I voted reliability, and I've heard a lot of complaints about service departments for the past 20 years.
Build quality and integrity went down the tubes for all American cars at a rate that I believe to be equal among all makes and models, so I don't think that you can single Cadillac out on those two. Maybe it was the UAW, maybe it was the repeated comparisons to the Japanese and the Germans, maybe it was cost cutting to offset the new EPA efficiency standards. I DUNNO! But something went wrong.
My real problem is with Caddy design between 1981 and 1999. There just wasn't a whole lot of exciting stuff going on. For the first 75 years, Caddy was the "Standard of the World". Somewhere between '81 and '99 that ended. The low point was probably '85-'92, and it took most of the '90's to recover.
In the 70's GM seemed to be consolidating all of their divisions into one homogenous company. The only differences were grilles, taillights, badges, and maybe engines. There wasn't enough variety out there to justify spending the extra $7500 on a Caddy over a Buick Electra/Park Ave. or an Olds '98.
Now, things seem to be getting back on track. Olds is dead, Buick is okay, but if you want a luxury car with a V8, Caddy is the only place to go within GM. The body design is unique, too.
I saw a guy with a 99 or 2000 sts that "looked" real nice with a custom plate and and some other add-ons broken down on the side of the left hand side of the highwaythe other day during July 4th traffic. The guy was standing there with a sheepish grin on his face and the guy in front of me was making fun of him. ugggh...I'm glad i wasn't that guy.
Hey my Cadillac has lasted for over 50 years and by the looks of things it'll be around for another 50. Do you think the newest Caddys will last that long? I really doubt it. There's plenty of Caddys less than 10 years old in wrecking yards already.
They still won'tmake 'em like they used to.
I chose quality, because there are so many things that should be done to make these cars last longer... This is a friggen 50k luxuary automobile, and it shouldnt have any problems up to 50k miles (with maintenance, of course).....
The thing is, in order for a cadillac to be problem free and super reliable, and in good shape, it has to be maintained better than what the MFG says..... But that is the problem, most people dont want to put that much money into it, and the dealers dont want to put in that much time...... So the only people that this applys to is the committed DIYer..... And those are few and far between!!