Not Robert Cumberford

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A failed car designer tries to make sense of a flat design world.

Why Cadillac just doesn’t get it.

Ok, so it’s more marketing than design, but I think someone needs to put it out there – the reason GM is hemoraging money is that they simply don’t understand the market, and in my mind, it all starts with Cadillac.

In the past few years Cadillac has been on a push to compete with European and Japanese luxury car makers such as BMW and Lexus by putting out cars that are big, blocky, heavy and unsophisticated. I know, I know, they’re only unsophisticated in relation to those cars, being relatively modern and technological machines in their own right. But starting with the names – BTS, CTS, VTX, VHS, whatever they are, they’re trying to be something they’re not. What Cadillac really needs is a return to some old-style names, in the style of DeVille, Seville, Fleetwood, Eldorado (and maybe a few new ones to update the whole deal). People around the world have a soft spot for these names, especially a name like Eldorado, and the car that was associated with it – big, beautiful and brash. But not “don’t mess with Texas” brashness, more like “Marilyn Monroe”. In your face, definitely, but so over-the-top stunning that you can’t resist it, even against your better judgement, which, let’s face it, is the only way a BMW owner is going to buy a Caddy.

I heard that they were going to stop using Led Zepplin in their commercials. Well, that’s a start. If you think a Lexus driver is going to jump ship because your luxury car is more “Rock & Roll”, you seriously don’t understand why someone buys a Lexus – performance, quality and understated luxury. That person is not going to go out and buy a car that’s twice the size of their Lexus, looks like a tank that just drove through a chrome gate and has the interior quality of a Police cruiser.

Cadillac, get with the program. We all loved you as the eccentric, over-the-top Hollywood star of luxury carmakers, but you’re just embarassing yourself right now.

Category: Car design, Design

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