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Jim Taylor has been the CEO of Hummer since October of 2008.  Prior to that, he was the General Manager of Cadillac.  Since beginning his GM career in 1980 with[…]

Jim Taylor on the elusiveness of American luxury.

Question: How will Cadillac, the epitome of American luxury, face the decline of American power?

Taylor:    That’s a great question and… and it’s one that really is so [IB] because as the historical and pinnacle of American luxury, you know, some people and [IB] oxymoron, American luxury, I mean, what are you talking about?  Because what’s taking place over time is the… the [IB] European luxury and you know, not Japanese luxury, European so you’re immediately going to grab a [IB] and stay [out of the auto industry] [IB] all of the European fashion products, purses and watches, of course, built and marketed as European brands but sold in many of the high end locations here in the US.  And so, very difficult for almost any… any US manufacturer of a brand to try to beat that stigma that if you’re not European, you’re not a highender, you’re not luxury.  So to agree with your question, that’s a serious challenge for all of us including Cadillac that is clearly an American company and we would like to brag about and represent the best in world luxury, not just American and compete, as you said, in a global scale.  So [IB] to where your very first question was, if we don’t have product that is absolutely unquestioned, bulletproof, clearly above and superior than all the European and Japanese, you’ll never earn that privilege back to be, not just the best of American luxury but the best in luxury and overtime dispel that rumor, dispel that misperception that if you’re American you’re only so good, unless you’re European, you know, then that’s another plateau so…. and we’ve got some product in that arena, thankfully now, over the several years of this renaissance that we’ve gone through that in our industry, there’s a whole group of media that do nothing but of course [IB] and then put all those in the covers of their magazines to tell all the [IB] who’s got the best of what in a certain year.  And so many of those are now coming our way which is great to see and it’ll take a long time though to break that paradigm that American luxury is inferior and it’s fascinating when you the research of people just immediately bucket, “American?  Oh, the quality must be bad,” it’s just… and it’s so wrong, in reality, but [IB] one of the corniest phrases, perceptions, realities, so it’s something that we have to deal with in much of our marketing space, communication spaces, going to [IB] that subject of trying to just break paradigms and dispel misperceptions about what we aren’t as being part of being US and US luxury.