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Go Lutz Yourself: what luxury means in the modern era

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http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a25915/go-lutz-yourself-the-luxury-problem/

 

Cadillac was fine in the Thirties, Forties, and Fifties, and then it went downhill, along with Lincoln. That's going to be tough to get back. It can only come from focused and consistent messaging on the excellence of the car, and it's got to be accompanied by dynamite styling.

For Cadillac and Lincoln, the priority should be to build the best-looking full-size sedan in the world. If everything you do is the best looking with the best trim, the best leather, and the biggest wheels, the performance just has to be adequate. The car doesn't have to win every high-performance comparison test. It just has to be so compelling that it forces people to consider the brand. That's where the new
Lincoln Continental concept succeeds. It will have some people who have never considered a Lincoln saying, "Boy, this thing looks great." Then they'll drive it, and sure enough, it will likely drive great.

 


What he said in paragraph two above, is what I have been saying forever and a day.

 

Luxury cars should prioritize style and luxury, and of course, quality.

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I'm a bit confused by Bob's logic on a couple of points here.

First off, he criticized Cadillac's latest sedan offerings for not being huge sellers, then says that true luxury and ubiquity cannot coexist. Erm, ok.

Bob's argument has one other revealing flaw, summarized in this quote: "thinking in terms of the luxury experience totally escapes people who consider luxury dining Red Lobster instead of Big Boy." If Bob Lutz wants to use that analogy to describe faux-luxury that's fine. But he misses the point entirely when he then says that styling is the be-all and end-all regardless of what lurks under the skin.

Bottom line: if a mass-market restaurant cannot be a barometer of luxury dining, a mass-market chassis cannot be a barometer of luxury driving.

Sorry Bob. But you whiffed on this one a bit.

Edited by El Kabong

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"Luxury cars should prioritize style and luxury, and of course, quality."

 

Agreed. But that's not the only components that have been trending. Go read a pre-DTS road test from the late 90s, they were widely perceived as being 'behind the times' primairly due to roadability characteristics. 

 

That said, Lutz is wrong about Cadillac (and Lincoln) in the 60s and 70s. Oh, certainly one could poke at some details/quality, but overall they were still at the forefront of what those decades were defining as 'luxury'. You certainly weren't getting better materials in mercedes/BMW in the '70s. Cadillac's "downhill" trajectory began right about 1981, where you had serious quality blows at the hands of the 350 diesel, the V8-6-4 and the Cadillac J-Body car. ;)

 

If I were in charge of Cadillac planning, the Ciel, in sedan, coupe and 4-dr convertible, would have been in production as we speak. 

 

 

Bottom line: if a mass-market restaurant cannot be a barometer of luxury dining, a mass-market cannot be a barometer of luxury driving.

Well F-ing put!!

Edited by balthazar

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Seeing how Lincoln and Cadillac sales are both near the bottom rungs in terms of luxury brands, it seems both also need to revise or align their thinking and listen closer to the customer.  I just don’t think that $100K halo cars will do much for either of them.  Sure, it can help, but not like a upstart Lexus or Hyundai, who want to punch up their luxury image.  Everyone already knows the storied heritage of Lincoln and Cadillac. In 5 short years, I expect things to radically change for the luxury segment, and in 20 years, who the heck knows.  The usual clichés apply here, I know, regarding thinking long term and improving the image and such.  But I think there is much more too it, that both are missing.

 

I am excited for both brands to succeed, and both brands can help to propel and cleanse the overall image of both.

I love this industry.

Where else can you get such diversity in style, technology, fun, etc.  Certainly not NASA, LOL.

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Wow! Thanks for the advice Bob! Shame you never worked at GM had and never had an opportunity to put these ideas into practice! Cadillac would've been in awesome shape had you been around!

 

Boy, if only Bob was in charge when China debuted the Cadillac SLS. We all took one look at that interior, and were all like, 'wow, the STS' garbage interior is now even more garbage! Cadillac could've really used that interior yesterday!' But since Bob wasn't around, the STS and its interior that was outclassed by the less expensive CTS withered on the vine and remained on the market until 2012, delaying any hope of a competent Cadillac full-size vehicle for another half-decade or so. God, if only Bob had been there! 

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"Luxury cars should prioritize style and luxury, and of course, quality."

Agreed. But that's not the only components that have been trending. Go read a pre-DTS road test from the late 90s, they were widely perceived as being 'behind the times' primairly due to roadability characteristics.

That said, Lutz is wrong about Cadillac (and Lincoln) in the 60s and 70s. Oh, certainly one could poke at some details/quality, but overall they were still at the forefront of what those decades were defining as 'luxury'. You certainly weren't getting better materials in mercedes/BMW in the '70s. Cadillac's "downhill" trajectory began right about 1981, where you had serious quality blows at the hands of the 350 diesel, the V8-6-4 and the Cadillac J-Body car. ;)

If I were in charge of Cadillac planning, the Ciel, in sedan, coupe and 4-dr convertible, would have been in production as we speak.

Bottom line: if a mass-market restaurant cannot be a barometer of luxury dining, a mass-market cannot be a barometer of luxury driving.

Well F-ing put!!

Thanks, man. It was the very first thing that jumped out at me when I was reading the piece a while back.

And To be fair to Bob, even he admits that he could have it wrong. He concludes the piece with this: "luxury brands are getting harder and harder to define. I fully admit my own views on them are in a state of flux. Ask me on different days and I'll give you a different answer."

But, yeah. Whatever "luxury" may be in the 21st century automobile, cutting-edge engineering and technology must play a sizeable role. Cadillac, to its credit, now has this piece of the puzzle down cold. And the styling, while matured a bit from the '03 CTS, is at least distinctive.

Edited by El Kabong
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As per the last lines of his own article, it's entirely possible Lutz may disagree with himself.

Edited by El Kabong
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So Lutz thinks the Conti is more luxurious than the CT6.

 

Anybody disagree?

 

Lincoln%2BContinental%2BConcept%2BNew%2B

BTW, there are several mules running around Dearborn that I see frequently.  One of which parks a couple of parking lots away from my bldg.  I am happy to report, that the proportions you see here, are very much in check.  Wheel diameters are sized same. Wheel widths are massive when viewed from rear.  Interior details are also camo’d, oddly enough, but what I saw looks very close as well. 

 

I really think this car will be a break-out star for the brand, especially if they follow a trend of maintaining price value.  If this AWD-400hp-standard beauty maintains an MSRP price point of $60-65K, I think it will shake things up significantly.  People seem to be running in droves from large sedans to CUV’s, but Lincoln may have found the right ingredients to bring back the large sedan.

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I agree, the Lincoln Continental CONCEPT is more luxurious than the Cadillac CT6 PRODUCTION car. Unfortunately it's also on a FWD chassis, soooo...

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Only when the CD6 platform bows will we truly see if Lincoln can be a real luxury car brand again.

Edited by El Kabong
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IF… the Continental concept comes to market at 98% of the concept PROPORTIONALLY, I think Lincoln has an excellent chance of really turning heads & opening wallets.

I've seen same-angle shots of the concept and the camo'd mule together tho, and there are unquestionably differences to the naked eye. ANd those differences, IMO, 'mainstreamed' the sedan when that's the opposite direction from where this car should go. Let's see what debuts….

 

But yes; all the talk of the production CT6 being compared to the concept Connie is premature.

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IF… the Continental concept comes to market at 98% of the concept PROPORTIONALLY, I think Lincoln has an excellent chance of really turning heads & opening wallets.

I've seen same-angle shots of the concept and the camo'd mule together tho, and there are unquestionably differences to the naked eye. ANd those differences, IMO, 'mainstreamed' the sedan when that's the opposite direction from where this car should go. Let's see what debuts….

 

But yes; all the talk of the production CT6 being compared to the concept Connie is premature.

Agreed, there is a large disclaimer there.

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my opinion remains that the Continental concept is a turd.

WHY MUST YOU HOLD BACK YOUR FEELINGS LIKE THIS?

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So Lutz thinks the Conti is more luxurious than the CT6.

 

Anybody disagree?

 

 

 

 

I read the article and I couldn't seem to find where Bobby said anything like that. what he said.. and I quote:
 
"The car doesn't have to win every high-performance comparison test. It just has to be so compelling that it forces people to consider the brand. That's where the new Lincoln Continental concept succeeds."
 
 
As many have pointed out, he is speaking about a concept.. a CONCEPT, which has a duty, and responsibility to peak interest. That's its job. The XTS is, by Lutz's definition, confusing as it may be, the epitome of luxury then, even if it is FWD based. Hell.. the Lacrosse GL Concept from 2011 is as well. Back to the XTS... as that is what the Continental seems to want to be. Might I remind people that the XTS has been continuously denounced as a flagship despite it being  Awd, as large, as luxurious as  the German large luxo cars

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Let's see Lincoln or Cadillac put a V12 car on sale, then they can talk.  Until then they are 2nd tier.  Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Bentley, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi all have a V12 (or W12 for the VW group), Bugatti has the W16. 

 

I keep hoping Mercedes will stop putzing around with SUV coupes (that aren't really coupes) and make a McLaren P1 or Ferrari La Ferrari competitor.  They shouldn't let them have the hyper car glory, they beat McLaren and Ferrari every week in Formula 1, might as well beat them on the road too.

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"Luxury cars should prioritize style and luxury, and of course, quality."

 

Agreed. But that's not the only components that have been trending. Go read a pre-DTS road test from the late 90s, they were widely perceived as being 'behind the times' primairly due to roadability characteristics. 

 

That said, Lutz is wrong about Cadillac (and Lincoln) in the 60s and 70s. Oh, certainly one could poke at some details/quality, but overall they were still at the forefront of what those decades were defining as 'luxury'. You certainly weren't getting better materials in mercedes/BMW in the '70s. Cadillac's "downhill" trajectory began right about 1981, where you had serious quality blows at the hands of the 350 diesel, the V8-6-4 and the Cadillac J-Body car. ;)

 

If I were in charge of Cadillac planning, the Ciel, in sedan, coupe and 4-dr convertible, would have been in production as we speak. 

 

 

 

 

Bottom line: if a mass-market restaurant cannot be a barometer of luxury dining, a mass-market cannot be a barometer of luxury driving.

Well F-ing put!!

 

 

+1

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