Cadillac Catera Accessories

Cadillac Catera Survey

The Cadillac Catera was a mid-sized automobile that was largely a rebadged version of the Opel Omega MV6 made in Russelsheim, Germany. It was marketed in North America and other markets worldwide (generally in markets where Opel did not have a strong prescence) as an entry-level Cadillac. Cadillac's engineers made a number of luxury and safety modifications for the U.S. market, adding significantly to the MV6's original curb weight, as well as softening the car's suspension. Since the demise of Cadillac's top-of-the-line Fleetwood in 1996, Cadillac wanted a third sedan. The Catera was brought to North America, and the Seville became a top-of-the-line sedan, moving the DeVille as Cadillac's middle-class sedan. Also, it was the only Cadillac built outside of the United States to come to North America by that time (the earlier Cadillac Allante roadster was partially assembled in Italy).

The Catera also replaced the Fleetwood as Cadillac's rear-wheel drive sedan. The Catera debuted for the 1997 model year, and was subsequently updated with a new nose, tail, wheels, interior trim, mirrors, optional xenon lights, stiffer suspension settings, and side airbags for 2000. Power came from a 200 hp 54° L81 V6 to the rear wheels, unlike all other Cadillacs of its day. The car's engine was made in England at GM's Ellesmere Port facility, the GM 4L30-E automatic transmission, which was also used in the BMW 3 and 5 Series, as well as certain Isuzu products, was from GM's plant in Strasbourg, France. A Sport model of the Catera was offered beginning in 1999 featuring larger wheels, a firmer suspension, rear spoiler and other mostly cosmetic differences.

Cadillac Catera GrilleThe Catera was marketed to younger demographic than traditional Cadillac buyers with the "Caddy that zigs" tagline, and the car generally delivered on its promise of European-style handling. The launch advertisements featured supermodel Cindy Crawford, who was paid a reported $350,000 for ads including talking to an animated duck-like creature known as "Ziggy", offered by Cadillac as follows "Like Catera, he was hatched in Germany and has the sole mission of bringing fun to the luxury of Cadillac. He was one of six mythical, beakless, footless martins or "Merlettes" in the Cadillac Crest before we gave him big feet, a giant beak, and turned him around. He's quite a departure from his five brothers who have been part of the Cadillac Crest.

The car was smaller and had less power than other Cadillacs of the time. Though the Catera generally received good reviews from the automotive press, sales did not meet GM's expectations. The car was often seen as too small to appeal to the marque's traditional luxury car buyers and failed to attract as many buyers away from European luxury brands as GM had initially predicted. Some compared the Catera's short and disappointing production run to the disastrous Cimarron of the early 1980s, although the Cadillac Catera Accessories were far better parts in the opinion of most journalists and owners. The "duck's" disappearance from the company logo altogether in 1999 may have been a reaction to this failure, although they were also dropped to simplify the logo just before the company would launch its successful "Art & Science" design theme.

Cadillac Catera SpoilerA phrase in some of the car's advertising (lease a Catera) resulted in a character of CBS medical drama Chicago Hope being named for the car, Lisa Catera. Cadillac also became a sponsor of the show. Dr. Catera was played by Stacy Edwards, best known as a deaf woman in the movie In the Company of Men. The Catera, due in part to reliability problems including initial tire wear issues caused by an "autobahn-friendly" alignment specification, faulty oil coolers, and engine failures due to timing belt tensioner failure (for which a recall was eventually offered by GM) as well as a disappointing marketing campaign, was dropped after the 2001 model year. Consumer and automotive publications have generally reported the Catera's reliability improved significantly with the 1999 model year.

Approximately 95,000 Cateras were sold in the United States in its five-year production run. By the time the Catera was dropped, Cadillac would begin the company's current "Art & Science" design theme, and would skip a model year before unveiling the Catera's replacement, the American-designed & built Cadillac CTS, which would become a much more successful model. In 2009, Car and Driver staff criticized the high praise that the Catera initially received, citing poor reliability and performance in hindsight, in an article that similarly criticized fellow European performance import the Merkur XR4Ti for being "odd-looking".