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Old 05-14-2016, 08:32 PM
 
Location: I live wherever I am.
1,935 posts, read 4,774,436 times
Reputation: 3317

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Seriously. I don't get it.

Now that's not to say that I'm disparaging Cadillac. I have one - a 1972 Calais... I love driving it, and I'm never going to sell it unless it's either the Caddy or food. My first car was a 1972 Sedan DeVille. I also owned a 1981 Coupe DeVille with the (working) V8-6-4 engine.

But I've also owned a 1976 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight and a 1985 Buick LeSabre, among other vehicles. So I know American full-size cars from other comparable makes as well.

The gist of my question is this. Looking at GM vehicles through the years, it's obvious which Cadillacs, Chevrolets, Buicks, and at one point Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles were all essentially the same car. My 1972 Calais (and the near-twin DeVille) is very similar to the Chevrolet Impala / Caprice, Buick Electra 225, Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, and Pontiac Bonneville / Grand Ville. The similarities are most evident when looking at the four-door models from the side. The wheelbases were nearly the same (from 122 to 130 inches, with Chevrolet being the smallest and Cadillac being the longest), they were all available with large powerful V8 engines (ranging from 454 through 472 cubic inches, with similar horsepower and torque ratings), and they all had similar available options.

I have a book on vehicle prices, putting the average base price of the cheapest of the largest-size 4-door hardtop models from each aforementioned manufacturer in 1972 as follows:

Chevy Impala hardtop V8 sedan: $3,771 (base V8 = 400 ci, 170 hp - available 454 ci w/270 hp)
Buick Electra 225 hardtop sedan: $4,890 (base V8 = 455 ci, 225 hp)
Pontiac Bonneville hardtop sedan: $4,293 (base V8 = 455 ci, 185 hp - available 455 ci w/220 hp)
Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight hardtop sedan: $4,807 (base V8 = 455 ci, 225 hp - available 455 ci w/250 hp)

Cadillac Calais hardtop sedan: $5,938 (base V8 = 472 ci, 220 hp)

Even if you want to compare only the Buick to the Cadillac, since there was no optional engine and the base engines of both were nearly identical in power and size, the Cadillac clocks in at more than 20% over the price of the Buick.

My Calais has extremely few things which might be considered options for certain vehicles - such as an AM/FM radio, tilt/telescopic steering column, power front bench seat, four-door power windows, and a three-speed windshield wiper system. Though I don't know which of those were standard equipment on the other GM full-size cars, I'm sure that all of them started out at the basic model and then you could add options as you saw fit - it's been that way for a long time.

So it strikes me that there is really not much of a functional difference between, say, a $5,938 Cadillac Calais and a $3,771 Chevy Impala V8 hardtop. The Caddy costs ~57.5% more than the Chevy.

Is it thus true that most people buy a luxury car like a Cadillac JUST to say that they have a Cadillac? Or are there other truly legitimate reasons why someone would say "only a Cadillac (or some other luxury model which has a down-market near-twin) will meet my functional needs for a car"?

(For the record, I bought my first '72 Caddy in 1999 as my first car because it was the right type of car, close enough to where I lived, and available when I was looking to buy. I had no preference for that particular make - I just wanted a big classic car. I bought the 1981 Caddy a few years later because it was a phenomenal deal - I wasn't looking to buy another car when I found it, and I already had three cars of various makes by that time. I bought the second '72 Caddy just recently because my first one was totaled ten years ago and I finally got to the point where I could assuage my sentimental attachment to my first car. In none of the three cases was my purchase influenced by the fact that the car was a luxury make.)
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Birmingham
11,787 posts, read 17,759,131 times
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Are you asking why people TODAY buy Cadillacs based on your experience with cars from the early 70s?


There's going to be a broader difference on average between Cadillacs of today and Buicks and Chevys. Even with the Cadillac XTS, Buick Lacrosse and Chevy Impala which is the easiest target to pick apart because it is the most shared/platform with mostly cosmetic differences unless it is a V-sport. The Escalade/Denali/Tahoe is however probably the "favorite" for haters to pick on, but nevermind the LX460/Landcruiser, QX90/Patrol/next gen Armada (not released yet), and so on.


The ATS and CTS and CT6 are RWD. The Camaro rides on the same platform as the ATS/CTS, but that's okay being that it is a sporting option and not your typical Malibu.


In short. I can't tell you why people will pay more for a nicer car with a better interior, better handling, more content, a more powerful engine, better warranty, nicer dealer network if that isn't obvious to you or holds any value at all.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:49 PM
 
Location: I live wherever I am.
1,935 posts, read 4,774,436 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourian View Post
Are you asking why people TODAY buy Cadillacs based on your experience with cars from the early 70s?
70s, 80s, 90s, you name it. Even today, GM does obvious badge-engineering across its remaining brands.

Is the XTS really THAT much better than the Lacrosse or Impala? (Actually, is the Lacrosse now the Impala-equivalent? It used to be the Lucerne, for Buick.) Is the Escalade really THAT much better than the Suburban/Tahoe or Denali/Yukon? They look like the SAME FREAKING CAR, just in different costumes and sporting vastly divergent sticker prices.

I still don't get it. From what I see, people are buying luxury cars just to get the prestige of the name (which is modern vernacular for snobbish bragging rights due to "I can afford to buy a car with this name on it") and the differences between it and its down-market near-twin are so few that the huge price difference doesn't make sense. I can see owning a Tahoe or Suburban sized vehicle. We had a Tahoe and it was quite useful. But what about the Escalade would make me think "The Tahoe just won't cut it - I HAVE to buy the Escalade" if I'm NOT the type to give a rip about the name on the vehicle nor the snobbish bragging rights?

And do luxury cars really have better engines ("more powerful" does not necessarily equal "better"), better warranties (do any of them beat "Hyundai Advantage"?), and a nicer dealer network (let's face it, there are many Chevrolet dealerships for every one Cadillac dealership)?
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:55 AM
 
Location: NY
9,131 posts, read 19,997,945 times
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I suspect based on the tone and tenor here, that your not really asking a serious question so much as just giving a critique of buyers who pay more for luxury brand vehicles in the face of more affordable mass market brand vehicles, particularly when some parts, architectures, or component sets are shared.

Really, there are noticeable and quantifiable differences between mass market and luxury brand vehicles, even when built on platforms without a great or obvious difference in construction. Whether or not that it is worth it to particular buyers is in the eye of the buyer. Some feel it is.

At anyrate, the age of the Cadillac Cimerron and the obvious badge engineering is mostly gone. There is more to vehicles with common structures these days than slapping different grills on. Even the Escalade vs Tahoe debate, when you get into the particulars, offers some advantages (the least of which is a much larger/more powerful engine).


That said, even IF someone's motivation for buying the luxury brand is to have the brand and image of the money spent... there are reasons enough for that too. Such as, someone transporting client and who want to do so with a certain level of opulence not available in your basic Chevrolet.
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Birmingham
11,787 posts, read 17,759,131 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Checkered24 View Post
I suspect based on the tone and tenor here, that your not really asking a serious question so much as just giving a critique of buyers who pay more for luxury brand vehicles in the face of more affordable mass market brand vehicles, particularly when some parts, architectures, or component sets are shared.

That's what I think. I gave him a legit response. If he really wanted to see what makes them "THAT MUCH" different, he could explore it. But rather he has made up his mind and is entrenched. So be it.
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,708 posts, read 79,764,742 times
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The Escalade offers things you cannot get in a suburban or Yukon. Biggest engine, and some other luxury refinements. Not a lot, but for some people, worth the premium. Some people want ot have the fastest most powerful SUV out there and if they can afford it - they are entitled to get one.

The CTS V is without any rival in its price range. This is a truly spectacular vehicle. It handles and accelerates like a sports car with the space and luxury of a full sized luxury sedan. You have to spend nearly twice as much to get anything close to it and then you are looking at BMW or Mercedes.

I am not certain which Chevy the ATS is comparable to, if any. I thought it was based on a Holden, but I could be wrong (I know the Chevy SS is a Holden). I liked the ATS a lot. It was roomy, performance was reasonable and it is more comfortable than the CTS seats. I am not sure whether it has magnetic ride control. That is what makes the CTSV perform like a sports car. It is really amazing.


In the 1970s, no. Most Caddies were nothing special. Many of them are just a Chevy or Oldsmobile with fancy paint and a C.

Are they worth it? Well to me some of the top ones are. If I was going to spend $60,000 - $70,000 on a car, CTS V would definitely be on the list. Probably at the top (unless I happened to need a truck or a Volt or something completely different).
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:49 AM
 
17,597 posts, read 17,629,777 times
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The details you can't see account for the differences. Suspension technology & tuning is a big part. Before you completely knock Caddy buyers of today, do a detailed research and comparison between the GM vehicles that share the same platform. The Escalade is the only Caddy I would say is a status symbol buy, especially in the hip hop culture. I believe the new Camaro shares platform with Caddy sedans like the ATS. The Caddy is going to offer technology features not offered on the Camaro and it'll offer a more balanced suspension between comfort and performance depending on standard or V series.
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:04 PM
 
3,637 posts, read 1,696,994 times
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I think people tend to stick with a brand that they have had good luck with and that serves their needs. I owned my first Caddy, a 1959 years ago and have had probably 20 newer ones over the years. I still drive one. Prestige has nothing to do with it, I like the comfort, the handling, the power, and the safety of a big, well built American car.

I think some people buy other brands like BMW and Mercedes more for the prestige than do Caddy owners. We just buy them because they do what we want in every way.
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:34 PM
 
9,501 posts, read 4,332,846 times
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I can think of no reason why anyone would buy an older Cadillac, but today's V series cars offer astounding performance for the money. If people weren't so concerned with image (this means you, BMW owners), Cadillac would outsell the Germans by a large margin.

I currently own a 2nd gen CTS-V and will upgrade to a 3rd gen in few years - unless some other manufacturer seriously steps up their game. Right now, the Germans simply aren't in the same league at a given price point.
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Old 06-03-2016, 07:46 PM
 
684 posts, read 514,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
If I was going to spend $60,000 - $70,000 on a car, CTS V would definitely be on the list. Probably at the top (unless I happened to need a truck or a Volt or something completely different).

I think the base price for the new CTS V is just over $82,000.00

For so long I have had no interest in Cadillac because I just don't like a car with initials. I want a car with a name that stands out as to what the car is. I get all the initials confused and I think it lessens the brand IMHO.

However I recently posted the same rant about Cadillac and their use of initials and so for the first time decided to go research the new Cadillac's to see what their top of the line sedan was. I haven't known for a few years anything about Cadillac's simply because they were so far off my radar because of the whole initial usage and the fact I have felt like Cadillac has been in an identity crisis for so many years has caused me to stay away from even looking at them as an option.

So after researching I learned Cadillac's top of the line 4 door sedan is the CTS V. I read all about it and was surprisingly impressed. Not sure I was so impressed that I'd go out and buy one but I was impressed with what I read. For now though if I buy a new car it will be a Chevy Suburban just because I like their full size.
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