What Lorde's Royals Can Teach Us About Cadillac's Global Prospects

Should the fact that Cadillacs aren't really sold in Lorde's home country of New Zealand completely discredit the song "Royals" or is it a sign that the world thinks higher of Cadillac than some Americans?

I didn't watch the video for "Royals" when it was a Traffic Jam because I'd already heard the song a dozen times on the radio. By chance, I saw it this morning on VH1. Much to my disappointment, there were no tigers on gold leashes in this video.

There were no Cadillacs, either. But ever since this girl came on the scene, everyone's all "is she the new Adele?" And then people were all, "she can't be Adele because Adele's English and Lorde's Kiwi" and then I'm thinking "wait, can Kiwis even buy Cadillacs?"

So then I checked. First, I pulled out my most recent Ward's sales yearbook, which tracks auto sales worldwide. General Motors sold 8,014 vehicles in New Zealand in 2011. But it's not clear how many of those were, say, delivery trucks. But more importantly, it didn't say whether they were Holden, Chevrolet or any other brand.

The best-selling car manufacturer in New Zealand, however, is Toyota; they sold 18,020 vehicles there in 2011. So either there are a bunch of people driving Corollas or maybe there are a bunch of Lexus drivers.

I wanted a legit source before I hit up Google, but I broke down and Googled anyway since my yearbook didn't give me what I needed. "Cadillac in New Zealand" turned up a few results, including:

  • There's a lingerie bar ("the only one in the South Island") called The Cadillac Club that has something called "strip-o-grams." Well, then. It uses the Cadillac cursive script.
  • There's a Cadillac owners' club dedicated to the history and preservation of classic Caddys, which is obviously fantastic.
  • But there are these tidbits from the CTS' Wikipedia page and the New Zealand Times Herald: The CTS was chosen to relaunch Cadillac in New Zealand (which points to a significant absence in the country) and that when very few models of the CTS were sold there, it sold like hotcakes. That was 2008-09. Those plans quickly dissolved because... I don't have to tell you what happened to GM in 2009, do I?

This leads me back to Lorde, who's 16 and dreaming of Cadillacs. Is she dreaming of the CTS that was sold for like a year when she was 11? Or have Western mindsets about aspiring to own a Cadillac reached all the way to New Zealand, and I just didn't know it?

Lorde told VH1 that the inspiration for "Royals" came from watching a Kansas City Royals (aha!) baseball player signing autographs and a general "fascination with aristocracy." But if we're talking British aristocracy, wouldn't the car of Lorde's dreams be something in line with a Rolls-Royce or Bentley? I doubt Queen Elizabeth would be caught dead in a lowly Cadillac.

Overanalyzing much? Yes, I'll admit this. But I'm intrigued by the first theory about what the name "Cadillac" means across the world. If people in New Zealand are thinking of Cadillacs that much, then maybe GM should give this country another try.