CADILLAC DOESN'T EVEN BOTHER TO TARGET LINCOLN ANYMORE
GM Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, Mark LaNeve, recently provided a glimpse inside Cadillac's new advertising strategy in a conference call with industry analysts, according to the Automotive News.
LaNeve said "We need to build aspiration and do a better job at getting into the head of the Lexus, BMW and Mercedes owners and really solidify Cadillac from the standpoint of a worldwide premium brand . . .The new campaign is going to do that."
Notice anything missing?
LaNeve did not even mention Cadillac's traditional rival Lincoln. Lincoln simply doesn't rate as even a minimal opponent anymore.
No surprise there. Cadillac sold nearly one quarter million vehicles in 2005. Lincoln moved over one hundred twenty thousand fewer units. In short, Cadillac now sells almost two vehicles for every Lincoln sold. In the few sectors where Cadillac and Lincoln directly compete, Cadillac leads. Only Lincoln's long-neglected Town Car generated respectable numbers over the last full selling season available--providing over a third of Lincoln's sales alone.
Of course, the Glass House brainiacs intend to kill the Town Car and replace it with a V8-less, badge-engineered FWD/AWD.
Lincoln has completely yielded the sports-luxury field to Cadillac and its international competitors from Japan and Europe. Although some loyalists pretend that the underpowered Lincoln Zephyr is "sporty," Lincoln's line-up contains no real answer to Cadillac's XLR, CTS, STS or V-Series vehicles.
Eternal optimists some how believe the relatively weak 3.5 Duratec V6 will compete next year with a host of more powerful (and probably more fuel efficient) V8s and V6, not the least of which are Cadillac's highly-respected Northstar V8s. Fat chance!
Cadillac aggressively promotes itself in motorsports competition. The last racing Lincoln? Probably about 1954.
Given the long and somewhat intertwined histories of Cadillac and Lincoln (Henry Ford and Henry M. Leland shepherded both companies at different times), comparisons have always been inevitable. Except perhaps for when Cadillac lost its way under Roger Smith's radical "lookalike" FWD-based downsizing (which ought to trigger unfavorable comparisons with the "Volvo-ization" of FoMoCo's medium and large sedan line-up), Cadillac has been the stronger of the two. Yet in a few moments of clarity, Lincoln has rocked the luxury car world with an occasional counterpunch (such as Eugene T. Gregorie's 1940 Continental, Bill Stroppe's "Mexican Road Race" Lincoln Capris, or Elwood P. Engel's 1961 "Kennedy" Continental).
Nothing in FoMoCo's current "Way Forward" suggests any "Bold Move" to restore Lincoln or even arrest its current downward trajectory. So Cadillac need not worry about hearing "footsteps" out of Dearborn anytime soon.