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Can Detroit automakers deliver on big promises for their luxury brands?

Sep 30, 2014

Will Cadillac become a global luxury brand on a par with Germany's Big Three?
Credit User: Erik Daniel Drost / Flickr

 

These are challenging times for the executives who run the luxury brands at General Motors and Ford.

Lincoln has been on wobbly legs for years, and Cadillac is lagging behind the competition, especially the German luxury competition.

Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes has been following the Michigan automakers' struggle with the luxury business. He says these companies have largely failed to get luxury buyers to take their products seriously. 

"Lincoln has failed for a long time, in a large part because Ford was not willing to spend the money to make Lincoln differentiated enough. A lot of people will tell you today that Cadillac has got the best product, but the problem is the sales are not producing," says Howes.

Although automakers recently vowed transformation in the luxury department, Howes believes it's only another false start of overpromising. 

"The question we have to ask now is, how is this going to be different if at all? There's no question that it takes a very long time [to build a luxury brand] – not a couple of years or one product cycle, but multiple product cycles," says Howes.

* Listen to our interview with Daniel Howes above.