No. 902
June 21, 2017

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Editors' Note: If you have a comment, please include your name or initials (AND YOUR HOMETOWN TOO, PLEASE). We do not print email addresses. If you want to read previous issues, click on "Next Entry" on the bottom of each section. Thank you.



I do appreciate your love of Cadillac and your reflections on their enduring marketing and product muddling are spot on. But I find your favorite Caddys, the Escalade and XTS, somewhat curious. From this non-Caddy owner's perspective, is not the Escalade a Tahoe/Suburban with Porsche-esque levels of options… a strategy you clearly abhor? And the XTS, while seemingly a fine car, for me extends the murky legacy of the FWD Northstar days. Be interesting to see if Caddy can balance the market of older customers while finding a way to lure in 40-somethings like me. They haven't yet…

Tony W.
Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Editor-In-Chief's Note: A few things. 1. The Escalade and XTS are not my "favorite" Cadillacs; those would be the CTS-V and the ATS-V Coupe, even though those two vehicles have absolutely nothing to do with the brand. Read the AE Brand Image Meter again - the Corvette section - and see what I'd do with those "V" machines. Then read this week's item again in "On The Table." The XTS and Escalade are closest to what Cadillac should be. I deem chasing the Germans as not being a value-added activity for Cadillac. It's nothing more than automotive "me too-ism" at its worst, while completely ignoring the historical authenticity of the brand. The technology in the CT6 is commendable but it has nothing to do with Cadillac. It's simply Cadillac's take on an Audi A6, which doesn't impart an accepted level of German luxury car gravitas, but instead suggests that Cadillac lacks an original idea. Cadillac operatives need to appreciate what Cadillac is, instead of forcing the brand to be something that it is not. Lincoln operatives, for example, don't appear to have that problem. They are quite comfortable in designing and building an unapologetic American luxury car. With Cadillac, however, you get the feeling that Cadillac operatives are so desperate for Cadillac to be something else that it hurts. As for Porsche, the whole "It shouldn't be making trucks and SUVs because it's a sports car company" argument left the building a decade ago. You can read what I think about the current state of Porsche in the AE Brand Image Meter too. -PMD


One Ford.

Thank you. The latest column about Ford explains a lot to this employee who feels in the dark most of the time. As for Mr. Hackett's accomplishments at the University of Michigan: How difficult was it to go to the only candidate the school wanted, and offer him the only job he wanted at the salary he wanted? Good thing he has a finance degree to calculate the commensurate ticket price increase.

Troy, Michigan

America's National Park of Speed.

I never tire of your writings about the virtues of Road America. I've been attending races there since the mid-seventies. Last year my son and I attended the ‘return’ of the Indy Cars and will be there this weekend as well as for the Weathertech weekend in August. The setting, the track design itself, food vendors, and access to the paddock area are the best. Opening up the viewing area on the inside of Canada Corner recently has been a bonus. My only complaint is that it's close to a six-hour drive; if half that I would probably attend even more races each year!

Shoreview, Minnesota

What Cadillac should be.

I was teaching my younger one how to drive, a rite of passage... for the parent. I get that millennials don't do cars, my older one, when asked what sort of car she wanted, said... it has to have an Aux in to the radio, and it has to be stick shift… so I have had some effect on her... she insisted on learning with a stick shift car.

My son, learning to drive the Caddy, brought up the following conversation. “You have to understand that this car is based on the concept of 'America, Fuck Yeah !!!!'”. Not ironically; not in a Meme sense. No, really.

I'm big, I have a lot of power, I pamper my driver. I can pass anything. At the same time, you can listen to Broadway or Classical and hear every instrument at 85 mph. There aren't any bumps in the road that you notice. It's the symbol of what America aspired to, and attained. No tiny roads, no $10 gas, no excuses or compromises.

My family tree has 500 cubic inches, Air Conditioning that tosses icicles in Arizona, and wings... just because we can.

When I get on a highway, with 300HP to the correct set of wheels, I merge on at 70 mph. When pressed, you can do a steady 90 mph, or show tail lights to anything but a dedicated sports car. Those folks in 1.8 liter cars ? You feel bad for them… you are supposed to.

That is a Cadillac. The Escalade knows. The XTS as well. My second gen CTS knows, but the third gen doesn't… a 2.0 turbo ? Sorry, we aren't Hyundai. Go big, Go Bold. The Show Cars all get it, but what Cadillac actually makes, not as much.

Casey Raskob, Esq
Green Leafy 'Burbs, New York

Update: The "Sergio's Folly" File.

So Alfa Romeo - the would be savior of FCA - has managed to sell all of 2,500 Giulias in the US so far this year. And not for lack of supply either; at that sales rate dealers have 6 months of inventory on hand. When I think of the Stronzo in the Sweater's lofty sales goals of 400,000 annually by next year, I'm reminded of Del Griffith: “Still a million bucks shy of being a millionaire!”

Jim Z.
Detroit, Michigan

Same as it ever was.

Before I left the company Ford would occasionally have a sit-down with our site manager (female) to which I was invited along with a handful of the plebes who spend their time on the shop floor. There were the usual questions of “How come this machine doesn't get fixed?” or “Why is (foreman name deleted) such a jerk?” After a moment's silence she asked, “Does anyone have any other questions?” to which I raised my hand. It was: In the time Alan Mulally has been at Ford he has made great strides in a number of areas but the two biggest problems at Ford he seems to have not been able to touch. “What are they?” I was asked. My reply: IT and purchasing. After a lengthy silence, the answer was “there are steps being taken”.

I'm betting the new guy won't have any more success than Mr. Mulally.

Windsor, Ontario, Canada