The Chinese car market is the world's biggest and many manufacturers, Cadillac among them, want to win over the maximum number of buyers in order to get a share of the lucrative sales opportunities. But it seems the edgy, straight-line styling of Cadillac cars in the market isn't winning it much favor.
The sentiment is shared by market analysts and even Cadillac's own marketing staff, according to a Reuters report. The reason for the distaste seems to stem from a Confucian concept called 'Zhongyong' that has to do with harmony, said Fu Liming, a transportation design professor at Jilin University in China.
"In cars, the Zhongyong concept translates into unified lines and curves," Fu said. "Cadillac's design isn't soft; its angles and arcs aren't smooth enough."
As such, GM may soften up and alter the styling of its products as it hopes and plans to sell the same amount of Cadillac vehicles in China as it does in the U.S. by 2015 or 2016. The Chinese auto market is forecast to grow to 2.7 million by 2020 and thus overtake the U.S. as the world's leading luxury car market.
If Cadillac is to be considered equally by would-be buyers with the popular German brands like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, the brand may have to make some changes, and soon. The current design is seen as too futuristic and bold, according to Cadillac's own marketing people in China. It needs to be more contemporary in order to appeal to Chinese buyers. GM's unique challenge then, will be to tone the edges down without totally abandoning the distinctive look of its offerings.