“Cimarron, by Cadillac”

We all need some humor in our lives. So here’s one of the biggest automotive jokes of all time:

Look! Up in the sky! It’s Sunbird! It’s too plain! No, it’s Cimarron! (Roll theme music)

Cimarron BrochureOn May 21, 1981, one of the biggest “You’ve got to be kidding me!” moves in automotive history was made when General Motors’ Cadillac Division rolled out this generic economy car to an unenthusiastic, not-so gullible press corps and public. Essentially a rebodied Chevrolet Cavalier, even today the Cimarron evinces grimaces from Cadillac faithful.

Cadillac expected sales of  75,000 Cimarrons in the car’s first year; instead, only 25,968 sold. In 1988, the last year of the Cimarron, the sales had dropped to 6,454. The first two years of the Cimarron’s existence, the Division was so ashamed of the car that the car was called “Cimarron, by Cadillac“, not Cadillac Cimarron. This drove home the fact that the car was a Caddy by name only–which, of course, everybody already knew. Anybody who doubted that the Cimarron and Cavalier were siblings had only to look at the two cars. For example, compare the Cimarron at right to the junky Cavalier below.The car officially became the Cadillac Cimarron in 1983 after rightfully earning the nickname “Cadvalier.” Cadillac’s unmet expectations should have banished these product planners into the Phantom Zone until they could have made a car worthy of the Cadillac crest.

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