Why Cadillac will soon be back on top

"We are in a long-term campaign to close our credibility gap.  The reality of our hardware and the general misperception of the overall buying public still exist.  The V-Series is shouting that we have performance and to take a look.  We want to bring the general public up to speed on what’s happening at Cadillac.  Part of that is getting the right kind of drivers into our products who will spread the news by word of mouth.  If we give them a piece of hardware that is satisfying to drive, we’ve got them in our boat and have made them all advocates."
— Jim Taylor, General Manager, Cadillac

How do you build a brand?  The people at Cadillac are rebuilding their brand piece by piece, and they’re doing it right:

  • Creating great individual products
  • Creating a product family where each member contributes to the bigger brand in a unique but complimentary way — for the first time in years, Cadillac is selling cars that aren’t a Chevy underneath. 
  • Pricing products so that they’re a good value, but not so low that they smell of desperation.  Nobody likes being seen in a devalued product — that’s what happened to the Ford Taurus
  • Racing the cars to gain credibility with gearhead mavens who dictate automotive goodness, which is how BMW grew to be the Ultimate Driving Machine from a nothing brand in the 60’s (it worked for Subaru, too)

It’s not about creating an expensive advertising campaign, holding your breath, and hoping the suckers don’t notice that their purchase doesn’t live up to your promises.  Build it right, get the mavens to come, and then everyone else will come.

PS:  If you’re asking "Why so many cars on this blog?", here’s my answer.

8 thoughts on “Why Cadillac will soon be back on top

  1. Cadillac Should Do NASCAR

    This image and post from metacool about the future of the Cadillac brand gets me thinking that we should see Caddilac models on the track at NASCAR events. While NASCAR has typically been the territory of Chevy and Dodge, the

  2. just a side note, the caddy convertable that just came out (XLK ?) is actually a chevy underneath. a corvette to be precise. which might not be a bad thing because the new Z06 is pretty insane…….

  3. Hmmm…. methinks the new C6 Corvette is actually a Cadillac underneath!
    The Caddie went to market first (by many months), so…

  4. On the other hand, Anthony, you bring up good point: Cadillac’s product differentiation isn’t as clear as it could be: the XLR and the Corvette DO share a common platform, and the CTS-V uses a Corvette motors.
    However, we’re talking Corvette. It’s not like they’re taking a Chevy economy car, slapping a badge on it, and calling that a Cadillac. They did thay in the early 80’s.

  5. What I find interesting about the Cadillac resurgence is how they seemed to have jumpstarted their brand rebuilding by leveraging a vehicle that was completely out of their historical legacy. The Escalade. When I grew up, Cadillac’s were cars that grandparents and pimps drove. One can not underestimate the role blingin’, hip-hop, and the uber-SUV craze had on bringing the Escalade to the fore. Now the Caddy folks are leveraging that brand as they reinforce their historical core of sedans, musclecars, etc.

  6. caddy isn’t the only brand that is leveraging hip hop cool. twice in the last 6 months, chrysler has made the news b/c snoop dogg and then 50 cent made requests directly for the 300 sedan and the new dodge charger. chrysler actually made public the message snoop dog left on someones voicemail, it was hilarious. you can’t buy that kind of marketing. it is interesting in that bentley’s and benz’s used to be the rapper car of choice, now that seems to be shifting towards caddys and chryslers

  7. Nick, you bring up a fundamental truth about the Cadillac car rennaissance: it’s been fueled by incredible (in the true sense of the word) sales of bling-bling Cadillac SUV’s. Jamie Kitman of Automobile magazine wrote a great column recently about the Cadillac brand, and how African American hip-hoppers have made it, well, a hip brand again for WASP suburbanites all of the US. It’s one of those deal with the devil scenarios that Porsche recently embraced with its Cayenne SUV: sell lots of high-price, high-margin SUV’s to the masses, use the profits to fund the development of hot cars like the CTS-V.
    Anthony: it’s the shizzle! That’s official like a referee with a whistle.

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