Author Topic: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?  (Read 4296 times)

Bruce Berghoff - CLC 1476

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Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« on: September 23, 2005, 03:10:48 PM »
This tale is currently circulating in our small northern Michigan town. Our neighbor, the widow "Lady Katy", while picking up her several year old Buick Limited from the not-so-near-by Pontiac/Buick dealership service department recently had reason to question some of the items on her invoice. She felt they might be trying to slip one over on a little old lady. Not getting any satisfaction from the write-up man she asked to see the Sales Manager. It was the same story from him. More than mildly upset, Lady Katy marched out shouting " NO MORE GM CARS FOR ME .... MY NEXT CAR IS GOING TO BE A CADILLAC !!! "     Sometimes it might be a good thing that GM doesnt always get its "Family of Brands " message across to the buying public ?

Doug Houston

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2005, 07:30:58 PM »
There is a sad tale to be told here, and its a big reason for GMs woes today. I can send a copy of a good article to you that tells the tale. Prior to 1961, the corporation had a CEO who was a promoter of product, and a president who watched the purse strings. thats the way it should be, and the way that Alfred Sloan made it happen. In 1961, the CEO job went to a bean counter, and then all of the corporation policies were based on money, and no longer on product. Prior to that, a person bought a Buick, for example. He got a Buick engine, Buick chassis, Buick interior, unique Buick styling, and so on. The same was true for Olds, Cadillac, Pontiac and of course, Chevrolet. General Motors success was based on the customer having a Choice between five different products at whatever his means might permit.

The bean counters went to work on this. DUPLICATION! REDUNDANCE! SIN! there were 5 different engines, though similar (455 Cu. In.) and so on. The customer needs only a platform to ride on and a CORPORATE engine to make it go, they reasoned. Fuirther, all cars can be made in the same plant, or at least, fewer ones, each bearing the appropriate name plate. The corporation had been giving the customer too much for his money, and they would STREAMLINE the operation. the divisions were demolished, integrated and standardized. When you bought a Pontiac, you got a Chevy. When you bought a Cadillac, Buick or Olds, you got a Chevy. They even thought that the public was dumb enough to buy the cheapest Chevrolet with a Cadillac name plate. They werent.

Today, GM has insurmounatble problems. Its saddening to contemplate its future. If it were to be resurrected, it would have to be done by the same heads that gutted it. You dont hire a demolition company to erect a new skyscraper.

It appears that they want desperately to make a Cadillac that will have market appeal. Its character will be to have as many gadgets and automatic things on it as they can dream up. Will it be the lavish, elegant, posh creation that once characterized the name? Not hardly. It will be called another "alphabet soup" model designation. I often wonder whether the XPJ is a higher level than the TKQ or perhaps a AGX. Will they introduce a new line as possibly NGD? Which car is which? D---ed if I can tell!

Remember when the 59 Buicks came out with new names? We had known their Special, Super, Century, Roadmaster and Limited for ages, and we knew which one was which. Then, with Invicta, Electra and LeSabre, which one was where?  

Today, what is there about cars made by American firms that would draw the buyer into their showrooms, and not to the foreign car showrooms. the answer: nothing. Whatever brand of vehicle you buy, its a little pinch-nosed jellybean, with a charcoal gray plastic interior. In many cases, the brand name of the car is hard to read from behind, once you find where its shown.....if youre really interested.

Little wonder we love our colector cars. They are what we regarded as desirable, comfortable, elegant, and something to be proud to own.

It looks like Lady Katy is in for a surprise!

Yann Saunders, 12588

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2005, 10:15:40 PM »
Well said, Doug !

Porter 21919

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2005, 06:25:26 PM »
Doug,

No arguement here.

I have a 66 & 67 CDV. My biggest complaint between the two cars is the 67 dashboard , it pales in comparision to the quality of the 66. An entirely different design but lacking in quality, I can see all the other corners they were starting to cut at the time.

The 65 Cadillacs obviously cost more to build with more chrome trim but that was the trend, less chrome.

At least they gave us the 472 engine in 1968, after that the slippery slope down was pretty well greased. By 1971 the party was over, a race to the bottom.

Porter

John

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ? Yes!!!
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2005, 08:23:57 PM »
Doug,
No one could have said or explained it better than what you have written,
Could it be that is why I have 2 FORD vehicles, designed by FORD and have "MAZDA" name plates on them sitting in the driveway "outside?".....and a 1959 CADILLAC tucked away in the garage on the "inside"! LOL
Have a good weekend.
John

Bruce B. Again

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2005, 09:23:44 PM »
Hey Doug... Your comment about American Cars .... "brand names hard to read from behind " brings to mind an experience I had in the mid-1980s while acting as a sales promotion consultant to Buick Motor Car Division. Some of Buicks Special Product Engineers were preparing badging proposals for the rear ends of the soon to be introduced Regal Grand Nationals (high performance coupes). Their prototypes featured a variety of crossed flag logos with bold "GN" initials, however the name BUICK was conspicuous by its absense. Car enthusiast and General Manager Lloyd Reuss, reviewed the examples and finally asked why they had left off the name BUICK ? The Senior Engineer proudly responded " Mercedes never puts their name on the deck lid of their cars".... and GM Vice President Reuss responded " and if Buick only wanted to sell 75,000 cars a year we might do the same thing!" Buicks name appeared on the deck lid of everyone of their carlines the next model year and they sold about 800,000 cars.

Bruce Reynolds # 18992

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ? Yes!!!
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2005, 07:32:01 AM »
Gday John,

But, dont forget all those Mazdas with the Ford name on them.

Bruce,
The Tassie Devil(le),
60 CDV

Bruce Reynolds # 18992

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ? Yes!!!
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2005, 07:35:03 AM »
John,

Also forgot to mention the Nissans with the Ford name on them over here as well.   And, the Fords with the Nissan name on them.

Anything to make a quid.

Bruce,
The Tassie Devil(le),
60 CDV

Mike #19861

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2005, 10:03:30 AM »

 Well said, Doug.

 But, this quest to eliminate redundancy started as early as 1934 with the formation of the infamous BOP group. This is when body shells were standardized into the now familiar A,B,C and so on designations.

 But, each division continued to use its own engines, transmissions, frames and so on until the 60s when transmissions were standardized across the line and engine sharing amoung divisions was increased.

 By the time the 1977 downsizing had taken place, cars were all very similar to their sister divisions in body, frame and driveline. But a certain amount of engine sharing was used, only to increase greatly in the next few years when true badge engineering took hold. One of the downfalls of the British industry, and a practice that would almost kill off Chrysler for the second time.

 When Roger Smith took hold, that is when GM began its precipitous slide into mediocrity. He elimitaed all of the divisions autonomy and concentrated manufacturing into one division. All of the other divisions became merely marketing arms of their related names. This proved disastrous with those cookie cutter cars of the 80s.

 Cadillac was able to wrest control of its manufacturing once again in 1986 and try to rebuilt its reputation, but the iron grip of the bean counter really thwarted any real success. The other divisions continued on trying to cope with this fundamentally flawed approach. A true product man would not have let this happen, but Roger Smiths background as a comptroller precluded him from having any real passion for the product.

 GM is still trying to undo the damage caused by this regime, but it may well have dealt the death blow to the corporation some 20 years ago. GM struggles, but the bean counter still rules. They over rule the best product man to come along since Lawrence Fisher. Bob Lutz has tried to do what he did at Chysler to turn them into a dynamic company with a very good and inspired product line. GM still mass markets middle of the road machinery to the lowest common denominator.

 Cadillac is indeed the bright spot, but other divisions continue to struggle for good competitive product. Will Buick and Pontiac survive? Or will the bean counters eliminate them as they did Oldsmobile. What of Saturn and its boring uninspired product line? They should have been killed off long before Olds was. But this was the nemesis of Roger Smith, so it had to be good.

 As the other divisions search for their identity, the marketplace moves onward. They have set their targets at a place and time long vacated by the rest of the industry and squabble over product identity and market share.

 These divisions had very good product identity and its market share long ago, but it was muddled in the 70s when each division invaded the territory of the others. If they would return to that sort of focus and concentrate on good product, in time their problems would be over. Damn the internal politics and personal prejudices. Make a good focused product, and the road to the future will be rosy.

 Mike

Denise 20352

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2005, 03:24:59 PM »

> Today, what is there about cars made by American firms that would draw the buyer into their showrooms, and not to the foreign car showrooms. the answer: nothing. Whatever brand of vehicle you buy, its a little pinch-nosed jellybean, with a charcoal gray plastic interior

   That is exactly what they look like to me.  How much of it do you think is the fault of the carmakers, and how much government regulation?  My neighbor says that they have to squeeze every MPG out of them, comply with anal safety regulations, etc., and they dont have any choice about what to make.  Is that it, or are they just going for that EuroJap look because they cant come up with anything unique?

   If you want something with any room or comfort now, you have to buy a truck.  So what have they accomplished with making the cars smaller, taking out the smooth ride and the styling, and making them hard to steer?  Everyone drives a truck now!  So much for saving gas, or making them safer.

-denise

Doug Houston

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2005, 05:13:03 PM »
Denise hit it on the nose. Government is a two-edged sword. If congress made laws that adhered to the constitution, wed have no bureaucracy at all. BUT, the safety and environment dictators have been a real benefactor to the auto industry. They whine about government interference, but its government that forces us to take costly add-ons to our cars. These add thousands of dollars to the price, partially for the hardware, and partially for the cars consumed in crash tests, the laboratories, and the staffs that man them. Sure, the car makers sob to us about government interference, but they cry all the way to the big dividends. Look at air bags. When they were optional, the cost was just under $2000 per car. Once government made it mandayory, the additional cost on the price could be thousands more bucks (and probably is). Government creates monopolies and industry gets fatter. Youll never get a truthful answer fron the car companies.

The car manufacturers boast about how they have our safety as first priority. Early use of air bags proved their unreliability, and downright lethal character. Did the car makers stop using them? Of course not. Like anything else, the air bags are a big chunk in the profit per unit. Theyre not going to give that up! The game is to dream up more "safety" contraptions, and get the bureaucrats to make us buy them. I shed no tears for the car companies here. Theyre as much a part of the problem as government.

We have a beautiful constitution. The problem is that there never was a real means of enforcing it, so we have a paper document that is a sport for congress to violate, and a good source of bribe money to keep sleazy politicians in congress.

Bruce Reynolds # 18992

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Re: Did Cadillac RESIGN from GM ?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2005, 08:36:39 PM »
The major problem with the design and shape of the modern day car is that the "designers" have been "educated" by being told by the "bean-counters" to not waste time.

They have forgotten to use things like clay models, their brains, and peoples opinions.

What they do is stick all the parameters that are governmentally legislated, robot buildability, and fuel economic standards, into a computer, and that electronic machine does the rest.

Now, the reason that most results come out the same, is that the Computers use virtually the same parts as every other computer to make the calculations, and presto, out comes the "jellybean car".

In the old days, the Designers used their own individual brains, and had collective think-tanks, and came up with a design, that was different to every other car maker.   That is why a 1958 Cadillac looks different to a 1958 Rambler.

Plus, these days of Lawyers love of making money, no car maker is going to stick the hood bullets of a 57 Chev, or the fins of a 59 Caddy or Chev on anything in case some pedestrian or cyclist became impaled on either.   It is a wonder that someone hasnt come up with a design of a train cow catcher in the front of the wheels to stop cars running over animals on roadways to appease the animal liberationalists.

The only way we will ever get back to old-fashioned designs is to shun the new cars, and keep driving and repairing our "old" cars.

Bruce,
The Tassie Devil(le),
60 CDV

Mike #19861

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The next styling revolution.
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2005, 05:34:33 PM »

 Watch for this one. It is already incorporated into the new Jettas and Golfs. The revolutionary pedestrian protection system!

 What this does is soften the the noses impact of a car when it hits a pedestrian. They call for rounded blunt front ends with genlty tapering hoods that cause less physical damage to that hapless pedestrian when they wander into the path of one of those lethal automobiles.

 This regulation is now coming into effect in Europe, so we will see all European scourced cars styled like this. Also, any cars destined for the European market will be styled similarly.

 The lastest intervention by the left wing governments in an effort to protect us from ourselves.

 Imagine what Corvettes, Porsches, Ferraris et al will look like now!

  Mike

Bruce Reynolds # 18992

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Re: The next styling revolution.
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2005, 07:48:26 PM »
The biggest problem is that what suits one area of the world, doesnt necessarilly suit another.

There are more pedestrians and supposedly stupid drivers in Europe, but there are virtually no pedestrians in the outback of Australia, so why do we have to have a "world" car thrust upon us.

We got stuck with the Holden Commodore (German Opel) which, interior wise, had a terrific heating system, and a very poor cooling system.   Germany needs good heating for their Winters, but we need a better cooling system.   Solution, everybody had to have their cars fited with A/C.   More cost.

The Opel had a 4 cyl and a 6cyl.   We tried a 4 cyl, and it was downright useless, so we went for a 6 and a V8.

Sorry for my ramblings.

Bruce,
The Tassie Devil(le),
60 CDV

Porter 21919

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Re: The next styling revolution.
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2005, 08:07:50 PM »
Bruce,

For the most part we had it way better back in the old days, you could order a car the way you wanted it. Bare bones sedan with a straight six , manual tranny and no options ? No prob.

The government safety police have been running the auto companies ever since the early 60s, most likely compliments of Ralph Nader.

Some good and some bad has transformed, now they are saying the government needs to put the squeeze on the auto companies with high gas prices to manufacture more fuel efficient cars.

Well golly gee whiz, you dont have to drive a big SUV, that was your choice.

A full size bare bones sedan would sell well today, if they would build one. i can see the de-emphasis on performance already, just like the late 60s, although they probably whack you nowadays for owning a fast car, they are expensive anyway.

The insurance companies want black boxes installed on all cars for crash analysis, etc. Like how much does that cost in addition to all the air bags ?

Porter

Mike #19861

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Re: The next styling revolution.
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2005, 09:05:37 AM »

 I would love an decently sized simple car with a V-8 and RWD. I would buy one in a minute. But wait, that sounds like my beloved old Caprice!

 If they still made these new, I bet they would have a captive market. And not just the perps riding in the backs of the ones used as cruisers.

  Mike

Denise 20352

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Re: The next styling revolution.
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2005, 04:00:55 PM »

  Doesnt Cadillac have a RWD model now?

  You could always buy a Marquis/Crown Vic, but I wouldnt recommend it.  Its a piece of trash.

-denise

Jim Smith

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Re: The next styling revolution.
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2005, 06:15:00 PM »
Mike,

To your description of a simple car I would add a good comfortable front bench type seat(could be split), gear selector on the steering column and no console or cup holders. The Chrysler 300 sort of started that way but still came up short.   Jim  

Bruce Berghoff - CLC # 1476

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Did Someone Mention Chrysler 300 ???
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2005, 08:19:17 PM »
While the enthusiast mag writers have been busy touting the performance wonders of the FABULOUS Chrysler 300, there are a few mundane features they neglected to mention . First of all ,be sure to ask your friendly Chrysler salesperson how they recommend you open the electrically actuated trunk when you suffer a dead battery? ( The battery happens to be in the trunk and  THERE IS NO KEY LOCK FOR THE TRUNK ! ) There is  an emergency pull handle buried inside the trunk and a small hatch from the backseat, but you have to carry a small child to reach it. The Owners Manual doesnt address this problem.
   Another feature is the tiny Cruise Control "stick" hidden behind the Turn/Wiper Lever. It has instructions printed on 3 sides of the handle requiring a mirror to read. If you find yourself locked into Cruise a few miles above the limit and attempt to disengage by "stick" rather than brake, and tip off the Officer following you, youll probably end up washing his windshield or signalling a turn before you discretly bring the 300 down to speed.
   To those 300 owners who complain about the "trap door" console cup holders in the front seat, Chrysler Engineering finally figured out a  solution. Yes it is true... if you place a 12 oz. coffee cup or pop can in the front cup holders the console lid traps the beverage so it takes two hands to remove it. Thats OK for most passengers, but it gets a little "hairy" for the driver. After months of study at the Proving Grounds,they havent revised the Owners Manuals yet, but heres the solution...16 and 24 oz. cups. Yep, theyve outsmarted the console lid !
   But these are just MINOR annoyances... the real biggie is the EVIC, THE $2000 Electronic Vehicle Info Center that tells you everything you never wanted to know about your vehicle, and a few things you do. Heres a beauty that must have worked great in the design studio, but the engineers forgot that SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA THE SUN SHINES, and when the sun shines you cant read the tiny digital characters in the center of the dash !
    I find it hard to believe that all of the reviewers for CAR & DRIVER, ROAD & TRACK, POPULAR MECHANICS, AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE, and AUTOWEEK  drove fully charged, non-Cruise Control equipped, drinkless vehicles on overcast days or afterdark to not notice, or be agrivated by some of these same features .
                LONG LIVE CADILLAC !

Porter 21919

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Re: Did Someone Mention Chrysler 300 ???
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2005, 08:59:32 PM »
Bruce,

Interesting commentary, Bob Lutz summed it up pretty well:

"I used to say at Chrysler, jokingly, back in the bad old days at GM, Id get the Chrysler guys together when I was arguing for speed rather than studying stuff all the time. I would say, "Look guys, the bad news is the average guy at GM has 20 points of IQ on us. And the good news is that the average guy at GM has 20 points of IQ on us, because theyre intellectual to a point where they will constantly study ramifications of things rather than acting. Whereas were dumb enough to seize the obvious and we just go ahead and do it. Too much intellectual power can be a drawback, but it is no longer a drawback at GM because the company realizes that a less than perfect decision made quickly is better than a perfect decision made too late. Its a highly streamlined company — very, very fast decision-making, very little paperwork, and yet you have all this intellectual potential on the engineering side and the manufacturing side. "

GM still has the best engineers.

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/specialreports/articles/100660/article.html

Porter (we drive GM vehicles for a very good reason)

 

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