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Thread: Cadillac Cimarron 1981-1988

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    Cadillac Cimarron 1981-1988

    The Cadillac Cimarron is an entry-level luxury car manufactured and marketed by the Cadillac division of General Motors from 1981 to 1988 as a four-door sedan across a single generation.

    Marking Cadillac's entry into the compact segment and using the GM J platform, the Cimarron was introduced and marketed concurrently with rebadged J-platform variants from each of its divisions, and was manufactured at South Gate Assembly and Janesville Assembly. Following South Gate's closure in 1982, assembly continued in Janesville.

    The Cimarron is noted as a nadir of GM's product planning for its low sales, poor performance and ill-conceived badge engineering.

    Background
    As General Motors prepared for the 1980s, Cadillac product planners considered a sedan smaller than the Seville. While the Seville had sold well, in its research of buyers, Cadillac learned that in place of import buyers, many Sevilles were purchased by traditional luxury-car buyers wanting a smaller car. To diversify and modernize their product range, and complement the Seville which competed with premium European luxury sedans, Cadillac dealers requested a smaller car that could compete with compact European sedans.

    In one of the shortest development programs undertaken by General Motors, development of the Cimarron began in early 1980, even though other vehicles of the GM J-platform had been in development since 1976. While General Motors wanted Cadillac to better compete with other luxury brands, the use of the J-platform to do so was met with heavy resistance. Pete Estes, GM's president at the time, warned Ed Kennard, Cadillac's general manager: "Ed, you don't have time to turn the J-car into a Cadillac."

    Originally scheduled for mid-1980s release, the Cimarron was released in early 1981 along with the Chevrolet Cavalier, Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza, and Pontiac J2000 (later marketed as the Sunbird). With the Seville competing with mid-size/large European luxury sedans, the Cimarron was marketed as a sportier sedan, competing with the Audi 4000, BMW 320i, Saab 900, and Volvo 240.

    Model name
    At its 1981 introduction, the copy text of original sales brochures associated the Cimarron nameplate with "fortitude, adventure and pioneering". The nameplate was chosen from a list that included J2000 (used on predecessor of Pontiac Sunbird); Carmel; Cascade; Caville (blend of Cadillac and De Ville); Envoy; and Series 62 (predecessor of Cadillac Calais). For 1982, the brand nomenclature was "Cimarron by Cadillac", although initially the Cadillac name did not appear on the car. For 1983, the nameplate was simply "Cadillac Cimarron".

    Design
    The Cimarron was built using the front-wheel drive GM J platform, using a 101.2 in (2,570 mm) wheelbase. Using unibody construction, the front suspension consists of a MacPherson strut configuration (mounted to a front subframe), with a rear suspension using torsion beam springs, along with front and rear stabilizer bars.

    For 1982, the Cimarron was equipped with a 1.8 L four-cylinder engine, producing 88 hp (66 kW) (the first four-cylinder Cadillac since 1914 and the first engine below 2.0 L displacement since 1908). For 1983, the engine was enlarged to 2.0 L and given fuel injection, though engine tuning would drop peak output to 86 hp (64 kW). For 1985, a 2.8 L V6 (shared with the Chevrolet Cavalier and Oldsmobile Firenza) was added as an option, producing 130 hp (97 kW); for 1987, the V6 became standard. The four-cylinder engines were paired with a 4-speed manual (later a 5-speed), with a 3-speed automatic as an option; the 3-speed automatic was the sole transmission with the V6.

    To distinguish the Cimarron from the Chevrolet Cavalier and its Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac counterparts, Cadillac standardized many of the available features offered on J-platform cars at the time, including air conditioning, leather seats, alloy wheels, power mirrors, full instrumentation (including tachometer; the only Cadillac to do so at the time), courtesy lights, intermittent wipers, rear window defogger, and AM/FM stereo. Its interior featured simulated aluminum trim, notably foregoing simulated wood trim.

    Available options included automatic transmission, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, power windows, power door locks, power driver and passenger seats, sunroof, and a cassette player. With the exception of its upholstery and model-specific special suspension tuning, other J-platform models could be optioned nearly identically to a Cimarron though doing so would raise prices close to the $12,131 base price of the Cadillac in 1982.

    Reception and legacy
    The Cimarron's market failure is one in a series of events throughout the 1980s and 1990s which caused Cadillac's share of the US market to decline from 3.8% in 1979 to 2.2% in 1997; it is routinely cited as the nadir of GM's product planning:

    - Noted automotive journalist Dan Neil included the Cimarron in his 2007 list of Worst Cars of all Time, saying "everything that was wrong, venal, lazy, and mendacious about GM in the 1980s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac." He added that the Cimarron "nearly killed Cadillac and remains its biggest shame."
    - Forbes placed the Cimarron on its list of "Legendary Car Flops," citing low sales, poor performance and the fact the car "didn't work, coming from a luxury brand."
    - CarBuzz called the Cimarron a "textbook example of what goes wrong when a carmaker tries to badge engineer an economy car into a luxury car."
    - Author Hannah Elliott said the Cimarron "appealed neither to Cadillac's loyal followers, who appreciated powerful V8s and Cadillac's domestic luxury edge, nor to buyers who favored Europe's luxury brands, whose cars out-handled and out-classed the Cimarron in every way."
    - CNN Money described the Cimarron as "in all important respects, a Chevrolet Cavalier. It also added thousands to the price tag. In all, it was neither a good Cadillac nor a good value. Today, GM executives will readily admit that this was a bad idea."
    - Car and Driver said a subsequent Cadillac product director, John Howell, kept a picture of the Cimarron on his wall captioned, "Lest we forget."

    Cadillac would again offer a compact sedan developed through the badge engineering of vehicles designed by other GM subsidiaries, firstly in 1996 with the Cadillac Catera which was essentially a lightly reworked Opel/Vauxhall Omega produced in Germany. The Catera met with a lukewarm reception (being branded the "Cimarron Ii" by the press at its launch but sold a reasonable 95,000 units. Cadillac tried yet again between 2005-2009 by introducing the Cadillac BLS as its smallest model line. Derived from the Saab 9-3, the BLS was manufactured by Saab in Sweden as a four-door sedan and as a station wagon. While Cadillac used "Art and Science" design language to style unique front and rear fascias and elements of its roofline, the BLS visibly shared all four doors with the 9-3.
    Sized slightly smaller than the CTS, the BLS was never offered in the United States and Canada and was sold in Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, South Korea, and Mexico.

    Source: Wikipedia
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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 01-30-2020 at 01:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    Cadillac Cimarron #2
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Awful, awful car. A Cadillac Cavalier? Just one example of what led GM off the path and down the road to bankruptcy.

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    For the 80s, I think this car was kinda nice looking.

    There is nothing else nice that I can say about this car.

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    It was pretty awful, but I am glad that MoS took the initiative to put it the hideout.
    Besides, the '80s are coming back. Though, outside of hipster circles, I doubt this ever will.

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    The 80's are one of the greatest eras in motoring.

    This though,... this is something else.
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    The 80's are one of the greatest eras in motoring.
    To Europeans, and in racing.

    Elsewhere...

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    im not an 80s boy and that still makes me want to curl up and die with that horrible styling

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitdy View Post
    To Europeans, and in racing.

    Elsewhere...
    Well...


    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

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    I think some good cars can be found in any era.

    In North America at least, I stand by my assertion that it was a shitty situation.

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    This looks like something you'd submit in design school if you wanted to get kicked out.
    "The Metric System is the tool of the Devil! My car gets 40 Rods to the Hogshead and that's the ways I likes it!" -Grandpa Simpson

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    80's were awesome as far as sports cars go, but just plain horrific for everything else...

    The HMMWV was the only non sports car masterpiece I can think of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DesmoRob View Post
    The HMMWV was the only non sports car masterpiece I can think of.
    What's a HMMWV? As to lamentable GM (or any US maker) offerings of the '80s, the Cimmaron was badge engineering at it's worst.
    '62 356S Notchback Hotrod
    '64 VW Microbus 21 Deluxe
    '67 911S Das Geburtstagsgeschenk
    '68 911T Targa Sporto
    '68 Mercedes 280 SL
    '62 BMW 700 Sport
    '63 BMW 700 Cabriolet
    '72 BMW 3.0CSL
    '72 BMW 3.0CSA
    '70 914/6 GT

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    Quote Originally Posted by csl177 View Post
    What's a HMMWV? As to lamentable GM (or any US maker) offerings of the '80s, the Cimmaron was badge engineering at it's worst.
    The military vehicle that was eventually developed into the civilian Hummer.

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    The 80s did bring us many interesting cars and technologies. To some degree the 80s were more interesting for GM than the 90s. In the 80s GM was screwing up left and right but in the 90s they were just taking belt tightening to the extreme. The 1980s GM produced generally crappy cars and trucks. The Cimarron was one of the worst.

    Still, there were some interesting things to come out of GM in the 80s.
    The C4 Corvette has a lot of interesting design ideas. Overall I would judge the car to be less than the sum of it's parts but some of those parts were very clever. The leaf spring of course was a trick bit. Same with the alloy suspension arms (a first for a volume production car). The design details of the hood and flip over lights as well. The 7 speed (4+ OD on 3 of the 4) was an interesting gearbox if not actually great in practice. The Corvette also was the first car to do a large LCD screen for an instrument panel.

    Beyond the Corvette we have the Fiero (quite a good looking car), the turbo V6 Buicks, the first touch screen HVAC-radio interfaces (they were green CRTs and not very reliable). GM did several interesting concept vehicles including the Lean Machine and the Corvette Indy (Ilmor powered prototype, I think it still holds some speed records).

    The pickup model which was launched in the 1980s still looks good and clean today.

    In the 1970s GM was for got that QC was a critical part of design. Speeding up the design cycle wasn't a good idea if you skipped the QC steps (both in engineering and manufacturing). In the 1990s GM decided it was best to also skip doing anything innovative... as if the problem as lack of innovation vs just making cars that fell apart!

    Ford also had good stuff like the original Taurus, the SVO engines, the SC Thunderchicken. Chrysler might have done something good but only the Cherokee comes to mind and really, that was an AMC product, not Chrysler.

    The Japanese also had lots of cool stuff. In the 80s GM forgot that innovation was nothing if quality didn't come with it. In the 1980s Japan Inc didn't realize that eventually they would lose their strong Yen to Dollar ratio. That meant they could sell all sorts of expensive to manufacture hardware here for good prices. Lot's of neat technology coming out of Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi. Honda and Toyota seemed to spend more time building solid, well thought out cars with a bit less wiz-bang. Oddly enough they are the Japanese companies that remained strong and independent.

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