Entry Level Luxury: From 8 Track Players to ABS

1979 Seville Elegante

I remember like it was yesterday (it was only 1979). We were playing hide-and-seek on my block and I was crouched behind some bushes. Then it came.

A beautiful black Cadillac Seville. Squared body; laid back stance, vinyl top. It was beautiful. Needless to say, the guy who was doing the seeking caught me, but it didn’t matter. I had seen something so beautiful that, to this day, I still want one.

There was plenty of criticism of this car. “Had Cadillac jumped the shark on this one?” Answering competition from overseas manufacturers offering luxurious cars in smaller packages, Cadillac was getting America ready for something it would be inundated with years later — the Entry Level Luxury Car.

2014 Cadillac ATS

The styling was called “international” and the content preserved all the attributes common to Cadillac – a practice that is still used today. Give entry-level buyers a glimpse of what it’s like to become part of the flagship’s culture. Not too much, just enough to whet their appetite.

Cadillac did for me back then what a Mercedes A-Class or Audi A3 does for the current generation. Now that the market is crowded with college grad offerings and Cadillac is doing all it can to catch up. In no means are they left behind, but it’s nice to have an ATS in the hunt. An ATS-V would be even nicer.

Audi A3 Sedan

Let us not forget that they did it again in 1985 with the reduction of the Sedan de Ville and the downsizing of future luxury cars. I guess when you are “The Standard of the World”, you have to stay on your toes because the world is coming for you.

Thank you, Cadillac for creating a segment and for making the dreams of young buyers come true 37 years later. Thanks for getting us ready for what was to come. Ahead of your time? Maybe, but that’s what usually sets the standard, isn’t it?

Do you like the entry-level luxury segment?


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