We have read, continue to read, and literally see on the streets the evolution of Detroit Luxury.
What do we mean by Detroit Luxury? It gravitates around the historical luxury nameplates from Detroit, Cadillac, Lincoln, Buick, Mercury, Chrysler and so on...back in the day a few generations ago those nameplates exuded luxury, the same as what very different name plates exude today.
Lets agree that the remaining nameplates are Cadillac, Lincoln, Buick...with Mercury, Monarch, Oldsmobile, Imperial, DeSoto all gone.
Its fascinating to see how did entrenched luxury nameplates in North America become extinct, and others trying to resuscitate themselves?
Lets go back a few decades (mid 1980's), a major auto show in Canada, here is GM featuring the Cimarron, here is a German manufacturer featuring their new sedan (E Class) which subsequently became the benchmark of the planet. At that time the price difference between the Cimarron and this new sedan was marginal.
The crush of people on this new German sedan was so much that door panels were dented.
From a mechanical perspective, its the mid 1980's nothing is very sophisticated, side door beams, energy absorbing bumpers are as good as it gets, and ABS brakes were a quantum leap in technology. Minimal horsepower, and so on. It was easy for most manufacturers to be on an equal technology footing.
The elaborate 5 link rear suspension on the German sedan was almost identical to the rear suspension of the Corvette of the time.
The rest is history as they say...but here is Cadillac in the mid 1980's totally outdone, its doors blown off, by a manufacturer that during Cadillac's hey days barely existed in North America.
We could keep on going here...at some point Detroit (Cadillac) finally emerges from its stupor and embarks on a mission to regain a foothold in the luxury segment.
Since the auto industry abhors a vacuum, by the time Detroit wakes up from its stupor, not only are the Germans better entrenched, the Japanese have gained a foothold in the segment. Its not just the product, its the entire brand experience, from the dealers, the ownership experience and so on...Detroit is behind the 8 ball by a wide margin.
Detroit boldly embarks on a long term mission to reinstate some of their luxury brands.
As you would expect certain vehicles are inspired, other less so, but Detroit endures, marches on and progresses.
Remains the undisputed "Detroit" leader in the segment with inspired cars, and others less so, suffice to say that when a Cadillac is good its really good...although the missed generation remains a challenge to overcome.
We all know that its a popular luxury brand in China, and perhaps why the LaCrosse endures in North America. The Regal is phenomenal...the question remains...who in the market for an entry level luxury car understands a Buick, unless they can go back a couple of generations. Interesting enough the Verano, Enclave, Encore do very well.
To think that Alan Mulally at one time drove a Lexus! They are walking a precarious fine line with the new MKZ.
As you would expect all three do well with their respective CUV/SUV be it the SRX, Enclave, MKX.
What do you think?