Cadillac’s new products, such as the CTS and ATS, are more than capable of bringing the fight to German competitors from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The brand’s vehicles are now on-par with or better than the competition, however you may have noticed the prices reflect that. Recently appointed brand chief Johan de Nysschen told Automotive News that Cadillac’s pricing will have to remain high going forward if they want to compete with foreign luxury brands.
Cadillac’s U.S. sales have dipped 5 percent through to August this year at a time when the luxury car market has seen an 8 percent spike in sales. The brand recently had to idle its Grand River Assembly plant for three weeks due to an abundance of unsold product on hand, the majority of which are CTS and ATS sedans.
Cadillac dealers are blaming slow sales on pricing the vehicles around the same level as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. They say high prices have turned off buyers, but de Nysschen said that the legacy buyers used to lower prices will have to be turned away if they wish to attract buyers who usually purchase imports.
“We cannot deny the fact that we are leaving behind our traditional customer base,” de Nysschen told AN. “It will take several years before a sufficiently large part of the audience who until now have been concentrating on the German brands will find us in their consideration set.”
GM President Dan Amman has given de Nysschen more power than previous Cadillac brand chiefs, allowing the South Africa native to run nearly every aspect of the company, from working with the dealer network to sales, product planning, engineering and design. de Nysschen, who is partially credited with turning Audi into a strong luxury brand, said Cadillac must operate as a complete separate entity from other General Motors brands and make separate decisions in regards to products, marketing, and sales.
“Nobody who goes to work at Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi works on a part-time basis for those brands,” said de Nysschen. “They are absolutely 100 percent immersed in annihilating the opposition.”