The Cadillac brand emerged from the remnants of the Ford Motor Company when it was disbanded in 1902 and salvaged by an engineer supported by two financial backers. The company was named after the French explorer who founded Detroit, Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, and it is the oldest continuing car brand in the United States.
In 1909, Cadillac was purchased by General Motors for $4.5 million and became GM’s luxury division, topping its hierarchy which also includes Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC. Cadillac has been the medium for many innovations. It was the first brand to include mass produced V8 engines in all of its models. Cadillac was also the first to provide automatic windshield washers and power steering as standard components of all their vehicles, for example.
In the 1980s, foreign car companies like Mercedes-Benz began to erode Cadillac’s supremacy, but it remains competitive in the US in the luxury cars division. The brand has not been very popular in European markets. Cadillac currently offers a wide range of sedans, a coupe, a crossover, and a full-sized SUV. Cadillac is also the brand name under which GM manufactures all non-personal vehicles such as limousines, funeral hearses, and ambulances.
Cadillac Defects and Recalls
This section by no means represents a comprehensive list of manufacturing and operating malfunctions, and it is advisable to check for complete information on any recalls that may apply to your vehicle in order to quickly and safely address them. The following information, however, compiles some of the current common issues that Cadillac owners may experience.
In 2014, GM conducted a comprehensive safety review of all of their vehicles and, in March, recalled 1.5 million units, including 63,900 Cadillac XTS Sedans manufactured between February 14, 2012 and March 7 2014. They issued the recall due to a faulty brake booster pump. The pump can create pressure in the surrounding mechanism and possibly dislodge a plug in the relay, allowing corrosive elements to enter the connector and create a short. In the end, this could lead to overheating, melting plastic, and the potential for fire. GM reported two engine compartment fires in unsold cars at dealerships, but none in the hands of consumers. The recall includes a free fix for this problem at any Cadillac dealership.
In 1999 GM had a similar issue with their 1998 and 1999 Cadillac Sevilles which could spontaneously ignite when the car was completely off and the key removed from the ignition due to an electrical short. GM received reports of seven incidents of fires that began in this manner, but no injuries. This led to a recall of 35,000 vehicles.
In February 2014, GM became the center of a massive investigation into a flaw with ignition switches in a large number of their vehicles, leading to a series of recalls of millions of vehicles. The most frequently occurring problem was an ignition malfunction which caused the engine to turn off in the midst of driving when the key was accidentally bumped or the car went over rough patches of road. In these instances, the power steering, power brakes, and airbag deployment would also turn off.
In June of 2014, GM issued a recall for 3.5 million vehicles including the 2000-2005 Cadillac Deville and the 2007-2011 Cadillac DTS for ignition switch issues similar to those from the original recall group.
GM has set up an ignition switch compensation fund to evaluate death claims stemming from the design defect. This fatal flaw has been linked by GM to 56 deaths, although 478 death claims were filed as of February 2015. Because of this, many people are bypassing the compensation fund procedures and filing lawsuits against GM
In March of 2015, a lawsuit was brought against GM in Texas. The lawsuit includes the ignition issue, but also alleges 15 other various defects for many GM models. Included in the lawsuit are the 2003-14 Cadillac CTS and the 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX, which were also recalled in 2014 for unintended ignition key rotation.
At the same time as the series of recalls for ignition issues, GM recalled 2013-2014 Cadillac ATS and 2014 Cadillac CTS for a problem with its transmission. Around 90,000 vehicles in total were recalled because a shift cable within the transmission may not be properly attached, or may come loose, preventing the driver from switching the transmission in and out of gear. No injuries were reported from the issue.
False Safety Rating
Currently, Cadillac is in the midst of a class action lawsuit concerning false marketing on their 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans. On the window of every car, GM is required to display the safety ratings of their vehicles, but on this particular model the ratings were made up because the car had never actually been tested. The sticker asserted that the car had received 5 star ratings in three safety categories: Frontal Crash Driver, Frontal Crash Passenger, and Rollover, but these were all untested.
The plaintiff, Geri Siano Carriuolo, asserts that GM intentionally fabricated the ratings to get customers to pay a premium for what they considered to be the highest possible safety rating. Four months into owning the car, Carriuolo received a letter from Cadillac stating that the car had not received the marketed rating and another sticker with the correct rating. A Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiff and certified the class action.
In 1995, GM was involved in a pollution scandal and settled with the government, recalling half a million Cadillacs and paying $45 million in fines for implementing an emissions cheating device in four of their models built between 1991 and 1995 including the Seville, Deville, Eldorado, and Fleetwood models. The cars were tuned with “defeat devices” which turned off the pollution controls whenever the air conditioning was running, releasing 100,000 tons of illegal carbon monoxide pollution. 20 years later, Volkswagen is currently in the midst of a similar scandal.
Representation for Colorado Personal Injury Victims
Luxury vehicles are marketed for their superior technology, performance, and style, and many of us purchase them for just these reasons. Just because a vehicle is stylish, however, does not mean the automaker can shirk its vital responsibility to provide a safe and reliably tested vehicle. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a reckless automobile design or manufacturing error, you need an attorney who will put your interests first and not let you get pushed around by multi-billion dollar companies. Call Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 852-2223 for a free consultation or contact him online.