Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen has said that dealers need to “step up” to help him execute his long-term growth plan, but some dealerships are worried that they will lose their franchises while Cadillac tries to consolidate its dealer network in urban areas.
“If I don’t do a better job with Cadillac and start offering customers a true luxury experience, I think [de Nysschen] could make life uncomfortable for me,” says SC-based dealer Claude Burns, who averages fewer than 10 new Cadillac sales a month.
Cadillac’s German competition have two-thirds fewer stores and outsell the average Cadillac dealership 5-to-1, according to Automotive News.
de Nysschen has yet to issue an imperative that would require a dealer such as Burns to build a new showroom. About half of Cadillac’s dealerships have been remodeled in recent years under a broader GM facility program, with another 35 percent with projects planned or underway.
However, a Cadillac dealer who recently returned from a Cadillac dealer gathering in Las Vegas wasn’t keen on any expansion plans, instead calling Florida-based lawyer Richard Sox. In the past, Sox has represented Cadillac dealers targeted for termination during GM’s bankruptcy five years ago. Sox claims the dealer is on the outskirts of a large urban area and must compete against several bigger Cadillac stores.
“He feels like there’s a good likelihood that he’ll be targeted as Cadillac looks to reduce its dealer count,” says Sox.
de Nysschen told Automotive News last month that he will “be asking our dealers to step up to the plate” to give the Cadillac showroom experience a competitive edge and help position the brand “at the very top of the premium sector.”
“It’s very clear to me that many, many dealers already have risen to the challenge. On the other hand, when those customers engage us in our dealerships, we cannot afford that the experience is anything other than confirming that this is a first-class brand. And not all of our dealers are there.”