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'Uh, boss...Cadillac's already better than BMW'

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'Uh, boss...Cadillac's already better than BMW'

05:53 PM

GM's new CEO, Dan Akerson, addressed the automaker's workers Wednesday for the first time since he stepped into the corner office Sept. 1, replacing Ed Whitacre. As part of his talk, Akerson said GM should build Cadillacs as good as BMWs, according to an Associated Press report that GM won't quite confirm.

How sad if he really said that. He's echoing the out-of-date bias of many car shoppers. Cadillac, data show, already is better than BMW.

The two most widely watched report cards of auto industry quality -- J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study (IQS) and Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) -- rank Caddy ahead of BMW almost every year. IQS measures things gone wrong the first 90 days of ownership. VDS measures problems with 3-year-old cars.

Remember, all those scores are on Cadillacs made by the "bad" GM before the Chapter 11 reorganization and government bailout last year.

In IQS scores back to 2005, Cadillac finished as high as third of some three dozen brands surveyed, and no worse than 13th (except for 25th in 2007). BMW, meantime, ranked 3rd back in 2005, but since then no better than 16th of about three dozen brands. (The exact number surveyed varies by one or two each year.)

So, Caddy beat BMW in VDS -- arguably more important to owners -- every year. And Caddy topped BMW in IQS except in 2005 and 2007.

Sure, but BMW will blow the doors off Cadillac, right? Apparently not. In a "run what ya brung" challenge race last October, Caddy's CTS-V took first, second and third. the highest-finishing BMW was an M3 in fourth.

BMW declined at the time to send a factory-backed car and driver because it was a GM-sponsored event rather than a neutral competitive setting. Still the showdown was open to all production-stock (unmodified) cars, so ,theoretically at least, it was a fair fight.

The participants were private owners and drivers. GM's included some well-schooled racing veterans.

link:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/09/uh-bosscadillacs-already-better-than-bmw/1

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GM's new CEO, Dan Akerson, addressed the automaker's workers Wednesday for the first time since he stepped into the corner office Sept. 1, replacing Ed Whitacre. As part of his talk, Akerson said GM should build Cadillacs as good as BMWs, according to an Associated Press report that GM won't quite confirm.

How sad if he really said that. He's echoing the out-of-date bias of many car shoppers. Cadillac, data show, already is better than BMW.

The two most widely watched report cards of auto industry quality -- J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study (IQS) and Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) -- rank Caddy ahead of BMW almost every year. IQS measures things gone wrong the first 90 days of ownership. VDS measures problems with 3-year-old cars.

Sure, but BMW will blow the doors off Cadillac, right? Apparently not. In a "run what ya brung" challenge race last October, Caddy's CTS-V took first, second and third. the highest-finishing BMW was an M3 in fourth.

BMW declined at the time to send a factory-backed car and driver because it was a GM-sponsored event rather than a neutral competitive setting. Still the showdown was open to all production-stock (unmodified) cars, so ,theoretically at least, it was a fair fight.

The participants were private owners and drivers. GM's included some well-schooled racing veterans.

What a biased, uninformed article.

Rating better in a quality survey doesn't make Cadillac "better". That is just one small measure of "better", and is much less important here than in family sedans. People don't buy BMW's because they are the most reliable car. BMW offers free maintenance for the first 4 years anyway, so that is largely irrelevant.

In the race challenge, the 3 Cadillac's that won were driven by professional race car drivers who know the CTS-V inside and out. The M3 driver was an amateur who had never raced competitively, and he beat every other CTS-V time.

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Yeah, and GM should build Cadillacs that PERFORM as well as BMWs. There are so many ways to go with that statement, someone is obviously bored with their life and trying to create a $h!storm where none really exists. I wish I had the leisure time that Chris Woodyard and the USA Today editing team obviously have, though of course I'd only take it and get bored with my life AFTER thoroughly fact-checking articles that are, you know, the core part of my job.

Useless fools.

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What a biased, uninformed article.

Rating better in a quality survey doesn't make Cadillac "better". That is just one small measure of "better", and is much less important here than in family sedans. People don't buy BMW's because they are the most reliable car. BMW offers free maintenance for the first 4 years anyway, so that is largely irrelevant.

In the race challenge, the 3 Cadillac's that won were driven by professional race car drivers who know the CTS-V inside and out. The M3 driver was an amateur who had never raced competitively, and he beat every other CTS-V time.

Free maintenance is great. The warranty is good too.... until you need to use it frequently.

My Grandmother with the 7-series (her second one) is returning to Buick at the end of her lease because she is tired of knowing the service department personally.

While that M3 driver may have been amateur in that he never raced competitively, he was professionally trained. And he was in a manual M3 while Lutz was in an automatic CTS-V

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As a lineup, most BMWs are better than the equivalent Cadillac - if there is one - but Cadillac does have a few standouts, notably the CTS-V. It sounds like GM is improving Cadillac to be competitive on more fronts; the ATS, for one, is a great idea. Eventually we might even see a 7-series competitor.

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Akerson is right, Cadillac should build vehicles as good as BMW. But GM/Cadilac have been claiming Cadillac competes with or beats the Germans since the late 1980s and Cadillac market share has gone down steadily ever since.

Compare BMW and Cadillac:

1-series: not a segment Cadillac is in (and they don't need to be)

3-series: no current competitor, we'll see what the ATS is

5-series: CTS-V can beat an M5 in track performance, but not in luxury or technology. 528i/535i/550i are better than a CTS V6

6-series: (or Gran Coupe/8series) Cadillac doesn't compete with

7-series: Cadillac doesn't compete with

Z4: Cadillac has no convertible

X3/X5: SRX is priced like an X3, but the X3 is smaller, quicker, better handling. X5 is better equipped and has a 550 hp option

BMW builds no competitor to the Escalade.

STS and DTS don't even fit into the equation anywhere, the STS is so much worse than the 5-series it isn't even worth discussing. When you look at the lineup top to bottom, Cadillac isn't even close to BMW right now.

Perhaps the biggest problem now and what has been for the past 25 years, is Cadillacs are for the most part build on platforms designed for other American market only cars. The GM parts bin doesn't have platforms that line up to the 3,5,7 Series sizes. So Cadillac has always had oversized, overweight sedans, and mostly FWD until 2003. Even now, with the XTS, they had to put it on Epsilon, and the SRX on Theta (or Theta/Epsilon) because that is what GM has in the parts bin. Those platforms aren't designed to compete with BMW, they are designed to compete with Toyota and Ford.

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One other large problem, is Cadillacs (since at least 1970) are ALWAYS designed with cost in mind. GM knows right off the bat they can't get Mercedes money for a Cadillac, so the bean counters immediately nickel and dime the car in order to keep the price down. A fundamental change needs to happen where Cadillacs are made to be the best car in the world, not made with cost cutting in mind because they know 12 months after launch the $3500 cash back sticker is going on the windshield.

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Akerson is right, Cadillac should build vehicles as good as BMW. But GM/Cadilac have been claiming Cadillac competes with or beats the Germans since the late 1980s and Cadillac market share has gone down steadily ever since.

Compare BMW and Cadillac:

1-series: not a segment Cadillac is in (and they don't need to be)

3-series: no current competitor, we'll see what the ATS is

5-series: CTS-V can beat an M5 in track performance, but not in luxury or technology. 528i/535i/550i are better than a CTS V6

6-series: (or Gran Coupe/8series) Cadillac doesn't compete with

7-series: Cadillac doesn't compete with

Z4: Cadillac has no convertible

X3/X5: SRX is priced like an X3, but the X3 is smaller, quicker, better handling. X5 is better equipped and has a 550 hp option

BMW builds no competitor to the Escalade.

Also, Cadillac doesn't have an X1 or X6 competitor.

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Also, Cadillac doesn't have an X1 or X6 competitor.

I forgot about those 2, the X6 is a niche vehicle, Cadillac can't be in every segment. They need to focus on small, medium, large rear drive sedans (coupe and wagon variant like on CTS), a couple SUVs and a convertible or roadster sports car. But that means new platforms purpose built to go after those segments. Not trying to retro-fit the G-body, Y-body, or Epsilon and turn it into a German competitor.

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Free maintenance is great. The warranty is good too.... until you need to use it frequently.

My Grandmother with the 7-series (her second one) is returning to Buick at the end of her lease because she is tired of knowing the service department personally.

While that M3 driver may have been amateur in that he never raced competitively, he was professionally trained. And he was in a manual M3 while Lutz was in an automatic CTS-V

Don't make it sound like the BMW will fall apart as it rolls off the lot. Being down in a quality survey only means that there's potential that a BMW owner might have to take his or her car to the dealer an extra time. Both owners will be making trips to the dealer already, and both cars are likely to have a problem or two anyway (if you believe the surveys).

There is a good post about the M3 driver here. His impressions here. I'm sure you read this already back when this competition was brought up. Attended skip barber racing school, probably hits the track up on occasion during the weekends (he doesn't say), his last trip to the track was 3 months prior to the Cadillac event, he had never been to that track before, he only had 2 total laps to set his time, and he only had 5-6 laps total prior to that to learn the track. Forgive me if I missed anything but I just skimmed over it. That's not much compared to a retired professional driver who is now Cadillac's test driver for the CTS-V and has probably (though I don't know) driven that track before.

The automatic CTS-V is faster than the manual, both in straight-line acceleration and on the track (the record CTS-V Ring time was set in an auto). The auto would also be more consistent on the track. The M3 driver drove the CTS-V after and thought it was very fast, commenting that it would probably beat the M3 on the track. I think that was probably just a psychological effect of driving a different car that you aren't used to.

I really don't give a hoot who is better, Cadillac or BMW, or on what measure they are better. I am merely responding to this horribly concocted usatoday article.

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I'm not saying BMWs fall apart rolling off the lot.... but she's going back to Buick after her two BMWs had lots of problems that her two Park Aves didn't. The dealer got her out of her first 7-series lease early and put her in a new one. This is a woman who put up with a 1979 Custom Cruiser Diesel for something like 9 years and certainly had means to trade out of it if she needed to..... her pain threshold is fairly high.

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Hopefully the new ATS will be good enough to compete with the 3 series. here is what id do with Cadillac

ATS, to be built on new Alpha RWD platform.

CTS, keep the same

SRX, keep the same

XTS, to be built on the epsilion platform, replaces DTS and STS

ZTS, build it on a new RWD platform, top of the line model to compete with Lexus LS and BMW 7 series

roadster, a small two seat convertible, possibly built on the Alpha platform.

Escalade keep the same,

ZRX, a version of the GM full size crossovers.

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German car reliability isn't horrible, it isn't great either. I find it tolerable, but I have also owned Japanese cars which are a lot better.

Let me put it this way...

I have a 5 year old M-B C55. So far I have had the following issues:-

  • Alternator went out ~42,000 miles; low battery warning that won't go away was able to drive to shop - replaced alternator
  • Crank position sensor went awry; once every 2~3 weeks car will crank strong but won't start - replaced that
  • Rear Driver side door mechanism broke; can't open door from inside - left it alone for now
  • Driver Side upper back seat heater failed; bottom cushion heater still works - left it alone for now
  • Transmission wiring harness 14-pin connector leaks oil -- replaced that $16 part
  • Rear right alloy wheel rim cracked; hairline crack, leaks air slowly -- repaired the wheel via welding on the inside
  • Optic fiber linked stereo acts up once in a while (~1 in 50 starts) no audio display in instrument cluster or control from steering wheel buttons -- left it alone
  • Optic Fiber linked stereo acts up differently (~1 in 100 starts) amplifier seems disconnected; no sound at all, recovers the next time you start car -- left it alone

As you can see, this isn't exactly stellar, but I find it tolerable in the sense that nothing catastrophic went wrong and all the fixes were under $600. Those that I didn't fix cost thousands to fix and aren't critical.

Having said that we have also had a Camry, a Civic and two Acuras in the house in the past 15 years. The latest, a 2008 TL is still around. Of these four cars, over a total of 24 car-years and about 300,000 car miles, we have had ZERO repairs outside of oil, brake, light bulb, battery and tire changes. Nothing ever broke, not window mechanisms, not door locks, not the electrical system, not the drive train... NOTHING. Yes, by it's 9th year the Civic was seeping a little oil from the valve cover gasket and it probably needed a little adjustment to the screw set valves. But, you can leave these alone probably for another 5 years and not have them be objectionable.

GM doesn't have to have a perfect reliability reputation or record. Germans were very successful at selling cars that didn't. The right performance and styling is probably more important at drawing in new buyers. But, it cannot be known for being especially bad.

Edited by dwightlooi

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Hopefully the new ATS will be good enough to compete with the 3 series. here is what id do with Cadillac

ATS, to be built on new Alpha RWD platform.

CTS, keep the same

SRX, keep the same

XTS, to be built on the epsilion platform, replaces DTS and STS

ZTS, build it on a new RWD platform, top of the line model to compete with Lexus LS and BMW 7 series

roadster, a small two seat convertible, possibly built on the Alpha platform.

Escalade keep the same,

ZRX, a version of the GM full size crossovers.

This is what I'll do...

ATS, to be built on new Alpha RWD platform.

CTS, keep the same

SRX, keep the same

XTS, to be built on the epsilion platform, replaces DTS and STS

ZTS, build it on a new RWD platform, top of the line model to compete with Lexus LS and BMW 7 series

roadster, a small two seat convertible, possibly built on the Alpha platform.

Escalade keep the same,

ZRX, a version of the GM full size crossovers.

Take all the money saved and pump them into the ATS and the ZTS.

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Free maintenance is great. The warranty is good too.... until you need to use it frequently.

My Grandmother with the 7-series (her second one) is returning to Buick at the end of her lease because she is tired of knowing the service department personally.

Yeah, what's up with that? This woman at work had her "Bimmer of the week" because her 7 was in the shop every other week. She got to try the whole lineup practically.

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It's what you don't ever hear about, because those spending 10s of thousands over value because of a badge need to preserve their affirmation of choice.

In other words; it's poo-poo'd.

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