Monday, March 12, 2007

Too Clever by Half

GM already has produced clay models of these new Cadillacs. In the near future, it will decide whether to OK development, say GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz and Cadillac General Manager Jim Taylor.
During interviews at the Geneva auto show, both executives explained their plans to make Cadillac competitive with Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. They also voiced varying opinions about some Cadillac issues, offering a revealing glimpse of GM's internal give-and-take.
Whether to keep or discontinue the front-wheel-drive DTS sedan, Cadillac's top-selling nameplate. Taylor says he's undecided; Lutz prefers to phase it out and keep the rwd STS.

Front-wheel drive does not match the brand image of global luxury Cadillac is seeking. But the DTS was Cadillac's top seller last year, with U.S. sales of 58,224. The DTS accounted for 25.6 percent - about one-quarter of the brand's U.S. volume.

Taylor said GM could put the DTS on the Zeta rwd platform, which will be used for the coming Pontiac G8; merge it with the STS line; or keep it in its current form.

But in a separate interview, Lutz flatly stated that the DTS replacement should be rwd.

Most upper midwest retirees don't want a RWD car. Granted a FWD car is going to be panned in the car rags, but they don't have to sell cars, GM does. It's good that the domestics are rediscovering RWD cars, but putting all of their eggs in the RWD basket is as short sighted as making the entire line FWD, The key is making what your customer wants. GM is strongest in the midwest. It snows in the midwest. Many folks believe, with some justification, that a FWD car is better in the snow. If Gm doesn't make a FWD luxo-barge I'm sure that one of the Asian makers will be more than happy to sell their customers one. Southern California isn't the only market and BMW isn't the only competitor. Hopefully the execs realize that before they pull the trigger. Perhaps there is a reason that the FWD car is their best selling model.

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