well to their bread and butter lines in addition to having stand alone luxury lines. For all the technology and improvements being made to the automobile over the years the formula for success is still being overrun by greed.
 
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