MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Urban sophisticates understand and cherish their long, rich relationship with General Motors’ luxury brand, the Cadillac. But most cannot even begin to fathom the actual depths and sheer importance of that alliance, because without this demographic, Cadillac may not be here today.
Cadillac executive Don Butler took the time during the “Cadillac Conversations” at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) to explain how blacks actually helped stave Cadillacs — affectionately nicknamed “Caddys” — from extinction when the Great Depression ravaged the country’s economic landscape and nearly caused the complete implosion of GM’s flagship vehicle line. Fittingly, Cadillac is one of the title sponsors of the 17th annual ABFF along with HBO.
Butler, the global vice president of Cadillac and a certified Caddy connoisseur, told a stunned audience in South Beach that African American car consumers were responsible for helping to resurrected the beleaguered brand — even though blacks were not allowed to purchase the Cadillacs during that time period some 80 years ago. Allow me to explain.