August 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm #100747
John Franklin MasonParticipant
Every time the head of Cadillac Johan de Nysschen uses Mercedes and/or BMW and/or Audi as benchmarks for Cadillac he is conceding that Cadillac is an inferior product. Who uses Cadillac as a benchmark anymore? Not even General Motors which has no complaint Johan de Nysschen mission is to distant Cadillac from General Motors.
Come on, it is not like consumers are going to think General Motors went bankrupt and Cadillac didn’t. If anything they are going to think Cadillac is trying to hide the bankruptcy. Not that anyone buying a premium luxury brand really thinks about the bankruptcy now, but they will. Rather than garnering respect for the brand Johan de Nysschen’s efforts will serve to arouse suspicions.
Consumers have not changed in what intangibles they want from Cadillac, Cadillac changed in what they have to offer consumers. Even the head of Cadillac perceives the Cadillac network as being short on intangibles. The missing Cadillac mystique is more than intangibles found at the dealership though, it is intangibles found in the product like curb appeal and that special “Dream come true” feeling you got sitting and riding in a Cadillac.
There is a pompous feeling you get in a European premium car, one General Motors has for decades been trying to emulate after abandoning the Cadillac-centric intangibles. After downsizing the bean counters took over at GM and in the mid-80’s on failed to recognize the true soul of an automobile and cut out the intangible asset costs after having eliminated tangibles or reducing their costs and qualities.
December 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm #111808
John Franklin Mason: nearly everything, if not everything you mention is the result of a brand in (major) transition. Cadillac has been damaged by its parent for years if not decades, so to undo and then overcome the damage will take time.
Now, the current product is good, but you are right — it does lack that special feeling which you mention German luxury cars have. It is noticeable when a Cadillac is sitting still and you have the time to compare the interior, the trim, the quality, the worksmanship. Like I said, it’s good, but there is quite a bit of room for improvement. That said, when a Cadillac is in motion and you are behind the wheel, all that fades away and you are left with a childlike grin on your face thanks to how well the cars drive.
The solution, in my opinion, is an improvement in the materials, in design, and in the integration of those who to create something that’s more than the sum of its parts. Though overused, it is the exact definition of synergy that the Germans do so well.
As for Johan de Nysschen conceding that Cadillac is inferior… I think those words were taken out of context. Again, it will take time to turn this ship around. Given time, resources, ingenuity, and patience, I believe the current team can do it. But it will take the combination of those elements to truly deliver Cadillac’s full potential.
July 15, 2016 at 1:39 am #133282
It appears to me that JdN does not know his customers very well. If you glance at the May 2016 sales of the brand, you will find that only Esxalade both regular and extended have shown positive gains over one year ago. And that includes the fact that the ExT is not even in the numbers for this year. Other noteworthy points include a strong start for the XT5 but look how the one model, the XTS which GM has remarked should have not been made under new GM, appears to outsell the other sedans. While the CTS came close in the month and year sales, the XTS in one month beat the two months of the CT6 combined while being almost 30% off of last years sales. And while it was off by that amount, I note that it is only 1500 units short of its TOTAL 2015 sales. It is also interesting that it is the one Cadillac that really does not blend with the design language of the other sedans. Could it be that the traditional buyer prefers traditional Cadillac and body on frame SUVs (also traditional) over Cadillac’s chasing the Germans? Maybe Lincoln with their choice to go back to American luxury in a American Luxury car is the correct path for the Americans.
July 18, 2016 at 6:07 pm #133460
It’s not the correct path, because that path ends is highly limited from a sales standpoint and the market for these vehicles is slowly disappearing. What gen Y or Millenial desires to buy or will buy a Lincoln or a Cadillac XTS? The answer is either none, or relatively few — much fewer than those yearning to buy a sport-luxury vehicle from the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Infiniti, Jaguar and the new Cadillac.
As for the XTS outselling the ATS and CTS — the reasoning is quite clear:
1. The XTS is the only remaining Cadillac that continues to be attractive to the audience the brand has built up over the last 30 years. In that regard, it’s a smart move . But make no mistake: the audience that finds the XTS attractive is slowly going away. It’s the equivalent of selling horse carriages while the rest of the market moves towards motorized automobiles. Sure, the carriage company will sell its product during the transitionary period, but its market will disappear sooner or later, by which time it will be out of business.
2. The XTS is also the best car in its class (Acura RLX and Lincoln MKS) and presents the most value for the money. By contrast, the ATS, CTS, and CT6 are very good cars and even lead their classes in such metrics as driving dynamics, technology, and sometimes safety,, but they are on an up-hill battle against some very well-established (if not dominant) players. That’s not the case for the XTS, which defines the segment, and which can pull from Cadillac’s established customer base for sales, rather than be tasked with conquesting customers from The Germans.
All in all, I personally find the attitude that “Cadillac would be better off pursuing the same market set as Lincoln” very defeatist and lacking in character, vision, and business prowess. The fact is that Cadillac is on the right path and is doing the right things; it’s changing its target market from having no potential, shrinking and dying off to one that is growing and one that will grow well into the future. This is the case for the ATS, CTS, and CT6. This course change should have been done decades ago, but wasn’t due to a lack of focus, lack of understanding of the luxury market, and a lack of bravery on the part of GM leadership.
So, let’s realize that changing demographic and core customer set the way Cadillac is doing now takes time and is very difficult. To accomplish its goal, the brand must effectively attract customers from rivals. That is why today, we see “okay” sales performance from Cadillac models that are better than “okay”. But a focus on excellence in every element of operations while staying the course and being patient over time is the formula for success. That’s why I, personally, have full faith in Cadillac’s current strategy and leadership. In the meantime, rest assured that every Cadillac sold today brings in a healthy profit, which enables aggressive development in future models, platforms, technologies, etc.
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