The rise of German brands

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by 8bit, May 20, 2006.

  1. 8bit

    8bit Member

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    There was a time when brands like Cadillac, Lincoln and Imperial were considered the ultimate in prestige/upscale image, then that shifted to cars made by German manufacturers. When exactly did that transition occur and were certain models responsible for the change? :confused:

    1975 Caddy Seville (206 inches long, 4,300 lbs) $12,479 180 hp, 0-60 mph 11.5 Vs 1975 BMW 530i (190 inches long, 3,300 lbs) $9,187 176 hp, 0-60 mph 8.7 seconds.

    Seville

    [​IMG]

    &

    BMW 5 series

    [​IMG]
     
  2. DK

    DK New Member

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    merc has always been > cadillac.

    who outside the US would even consider buying a cadillac?

    its not like that was any different fourty years ago.
     
  3. MrBucket

    MrBucket OT Supporter

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    yeah my dad and his dad owned big mercs back in the 60s and 70s
     
  4. Chris87

    Chris87 flatoutperformance.com

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    Sounds like a school essay topic.
     
  5. 8bit

    8bit Member

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    In the 60s & 70s you would be in the minority, albeit a growing one, if a luxury car was chosen outside of the big three. I would have put the shift a bit later to the launch of the W126 S class of 1981.

    1975's battle of the silken giants
     
  6. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Cadillac fell from grace when the division was put under the control of a man who opersaw Chevrolet (I forget his name), and treated Cadillac like Chevrolet. Make cheaper and attainable cars and put one in every garage. Cadillac's quality and image plummeted.
     
  7. Brigante

    Brigante i'm a lurker without an avatar, deal with it

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    it's odd though that cadillac ranks amongst the highest in quality amongst american brands. i agree, they're image has plummeted but not quite so much as lincoln.
     
  8. m3m750

    m3m750 Kickin' it old school

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    Ahhh, the "all new" Cadillac Cimmaron...
     
  9. 8bit

    8bit Member

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    The Cimarron was benchmarked against the BMW 320i and Audi 4000 of those times (this was back in 1980/81). Those fuel injected stick shift I4 imports were popular prestige choices amongst younger buyers, and Cadillac/GM thought it could cook up a competitor based on the J car. That's why the first models had the Iron Duke TBI 2.5 and 4 speed. Cadillac didn't get many conquest sales.

    :sadwavey: :p
     
  10. thedguy

    thedguy New Member

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    Cadillac went to shit when they stopped making cars like the '58 Eldorado, one of the most technologically advanced cars in it's day (cost GM twice as much as they sold it for even):
    [​IMG]

    And turned it into this: the 1985 Eldorado.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    The Germans took over the high-end car market in the US when people started realizing that Detroit hadn't innovated in any aspect of vehicle design in decades -- not in engine technology, not in suspension technology, not even in headlight technology. Hell, they STILL use rigid rear axles on their RWD cars; there is no excuse for that nowadays. The big news out of Ford right now is that they have a new engine with 3 (count 'em!) valves per cylinder. Congrats to them -- they finally made it to 1988.

    Meanwhile, BMW has replaced its entire throttle/valvetrain with a system that controls breathing through an infinitely-variable valve lift and timing system that makes even Honda's famed VTEC look cheap and ineffective by comparison. And then, once they got it to work, they put it in every engine they make, even in the low-end models, so everybody gets to enjoy better performance.

    The Germans and the Japanese actually bothered to try new things from time to time, picked out the best of the new ideas, and sold them to the sort of people who make up 95% of the car-buying market, instead of reserving them for special re-issues of old GT racers or muscle cars.

    Did you know that Mazda exists today because they bought the rotary engine from the Germans, made it work properly, and put it in their first sports car back in 1953? Yeah, that's right; the ergonomics leader of the Eastern world started off with an engine that even the Germans couldn't make work, to say nothing of Detroit. While Detroit was busy debating whether people would assume that small cars were cheap cars and putting drop-in gas tanks in the trunks of their newest models to save a few coins (get tail-ended and the gas tank jumps up, flies through the rear windshield, and sets everyone on fire..great family fun), the former Axis powers were making names for themselves by doing things that worked well instead of poorly. In case it hasn't occurred to anyone, it's that same dedication to efficiency and effectiveness (and in fact, the same companies too) that gave us a run for our money in WWII.

    So how does Detroit respond to the threat from abroad? Come up with their own good ideas? No. First they lobby like hell for huge tariffs on import cars, then when that doesn't work they buy a bunch of european carmakers, force them to degrade the quality of their cars by using Detroit's shitty parts, dream about how they're going to be able to profit from using cheap parts in expensive cars, and in the process they drag the euros down into the same hole that the domestic car market has been sitting in for the past 30 years. If I owned a european car company, I'd be begging Volkswagen Auto Group to buy my company before Ford or Chevy got hold of it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006
  12. 8bit

    8bit Member

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    I have long believed that a Caddy from before 1965 is a higher quality vehicle than one from after 1965 when the idea of bigger, if not better, took hold. Compare a Series 62 DeVille against a DeVille from the late 70s and the older car would be the winner if they could be compared in a new state in terms of defects from the factory. I also don't buy the line that quality suffered because the younger cars had more features and gadgets cos the 50s/60s models were loaded with power accessories too. At some point quality was put to the sword. Like when they decided to build Corvettes to the same std as any other Chevy, thank God they reversed that decision.
     
  13. CalSpeedRacer

    CalSpeedRacer i lurk

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    For japanese luxury it was definitely the 1st gen (1986-1990) Acura Legend and the 1st Gen Lexus LS400 (1990-1994). One coudl argue that the Acura Legend is the reason why the Japanese are in the luxury market. Honda proved that the Japanese could compete and win against luxury euro and american cars. Lexus took it one step further with the LS400.
     
  14. thedguy

    thedguy New Member

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    Doesn't Mercedes still use 3 valve heads on their v6 and v8's, except that new 6.2/6.3?

    The Cadillac's all have IRS. The Chrysler/Dodge cars are all using IRS. Not sure if Lincoln or Mercury still have RWD cars at all.

    Mazda like everyone else licensed the rotary from NSU, NSU held the patents well into the 70's even after the VW buy out. The Mazda sports car your talking about was the Cosmo, it didn't hit till '67. Wankel was still working on prototypes in '53.
     
  15. 8bit

    8bit Member

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    History strikes again with the Japanese vs Euro luxury battle similar to that between US & Euro 15-20 years earlier, except this time Euro is the establishment to beat. Just like Cadillac, Lincoln the Euro brands got complacent and took their eye off quality, but, it seems like Lexus have slowed down in the last 5 years. In the early to mid 90s it seemed like the LS400 & Infiniti Q45 heralded Japanese dominance, but that hasn't completely happened. Lexus seems to be stagnating.:hs:
     
  16. DK

    DK New Member

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    merc doesn't "still" use 3-valves. they had four valved engines in the late 80s (190E 16V, 300E-24V etc.) they keep going back and forth in terms of valve numbers. maybe some mechanic/engineer can explain why.
     
  17. MrBonus

    MrBonus Et Tu, Brute?

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    German brands have always stood for luxury.
     
  18. MrBonus

    MrBonus Et Tu, Brute?

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    Except for VW.
     
  19. DK

    DK New Member

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    when i win the lottery ill buy mself a mansion, an eastern european bride and a phaeton.

    :noes:
     
  20. Tvan

    Tvan New Member

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    So, I take it you weren't first in line for the Phaeton? :rofl:
     
  21. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    You do NOT want an east european bride. Unless you like rampant codependence, of course.

    - - -

    I may have been wrong about the date the Cosmo was released, but Mazda nonetheless staked their future on an innovative technology, just like every non-American car company has had to do at least some of the time. Meanwhile Detroit seems to think it can get away with selling outdated crap to people who don't know any better, and thank God they're finally being proven wrong.

    Okay, so Cadillac has independent rear suspension. How many of those cars are RWD? IRS is easy to implement if there's no driveaxle. And Chrysler doesn't count as an American car company anymore, not since Daimler-Benz took over; that deal was the best move Chrysler made in the past 30 years, if you ask me -- even if it DID result in the PT Cruiser. The Crossfire more than makes up for that initial goof-up.
     
  22. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    several caddys are RWD, actually. The CTS in 4-wheel independent, rear wheel drive. The STS is 4-wheel independent, rear wheel drive -- standard, with optional rear-wheel-bias all-wheel-drive. The XLR is rear-wheel drive, 4-wheel independent. The SRX is rear-wheel drive, 4-wheel independent. Escalade is rear-wheel drive, solid axel -- standard, with optional rear-wheel bias all-wheel-drive. The ESV is all-wheel-drive with rear-wheel-bias, solid axel. The EXT is all-wheel-drive with rear-wheel-bias, solid axel.


    Of all the cadilac models, only ONE is not RWD. And of all the cadillac models, only their "traditional SUVs" feature a solid axel... For payload and towing capacity.
     
  23. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    Ford bought many euro brands, and has typically borrowed technology from them instead of trying to take them over. Volvo, is an example. The pre-2004 S40 is a joke, but other than that, they have been left mostly-untouched by parent-owner, Ford. And even with the S40, Ford let volvo fix the problem in 2004.5 with the re-designed S40 (and companion, the V50) which can be described as "sex on wheels".
     
  24. zanadu

    zanadu OT Supporter

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    Indeed, but all that is recent. Cadillac has re-invented itself (starting with the CTS) to combat BMW/Merc/Lexus.

    Rewind to 1995, all their cars were FWD.
     
  25. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    who said anything about yesterday-land? The comment was that Caddy didn't have many RWD, independent-suspension vehicles... Which is false.

    deusexaethera was doing what he does best : spewing shit that he has NO clue about.


    Caddy (along with all of GM, Ford, Chrysler) were on top of everything, with no competition... They got lazy, and the upstarts took their market share... GM was among the most lazy of the group, and they got hurt the most, imho. But now they're starting to wake up, and we're getting some exciting products from them, again. All of Caddy looks good, to me. Fuck I want a STS-V. They killed oldsmobile, which needed to be done. The GTO is out. Not as exciting as I would have liked, but definitely a step in the right direction. G6, another near-miss, but a step in the right direction. The Cobalt hits where it needed to go. The new Tahoe/Suburban are a success. The GMT platform seems to be a decent base. Fully-boxed, hydroformed frame, finally. Now just get rid of the shitty 4L60E and GM 10-bolt, and we're talking some business. I don't get why GM doesn't switch everything over to the 6L80. The Corvette is looking good. Overall, all the remodels are getting more into grove with what a car SHOULD be. Ford definitely hit home with their new F150 (again, shitty tranny, tho)

    Guys, you need to look at Toyota. They're having problems now. What used to be a better "value" with "reliability" being unsurpassed is going down the drain. Reliability is on a crumbling wall, imho.

    Does GM currently have what it takes? No. Are they getting closer to the right path? Yes.
     

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