GM’s Grudge Match

By Lloyd Graff

Stallone versus De Niro in Grudge Match

I’m looking forward to the Rocky redux coming out Christmas day called Grudge Match, starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, both playing aged boxers coming back for one more bout.

But just as interesting to me is the sight of the strutting, cocky General Motors, fresh out of bankruptcy, challenging BMW, Ford, Toyota, and even Tesla to a fist fight in the auto arena.

Right now GM is everywhere. I’m waiting for even Mike Tyson to start shilling for them. They have their own Italian stallion (mare) in new CEO Mary Barra, who is on every magazine cover but Playboy. GM is positioning Cadillac as the BMW killer, while dismissing Mercedes and Lexus as over the hill World War II vets.

GM is hyping Cadillac versus Tesla as though it is Eminem slugging it out with sexy little Taylor Swift. GM has noticed Tesla’s $12 billion market cap and wants to knock off the Elon Musk publicity machine with its own.

I think they are pegging the Ford F-150 as a future target with a Silverado attack, but for now it’s Cadillac against the sissy brands and then a comeback title fight against the “Ultimate Driving Machine.”

I’m fascinated by the GM approach, and I think we all can learn from it. Even if you don’t have all the money and the cards, act like you do. Be the Mouse That Roared. Guarantee victory over the favored opponent like Joe Namath did against the Colts in 1969. Play your hand like you have four aces. You may start to believe in yourself and become dangerous.

Question: Will Cadillac ever be “Cadillac” again?

Watch Johnny Cash sing about his Cadillac
in “One Piece at a Time.”

Share this post

23 thoughts on “GM’s Grudge Match

  1. Josh

    All I can say is that as a recent entrant into my thirties and someone born and raised in Michigan I have never ever aspired to own a Cadillac. I’ve had an eye for several “dream” vehicles since I was in high school and Cadillac has never been on that list. Sure, they drive nice and my Mom’s old STS had great traction control but eh. They certainly don’t put a twinkle in my eye or light a fire in my heart and I once had a soft spot for the 2001 Chevy Impala which is a pretty lackluster vehicle. From the Volkswagen Jetta to the BMW 325i my eyes have wandered over the years but have never fallen on a Cadillac and I don’t think I’ll be looking at one with lust in my eyes any time soon. Taylor Swift on the other hand…

  2. Kelly

    Your statement about GM “challenging” the other companies is not correct. If the other companies had taken billions in bailout funds from the taxpayer funded government and at the end of the deal had those same taxpayers coming up 10 billion short you would be accurate in using the word. This wasn’t the case. GM had to be bailed out because the company had been mismanaged. They make the same thing under different brand names and are chock full of waste, just like the government that bailed them out, in the process rewarding failure with survival. I like the way Ford and Toyota handled it. I drive Fords Audi’s and BMW’s. You’ll never see any GM product in my driveway or operating for my company because I’m against rewarding losers.

    1. Eric

      well said! In the end our government bailed out the union and the administration’s strongest supporters. This was nothing more than a huge political payback!

    2. Josh

      And yet I don’t see you complaining about the bank bailouts because they were “necessary.” As a resident of Michigan I’m thankful every day for the jobs that were saved and created by the auto bailout. It’s not just GM that would have been destroyed. There are hundreds of well run business that supply GM that would have been destroyed. There are approximately 1.3 million jobs that were saved/created by the auto bailout. Piss and moan all you want but the bailout prevented an economic catastrophe. The money spent to bailout the auto industry will become a profitable ROI for the government in under 3 years and yet everyone complains that the government doesn’t act like a business. The thing that really irks me is everyone was clamoring to save the banks because we’ve got to keep the fat cats happy but when it came to saving the jobs of over a million workers in the auto industry the general public wanted them to eff off. Apparently the jobs of 100 millionaire bankers are more important than 1 million people making $40,000.00 a year if they’re lucky.

  3. Eric

    Certain cars fall into certain categories. My opinion of Cadillac is they are cars driven by gangsters and pimps on one hand, and old people on the other hand. It sounds harsh but that is my honest opinion.
    Cadillac would have to do something pretty incredible to change my impression of the brand.
    For fun, here are some of my other brand equation examples:
    BMW – yuppie nerds
    Buick – African American yuppies, golfers and old people
    Pontiac G6 – 20 something woman
    Mercedes – doctor/lawyer
    Corvette – white male in mid-life crisis
    minivan(any brand) – married with 3 kids and own one because they have not cuz they want to.
    4X4 diesel pickup – hick, 20 something, white male who thinks a plastic “ball sack” hanging from his hitch is cool.

  4. Dick Crosby

    What i see on the streets with the Cadillac medallion on it is a far cry what Cadillac (and Lincoln) used to stand for. We’ve come a long way, baby. Down! At one time I did buy a 1950, two door Caddy for $1,500, from my former high school home room teacher, right after I got married for the first time in 1955. But my UP’r wife couldn’t handle the twin cigarette lighters on the arm rests in the back seat, and I took it back to him, and got my money back. It was a gorgeous deep forest green with fins on the rear fenders. It was simply too classy for a young , just married couple. It had 7,000 original miles on it. I sure wish I had it now.
    About 15 years ago, I did buy a creampuff Lincoln Towncar, and drove it for a few years.
    What a boat!
    GM owes us ten plus billion for that bailout we provided. Thanks, Obama!

  5. Rod

    I work on my own cars; I cannot afford to take them to a dealer. I’ve have owned three used Cadillacs over the years (wifes cars). As each one got newer they got more prone issues and harder to work on, i.e. Northstar coolant stuff you cannot get to without dropping the engine. I would own another Cadillac but it would be pre-80’s.

  6. Samantha

    I think having Mary Barra and Playboy in the same sentence( as you did) , has a very strong sexest undertone. Have a problem with women in power?

  7. Mike

    Cadillac will never be Cadillac again, in the eyes of all those who did not support the auto-bailout. If GM were to succeed it would mean Obama was right, so lets just label them losers and root for their demise. Thats what us true partiots believe.

    1. Eric

      Mike is correct!! As President Teddy Roosevelt(Democrat) stated, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official.” With all that I have seen coming from the Obama administration, I hope they fail, so that the country will survive and succeed!

  8. Lloyd Graff

    C’mon Samantha. You are so sensitive about women’s issues you missed the point. Mary Barra’s appointment as CEO is big news and GM is exploiting it as they should as part of its PR campaign. The GM and Cadillac brands have been so brutally damaged over the last three decades it is noteworthy to see them turn the ship, a mighty task, especially with he bankruptcy. I think it is silly to be so doctrinaire to refuse to buy GM products because the company took Government money. This is a new GM. Dan Akerson came from investment banking. I don’t think a Rick Wagner would have picked Barra. Remember how he boarded the company jet to fly to Washington to beg for a bailout. The theatrics are different now and I think the substance is different too.

  9. Mike F.

    Agree or not – the auto bailout saved jobs . . . for guys like me in a tool shop far enough down the food chain we would have closed with a wimper . . . or been closed by our bank.

    I think Cadillac is cool – i have never owned one but it has mystique and some neat vehicles. i suppose not everyone deserves a second chance (or third like Chrysler) but everything is not always fair either.

    Having served in desert storm i could pontificate on those decisions – but we elect our officials and really need to stand by and believe in them, including President Obama. I had never voted Democrat until the last election – knowing i would have been without a job not for the bailout. Thank-you.

    1. Mike

      GM announce the other day it will invest nearly $1.3 billion in five plants across the Midwest, creating or retaining about 1,000 jobs. Since the rescue, GM has announced investments of more than $7.3 billion in the U.S. and created or retained more than 20,000 jobs. Hard to argue the bailout was not successful from this aspect.

  10. Jeff

    In the past I would have rallied to promote the US automaker over the likes of BMW and other foreign manufacturers. In lieu of the GM bailout and the fact many of the overseas brands are manufacturing & assembling in the good old U.S. while putting our labor force to work AND (so I’ve read) on average paying our workers more per hour than the UAW, I have become a little less domestic loyal. In fact if you do the research many people “think” they are driving domestic cars that, due to foreign content, are actual considered foreign cars and vise versa. A Ford Fusion uses about 30% less US sourced parts than a Toyota Camry. The Camry is assembled here in the US, the Fusion is assembled in Mexico. As far as Cadillac goes I’m not a “gansta” or and “old fart” so I’m out.

  11. Seth Emerson

    People who believe in the “Government Motors” scenario, will believe it till the day they die. You won’t sell them “new GM” cars. GM is investing more money in the US economy than any of the other car companies (both as a dollar figure and as a percentage) They are also more likely to be building in the “American” arena (including for this point, Canada) than Ford or Chrysler, with very little importing going on. As painful as it was to watch GM go through the wringer of re-structuring, I think it was worth the American expense/investment, even including the money lost on the stock sales. I don’t think the “Transports” are paying UAW wages in the “New South” plants, but it is still good to see the cars being built and people being employed here. (Where do those profits go, though?) To those snubbing the new Cadillacs, I ask – If you won’t be buying one now, would you have been buying one back in 1989? Yeah, I thought not!

  12. Robert

    We, the Tax payers, shelled out $10 billion to the UAW which we will never get back. How about giving me some of my tax money back so I can start a machine shop Obama? At least I won’t hire intoxicated workers that couldn’t care less about product quality.

    1. Tom

      It sad to see so many people hate the American Auto Workers who produce American Cars & create more American Jobs down the food chain. The taxes paid buy GM & American Auto Workers has more than paid back the Tax Payers loans. So get over it. GM Cadilac is second to none. Just go look at the new ones.

  13. Bob Lindquist

    All I can say is that I’ve worked on many makes, models, and years of cars. Todays cars, of any make, are light years ahead in every aspect of anything I’ve owned or worked on in the past 40 years. Free market competition has improved those breeds. It’s also possibly the only time I’ll sall thank you for government regulation. Most of the time you get what you pay for. Many times outdated, uninformed perception, their wallet, and personal taste, drive a person’s vehicle choices. So be it. I love my Vette, Pontiac G8GT and Accura TL. They all have their days in the sun. Now if I could just splice that G8 under my old 61 caddy, put “Low Rider” in the MP3 player, left arm on the sill, sun glasses, cool…….

  14. DRB

    The new Caddy’s have been and are moving towards a car to be contended with. Even Ferrari and a few others are paying for the used (or trying to copy) of their suspension systems. The power, braking and handling is right up there with the imports and the pricing is much less especially for service and parts costs. Things evolve with time so pull our head out of the sand and look around every once in a while. You will be surprised to see the world is not flat. On the other hand, to each their own-right.
    Have you seen what Chevy has done on the German test track (Nurburgring) lately??
    how about the Caddy V??
    Just a thought while all the bashing is going around.

  15. Albert B Albrecht

    There was no option in regard to the GM bailout – too many jobs were ar risk – 1st & 2nd tier suppliers tool & die shops etc. GM has more than paid back their obligation in investments in new plants, and jobs.
    As far as Cadilac is concen it has yet to offer a truly full size luxury car – the same is the case with Buick.
    I still have my Buick Ultra, and newer LeCerne and have no desire to by the smaller LaCross – the same situation with Cadilac and its models.

  16. Jeremy

    Am I happy withe auto bail out ? – No. Did Ford restructure and deal with their finicial problems better ? – Yes. They also took money, just lower amounts, and before the crap hit the fan. I think the bail out should have broken the unions, which I see as the root of all evil. We are making parts for GM/Ford/Chrysler now at our highest level since 2006, so I cannot really argue that it should have killed GM, since I am gainfully employeed.
    Having personally worked on Dodge, GM and Ford cars and trucks, I prefer the older ones, pre 1997. In general I feel they are better made, and have less crap to go wrong. The 1997 thru 2007 trucks all suck eggs, styling was poor at best, cheap materials, poor fit and finish, and electrical systems were just a problem in general. Newer trucks of all brands since 2008 have been significantly improved, To the point that the dodge trucks are equal in my mind to the GM and Ford ones, which is a big improvement. I really wish the pontiac brand would have survived or be brought back, since it was actually a pretty good car with a rather strong following. Never cared for Saturn or Hummer. I have never been overly loyal to any one brand, as they all have their place, closest might be toyota which was reliable and easy to work on in the 90’s but have since turned into electronic gadgets in recent years. Loved my little simple pre tocoma trucks…why do those cost as much as a full size now anyway? Never been a Cadilac fan, more of status symbol than anything, and just does not appeal to a hick with a diesel truck – but no truck balz, that is just too redneck for me.

  17. JOHN

    I have enjoyed observing the growth of Tesla, watched Musk with early prototypes at trade shows, the first shop in San Carlos, the subsequent move to a larger facility and then the move to Fremont. If I were still working and needed a daily fuel efficient vehicle, the new Tesla sedan be my next choice. I have previously drove a 78 Sedan Deville with the bullet proof 425 to 325,000 miles before giving it to my brother-in-law, watched the 4100 series fail, prompting the further emergence of the BMW’s, Mercedes, Lexus, etc. . My 92 Eldorado was a nice ride, but had a failed head gasket and a very expensive replacement motor experience, not a great positive for GM. My last try is a 2002 SLS, weak transmission and engine seal leaks, a nice ride but. Recently chatted with a fellow filling up a new “little” boxy speed Cadillac, he was unhappy with the bouncy ride on California’s truck beaten pothole freeways.


Comments are closed.