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Statement by Clarence Ditlow, Center for Auto Safety

I accept this Hubbard award on behalf of General Motors for its irresponsible commercial that promotes sales over safety by using a flagrantly illegal and dangerous passing maneuver to hype the performance of the Cadillac Catera.

"You follow the leader. You follow the pack. Then, you get a new Catera. Suddenly, you don't follow anything. We were born to lead." the announcer states on this commercial as the Catera is shown suddenly swerving out into the oncoming lane by crossing a double yellow line to pass a BMW and a Lexus. This maneuver is illegal in every state. Even worse, the passing takes places going uphill on a two lane road where an approaching vehicle will have a harder time slowing down to avoid colliding head-on with the Catera which is in the wrong lane.

Crossing a double yellow line to pass on a two lane road is illegal in every state because it's so hazardous. In 1996, 1,059 people were killed in crashes while driving on the wrong side of the road according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS). If Catera drivers follow the advice of this commercial, they will lead the way to the grave yard. If Cadillac practiced truth in advertising, it would change this ad's lyrics to "Born to die." rather than "Born to be alive."

This commercial is the first of three Cadillac ads in December and January which will stress performance and power over safety. This is the same marketing philosophy that placed sales over safety at General Motors in the 1970's when it advertised the long driving range of the C/K pickup due to the 40-gallon side saddle gas tanks that led to the burn deaths of 800 people. These Cadillac ads replace the quirky red duck that zigs theme that launched the Catera.

It's better to have a duck that zigs than a Caddy that crosses the line. After all, the Cadillac buyer who doesn't cross the line is more likely to be around to buy another Catera than one who crosses a double yellow and comes face to face with an 18-wheeler. Live a little, bring back the duck, Cadillac.

[ Hubbard Press Release ]