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May 11, 2009 - Autos

Robert Eckaus
Axe the CTS Coupe, GM

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

That's right, the upcoming Cadillac CTS coupe is going to fail. GM should stop further development on this car before it becomes another loser in the automotive financial model. Why? Because there are far, far more appealing alternative two-doors in the market.

This is my prediction. Quite frankly I'm sick and tired of seeing failures by GM, the demise of Pontiac, the disbanding of their performance division and the cancellation of the Camaro Z/28. Read further regarding that.

No doubt this will be a very nice car based on the CTS sedan. The performance will be average at best and the styling, while somewhat unique, may be awkward. That is an opinion, but coupes don't do well unless they stand out. This one doesn't. But unless the sales of the 'V' version support the research and development of the coupe, and that is highly doubtful, it will be more egg on their face. My heart goes out to the development team but senior product development is either polling the wrong market group or simply not listening.

The high-performance 'V' version will do better. Most likely in the mid $60k to $70k range and 556 horsepower like its four-door sibling, it offers a compelling argument because of its performance. I just don't think the CTS-V coupe will sell enough copies to justify the existence of the platform.

See, coupes are a discretionary buy now more than ever. Not only is it rare for a coupe to be a daily driver, there better well be a compelling reason like styling, performance, etc. And if you can get more for less money, you've got a serious competitive disadvantage.

The reasons the base CTS coupe will fail are numerous. The sedan base price is $37,585. So realistically it's a $40,000 to $48,000 coupe depending upon option groups. What is the appeal? Here it is competing against the new best bang-for-the-buck Camaro SS in the mid/upper $30k range with iconic styling and far better performance, also with usable rear seats. GM competing against itself? Well take a look at entire GM fiasco of impractical duplication of platforms with different nameplates You know, goodbye Pontiac....

When you're in the $40k range and you can get away with a two-door, a new or used sixth generation Corvettes are the next step in value for performance with great styling. And you better believe in this day and age, at over $40,000, there are some phenomenally attractive used cars available, not to mention new. Then there is the Dodge Challenger reviving the classic muscle car from long ago with instantly recognizable styling. It also has better performance with usable rear seats.

Ford's answer? The never discontinued Mustang GT. Featuring some improved refinement and interior styling for 2010, $30k for the GT or the monster GT500 in the mid $40s quite frankly makes the CTS coupe look like a photoshop exercise. You know what, when you have 540hp for $47k, who cares about usable rear seats? If you need practicality, you're probably not shopping a coupe.

And imports? The entire BMW 3 series lineup, especially the 335i and if you're going to spend $40k+ on a second car, there is a good chance $70k isn't too scary for the M3.

Back to the V. It is something special because of its performance. A really cool alternative to someone shopping for a Vette or Porsche but desires (vs. needs) some practicality. And it undercuts the competition from Mercedes and BMW significantly. The M6 is $100k: and the M3 isn't a whole lot cheaper and will be slower in a straight line. The owner of, and I'm guessing here based on the obesity suffered by cars lately, a 4200lb coupe probably isn't too worried about his tire or brake wear at Laguna Seca hot lapping right behind his BMW M3 buddy. And that is making a big assumption it even gets on the track.

The problem is that the V most likely needs standard CTS Coupe sales to justify its existence. So GM, please tell us differently. But I think GM already told us something different. The cancellation of the Camaro Z-28. Lighter than the CTS-V Coupe, same engine, better styling. It wasn't cancelled to save money. The platform is rockin', the car is in demand. It was cancelled because it would take away from the CTS Coupe and even worse, the V.

Surf on autotrader for 2 door coupes in the $40k to $50k range. And if you like cars, you'll start to drool. Audi S5, Mercedes CLKs, Corvette Z-06, Vipers! Gorgeous cars, established coupes. Hey, I heard about a guy who cancelled his order for a Ferrari Scuderia, possibly the best sports car in the world due to the economy and concern about possible depreciation. It has hit everyone. GM, stop it. Just stop it now. Wrong car, wrong economy, bad timing.

More at cartruthblog.blogspot.com.

Keywords: Cadillac, CTS, Chevy, Corvette, Dodge, Challenger, BMW, M3, M6, V, Ford, Mustang, GT500, Camaro, GM, Audi, S5, Viper, V8, sport coupe, racing, sedan
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