5 May 2008

The Cadillac Conundrum

GM has a problem that goes beyond product when it comes to Cadillac. The problem is that Cadillacs are sold in the same showrooms as Cobalts and HHRs. No, I'm not the first to bring up the point, and no, it's not some sort of revelation that this is a problem, yet I'm continually flabbergasted that such a sore thumb continues to be overlooked as Cadillac strives to become a legitimate luxury nameplate again.

Peter DeLorenzo, whose ravings can be found at Autoextremist noted last year that there were strong rumours about a possible mid-engined Corvette variant in the wings from Chevrolet. While the traditionalists immediately threw their hands up in the air and bemoaned the 'idiocy' of such a move, I would welcome it as it would allow GM to reconfigure their branding paradigm.

Imagine this world for a moment:

  • Pontaic/Buck/GMC operating under one roof, with Pontiac offering RWD performance cars, Buick offering FWD near luxury cars, and GMC offering SUVs and trucks
  • Chevrolet becoming a one brand dealership selling all of the mass market offerings, with an emphasis on economy and midsize cars, and with nothing costing more than 30k US if it's not an SUV or truck
  • Saturn continuing as the redheaded stepchild
  • A fully fleshed out Hummer lineup with competitors across the lineup to Jeep, from compact trucks to fullsize behemoths, all focused on offroading
  • And finally, a combination Cadillac/Corvette dealership
The last point is the most important. GM nees to 'spin off' Corvette into its own brand. This is a perfect opportunity for them- with the regular Corvette, convertible, Z06 and ZR1, there are already 4 distinct models in the lineup. Add in a mid-engined variant, and you'd have the makings of something special. The upside to this is that GM could sell expensive cars next to expensive cars as well, giving a halo effect to both the Corvette and the Cadillac lineup.

Of course, in the real world, this will not happen. And Corvette buyers will continue to jostle for dealer attention with Aveo buyers, and Cadillac buyers will be subjected to Cobalt mentalities when trying to buy XLRs.

Such is life.

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