A restored Cadillac La Salle Coupe.
The LaSalle was an automobile product of General Motors Corporation and sold as a companion marque of Cadillac from 1927 to 1940. The two were linked by similarly themed names, both being named for French explorers — Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac and René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, respectively.
The LaSalle had its beginnings when General Motors’ CEO, Alfred P. Sloan, noticed that his carefully crafted market segmentation program was beginning to develop price gaps in which General Motors had no product to sell.
As originally developed by Sloan, General Motors’ market segmentation placed each of the company’s individual automobile makes into specific price points. The Chevrolet was designated as the entry level product. Next, (in ascending order), came the Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick, and ultimately, the Cadillac. However, during the robust 1920s, certain General Motors products began to shift out of the plan as the products improved and engine advances were made.
In an era where automotive brands were somewhat restricted to building a specific car per model year, Sloan surmised that the best way to bridge the gaps was to develop “companion” marques that could be sold through the current sales network.
Under the plan, the gap between the Chevrolet and the Oakland would be filled by a new marque named Pontiac, a quality six-cylinder car designed to sell for the price of a four-cylinder. The wide gap between Oldsmobile and Buick would be filled by two companion marques: Oldsmobile was assigned the up-market V8 engine, Viking automobile and Buick was assigned the more compact six-cylinder Marquette. Cadillac, which had seen its base prices soar in the heady 1920s, was assigned the LaSalle as a companion car to fill the gap that existed between it and Buick.