Today, Cadillac is in a major state of transition. Reincarnation, even. Though the luxury brand/division introduced some very well-received and class-leading vehicles over the last few years such as the ATS Sedan and ATS Coupe, the CTS sedan, and the all-new 2015 Escalade SUV, sales dropped 6.5 percent in 2014. That drop was in the face of every other GM brand posting gains over 2013, some much more significantly than others. One of the reasons for the lackluster sales performance is believed to be the market’s general lack of awareness of the great new product. That’s why Cadillac marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus is putting the finishing touches on a new full-scale marketing campaign that will debut during the Oscars on February 22nd.
Plenty rides on these new moves commissioned by Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. GM CEO Mary Barra, for instance, has put herself on the line by backing the moves despite criticism: “We have a defined plan [for Cadillac], and we are going to stick to it,” Barra said in her new-year statement about GM. “We realize we have work ahead with the brand, but we will stay disciplined. There was a time when Cadillac stood for luxury.”
Meanwhile, Ellinghaus recently told Forbes that “Cadillac does not need a new brand. After all, it cannot distance itself from its 112-year-old history — and we should not. Cadillac is an iconic luxury brand with a heritage that creates authenticity, a unique asset that many other brands would love to have.”
Thankfully, Cadillac has great cars in its lineup today and even more in the pipeline, such as the 2016 CT6 full-size luxury sedan, as well as the high-perforamnce 2016 ATS-V and 2016 CTS-V. But it boils down to a sad, yet realistic truth: great cars don’t just sell themselves. If that were the case, Cadillac would have had a record year in 2014 just on that merit alone. Instead, it’s time for Cadillac to strengthen the brand and make luxury car buyers aware of how great it is to own a Cadillac.