The Cadillac Escalade is the Most Out-of-Touch Vehicle on Sale Today
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade, weapon of choice for real estate agents hoping to impress first-time homebuyers.
The public unveiling of the revamped 2015 Cadillac Escalade is now one day behind us, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why every website on the World Wide Web is salivating over this garish monstrosity. Although not as hideous as the eye-searingly awful Infiniti QX56 (every one of which I vow to target and destroy if I ever come into possession of one of those sweet Bond villain laser satellites), the Escalade, with all of its faux “urban” panache, is a blight upon the American landscape for a multitude of reasons. These include, but are not limited to: chrome constituting half the car’s weight, the engine’s apathy for sipping fuel, and the general dickishness and/or obliviosity of Escalade drivers. These points and more make the post-apocalyptic wanderer’s preferred method of transportation the most out-of-touch and least relevant vehicle on sale today.
The Escalade is a vehicle that serves as a perfect allegory for everything that foreigners hate about Americans: our brashness, our obviousness, our unyielding need to be noticed and revered. It is a Chevrolet Suburban gorging on chrome and injected with leather hormone. It is the type of vehicle only an American can build (REVISED: judging by the plan to include whale penis leather in their SUVs, the Russians also could have built the Escalade), and it is the type of vehicle only an American (and Eastern European mafioso) would buy. In a world where automakers are creating globalized cars to sell a vehicle in many countries with slight modifications to suit local tastes, the Escalade is General Motors saying that they don’t give one, two, or even three shits about selling this car anywhere else in the world, whether it be in the UK, Japan, China, or Latvia.
Almost makes you wish for the graceful, seductive curves of the GMC Granite, doesn’t it?
With the era of cheap gas far in the rearview mirror, the large, truck-based SUV market has thankfully collapsed, with the slightly less reprehensible midsize SUV and compact utility vehicle markets overtaking it. Every year, the market for large utility vehicles becomes smaller and smaller, and sales of Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes, Cadillac Escalades, Ford Expeditions, and the like have dwindled to 1.9% of all vehicles sold in the U.S., according to Bloomberg Businessweek. What’s keeping sales afloat? Massive profits, and Businessweek explains that while GM’s large SUVs account for less than 6.5% of sales in 2012, the vehicles account for 16.4% of GM’s North American gross profit. In fact, MSRPs for large SUVs have increased by a more significant amount than price-sensitive compact and midsize sedans, and the target market now is affluent families rather than the middle class consumer that used to purchase Ford Excursions and GMC Yukons en masse.
Large SUVs, then, are vestigial remnants of a vanished age that appeal to a relatively low portion of the populace that can afford the punishing purchasing cost of the vehicle and substantial fuel bills. The Escalade is a car selling like gangbusters in a universe without global warming and CO2 emissions that was sucked through a wormhole and transported here. It is the king of large SUVs that are more irrelevant today than they ever have been. More so that other large SUVs, the Escalade isn’t about driving, it’s about being seen in. With similar comfort options available in the nearly identical Chevrolet Suburban, the Escalade exists only to pad Cadillac’s bottom line as the company graciously accepts cash from self-obsessed yuppies shuttling around 2.4 children and a dog in the least subtle way possible before ending their hellish day at the kids’ soccer practice with a nice meal of chicken parm at Olive Garden, two glasses of white zinfandel, thank you very much.
Photos courtesy of General Motors