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February 20, 2015

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Thank you for this eloquent explanation of why I was so confused when I first saw this ad. No wonder I felt like crying! No longer does the Cadillac name evoke the joy of my parents' 1975 Sedan de Ville, white with an orange roof and blue and orange plaid seats, which I dubbed "Howard Johnson."

And yet it's perfectly reasonable, I think, for Cadillac to adopt such a stance: the former Standard of the World is now just another premium brand, and its best-selling models are an overly blinged sport-utility vehicle, also sold as a pickup truck, and another SUV with lower bling levels. Meanwhile, their cars, while now genuinely competitive with the Teutonic sleds which displaced them back in the 1980s -- I'd take an ATS over a 3-series any day -- sit unloved on the lots.

Then again, "ATS" is part of the problem: makers of all manner of high-lux cars have adopted this alphanumeric stuff because the Germans do it. (See, for instance, any Acura from the last twenty years, or any Lexus or Infiniti ever.) A '75 Sedan de Ville may have been a big, floaty boat, but you knew that when you went to the showroom; something like "SRX" says -- what, exactly? Certainly nothing inviting.

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