Cadillac Style

Showroom boutiques have now become commonplace at large Harley-Davidson franchises in cities all over the country. As the motorcycle company became an icon among middle-aged baby boomers in the last decade, executives at the company saw the potential in marketing accessories with the Harley logo to its customers.

In recent years, automakers have begun to follow suit. BMW and Lexus have been marketing items that carry their logo to their customers for some time.

The management at Cadillac is the latest to decide their line of cars could benefit from peddling high-end goods carrying its logo. From watches and briefcases to housewares, glassware and Callaway golf equipment, the Cadillac logo will be emblazoned on items that “are consistent with the image of Cadillac,” said Mark LeNeve, general manager of Cadillac.

Pendleton, Nambe, Mont Blanc, Skagen, Danier and Callaway are just a few of the manufacturers contracted to produce merchandise with the Cadillac logo. There will reportedly be children’s apparel as well.

“It’s a natural outgrowth of our current positioning and the renaissance of Cadillac,” LaNeve said.

Seeking out products and manufacturers that would appeal to Cadillac’s upscale clientele was the job of Susan O’Callaghan, national sales promotion manager for Cadillac, and Chemistri, the advertising firm that handles Cadillac’s national and regional advertising. Identity Marketing Group was hired to work with manufacturers and ensure “program fulfillment.”

This is not the first time the venerable American luxury car has had its image placed on merchandise and offered to its customers through a catalog. However, the items that carried the Cadillac logo in the past, mainly apparel and a few office items, were a far cry from the new catalog’s offerings. The new items will be much different from what was formerly offered through the catalogs, said O’Callaghan. “These [products] are a little more expensive,”

The merchandise is being offered in a 54-page catalog that has already started shipping to some Cadillac owners. There were 25,000 catalogs sent out in the last quarter of 2003, and Cadillac will ship out 30,000 more catalogs during each quarter of 2004.

Advertisements will also appear in “Vision,” the magazine for Cadillac owners.

Some dealerships have boutiques already set up to handle merchandise associated with their respective car lines. Ed Williamson, who owns Cadillac-Hummer in Miami, moves about $40,000 worth of Hummer and Cadillac merchandise out of his dealership every month. Williamson said he will not carry bigger-ticket items, such as leather goods, golf clubs or housewares in his dealership. He’s tried that in the past, but it doesn’t work, he said, not in his market. “What’s going to sell (in my boutique) are the toys, the soft goods, such as apparel and the automotive accessories,” he said.

Cadillac owners can purchase merchandise by calling 1-888-200-7197 or on-line at http://www.cadillaccollection.com.

Written by Roadfly Charlie

Charlie is Roadfly’s founder and publisher, and was taught to drive by his father in a 1974 Porsche 914. That made poor Charlie a Porsche fanboy for life, and after driving a 911SC at 16, he bought and campaigned a variety of 944s at racetracks up and down the East Coast, earning awards and track records in his twenties. Charlie never really got over the car bug, and after a career in real estate development he founded the Internet media firm that became Roadfly. Charlie lives in McLean, VA with his wife and two daughters, and between the demands of family and business doesn’t have much time to play with cars anymore, excluding the machinery we review.

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