History tells us that Henry Leland founded both of America's major luxury brands, and there were times in the Seventies when the deVille and Continental were fundamentally identical. CTS and MKZ? Not so much. Who's got the better mousetrap?
Cadillac has bet heavily on performance in the past few years, stuffing RWD platforms under much of the lineup and offering pumped-up V-Series variants that have alternately astonished (556-horse CTS-V, anyone?) and underwhelmed (has anyone in America ever paid even close to sticker price for an XLR-V?) Lincoln, by contrast, looked just plain lost in the early part of the decade before finally settling on a strategy of Volvo platform derivatives with upscale interiors and tasty technological treats like the new myLincoln Touch.
As the Escalade and Navigator gradually fade into irrelevance, it's becoming more and more clear to consumers that Cadillac and Lincoln are heading in significantly different directions. Cadillac appears to have BMW in its sights, while Lincoln is aiming at Lexus. It's hard to not suspect that, if the economy fails to improve, we might be looking at an American-luxury remake of Highlander. If that happens, and there can be only one surviving American luxury car, who's it gonna be?
Photo Credit: Jack Baruth