Cadillac’s new Chief Marketing Officer, former BMW marketing executive Uwe Ellinghaus, has been very vocal about the issues he sees with the brand. In the latest report, Ellinghaus told Forbes the luxury car maker has all the right products, but struggles with “relevance.”
The 44-year old says he wants to position Cadillac as a brand that is technologically elegant and moving forward.
“What we need to build upon is the uniqueness of Cadillac and differing aspects from the other car brands,” said Ellinghaus. “I accepted this job because I was not asked to emulate the success recipe of BMW. Even if I were able to, I wouldn’t recommend going down that road because branding is about differentiation and not similarity.”
Indeed Cadillac has all the right products to push it back into a front-runner marquee. The Cadillac ATS has helped the brand appeal to a younger demographic and the 2014 CTS recently won 2013 Motor Trend Car of The Year. But Ellinghaus says the model that will really take Cadillac into the future is the ELR plug-in hybrid.
“Sure, the price is high,” Ellinghaus said, “but ELR will find an audience that is looking exactly for a car that has wonderful range and fantastic emissions and also has everything that makes a premium car fun to drive and meets their daily requirements.”
Other automakers, mainly Tesla and BMW, have seen success with their luxury electric vehicles. Cadillac’s ELR features upscale interior and exterior styling, good electric range and low emissions, all things that will help its sales case when it goes on sale for $75,000 in the first quarter of 2014.
Ellinghaus said he thinks the ELR “will be the best lever to get people to think twice about Cadillac.”