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Cadillac is spending big to conquer the European luxury market, even going as far as giving former president of Audi of America, Johan de Nysschen, the role of president of Global Cadillac in 2014. It was de Nysschen who led Audi’s charge into product placement and the massive fleets of Audi cars and SUVs that blanketed events during awards season in 2013.
But will Cadillac succeed in taking over this town like the Germans have done quite successfully? Can an American brand fill the driveways from Holmby Hills to the Palisades? Caddy is giving it a shot with a new concept car, the Escala, unveiled via Facebook Live late Thursday evening at the Cadillac House, their Pebble Beach pop-up.
The Escala is positioned as a large, chauffeur-driven luxury model — think those long wheelbase S-Class, A8s and 7 Series that schlep you in style across town. The Escala is Cadillac’s flagship, a massive rear-wheel drive V8-powered luxury liner of car, and a massive potential profit center for the brand.
“The obvious question when I walk offstage is, ‘When are you building it?’ We will not be building this car. The Escala is an announcement for the direction we are thinking about for craftsmanship, for technology, for connectivity, but most of all, for our new design language,” de Nysschen said Thursday night. Car-exec speak for, if enough people want it, we’re going to build it.
Who’d want this in town?
1. While the name sounds like a nod to the Beverly Hills restaurant with the best chopped salad in town, the Escala is meant for those who live in the backseat of their car and like to be driven from, say, their house in the flats to brunch at the Bel-Air Country Club. If you’re a septuagenarian who wants to drive — er, be driven — American, the Escala is the car for you.
2. Cadillac is sticking with their future-luxe American design — big wheels, big tires, big engine, big body. At almost 18 feet long and 6½ feet wide an Escala says, “Look at me, I just closed!” Optics, as we know in town, are everything.
3. Cadillac says the car is for driving, too. While we believe them, we’d rather be ensconced in the backseat, whose lovely white interior’s broad use of hand-tailored fabric inspired by suiting material is best to match the lifestyle of a studio executive on the go. Mandeville Canyon is narrow and curvy, why drive yourself?
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