Let me start off by apologizing to my fellow Cadillac owners, Buick owners and senior citizens.
Not long ago, the average Cadillac owner was born during the Triassic period. Cadillacs came standard with an AARP membership and were limited to a top speed of twenty miles per hour. Most were white, beige, eggshell or buff and ordered with a column shift and a bench front seat. Common dealer-installed accessories were landau tops, wire rims on whitewall tires, and an automatic Metamucil dispenser.
In the early 2000’s GM realized they the majority of Cadillac customers were about to drive over the rainbow bridge and they’d be left with no consumer base if they didn’t revitalize the brand to appeal to a younger market. Bob Lutz, CEO of post bail out GM, touched on it in his book. Buick, faced with the same problem as Cadillac, produced the same insipid cars yet attempted a multimillion dollar ad campaign to convince us that Tiger Woods drove a Buick. Needless to say, no one bought it. It’s hard to believe that Tiger’s car of choice was a beige blob with a Buick ornament, effectively proving to GM corporate that even a young athletic pitchman can’t sell a stereotypical old man’s car. Clearly, Cadillac needed more than an ad campaign to salvage the brand. While the introduction of the Escalade in 1999 helped by adding rap stars and wannabes to the Cadillac consumer base, Cadillac’s cars were not selling and were seen by consumers as the equivalent of pairing black socks with sandals.
In 2013 Macklemore released their landmark song "White Walls" which was catchy as hell and hilarious because it portrayed every Cadillac stereotype. I'm imagine the 80+ Cadillac owners were oblivious to it and the GM marketing execs liked the publicity but not the source it came from.
Zip forward to today, and Cadillac is the proud manufacturer coupes and sedans knocking on the 500+ HP door with such features as direct injection and active rev matching. While previous Caddies were equipped with marshmallow on spongecake suspension, the V series uses dampers filled with magnetorheological fluid, which adjust every millisecond to respond to road conditions and driver input.
In terms of foreign competition, the Germans have traditionally dominated the sport sedan market with the hand-built Mercedes AMG sedans and BMW M series. Cadillac’s V series is making Germans shake in their lederhosen, rivaling Mercedes, BMW and Audi sport sedans in athletics, design and price.
Interestingly, both Cadillac and Tiger Woods’s current reputations have completely changed. Cadillac has transformed its brand from “The standard of retirees and some rap stars” to the “new standard of the world,” until they changed their slogan again to “Dare Greatly,” whatever that means. Fortunately for Cadillac, their new “bad” image saved the company from the same fate as Pontiac and Saturn, while Tiger’s new bad-boy reputation lost him sponsorships from Nike and Buick. However, like Cadillac, Buick is attempting to revitalize their brand image, so Tiger’s new persona may be exactly what they’re looking for.