Saturday, May 31, 2008

It's Finally Happened...

Well, I was driving up Highway 101 in California when it happened. It hit me for the first time: the notion that I would be willing to buy an American car. I've driven plenty of American cars in my time with my current company, and I've liked several of them. But this one was different. The materials, the attractive displays, the mix of a stick shift with a potent V6 engine, the confident handling. It was all here.
I speak of none other than the Cadillac CTS.

If you've followed this blog, you know that I have extremely particular tastes. I've often wondered if I'll ever reach outside the Volkswagen/Audi family, let alone outside of the Germans. But this experience was top notch. I drove down to LA in the lap of luxury. The car had a navigation system that didn't have a lawyer present when you turn on the car (there's nothing I hate more than repeated unnecessary actions when it comes to electronics). And the voice coming from the nav system was so pleasant, at times the woman's voice sounded almost...plaintive, but wonderfully so. It had an iPod hookup in which the iPod was not only controlled by the stereo, but the nav screen displayed playlist, song and artist names, rather than just numbering everything and making you guess. It had heated and cooled seats. It had an auto lane change blinker (blinks thrice with one tap--okay, I know I like stupid little shit). 

I just read a column by David E. Davis in Winding Road about the fact that the automotive press in this country fails to promote its home country's industry the way they do in every other country. I do take issue with the assertion that our press should have an agenda to push (okay, they've got a financial agenda, but they try to keep that out of sight, and that's the way I like it). But if you agree with David E., you have to at least admit that the American manufacturers have been struggling to do it right for quite a while, not leaving the press with much to crow about. I've asserted for the past few years that GM seems to be on the right track (product-wise...I'm not so sure about financially), and for me, this drive was proof that they've passed the tipping point. Congrats, GM. 

Now if you can get to the point where I actually buy one of your cars, rather than just proclaiming that I would, you'd be on a roll!