What is Premium – the processing

It’s going to take a little while to take all of this in. There’s some huge contributions and thought packages in comments to the What is Premium post and I want to thank everyone who’s shared their ideas. It’s given me a much more tangible idea on how Caddilac’s perceived in the various markets.

I’d like to draw your attention to this Rant by Pete De Lorenzo at AutoExtremist. In this article, Pete’s covering the quest that Audi are embarking on to get what they see is their proper recognition in the US market, alongside BMW and Mercedes as equals rather than as a lesser German marque.

Saab should be on a similar track to Audi, albeit about 10 years behind. Saab are well and truly competitive in terms of power and torque, and especially on price. They’ve still got to address some of the quality issues that Audi have already got sorted, though.

It’s a basic re-establishment of the brand after some years of neglect in the past. A big part of that process is going to involve the forging of an identity in the premium market that’s separate from Cadillac’s place, if and where the two brands overlap. Of course, I’d prefer there was no clash to even think about, but this is the way the wind is blowing and I guess Saab are just going to have to deal with it.

I’m also going to email Pete De Lorenzo and invite him to address Cadillac in Europe in his rant column. I have no idea if he will as he’s more focused on the US market, but it’ll be very interesting reading if he does.

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7 Comments

  1. I would class BMW, MB and Audi in the same market so its interesting what role personal perception plays here. Hell Id go as to say that Audi has BMW and MB beat when it comes to the quality of its car interiors and this is where Saab really needs to smarten things up to get to that same level.

    Quirky and Saab always tend to appear in the same sentence but there is nothing quirky about the way the current cars perform. The current 9-3 is a gem, it looks classy, handles better than any A4 I have ever driven and is price competitive with your boring Japanese cars. The pre-06 9-5 was a handsome classy looking car that had not a single superfluous line on it but that all changed when the 06 came out. You could put a 300bhp twin turbo in the current car and sell it for USD30000 and it still wouldnt sell.

    Saab designers really need to get back to their Scandinavian roots and the spyshot of that 9-1 is the way to go as its instantly recognisable as a Saab!

  2. I agree with Zippy on the fact that the interior on current Saabs are below par. Dashboard knobs and knick knacks are ‘jigglier’ and more fragile than my ’86 900s… in today’s shape…

  3. This might sound strange, but the way a marque is viewed can be greatly influenced through product placement in films.

    The “new” Caddy announced its emergence in “The Matrix Reloaded” by having the bad guys drive a new-at-the-time Cadillac CTS and EXT. I think this was when Spenchian was running Cadillac before he moved to SAAB.

    The first “The Transporter” film had the protagonist drive a BMW, in the second he got an AUDI A8 W12.

    BMW Films’ “The Hire” series starring Clive Owen made various BMW models look good.

    James Bond has always increased sales of Aston-Martin (who would know of the marque if not for Bond?) and even BMW for a time. Too bad hardly anyone knows Bond owned a SAAB C900…

    So, I think that SAAB would be smart to fund product placement in some action film.

  4. Speaking of Audi… One should remember that it takes time to build a premium brand, at least in Europe. When I say “Audi “to my father, he laughs and say “oh, that old DKW crap”. Audi back in the 1950 and 1960 was everything but premium. Mercedes owned the brand, but managed to get rid of it to VW. They didn’t know what to do with it for 10 years, then introduced quattro. But, it took another 15 years before the brand started to get their act together and 20 years after the quattro thing it was premium. And still some people think of Audi as DKW…

    What I’m saying is, that Cadillac can be premium in Sweden in about 30 yers time. Cadillac (and Chevrolet and Chrysler and so on), stands for either beautiful old cars from the 1950 that you restore in the winter evenings and drive nice summer days – or cars from 1970 that stands for everything that was (is) horrible with American design and lack of taste. It will take time for people to forget that mental picture of American brands. A long time. Money better spent on Saab that has a history to be proud of.

  5. Now Hear This!

    A new mid range Saab 9-3 saloon is £20,000 pounds plus in the UK.

    So how come GM Cadishack are running adds selling their 9-3 derived things this week for £14,999 pounds!?

    Yes 14.9 K pounds – that is less than properly specced Ford Focus or a Golf. And it includes all the kit- air con climate, cd , alloys- the whole bath tub.

    Its probably even cheaper stateside.

    This is badge enginnering gone mad a la British Leyland. Its crazy. What sense is there in it other than to establish Cadsishack with low residuals and beat the crap out of Saab?

  6. lance: I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I’m betting they dropped the price so drastically because that’s all anyone is willing to pay for a BLS. They need to move product. Every auto magazine who’s covered the BLS has mentioned what a sales flop it is.

    What surprises me most though is GM’s announcement they’re coming out with a second-gen model. WHY? The first one was such a big hit they have to sell it for pennies on the dollar. Why think that there’s a market for a next-gen one?

    Maybe GM’s only making these things to justify the factory at Trollhattan?

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