I have a question for you. A car question. What would you consider Cadillac’s market competition? I bet I could pick your age demographic by your answer.
If you said Audi, Lexus, or BMW; I’d bet that your in your 20’s or 30’s and that the first influential Cadillac was probably the Escalade.
If you said Mercedes, I’d say you’re in your 40’s and the Cadillac that excited you was either the STS or the Allante.
If you said Lincoln, I’d guess you’re roughly in your mid to late 60’s and love the Deville.
But what would you say if I told you that Cadillac’s first competition was Rolls Royce? It’s true.
Back when Cadillac was formed, it’s goal was for the same exclusive, upscale clientel as Rolls. Cadillac won awards for technology and racing back in the 1900 to solidify it’s standings.
What changed their status was the intorduction of mass production. With the advent of the automated factory, GM could push out Cadillacs like Ford did it’s Model T. Soon Cadillacs were everywhere; and, as the poet once said, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” They just weren’t exclusive any more. They just weren’t as special.
As the decades moved on, Cadillac bloomed and faded like everything else. It had it’s highs in the late fifties with the large Tail-fins that are so much an iconic symbol of the brand that I’ve had to go out of my way to prove that the car in “Chrisine” was a Plymouth and not a Cadillac. When GM was struggling in the 70’s and early 80’s, so did Cadillac. It rebounded in the late 80’s with the Northstar V-8 engine and has moved forward since.
The moment I realized that Cadillac was once again a high standard in the world was when a 18 year old woman was excited to be going to the auto show. The openly hoped tht Cadillac would have their Escalade on display. I was stunned by this and often wondered how the sales teams at the dealerships handled the influx of very young people coming in their doors, kicking tires, asking for test drives and taking home brochures.
The edgy body designs moved them squarley into the high tier of BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Lexus. Their improved quality and detail has kept them in in this spot.
But what of the highest spot? Does Cadillac belong competing with the likes of Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Maybach? The Ciel concept says distictively, yes.
See, there’s this dirty little secret that Rolls, Bently, and Maybach don’t want you to know. They are owned respectively by BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes. That means they are using parts of their lesser branded cars in these cars where people can’t notice them to save costs. It doesn’t mean they are using cheap parts, far from it. It means that they are just using common parts when possible. GM could do the exact same thing with the Ciel concept and make it cost efective to build at limited numbers without sacrificing quality and performance. That’s the key with this car. It has to be rare. Maybe 1,000 a year tops. The excusivity will justify the unholy to normal people price while the preformance and quality have got to be the best possible to cement this fact. That means no cheating on anything seen. You hear me, GM?
Pull out all your top of the line materials for the interrior and ask, “What is ten times better than this?” and use the answer for the materials of this car. It’s the only way to compete at this level. All in or bust.
Personally, I think Cadillac needs to build this car. It needs a halo car just like Chevrolet has its Corvette z06. A car like the Ciel not only bringsd excitement and quality to the brand, but it encourages others to try and achieve more. This car can make kids in high school say, “Ooh! I want that!” and then they work a little harder so they can get it. It might be for an hour. It might be for a week. But a few of the students will truly be inspired and will continue on through highschool and college so they can get the job that affords them this car.
That alone is woth the cost of building it.
Here’s some more pictures.