**A Milesperhr Exclusive**
Let’s talk about sports cars.
First, a definition: a sports car sacrifices utility for driving pleasure, comfort for cornering speed, fuel-efficiency for fun-factor. A sports car has been a purpose-built tool without any concessions to added objectives…at least until recently.
A ‘Hybrid’ or ‘Electric’ production sports car just a decade ago wasn’t just “future-talk,” it wasn’t really discussed at all. There were a few loonies tinkering away in their garages, but manufacturers were not involved in anything more than projects like the original Honda insight…and that couldn’t roll faster than a child’s pedal-powered Big Wheel. Yet presently, we have several of these technological marvels in our midst with many more on the way: the Porsche 918 Spyder, the new McLaren P1, the Ferrari Enzo successor, the Tesla model S and model R, the Fisker Karma; they all promise remarkable performance and fuel efficiency (get the full specs on these cars by visiting Autoblog Canada). For the first time, a sports car offers every bit of driving euphoria we’ve come to expect, without requiring its own oilrig.
Federal regulations calling for drastically increased fuel efficiency and decreased CO2 emissions mean electric vehicle (EV) technologies have breached the performance car market urgently. Enthusiasts fear these hybrid and EV sportscars are neglecting the passionate engineering and visceral connection that has positively characterized the auto industry for decades. Fortunately, do the concepts of being a performance-vehicle enthusiast and being environmentally conscious are no longer mutually exclusive. A range of new resources, engineering methods, and devoted contributors has made alternatively powered sports cars incontrovertibly cool.
For decades, the emissions and fuel efficiency regulations seemed to apply to every new-car segment in the market, except sports cars. Now, with more governmental regulation and more stringent standards, these exclusive machines must adhere to years of developing regulations, almost immediately. According to the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, all passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States must get an overall average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Comparatively, the average combined mpg for a 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera, the company’s iconic sports car, is 22mpg. The Obama administration is considering bumping these regulations to 54.5 mpg’s for all cars and light trucks by 2025, as reported by the NHTSA. These requirements seem excessive compared to the current 27.5 mpg US standards, but with environmental benefits, brand image, and legality to consider, US automakers are finally adapting their engineering methods to their performance models, with impressive results.
In an article by Daniel Neil of The Wall Street Journal, he notes that, “Pedigreed manufacturers from Mercedes-Benz to Ferrari are ‘fettling’ the next generation of mind-blowing sports cars, and they all have some kind of whopping battery on board.” Several analysts have negative opinions of these “whopping batteries,” but this technology doesn’t have to interfere with a sports car’s soul. Adrenaline-pumping forward motion is what the majority of enthusiasts are after, and cars like the Capstone CMT-380 with a 150-mph top speed and a 0-60 mph run below 4 seconds (which is quick enough to embarrass a Maserati Gran Turismo S), deliver that rush. Lithium-ion batteries power the CMT-380, which doesn’t contribute a single CO2 emission to the atmosphere.
Many other electrically aided performers are currently available or are set for production, including the Lotus 414E Hybrid, a first for the manufacturer. There’s also the Tesla Model S. Yes, by some definitions it isn’t sports car, but if you consider the 2012 BMW M5 a world-class performance vehicle, you might want to watch Automobile’s drag race between these rivals. If a battery-powered four-door saloon embarrassing Bavaria’s best doesn’t objectively prove that the auto world has changed, maybe the model S’s sub-$100k price-tag will.
Some enthusiasts complain the lack of engine roar and exhaust burble is enough to make them apply “ear-muffs” in the face of arguments for hybrid/EV sports cars. Admittedly, the only sound to be heard from the new Tesla model S is a queer whine. Still, if you can call upon the same childish emotions that make you giggle when driving a V8 muscle car, you might imagine that strange whine sounds like a bolt-on supercharger. Manage that, and you’ll permit your other senses to enjoy the performance. If not, try not to be too surprised when a Tesla spanks you between the next pair of stoplights. The reality is this: the public demands more efficient alternatives and stone-aged enthusiasts’ desires for traditional driving factors need an update.
Alas, the largest hurdle for some is the added expense for these innovative models. Presently, this is a valid concern, though great automakers like Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, GM, and Ford, along with EV technology manufacturers are applying their best minds to these new mechanics, meaning accessibility will broaden and prices will drop. Already, Porsche has the 918, Mercedes has the SLS AMG E-cell, BMW is finishing the i8, and Ferrari is incorporating KERS in its forthcoming models. The results are coming, rapidly.
Enthusiasts can and should embrace emerging hybrid and EV technologies. By all means, keep the 428 Shelby Cobra (if you’re lucky enough to own one) for primeval fun now and then, “save the manuals”, and bore out those cylinders, but let the nouveau sports car show you what it’s made of…I promise you’ll be shocked.
**Do you think auto enthusiasts should be worried? Will EV or other technologies ruin the soul of the sports car?**
-Objective three: To heighten brand visibility for the primary and secondary audiences from televised content by 80% by December 2012, at a cost of $500,000.
1) Product Placement in season 8 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. This show could be a great opportunity for Bentley to display its newest models on a popular program that portrays the life of a rich and famous individual, Larry David (HBO, 2011). Bentley vehicles would be perfect to reflect the style of the brand’s target audience. Curb Your Enthusiasm has prompted extensive online dialogue from the show’s fans over the past decade, which can allow Bentley to track noticeable increases in brand mentions online (HBO, 2011). With the show’s audience covering a diverse range of demographics, Bentley can spread its visibility, while narrowing its image. People will come to associate Bentley vehicles even more with wealth and success, while discussing the cars and the show on social networks and chat forums. To execute this initiative, Bentley needs to make a product placement deal with Wildfire Studios, the production house of Curb Your Enthusiasm. From there, Bentley PR representatives would need to publicize the deal in digital entertainment magazines, so the target audiences could access the news on computers, tablets and phones.
2) Develop an online show, “Becoming Bentley.” Ford Motor Company created an online show that followed teams of couples as they completed challenges in the 2012 Ford Focus. This show, Focus Rally, was a major success with Ford’s target audience of young, technology-savvy adults, scoring 30,000 at-home followers (Ford, 2011). Bentley could be the first luxury automaker to develop a web show that generates online interactivity from contestants and viewers. The show would be composed of 8 teams of two people who would “re-live” Bentley’s development as a company. For example, the first challenge would be to race a new Bentley GT at Le Mans in honor of the company’s first visit to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with their 3-liter in 1923 (Bentley website, 2011). The slowest teams would be eliminated. In another challenge, contestants would chauffeur some celebrities around in a classic 1952 Bentley Mark VI (Bentley website, 2011). The teams that offered the most luxurious driving experience would move on to the next challenge. The show would conclude with a single team that had successfully navigated the entire history of Bentley and would win $50,000. To promote online engagement, Bentley would create a special website where viewers could vote on upcoming challenge options, could give his or her preferred team an advantage of some sort (like time bonuses) and could play online games and answer trivia. This tactic would be a bit more costly and labor-intensive, but Bentley would see a surge in online engagement, especially with its primary audience. The web show would run from September to November 2012.
3) Pitch an interview with Bentley Motors North American President, Christophe Georges on 60 Minutes. In an effort to reach Bentley’s secondary audience, the brand should arrange to have its U.S. chief be interviewed on the show, discussing the brand’s latest activity online and offline. The executive could answer questions about the new technology in the vehicles, the company’s growth since the recession, and how the brand is making itself a two-way communicator online. This could be a perfect way to reach its secondary audience, which is similar to the show’s target demographic, that may want to interact more with Bentley, but has yet to reach out to them online (Journalism.org, 2005). Bentley’s PR team should do media relations to publicize the 60 Minutes feature, and follow up the interview with online content for the primary audience who may not watch the show, but may still be interested in the interview. With this tactic, Bentley can merge its audiences to its consolidated online presence.
“Curb Your Enthusiam: Forums and News.” HBO. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <http://www.hbo.com/curbyourenthusiam/talk.html>.
“Focus Rally: America Wraps up 6,000-Mile Road Rally on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’” Blog.Ford. 17 Mar. 2011. Web. 4 Dec. 2011.
Bentley Motors Website. Nov. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <http://www.bentleymotors.com/>.
“Nightly News Audience Demographics.” Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ). Journalism.org, 15 Mar. 2005. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.journalism.org/node/884>.
In a special feature, Maurice Rahmey of BU PRSSA and I debate two ideologies for consumer marketing and branding.
(1) give the customers what they want (Tony Hsieh)
(2) give them something they should want (Henry Ford)
I will take the Henry Ford viewpoint:
Henry Ford once said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Unlike Tony Hsieh, Henry Ford built his brand on innovative products and tools customers never knew they needed until they had them.
Innovation is extremely important when building a brand or company.
Consider automakers in recent history. The major US brands failed have failed in the markets in recent years.
Yet why did they fail?
Companies like General Motors stopped offering vehicles people desired in place of maximizing profits. Eventually consumers gave up and when money became tight, people just stopped “needing” US vehicles that lacked any element of pride or intrigue.
Recently though, some automakers have completely overhauled their stereotypical brands. Appropriately, it was Ford, nearly a century after its Model T, who took the lead with its new media campaigns and fuel economy improvements. Then brands like Audi and Hyundai followed with advanced technology, beautiful styling and unique marketing campaigns to instill customer needs they didn’t even know they had.
Suddenly consumers realized these were features, designs, and performance they should want. Even without true relief from economic concerns, buyers returned to the automotive marketplace. The brands which recognized the need for change, adapted and innovated to find success.
Ford Motor Company toed the edge of disaster by neglecting its original vision, though it found the solution by reflecting upon Henry Ford’s innovative way of thinking.
To read the Tony Hsieh rebuttal, head on over to http://wp.me/pw
So who’s right?
Brands have some very tough decisions to make when asserting themselves in the marketplace. Will they be “cool” and “revolutionary” in ways consumers never imagined? Or will they identify themselves as the solution to a need?
To me, brands need to incorporate both ideologies, in different situations.
In a crisis, a company needs to stand behind its services or goods if it has followed its vision. However, that means listening and engaging with consumers to explain what is being done to solve the problem.
During times of success, a brand needs to commit to continued thought leadership. At the same time, it needs to leverage the consumers who want to praise and encourage the brand.
Good PR, marketing and advertising understands the philosophy of the brands and translates that to public perception.
When you are buying a car, what makes a brand or model stand out?
Usually it’s two things:
1) If you were wowed by the features
2) If you experienced a degree of personal attention
Utilize the principles of each of these great entrepreneurs when cultivating a brand and distinguish yourself in the marketplace, regardless of the industry.
*Now you’ve read my take, please share your mantra*
A MilesPerHr Feature:
I’ve been reading a remarkable book by Jay Elliot, entitled, “The Steve Jobs Way.”
The theme of the book suggests Mr. Jobs turned Apple into such a successful company because each new product he created was molded strictly based on his vision of simplified, superior devices to make people’s lives better. In effect, he would ask, “why not?” innovate and create a dream product instead of incrementally improving current devices.
So what does this have to do with automotive brands? …Be patient, I’m getting there.
In a chapter about embracing new ideas, Elliot relates one of Steve’s anecdotes.
Steve would describe a “show car” (concept car), with beautiful lines and revolutionary features. The designers would take the plans to the engineers, who would say it’s not possible to build the car that way. The engineers would change the model to make it “possible”. Then the engineers would take the new plans to the manufacturers, who would say it wasn’t possible to construct the car that way either. The manufacturers would make their changes and then the car would be built for the public.
The result would be a model far from the original vision and innovation.
As I was reading this, I pondered the anecdote’s validity. Regarding the past 30 years or more, I would completely agree. Carmakers thought “practically” so many times.
“What can we build that people will buy and will bring us a good profit margin”?
Granted, not all automakers thought this way. Those in the business of building the 10-year-old boy’s dream car for the wealthy adult’s budget always made dramatic vehicles. Pagani, Lamborghini, McLaren, and a handful of others made the concept cars. They really asked, “why not?”.
What about the others, the “average consumer” automakers? Why couldn’t they build cars people desired, not cars they would accept?
Here’s where the “bottom-line” employees from every successful company jump in and say, “well, that’s business”.
No, that’s bullshit.
Why did some automakers fail in 2008? Because building only the “profit margin” cars finally caught up to them. Yes, people’s wallets were tighter and non-essential goods were not being purchased nearly as often. Still, can you imagine the conversations people could have been having regarding a car purchase if vehicles did offer life-improving characteristics?
Instead of the response to “honey, why should we buy that car?” being “well, dear, it’s faster than walking”, people could have said, “that car would really make us happy. I know times are tough right now, but we can have pride in owning this handsome, efficient vehicle”.
Again, the “bottom-line” folks are having a fit, “we wouldn’t make a profit if we built the concept car. Think of it; all that R&D, all those hours making inspired models, all the times people would have to say, ‘why not?’ instead of ‘no’.”
Now if you recall, I said the past few decades had seen many automakers sing to the tune of “good enough”. However, after reading Steve Jobs’s anecdote, I realized: many automakers are finally getting it. Many are asking “why not?” and therefore pushing other automakers to make innovative cars to remain competitive.
Consider the models that have spawned from many traditionally conservative automakers in the past couple years:
Ford? The new Focus and Fiesta are so far from the “economy” cars of previous generations that it’s like a new company built them.
Hyundai? Every new model they are making is better than the last. Each brings style, comfort, and amazing technology to the affordable level.
Audi? What happened to the heavy, boxy cars of the past? The new models are gorgeous, refined, and efficient.
You get the point.
Why weren’t automakers putting forth these kinds of cars years ago? The unfortunate truth is that it took economic disaster to make them realize people won’t buy into crap anymore. To give credit, they could have further withdrew to cheaper quality models with fewer features to maximize the profits but why does it take this type of drama to create the visionary products?
I’d like to see the automakers adopt and adapt the Steve Jobs vision: building innovative goods, innovative cars that make people proud, even inspired to own them.
So here’s to those auto brands who take the vision and make it reality. Those who ask, “why not?”.
***Who are the automakers you feel stick the closest to the concept cars?***
**A MilesPerHr Exclusive**
No one can say Ford Motor Company hasn’t made a recovery.
Since the release of the first quarter profits this last week, it’s been obvious Ford is back in a big way.
Here’s a couple POI’s for you about this turnaround:
-Ford was the only US car maker that didn’t need the government bailout
-Ford isn’t just more profitable now that the past 3 troubled years, how about the past 13?
-The only V8 Ford models still made are the F-series trucks, the Mustang, and the Expedition
-Ford uses more new media marketing than ANY other automaker
-Ford CEO Alan Mulally was named TIME’s Person of the Year in 2009, Fortune’s Businessperson of the year in 2010, and just received the Edison Achievement Award
These are all victories for the company, but what will make it stand strong in the future automotive industry?
ACTION & ADVENTURE ENSUES:
As the giant ship that was the US Auto Industry was sinking during the recent recession, Ford man (Ford Motor Company) had a decision to make: cling to the tiny life jacket he were wearing, or risk it all to grab the raft stowed on board.
As we know, Ford man ditched the life jacket made of chintzy car interiors and gas-guzzling V8′s.
Without delving too far into recent history, let’s jump to Ford’s biggest moves to get on the raft:
-Hiring Scott Monty, social media maverick, to run the new media proposals since 2008
-Developing the Ecoboost engine for V8-like power with better fuel efficiency
-Killing off the “Mercury” brand
-Promoting the “One Ford” plan to make models for global distribution, not just one market
-Putting $40k car features in $20k models
-Developing the MyTouch system with Microsoft
-Engaging a new target audience with creative campaigns like the Fiesta Movement and the Focus Rally
Now stick with me as we follow the intensity of the film:
Ford man escaped the room filling with water, he avoided the exploding engine chamber , grabbed the priceless artifact before it was lost at sea, and discovered the storage closet with the giant yellow raft inside. However, In all this heart-stopping action, Ford man forgot one thing: the girl.
In this scenario, “the girl” was Lincoln. The more elegant of the duo, she would be the damsel in distress. As Ford raced to save his own hide, he forgot to save the fair maiden. In a last-ditch effort, Ford tosses her a life-line and tries to pull her in…
Lincoln’s transition has been slightly ambiguous. The “image” Ford Motor Co. is trying to make for the brand is of class-leading innovation in a luxury brand. The unfortunate truth is that Lincoln’s competition is very tough. The old Lincoln had an interesting niche; spend a few thousand more to get some really comfortable cars. Still the plan wasn’t rock solid and sales were lack-luster. As Ford changed it’s strategy to provide remarkable standard features in economy cars, Lincoln moved to the back-burner. Now the brand is caught in a rut. The models aren’t very attractive, they are still fairly overpriced for what they offer, the brand is undesirable beyond a small and aging audience, and there are no distinctive qualities to merit choosing a Lincoln over even a Cadillac.
It remains to be seen if Ford man will ever pull in his female companion, but in my script, the only shot Ford man has to save her is to scare away the sharks (competition) and find another tool to get her to safety.
That “tool” in my opinion would be some really innovative marketing and development. If Lincoln could become a truly distinctive product with edgy design elements and amazing luxury materials, then there would be two distinct brands under the Ford umbrella and two target markets. Go ahead, step on BMW, Lexus, Audi, and Mercedes’s toes, but do it in a way that makes the Lincoln brand desirable.
So why is the movie inconclusive? Because Ford man is still only on a raft, floating around the mid-Atlantic in winter. If the Ford Action Movie is really going to have a happy ending, there needs to be a rescue.
For Ford, that rescue needs to be longevity; capitalizing on this new branding as an innovation-house for reasonably priced models with fuel-efficient engines.
Ford man has the right tools with him on the raft:
-established new media presence
-competitive models in each segment
-fuel efficient technology
-premium interiors in each category
The only way there’s going to be a sequel to this picture is if Ford continues to push the boundaries on
its products, new media tactics, and branding. The company CAN’T go back to the old model: rebadging crap cars that no one wants to buy. The landscape has changed and the world is slanted against supporting the auto industry.
We’ve all been impressed by Ford man’s quick thinking so far, but to survive, he has to use his resources carefully, stay vigilant for opportunity…oh and get his woman out of the water.
WHAT DO YOU THINK FORD HAS DONE WELL SO FAR, AND WHAT DOES IT NEED TO DO TO STAY AFLOAT?
**A MilesPerHr Exclusive**
All auto shows have themes.
Regardless of subtlety, there’s a theme to each one.
Recently, the theme has changed based on the price of gas.
When gas was nearing $3 a gallon 5 years ago, the automakers began cranking out hybrids.
Then when the price of oil dropped 3 years ago, the giant SUV’s returned to the show floor.
This year, the NYIAS showed us something new.
small, fuel efficient vehicles are coming to the US in a big way
Think of all the auto makers who brought out either a sub-compact, smaller engine option, or hybrid:
-Ford has the 2012 Focus with a fuel-sipping 4-banger and the 2.0 Liter eco-boost engine in the 2013 Taurus.
-Chevy has the 2011 Cruze Eco and the only-optioned 2.5 Liter 4-cylendar engine for the 2013 Malibu.
-Honda gave the 2012 Civic 40-MPG credentials.
-Mercedes previewed the A-class concept with a 2.0 liter power plant.
-Scion gave us the close-to-production FR-S with a flat-four.
-Kia has its Rio5 sedan and hatch (which actually make small cars look stylish).
…and this is no all-encompassing list.
The point is that car makers agree: We can no longer live in Excess
For years, we drove big SUVs and sedans with lazy, gas-chugging V8s.
Truth is, I LOVED it! Power and Space are luxuries and I’m pretty attached to suburban truck living.
So let’s weigh the pros and cons of this new small-car, less-displacement theme.
-new standard features
-some reliability concerns
Forgive me if I’ve left out some positives and negatives, I’m only scratching the surface.
Thinking about these details, do the pros really outweigh the cons?
-As an enthusiast, I would argue for my V8, but I can definitely acknowledge how much weight savings and turbo charged engines means to a driver.
-Pragmatically, I love the new standard tech. and convenience features and the fuel economy, but I feel some American car culture is lost with the new trend.
This being said, I’m interested in other POV’s. So please share and let’s tell the automakers if they have
the right idea after all.
**Guest Blog on MilesPerHr**
Joy Paley is a science and technology writer based in Berkeley, California. She is also a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog.
Since the invention of the yearly model, car enthusiasts have taken pleasure in waiting with bated breath to see what new innovations would be coming out in the next year. The 2011-2012 season is no different, and is bringing some of the usual fun-but-unnecessary gadgets and tweaks, as well as some serious changes in make and design. Here are my top innovations to look out for in this year’s new models.
The Nissan Leaf: First Mass Production Completely Electric Vehicle
As the Prius and other hybrid vehicles have become ubiquitous on our nation’s roads, consumers, car-enthusiasts, and environmentalists alike have wondered when the first all-electric buggy would finally be introduced. Well, we have only a little longer to wait: Nissan has rolled out its new Leaf model for 2011 and 2012. The first few on the 20,000 person waiting list have gotten their models, and shipments will hopefully be heading to dealerships soon.
While the Leaf is certainly not the first all-electric car ever to be made, it is the first that’s geared toward the general market and produced in mass quantities. As far as looks go, the car isn’t as distinctive as the space-age Prius, and resembles a regular 4-door hatchback. For specs, the 100% electric engine will last 100 miles on a full charge, making it better suited for city driving than for your Route 66 roadtrips.
Ford’s Improved Airbags
While airbags have certainly been a huge innovation, their design is also fraught with some inherent problems. They can keep you from cracking your skull on the steering wheel and dash, but they might break your ribs and nose in the process. And kids in the front seat could be seriously injured by the air pressure level that was gauged for an adult’s body.
Ford has done some tweaking, in order to help fix these persistent airbag issues, and has incorporated their new technology into the 2012 models. These new airbags have been outfitted with a tether that reduces the girth of the airbag in the chest area, making them less likely to injure a rider’s ribs or chest in the event of a deployment. These new airbags can also sense the size of the rider and reduce pressure accordingly, by opening a vent in the side of the bag.
BMW’s Internet in Car
Computers have been used to power a car’s internal components for a long time, but now is the first time they’ve been built into the dash. BMW’s 2012 models come with the option of BMW ConnectedDrive, an integrated Internet system. Some models come with small Internet-connected touchscreens in the dash, to let you search Google or read your email in the car. Passengers in the back can hook up their iPads, iPhones, and other mobile devices to the car’s fast wireless network. Just please folks, don’t forget to drive while you’re catching up on blogs and the latest news.
Infiniti’s Body Motion Control System
Despite all the hype about hybrid and electric cars as of late, there are still people out there in the market for a giant, luxury SUV, and God bless ‘em. These people should check out Infiniti’s new 2011 and 2012 QX56 SUV, which offers an optional Body Motion Control System, as part of a $5800 touring package. This new sensory system helps reduce the sway, lean, and the likelihood of rollover in your new SUV. Sensors and dampers on both sides of the car are connected together, to counteract motion that occurs on only one side of the car. The design makes the giant entertainment-system-on-wheels safer, and drive more like a svelte sedan.
Just what is this carmaker trying to pull?
Old folks don’t know what to do with the flashy and powerful models, young folks fear association with an old folks brand, and the middle-aged don’t want all that bling.
It used to be very simple: V8 in the front, leather in the middle, and extensive car in the back.
You bought a Cadillac in the 50′s and ’60′s because it was plush.
You bought a Cadillac in the ’70′s and ’80′s because it was outrageous in style.
You bought a Cadillac in the ’90′s and early 2000′s because you had no other options.
So who and why buy a Cady today?
On the surface, it looks like either you are a famous rapper/wannabe, Paris Hilton, an elderly couple, or experiencing a mid-life crisis.
Now before we write Cadillac off as having an identity crisis, let’s look a little deeper.
In recent years, Cadillac has held its ground, especially when considering value for money.
Take the CTS for example.
-some hate it’s sharp lines
-some hate its “look at me” factor
-some hate its lackluster transmission
but that’s really all you can hate about this car.
It is quiet, comfortable, handles quite well, and starting at $35k, it comes in less than its closest rivals, the BMW 5-series, the mercedes E-class, and the Audi A6.
Granted, you do get a GM-sourced nav system and a few chintzy bits in the cabin, but the car is a real competitor.
Then you get to the CTS-V [and it gets to you].
Pumping out 556-hp and 551-lb-ft of torque, the CTS-V is a Screamer.
And at a starting price of $63k, it severely undercuts rivals like the M5 and E55 AMG (~$100k).
Last year the CTS-V set the Nurburgring lap time record for a production sedan, so it can handle as well as growl.
Then Cadillac got creative with the recent coupe and wagon variants. Again, critics blasted the styling, but many
applauded the unique designs drivability. After all, Car and Driver has named the CTS/V one of the ten best cars since 2008.
-The escalade is nothing special, but it has held steady sales since 2007.
-The new SRX is an attractive model with some impressive standard features.
-No surprises with the STS: still an old person’s boat.
Yet the CTS is still Cadillac’s halo car.
So who was Cadillac targeting?
I would say it’s a pretty large audience, but mainly Americans with a little flare.
Not every American can afford them, not every American wants them, and most other countries wont take them.
Retro is out the door for Cady and they are fine with that.
Cadillac wants a younger audience, hence the “V” variants and acres of Chrome.
It is trying to remake itself, like Ford has, and turn its brand into a desirable commodity.
Has it worked?
Well you won’t find hipster teenagers or car tech junkies lining up for a Cady, but you may spot a fair amount of 25-40 year-olds eager to try something new.
Truth be told, if I was 35, had a family, and a decent chunk of cash to spend, I’d head to the nearest Cadillac dealer and buy a CTS-V Wagon.
There is a certain amount of “cool” Cadillac is building with their models, and with new BMW 3 and 7 series competitor models on the way, it will be interesting to see if Cadillac really can measure up to its Century-old slogan, and become the “Standard of the World”.
Maybe then Europe will buy a few.
** Do you think Cadillac is right on the money, or should they get back to basics? **
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