“A strong, financially healthy dealer organization is an essential element of Cadillac’s expansion plans. The stronger our dealers are, the better our service quality will be. Cadillac is on a journey back to the pinnacle of premium brands, and dealers will contribute every step of the way.”
Those are the words of Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen, regarding the current state of the brand’s dealer network. Of which, is one of the largest luxury vehicle dealer networks in the nation, yet sales have been thinly stretched among franchises. As it stands, Cadillac has over 900 dealerships nationwide, where other premium brands like Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz each have between 200 and 400 dealerships. Yet each of these brands outperformed Cadillac last year, BMW and Mercedes each outselling the marque by roughly 2-to-1.
However, those 900 dealerships may stick around, as Cadillac has officially stated that it’s not in the plans to reduce the number of dealerships. Instead, the storied brand aims to make the dealership experience better as a whole.
So, de Nysschen outlined a plan at the NADA conference detailing the transition of about 700 of the nation’s smaller and/or dealerships mixed with other brands into “boutique stores.” The 200 or so larger, standalone dealerships would remain the automaker’s flagship locations.
The 700 or so dealers to be transitioned – many of which lie on shared lots with Chevy, GMC, and/or Buick – would receive a breadth of posh updates. The showrooms would contain a few exemplary staples of the brand’s offerings in-the-flesh, complimented by “virtual showrooms” displayed on televisions or even in holograms, which would enable the customer to explore whatever models aren’t physically present. The plan also calls for highly trained sales and service staff, and “luxury amenities.” (Dom Pérignon, anyone?)
It’s not anticipated that this ambitious plan will see fruition this year. The boutique Cadillac dealership plan also sounds similar to a concept de Nysschen envisioned during his tenure at Audi.