Cadillac’s move to New York City, specifically the SoHo area, will be watched closely by parent General Motors, but the brand knows it was the right thing to do. Specifically, Cadillac CMO, Uwe Ellinghaus, feels it brings the right amount of energy and inspiration to help reinvent the luxury brand.
Cool Hunting spoke with Ellinghaus over a one-year period, first when the brand moved into its SoHo space in 2014, and in 2015 after things had settled down, and employees were unpacked. Over the time period, Ellinghaus stated New York City has become synonymous with what Cadillac is trying to do. A city that consistently reinvents itself fits perfect with what Cadillac is trying to do.
“You can rightly say, ‘But the brand is not associated with New York in its history.’ That’s true, but on the other hand Cadillac has been the embodiment of the American spirit—its optimism and boldness—and it is something that New York is known for,” Ellinghaus stated.
Ellinghaus felt a cohesive strategy across all areas of Cadillac, identity, point of view, spirit, energy and consistency in product, all tied in well with the brand’s new home in SoHo, as he detailed Cadillac’s view to become aspirational. He also stated Cadillac’s heritage will remain extraordinarily important.
“I really think we need to use the unique heritage that we have because none of the German auto brands are a design icon. None of the Germans are an icon for Hollywood or for entertainment in general. And you don’t hear BMW in a pop song. How many songs feature Cadillac?”
Finally, he talked challenges. Cadillac has more than a few challenges moving forward, as American luxury buyers forego the brand for German automakers.
“Our biggest issue is that we are not resonating with enough buyers who simply say, “I’m not sure if Cadillac is right for me.” And we need to reach out to them rather than waiting for them to come to us. Create platforms and sponsorships to highlight the cars and even get people chauffeured in the cars. We have a program with American Airlines for their best customers, to expose them to our product, which they probably wouldn’t have because they’re not close enough to the brand to go to a dealer. We want Cadillac to be relevant. I really think reaching out to people, bringing cars into the public domain, on displays or ideally driving or being driven in them, is the way forward to overcome this relevancy issue.”
It will likely be a few years before we know if Cadillac’s strategy is the right one, but Ellinghaus seems like the right guy to get the ball rolling.