Cadillac Does Care Who Buys Its Cars. Or It Doesn’t .

Various sources today report that Cadillac will continue to seek more autonomy within GM. And of course, will seek to attract younger buyers. I thought Cadillac didn’t care who bought the cars….

Cadillac CT6 in an unusually antique setting. Is that a nod to Fitz and Van. Image:
Cadillac CT6 in an unusually antique setting. Is that a nod to Fitz and Van. Image:

All the sources point back to Automotive News which refers to a press conference with Cadillac’s brand chief Johan de Nysschen. That conferences is not reported at Cadillac’s press page  which does however tell us that “Cadillac Enhances Phone Integration for 2016 Models with Apple CarPlay, CUE Upgrades”. What might be interesting about this detachment of Cadillac is that it makes it plain how much of a contribution the brand makes to GM (apparently considerable).

It also might allow the firm to insist on more engineering independence.  This matters a lot for giving the brand credibility which, in contrast, Lincoln is sorely lacking. At the same time de Nysschen repeats the time-worn insistence on chasing younger buyers. Isn’t everyone? At some point someone inside Cadillac (the marketing boss) recently said they didn’t care who bought the cars. That was in February. One wonders who is right or how to reconcile the two standpoints.

I wonder when the press conference Automotive News reported will be handled by other news sources.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

23 thoughts on “Cadillac Does Care Who Buys Its Cars. Or It Doesn’t .”

  1. My advice to everyone seeking for younger buyers: don’t sell cars! They are too expensive for “generation internship”. What’s more, they have absolutely no interest in cars which are considered an old men’s status symbol.

    1. Actually, even as a London resident, I find a surprising number of younger people still do own cars – though few I know actually seem to think of them as anything more than a necessary appliance. But in the nearish future you are right, Simon. In 20 years time the younger members of this site will hear “What, you actually owned a CAR grandad? How odd. Why did you do that?”.

      Possibly Cadillac might be better off making 60 percentile copies of a ’59 Eldorado in the spirit (hear that Linda!) of the Nissan Figaro.

  2. Cars are boring, like property and racing yachts. That seems to be the view. Or else they are an appliance. Oh well. Cadillac should try making a unique product and let the customers find it.
    Did anyone inspect the careless “mist” applied to to the image above? There, that’s the problem in metaphorical terms. They could not let the image be and had to tweak it. It is thus inauthentic.

    1. Richard. Cut poor Cadillac some slack. They’ve only just moved to New York. Like anyone, they’re still in awe of the Big Apple. All those years watching Taxi Driver on DVD, it’s not really a Mean Street if there isn’t steam hissing out of the ground.

  3. I read late last night that Cadillac have sold 800 cars in Europe this year. As a result yet again they are scaling back their ambitions in Europe. Is the the third or fourth time they have done this? I was not ever aware they were really trying to sell their vehicles here.

    1. Amazingly, driving through Wandsworth (South London) yesterday afternoon, I was following a Cadillac BLS and …. we passed another one coming the same way! It almost convinces me I should buy a Lottery ticket.

  4. Ah, the Cadillac BLS. The only one I can recall seeing was dumped outside a posh house in a posh bit of Dublin. It was scuffed, dented and covered in tree sap. I imagine it is Ronnie Wood´s car, abandoned after a heavy night of being a Rolling Stone.

  5. The BLS was not that uncommon in Switzerland, and in the days of Seville SLS / STS (during the 1990s) these were also sold in noticeable quantities. Maybe this is a relic of the Swiss’ old love for American cars that was quite lively in the 1950–70s (so lively that Swiss numberplates even come in a narrow 2-line variety in order to fit the space in American cars).

    1. One gets the impression when admiring the Swiss carscape that Helvetian taste in cars is more open than in some other countries.
      One of my small pleasures is standing at the steps of the Badische Bahnhof in Basel and admiring the odd selection of cars chosen as taxis. And a further stroll through Basel always turns up quirky cars as well as some rather costly carriages as befitting such an affluent and cultured city.

    2. I always thought that an American car on Swiss plates looked rather cool. Can you explain why the Swiss love affair with US cars began (and ended) Simon? In the early 80s I remember seeing a Buick (I think) 2 door parked in Geneva on a reasonably major road leading down to the Lake. It was covered with grime and couldn’t have been driven for at least a year. Had it just gone out of fashion?

  6. GM had their global HQ in Zurich for a while, I recall. I saw far more US cars in CH around 1997 than I do now. Buicks were very popular. Fords and Chryslers were not so visible. I agree that Swiss plates dignify an American car. As a foreigner with a romantic view of the Federation I can conjour up lovely images of the lifestyle of the US-car-owning Swiss person. It´s much different to the lifestyle of the UK owner of an American car. Same car, different effect.

    1. Tellingly, apart from 2 line version Simon mentions, Switzerland appears to allow no leeway in plate design. In the UK, although there are rules, people often get way with all sorts of deviations – Italic scripts, altering spaces to spell names, etc. In the case of US cars, it’s very popular to put the UK registration into a US format, including colours and typeface. This never looks that good to me.

      On the subject of Swiss plates, the cheesily enjoyable 60s TV Series ‘Department S’ featured Interpol agent and novelist Jason King played by Peter Wyngarde who drove a 4 door Bentley Continental which sported Swiss plates (Bern). Unfortunately the front plate was full sized (presumably to conceal the UK plate beneath) but apart from that irritating detail, I did feel this added an air of European exoticism to the car.

    2. To my knowledge, in most countries you get your immatriculation number from the government agency responsible for that, then go to a (privately run) plate maker who stamps your plates. In Switzerland, the plates are given out directly by the “Strassenverkehrsamt” who thus control the stamping/printing process.

      The only occasion where I’ve seen deviating plates is when Swiss people travel overseas with their car and make duplicates so in case of theft they still have their original plates.

    3. Theft? That shows how much we all lust after Swiss plates in the rest of Europe Simon. In the absence of the possible ultimate, a Monteverdi 375S on Geneva plates, here is this.

    4. I’ve never heard of people using duplicate plates within Europe. But of course there are also European travellers overseas, maybe it’s them who steal the plates there and not the locals.

    5. My agents have certainly been at work far afield. I have a large range of plates concealed in my secret vaults, covering 25 cantons. Only 2 more to go and I’ll have a full set.

    6. Sean, you never stop to amaze me. Not only do you have your secret plate-collecting agents, but you even have a secret canton I’ve never heard of. No matter if I count east to west, alphabetically or by date of accession, I always end up with 26. Is it worthwile to travel to the canton of Seanville? Beautiful roads there? Maybe some nice old cars on them?

    7. Simon. I keep it well hidden, accessible only from my Schilthorn hideaway that I purchased from the previous owner at a (literally) knock-down price. I’d tell you more about it but then …….

  7. Not even was there a headquarter in Zürich (which I didn’t know before), but – probably more important for the buying decision – also a GM assembly plant in the western half of the country which operated from 1936 to 1975. So you could buy American and even see it as a patriotic deed. I think that may well be the source of this friendship.

    Regarding Basel, I didn’t know that it was a hot spot for costly cars (I’ll be there next weekend, so I’ll check!). My first destinations for seeing such would be Zürich, including the adjacent lake shore, St. Moritz and Geneva. The central Swiss tax paradises should be good, too. And of course, the very small country of Liechtenstein right next to Switzerland, known for its banking and trust industry, is also nice in this respect. I work there (not as a banker), and often see expensive sports cars on the street, including for example a Jaguar D-type, apparently in quite regular use.

    Alas, also in Switzerland the streets are populated more and more uniformly. As Richard mentions, American cars are rare nowadays (to be honest, seeing these cars I’m not surprised), and people with money seem to prefer German stuff in dark grey or black.

    1. Without any irony, I can see why this was Cadillac’s priciest car. The dashboard and seats look very fine. This not for Surbiton but would sit well in France or Austria.

    2. Agreed. I might be being biased by those classy Swiss plates, but somehow £8,000 seems like remarkably good value. Had I not just bought a car …….

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