Cadillac’s products have made a major turnaround in regards to competing with German offerings, however its sales still lag behind rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Forbes recently got a hold of a 2015 ATS Coupe and after driving it, they concluded the issue with Cadillac isn’t due to having an inferior product.
Instead, Forbes said Cadillac has issues with its marketing, brand image and pricing. The ATS, for example, had an “uneven” launch campaign in 2012, with ads running consistently during the Olympics, but quickly tapering off afterwards. The Coupe variant of the ATS was also debuted in Detroit in January and has yet to garner much attention through advertising.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the luxury market wasn’t getting increasingly competitive. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, all of which have a more upscale brand image, are moving downmarket with cars like the CLA and A3. That means someone who may have always wanted a Mercedes can squeeze themselves into an entry-level model for a little more than $30,000, while Cadillac’s entry model, the ATS, can easily cost as much as $50,000.
Additionally, Forbes noted Cadillac is still associated with its “older roots” in the eyes of many young buyers, who may not consider it a viable alternative to a BMW or Mercedes. The brand’s attempt at being more performance-oriented and youthful may have also scared away its older, lifelong customers, something CEO Johan de Nysschen had already said he isn’t scared of doing.
Also scaring away older customers is Cadillac’s new pricing strategy. It’s more in line with other luxury brands, which means for many of Cadillac’s existing customers, it’s now too high. Forbes also thinks the price of most of today’s Cadillacs is a bit steep, which will hopefully be solved when it rolls out its true entry-level compact. The Cadillac portfolio will also benefit greatly from the next-generation SRX and planned sub-SRX crossover.
The ATS and CTS may be on par with the competition, but Cadillac needs to convey that message to the public before results in more sales. That goal can be met, but it will take a long time. De Nysschen already said it will take “several years before a sufficiently large part of the audience who until now have been concentrating on the German brands will find (Cadillac) in their consideration set,” let alone surpassing those brands in sales.