Since its beginnings in 1902, Cadillac has been known worldwide for creating luxury vehicles. A division of General Motors, the brand was initially known for its roomy, plush, and comfortable sedans. However, in recent years, the company has been reaching out to younger generations by expanding its roster of vehicles. One of these efforts is best seen in the form of the Cadillac Catera. First introduced to the market in 1997, this entry-level luxury sedan is an attempt by General Motors to produce a sporty model of the Cadillac. Though the production of this car lasted for only four years, it was welcomed by a lot of car lovers with open arms, making it relatively successful.
The first years
The Cadillac Catera was basically a rebadged variant of the Opel Omega, and it was manufactured in the city of Rüsselsheim in Germany where Opel houses its production line. It may look like an average entry-level luxury sport sedan, but this car still features Cadillac’s signature roomy interiors and comfortable seats. Apart from that, it is also packed with features like cloth interiors, front bucket seats, an eight-speaker sound system, keyless entry, alloy wheels, full instrumentation, etc. The vehicle was also made available with optional leather interiors, a Bose premium sound system, sunroof, chrome wheels, and many more. Upon release in the market, car lovers were very excited about the vehicle and this can be seen in its sales performance.
The Cadillac Catera shared its platform with the Pontiac GTO—the U.S. version of the Holden Monaro coupe. The Pontiac GTO and Holden Monaro were both manufactured in GM’s Australia branch and they were both based on a sedan platform that was intended for the market in the land down under.
Cindy Crawford and Ziggy
The Cadillac Catera was advertised with the tagline “the Caddy that zigs.” The advertisement became quite memorable for its odd presentation with Cindy Crawford signing on to make the TV spots. In the commercials, Crawford spoke to an animated character named Ziggy, who looked much like a duck. Cadillac describes Ziggy as a creature that was hatched in Germany and born with the sole purpose of bringing fun to Cadillacs.
The fault in Cateras
Though sales figures were high, the Catera was not short of criticisms. Some contended that the vehicle should have been made available in a manual transmission option while some said that other competitor brands offered alternatives that were similar to the Catera at a much lower cost. Apart from these, the Catera was also met with several performance and safety issues that eventually came up. For instance, some drivers experienced problems like premature tire wear, faulty oil coolers, and timing belt issues. With people branding it as unreliable, the image of the Catera was gravely hurt. Sales gradually dwindled and the production of Cateras was put to a hault in 2001.