Luxury has different meaning for different people. It may be elegant, expensive, fashionable, unique or distinctive. Somehow in America luxury always means big. If something is not big then certainly it is not luxury, especially when talking about cars.
Navigator and Escalade are big like house, heavy like average consumer in Mississippi, and slow like internet access in Canada. They also burn as much fuel as World War II aircraft career and their low profile tires (why would you install skinny tires on full size
SUV?) make them off-road capable on par with Fiat 500 and Mini. The leather interior looks like couch in Texas ranch and general design of the cabin is complete “back to the future” experience.
Despite all drawbacks they are still favorite vehicles of choice for movie stars, drug dealers, wealthy soccer moms and guys with ego complex. Somehow merging bad taste with sheer size of the posh interior makes the car a luxury object in the mind of a potential buyer.
Somehow you cannot tell the same about passenger cars made by GM. Despite GM efforts the Cadillac sedan is still perceived as grandpa car or candidate for rental fleet. In the eyes of younger buyer is not a car to be cross-shopped with BMW. It is true the new Caddy handles better and looks better than cars made 10 or 20 years ago but it is still far behind European imports. GM cowboys in their great wisdom decided to bump up prices of all Cadillacs about 15% with introduction of 2014 CTS sedan. At the same time Cadillac started self-portraying campaign as a “general luxury experience”. Forget about making cars, now we are Louis Vuitton and Sheraton in one! Thanks to this move the entry level Caddy is more expensive than German imports. GM wants to attract younger buyers to the car with price tag that younger buyer can not afford. Those who can will most likely choose imported vehicle. Of course GM is facing again the problem with selling overpriced vehicles.
GM has great difficulty to understand that manufacturing car that was designed by committee (where no one agrees on anything) and then overpricing it may not necessarily increase sales. The only advantage that Caddy used to have over German imports was price tag, but shelling $55K on a car with cramped interior and central console made out of touch buttons may not be attractive enough.
Successful automakers focus on designing, producing and selling cars rather than redefining their image in complete isolation from its core business. BMW sells cars as “Ultimate driving experience”, Volkswagen calls its products “Das auto”. Apparently Cadillac wants to be a something more than an automaker.
Anything GM does to Cadillac may become irrelevant if the new business model is here to stay…