The Cadillac Catera has been overwhelmed with criticism from the first to last days of its short life. Indeed, numerous reliability problems and rather controversial marketing campaign built a poor profile for the Catera.
When GM announced a new Caddy to the public in 1996, car enthusiasts everywhere wonder if a car whose DNA came from another continent could fit the image of the quintessential American car brand. It was only the third time in the brands long history when Cadillac imported a car from Europe and the results were catastrophic. The base Catera was offered as a rear-wheel drive model and was equipped with a 200 hp L81 V6 manufactured in England at GM's Ellesmere Port facility. A Sport model was added to the lineup in 1999 with eight-way power adjustable seats, heated front seats, 17-inch wheels, driver's seat memory, audible theft-deterrent system, three-channel garage door opener, high-intensity discharge headlamps, and a rear spoiler. The Catera received a facelift in 2000 with revised nose, tail, wheels, interior trim, mirrors, optional HID headlamps, stiffer suspension settings, and side airbags.
The vehicle was marketed with the The Caddy that Ziggs tagline and featured a red duck with a big yellow beak named Ziggy. This maskot was dicontinued around 2000 followed by the Catera itself in 2001.
Despite being little noted or long remembered, the Cadillac Catera was a win for one reason: its failure forced GM to do what had been unthinkable just a few years earlier - start over with a clean sheet of paper and finally save its luxury division.