8 July 2024

Deceiving the Consumer

Is it leather? Writes on LinkedIn

Sliding behind the wheel of a $80K Cadillac Lyric for the first time I immediately noticed the beautiful light-blue seats.

“Oh my…this is a really unique color,” I said to the salesperson. “You guys sure outfitted this with beautiful leather.”

“Yes,” was her only response.

I was sitting, of course, on GM’s Inteluxe fake leather that adorns most of its EVs nowadays (and quickly becoming standard throughout its entire lineup). Unlike the vast majority of consumers, I had done my homework and was very aware the seats were fake – hoping against hope that the salesperson would correct me.

But this is the shell game that most consumers face. Today’s fake leathers certainly look fabulous at first glance (don’t want to see them after 3 years of use!). They are veiled with fancy marketing names like Inteluxe (GM), ActiveX (Ford), MB-Tex (Mercedes) and so on. When consumers sit in a car – especially luxury brands – their expectation is that the seats are real leather. The majority never ask – they assume.

And today’s salespeople are trained to take the path of least resistance – never correcting the customer’s assumption. Which, by the way, is also called …. LYING!

I asked the salesperson more directly the next time, “what type of leather is in this vehicle?”

“This is our latest, strongest and most environmentally friendly Inteluxe leather,” she answered.

“Is it real?” I pushed further.

“Absolutely,” she answered. “This is Cadillac, we give you the best of the best.”

Again, the act of not correcting me is a lie – no 2 ways about it. And I would guestimate that only a very few consumers would ever push beyond this line of questioning. The vast majority would move on with their life in their new $80k Lyriq proud and happy of their luxury purchase, with its beautiful and unique light blue “Leather” interior – that is really just dressed up plastic!

Moral of the story – retailers have no morals. Whether it’s Cadillac as in this example, or Louis Vuitton allowing people to think their entire logo-decorated bags are leather, the truth is hard to come by. We have to be educated in what we are buying. We have to stop trusting what retailers say … and importantly in these cases, what they DON’T say!


Stop assuming (you know the old saying) and start asking!

About APLF

We bring leather, material and fashion businesses together: an opportunity to meet and greet face to face. We bring them from all parts of the world so that they can find fresh partners, discover new customers or suppliers and keep ahead of industry developments.


We organise a number of trade exhibitions which focus on fashion and lifestyle: sectors that are constantly in flux, so visitors and exhibitors alike need to be constantly aware both of the changes around them and those forecast for coming seasons.


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