Libby said Ford's ( F) luxury division, which had a 0.7% share in the first six months of 2012, "can be a player, but it is just at the beginning of the path to getting back in the luxury market. Lincoln's product portfolio currently is much narrower and smaller than that of its main competitors."

Cadillac's decline was probably inevitable given GM's decisions to delay or cancel product programs during its 2009 restructuring. "We are now seeing the ramifications of those changes," Libby said.

Not only does "Cadillac's current product portfolio not measure up to that of any of its major luxury competitors," but also the European manufacturers "enjoy and will continue to enjoy stronger, richer, and deeper luxury reputations, (following) decades of marketing consistency and discipline," he wrote.

BMW, Libby reminded, has been touting the same tag line -- "The Ultimate Driving Machine" -- for over 30 years. The new face of Cadillac will be shown next Friday night.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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