Cadillac chief, Johan de Nysschen has previously warned dealers that things would be worse before they got better. This is while Cadillac continues to revitalize its portfolio and usher in a new era of what it means to drive a Cadillac.
Now, it seems Cadillac dealers are seeing what the “worse” part of de Nysschen’s comments mean.
Automotive News reports many dealers in the Northeast and Midwest missed out on normally vital incentives as they missed sales targets for the first quarter, especially in lease-heavy markets. This combined with the lack of consumer incentives on 2015 Cadillac models makes for a very slow time for Cadillac dealers.
Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac marketing head, acknowledged April would be the first month where a “natural demand” would be seen for the Cadillac ATS and CTS. As the report cites, the results don’t paint a bright picture. ATS sales fell 23 percent, while CTS sales nosedived 47 percent.
The news comes as Cadillac continues its revolution as an American luxury brand, one where incentives are greatly scaled back, and restrained supply reins. Right now, it hurts, but long term it makes great sense.
The plan is to begin re-bolstering resale values, and heightening Cadillac’s image to one it has never seen. It’s a plan to put Cadillac back on the shopping lists of its German rivals. But, dealers are worried it may not materialize. Especially in one of the best luxury markets in recent memory.
“The dealer council has a lot of faith in Johan’s long-term plan,” says Keith Harvey, a member of Cadillac’s National Dealer Council. “But the sales decline is a bit of a tough pill to swallow with the industry rocking right now.”
For now, dealers march forward with the extremely strong selling 2015 Cadillac Escalade, a model which poses an entirely different issue altogether. Dealers are also taking advantage of a new two-year lease program for the 2015 Cadillac SRX, meant to draw buyers until the Cadillac XT5 bows.
Despite turbulent times, de Nysschen continues to travel to regional dealer meetings, ensuring dealers there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is evident in Bill Wash’s words, who has a Cadillac franchise in Illinois.
“As down as I am about the recent sales and the supply being what it is, I’m much more optimistic about this franchise than I have been in years,” Walsh said. “I really think there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not an oncoming train.”