Consumer Reports recently released its annual car survey. It covered data from more than 420,000 vehicles. The study looked at the reliability of 30 auto brands. An American luxury car brand fell to the bottom of the list. This brand was already struggling.
Consumer Reports looked at 17 potential problems. At the top of the list were the most serious problems: major engine trouble, engine cooling, transmission issues and drive systems. These are the major components that make a car run or not run well. The research covered cars from 2000 to 2019, and some models released for the 2020 model year. Based on all this information, General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) luxury Cadillac brand was at the bottom.
In general, luxury car brands did well in the survey. Of the top five spots, three were luxury brands. These were Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand in first place, Porsche in third and Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis in fifth.
Cadillac, once among the best-selling luxury car brands in America, now operates in the shadow of the sales of Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and Audi. It also has to vie for luxury sales with Ford’s Lincoln, Genesis, Porsche, Nissan’s Infiniti and Honda’s Acura. Total Cadillac vehicle deliveries through the first three quarters of this year rose only 2.2% to 115,695. If it were not for the new XT4 compact sport utility vehicle, Cadillac deliveries would have fallen. The model had deliveries of 23,092 through the first three quarters, compared to deliveries of 212 in that time last year. The new XT6 large SUV had deliveries of 4,390 in the first three quarters, compared to none last year.
GM has been able to do nothing to jump-start Cadillac’s sales, which begs the question why it keeps the brand at all. Reasons for Cadillac’s problems range from being considered an “old people’s car” to perceptions of reliability compared to Japanese and German luxury cars. The new Consumer Reports results would support the second of the two. These are the best and worst cars sold in America.
Cadillac is stuck in the position of an also-ran in the luxury car market. There is now a new reason that won’t change.