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Cadillac Cimarron
Cadillac Cimarron
The most important part of any luxury brand is its image and one bad model can ruin it. In the early 1980s, Cadillac joined other luxury brands in trying to attract more entry-level buyers with a smaller, more fuel-efficient car.

Instead of coming out with a truly new product, GM added the Cadillac crest to what was, in all important respects, a Chevrolet Cavalier. It also added thousands to the price tag.

In all, it was neither a good Cadillac nor a good value. Even GM executives will readily admit today that this was a really bad idea.

Cadillac did manage to bounce back from this mistake and has returned to respectability as America's only true luxury brand. The underlying good news here is that if GM can pull Cadillac back on its feet, this company itself may be able to bounce back.

NEXT: EV1

Last updated June 02 2009: 3:55 PM ET
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