What was supposed to be a send off and a nod from the last Cadillac exclusively branded V8 gasoline power plant to ever supplant a Cadillac that started an “American Standard for the World” almost a century ago, apparently will have a crash landing when it barely took off. It seems somebody at GM forgot to bring a tape measure to see if the now iconic but doomed hand built exclusive designed Cadillac Blackwing 4.2L V8 gas engine could fit on other platforms other than the also doomed CT6 it was initially designed for, when they designed the engine. It fits no where else for a Cadillac. This typifies the bigger problem at GM and for Cadillac I’ve been complaining about. I know Daimler would never have this problem, but it’s too late to find out, as Daimler has moved on to electromobility development while GM, the supposedly all electric brand, is still stuck on gas. How about powering the car with electricity? Maybe GM should just follow Daimler, and in GM’s case for their own good just stick with electromobility instead, what do you think?
GM Disposable Cars
I truly do wish Cadillac would have the same tenacity it shows in sacrificing its engine the way it should sacrifice their cars. They go through them as if they were disposable, not that many were worth saving, but at least replace them with improvements, starting with quality, that they don’t. This car was an exception, and it should be saved as it was last year, but this time not as a reprieve, but for permanency, something Cadillac seems to know little about lately, I just hope they replace their executives the same way as their cars.
They don’t even do what the other makers do and replace the car but not the name. How many generations of Accord are we on? I lost count. I’m still stuck on the Sedan deVille days growing up, then the transfer to DTS and STS when I was a young adult, don’t ask me about Cadillac names after that. They should have stopped there to keep the names not the cars if they wanted. I’m hoping for another reboot, and if there is, I suggest they harken way back to the glory years of the 1920’s and name their next flagship the Cadillac Phaeton for that particularly glorious 20th century car, and make one that lives up to the name and keep the name if you must rid the car.
They change models so often it seems Cadillac has no soul and it really doesn’t anymore. You cannot identify with a brand unless you’re familiar with its products. Chanel No. 5 is the impetus for Coco’s customers to come into her stores here in Beverly Hills either on Robertson or Rodeo Drive. There is nothing that brings me to a Cadillac retailer, other than nostalgia for my old girl, the Escalade, and she was a reaction to Lincoln Navigator, she didn’t even come into existence because someone like Harley Earl at the GM design studio had a Eureka Escalade moment.
That’s not good. And that’s me, an older person for a brand that’s trying to attract younger. I wonder what brings them in? The brand doesn’t even exercise leadership to stand for anything anymore. And frankly, Cadillac missed another moment where it could have connected its customer base to another great car it haphazardly created, and that’s the one they’re now looking to get rid of, the CT6. They’ve now hit such a low that they are cannibalizing the motor before the car, only that the motor doesn’t fit anywhere else they intended, that they didn’t figure this out beforehand. How on earth did this happen? Pathetic.
Ode to the CT6
This is another car, the already iconic CT6, the last gas car that will ever be a rear wheel drive V8 supplanted full sized boulevard Cadillac, “old school,” that has all the good stuff of yesteryear for us oldies, and lots of the good stuff for you younger folks. It’s a cross platform of a different kind, that allows a Cadillac traditionalist to have their billow and plush ride, and you few millennials into cars that want to have the V8 and suspension change with settings, to actually work like it was doing the straight away at the Mulsanne Straight or headed to Frankfort on the autobahn. That’s fine with me, Cadillac power was always wasted on a bloated car, but that was the point. You young ones found use for it. Cadillac was the American version of “the best or nothing,” that Cadillac seemed to have lost. This was an excellent compromise if there is one for CT6, and GM is itching to cancel this car. Maybe the car offered too many things to everyone.
Why Cadillac Became a Loser Brand
Maybe the reason why Cadillac is a sales loser and flagging brand is because other than Escalade, I really can’t connect with any of their other vehicles. I would have liked to have connected with this one. I even don’t know the names or designations of any of their other cars not even to care. This car for the life of me that I can’t figure why, is being cancelled, and it’s a great car and already is in limited production where it should be. Why don’t they just leave it there until someone orders one? This is how Daimler makes an S Class, as they don’t make much money off their flagship car. They make the E Class at Sindelfingen until someone orders an S. Maybe GM needs to get some production tips from Mercedes.
In GM fashion it’s being most likely nixed after what? Three years of production? I feel for the next car it replaces if there is one. But my sympathies run short with GM, it’s almost as if I’m being subjected to repeated rapid divorce that I just stop loving the next person before getting rid of them. But in this case the engine was supposed to be sacrificed, not the car, which makes me laugh. They even staved off the Kentucky Corvette people as they wanted dibs at the motor. The then Sieur de Cadillac, Johan De Nysschen who‘s since been fired from Cadillac nobility and went back to VW’s, wasn’t having it. It was by Cadillac for Cadillac, he said. Well?
They Sacrifice the Motor Not the Car
That tape measure could have come awfully handy to measure the incompetence and then see if the motor fits elsewhere. Truth be told, it seems it doesn’t. You’d figure it definitely should fit into Escalade, since it’s mated to a giant 6.2L, but no, turns out it can’t even fit in that bay as well! What kind of motor is this?
I need to back up a minute: shouldn’t this engine fit on ANY GM modular platform? These high tech frames are supposed make anything you want especially if it’s on wheels, even if it’s a house, seriously, so what’s the problem? I bet you if a tuner shop found a way to put this motor into a cramped bay, I’m sure GM could do it too, but these are the same people who roll their eyes at electric cars, then scratch their heads wondering why they’re having so many problems selling cars under their brand.
God Bless Escalade
Thank God for Escalade, the truck that’s supposed to be the flagship of the portfolio, that Cadillac treats like crap. She couldn’t help out her brand with Blackwing this time, but the utility vehicle and utility knife really, she is, she’s been there for the marque for other important things for four decades now. It’s a miracle this truck hasn’t ever been cancelled save for a line shut down in 2000 for retooling, as every other truck Cadillac has had in production since, has been cancelled.
Escalade is now Cadillac’s longest running production vehicle currently in its lineup, and Cadillacs usually haven’t lasted very long in the 21st century so far, either on the assembly line or in a garage for that matter. It’s a miracle this Caddy is still here. It is the last model they sell from the 20th century, and the only one left that actually has a name, not a designation, making it historic and unique. It is the first truck that was branded a Cadillac, an honor, and it will probably now be the last V8 powered Cadillac. It would have been nice to supplant her with Blackwing, but now apparently not even that will happen. And Blackwing, also made here by hand, will most likely never see the insides of a Cadillac ever again. Sad. The end. Ok let me wipe my tears for Cadillac. Wow, that was quick.
Because of the Trump Trade War and the optics of having the first electric Cadillac being made in China after a two month US labor strike that was about electromobility and jobs, it looks most likely unless GM switches production timetables, that Escalade will rise to the occasion, again, and step up for duty, to become the first full electric Cadillac in history. Made here, not in China.
Why Cadillac Can be Global, but Made in the USA
I get it with Buick. That’s actually a Chinese brand now. A Chinese Chevy still seems like an oxymoron although we’re also losing Chevrolet’s exclusivity to Americana, but a Chinese made Cadillac is something that really should never happen, unless GM also gives Cadillac to China along with Buick. Otherwise Cadillac should be reserved for assembly in the home market, since it is a flagship American brand. Even post bankruptcy, GM still has many other brands it can assemble elsewhere overseas. The best of the American brands should stay here. It is the same reasons why the French President’s state car is a Citroen or a Peugeot, and the American President’s a Cadillac lately, or a Lincoln.
An American made electric Cadillac is something Cadillac should already have done, and this was something I’ve clamored about for ages. Escalade’s truck frame is perfect for a battery pack. No more $100 fillups. What way to start a country, and a customer base quite frankly with electromobility, than with a big SUV we all know and love, and a car you’ve known almost with no major changes, for over 20 years in four decades?
Luxury Brands are Leadership Brands
What a sad way for GM to make a decision on their first serious electric car, I’m presuming. There was no leadership exercised here. It took a strike for these people who make this truck for GM to finally come to this conclusion and decision, like it was to make Escalade years ago, then a CT6, then an electric Cadillac, and then an American electric Cadillac, all afterthoughts, all reactionary. Cadillac is no longer a proactive brand, it is completely passive. Leadership requires boldness and originality. Cadillac used to be about setting a standard for the world. It’s seems Cadillac left the world behind.
America is already great. I don’t want to hear otherwise. If Superman constantly reminded us about his greatness we’d get so turned off about him that he could save the world from climate change and we wouldn’t care. When you are great, you don’t go boasting about it, you just go and do it. Cadillac doesn’t do that anymore. That’s sad. And this is why Cadillac is now an irrelevant brand. You must have passion to build something if you expect to be recognized as being good at building it. And when you’re good at it that’s when you become great. GM will never make a good electric car because it doesn’t have the passion to build them. How could they? You wonder if Cadillac still has the craftsmanship to even make gas cars! Good cars are only made when its makers have the passion to build them.
The Problem with GM Electromobility
Keep in mind these are the same people who’ll be making your next electric GM car, whichever model that is, home to the supposedly “all electric” brand to take on Tesla. Some day. A Cadillac gas engine that doesn’t fit into another Cadillac. Can they handle electricity? We are at year 9 of Model S, the very same Model S mind you, as it went no where that it didn’t need to, as the makers saw no need to compete against it, apparently/especially “all electric GM.” Bolt is four years old now. If Ford found the time with Mustang Mach E, GM certainly had the time to move on to the next car and sooner.
And they should have kept moving, because four years in since Bolt, and Cadillac has not one electric car to sell, and doesn’t even have a hybrid left. I never thought I’d see the day GM would have all these problems, but why doesn’t it surprise me?
The Problem with Marc Reuss’ CNN Editorial
Instead of recently wining in a CNN essay about how electric cars need to be “mainstream,” maybe GM President Marc Reuss needs to exercise leadership between him and his flagship brand, and help electric cars along to full adoption. Luxury brands are supposed to be leadership brands, they are our trend setters, and it’s Cadillac’s lack of leadership the last 50 years as to why people have no problem renting them at airports or in fleets, but certainly cringe about having one in their garage. It’s also a problem industry-wide. This is where I wish we had another John F. Kennedy. He wouldn’t stand for this.
It’s been 30 years of passenger hybrid cars and still so, years after the battery technology is cheap that we don’t need hybrids anymore. They were supposed to be transition vehicles, remember? The transition was way over. Lincoln fools its customers into thinking they’re needed like hot cakes! We keep using them while marginalizing ourselves. Thank goodness for electromobility, though in some ways it is, this isn’t about going back to space, as we’d still be stuck here!
These makers have absolutely no reason to be making electric cars with tiny batteries and paltry ranges anymore, none. Mini has a new 146 mile range and Mazda’s first is a shameful 125 miles. These people will adopt electric cars only when they behave like gas ones, and that’s not the way to help them adopt and inevitably, for the makers to make money. They are marginalizing electric cars we now are going to need after the sooner than expected phase out, that when they do this, they not only compromise consumer confidence but they marginalize themselves in believability, trustworthiness, and reliability as makers.
And a tiny battery gets run into the ground faster from constant supercharging. Never mind whether the batteries are recyclable, that even the industry will lie to you now and say that they’re not. They are repurposed recyclable. Go to Google and type Nissan Leaf Batteries Campers. It’s a whole new industry when these batteries are depleted. It’s the constant supercharging of tiny batteries these tiny batteries BEV owners will be forced to do, that’s the real waste and crime against the environment. right there.
Leadership requires risk, it requires being bold, and it requires decisiveness to say we’re finished with this technology, let’s move onto the next. That’s what President Kennedy was about. That’s what the industry is not about anymore. It has marginalized itself into tiny batteries, it stopped recognizing when it’s doing harm to itself.
Marc Reuss is so quick to complain about his fictional problems with electromobility when he and Cadillac aren’t leading the troops and the industry to do anything lately to help it along. Elon had a moment where he could have compromised and made a hybrid. He didn’t. Volkswagen, even though that was by court agreement, they put up a supercharger network anyway on their own. So has Tesla. Other than throwing money into a till to help put up a charging network, what has GM done lately for electromobilty? Other than Bolt and their Chinese Buick’s and the Chinese Buicks were the only reason they got in to give up gas, I see nothing. So Marc, don’t tell me about mainstream. Leadership is about making mainstream happen. Where, what and how are you leading electromobilty? Where is your passion? Where is your leadership?
Tesla didn’t put a gun to their heads. GM went all in with electrics voluntarily, but they did it for all the wrong reasons. At least Volkswagen wanted to turn a new leaf after Dieselgate. GM’s reason to go electric was only because of VW and China. That sounds more like passion to make money not necessarily a good electric car. They had lessons learned along the way, especially when they switched supply chains and laid off 14,000 US workers for Christmas. But 2023 is barreling in, and it’s serious time for GM electromobility, as the production phase of their 10 year plan soon will go into effect, a new GM electric model every month, and Tesla already will have at least four global factories up and running, years then, of already hitting the ground running. GM should’ve been right behind them. VW is. They are not. And I don’t think they care enough to want to be. That’s Marc Reuss’ real “mainstream” problem. And he plainly doesn’t see, the problems he complains about can be fixed if they were still such problems, if GM exercised leadership to solve them. They’ve been solved or being solved by Tesla and VW, and other makers, in that order.
GM needs to stop the excuses and the incompetency, and do their jobs. Cadillac can’t even make their own gas engine fit into any other Cadillac. Pathetic. How incompetent and embarrassing that is. What kind of message does that send?
The Coming Tsunami
I have been sounding the alarm, but there are still people who don’t take me seriously, and zero hour, Electric D Day, is soon approaching. If you think you’ll be driving your gas car into the 2030s you better think again. We have just entered into the last full decade of the gasoline car. With a shut down and phase out time table that starts in as little as six years for key makers, gas cars will be way gone sooner than you can say the phrase, “internal combustion engine.”
One hundred years ago the same industry that got rid of this invention that they’re now bringing back, did it within 10 years, without fail and a trace. Yeah, there’s a lot more gas cars now, but the industry has lots of more money to make and spend now, than they did then, and the resources too, to help them hurry this along and get rid of them now. The longer you hold onto a gas car, the more the chance they’ll help you to replace it. And here’s why.
The auto makers always intended to speed up their adoption and switchover timetable, and people would laugh and tell me hogwash. Again, the doubters are wrong. VW Group, not surprising, is leading the legacy side to the charge up electric San Juan Hill. VW Group recently announced they stepped up their industrial timetable by a staggering two years and an unbelievable 1.5 million cars, two years earlier. Instead of 2025, those cars will be out on the roads in just months from now, in 2023.
They are not playing games, folks. The time for gas cars is over. Gasoline cars are now officially obsolete in the year 2020. The real electric cars, the serious electric cars, are coming. You can step out of your hybrid now, and put your hands in the air. You’ve been liberated. The age of the full electric car is about to begin, now, in this decade.
So VW even though it’s by default, is exercising leadership. They’re putting their money where their mouths are. While VW will be working on their 1.5 millionth car, Cadillac according to their original timetable, planned on just the first Cadillac by then. Where’s Cadillac and Marc Reuss now? Oh I see, off somewhere making excuses why they haven’t made any new electric cars lately. The Chevy Bolt is a real electric car, I good car, I give them credit, because they’re not FCA, which is even worse on electromobility. I’ll get to them one day. But the Chevy Bolt is not a serious electric car, and GM needs a serious electric car to compete with VW Ford and Tesla.
Can you see where I’m going? The Ford Mustang Mach E is a serious electric car. The Chevy Bolt is a real but not a serious electric car. iPace is not a serious electric car. The Model 3 is a serious electric car. The Model S is another serious electric car. The next GM electric, and their first serious electric car, something with more than 300 horsepower and more than 300 miles of range if not way more, should come from Cadillac. It already should have been here.
Blackwing Swan Song
So Blackwing begins it swan song. What a disappointing ending to almost 100 years of V8 powered Cadillacs. After the war while Rolls Royce was still equipping cars with roll up windows no AC no power assist and a stick shift for an I-6 engine, Cadillac really was the superior brand. It was more chic to be seen driving an Eldorado Seville Brougham than it was a Silver Cloud. Cadillac were the ones who wrote the book on a car having V8 automatic, disc brakes, full power, tilt wheel, cruise control, ice cold AC, wiper delay, even the Twilight Sentinel to shut your headlights off, this was as far back as the early 1950s. Where is all of that now? How the hell did all this come to this? Rolls Royce was once the sh*t brand now it’s Cadillac. They now can’t even fit their own V8 into a modular frame car. Can some body go into the GM closet or basement and find me an old A body frame please? The original one. The one that Harley Earl used from 1936 that GM used until 1996. I’ll make a real Cadillac like they used to, hand assembled and crafted, like they did back in the day, like Rolls Royce still does.
I hope Corvette gets Blackwing. At least that’s what will be left of anything resembling a V8 sourced Cadillac. A Corvette with “power supplanted by Cadillac because it doesn’t fit in a Cadillac.” And I hope the Chevy people brought a tape measure with them for their sake. Someone at GM has to have common sense, I’m praying.
CT7, which was supposed to be an even bigger Cadillac wasn’t even cancelled before it began. In GM terms, it was aborted. I guess CT8 or 9 is the coming electric replacement, another even bigger Cadillac saloon Cadillac says it’ll be, unless Cadillac has a new designation. How did they go so far up the numbers to 6? I know 5 is smaller. I say keep CT6 until her electric sister comes. And this way Blackwing can still be around until GM puts the smog burners away for good.
Nothing personal with Marc Reuss. I’m glad he’s an engineer running the company finally, but he’s a gas guy, they all are, that’s the problem. Right now GM needs a bold electric guy, an electrical engineer, like Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, and treat electromobility like it was the space race of the 2020’s. Somebody to tell the Cadillac people to put their Blackwing thing in the closet, whatever that is, and show us a schematic of an all electric CT6 with 400 miles of range, 1000 horsepower, and 0-60 in 1.9 instead. It doesn’t need to beat EQS, just keep it on its tail. And he should want to see a prototype with an extended wheelbase rear seat package, LCD screens and a refrigerator in the back seat, something a Cadillac saloon hasn’t seen since they were on an A Body frame and coached into a limo, or just came straight from the factory as a Fleetwood. If Cadillac wants a serious comeback, and not just what it’s trying to do right now to come back, whatever that is, it doesn’t have to be a Phantom killer, going after Flying Spur however should be in their crosshairs. And my. girl Escalade needs to get out of the airports and like Range Rover, get a $300,000 version that goes after Cullinan. That’s why Caddy should treat her better.
And make sure when GM Electric Man or Woman is at the airport to ask for a Cadillac at the counter. And the answer should be “we haven’t seen a Cadillac in the pool in years.” When was the last time you saw a Flying Spur was at Avis? That’s what a Buick is for. Passion. That’s what I’m talking about.
To my GM workers: Like I am with anyone home and abroad who serves in some kind of uniform, it’s about you, the real and forgotten middle class, I love you all. I’m trying to get GM to make better electric cars you can assemble, I know they can do this. I thank you too for your service of keeping our American industry alive.
And Happy New Year Folks, to all.
EDIT NOTE 1/7/2020 1640 Hours Los Angeles- the original version of this report noted that post war Rolls Royce produced a V6 engine. Actually it was an I6 engine. AC thank you Marvin for the correction!
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Al Castro reports EV and autonomous news for Torque News. Please follow Al on Twitter at @SgtAlCastro, Facebook and Linkedin and o his TV and Radio show on podcast: You can also follow Castro on YouTube at Sgt Al’s Traffic Ticket Blog. Please send him tips for new stories.