Johan de Nysschen Ousting: The Winners And Losers86
The sudden news of Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen leaving the company has shadowed over the rest of the news this week, both from GM and the rest of the industry. It might be a while before the dust settles, and many of us are left looking for answers. And while we’re short on answers, there are still some truths emerging from the dust, and who gains from the result of this fallout. Below are our winners and losers.
Winners: Cadillac Dealers
Johan de Nysschen insisted on his vision to improve the Cadillac dealer network to the levels of tier-1 luxury brands from Europe. Known as Project Pinnacle, it was met with well-documented friction from Cadillac franchises across the United States, and exposed a continental divide between the brand’s slick salesmen, and Johan’s ambitions. Only until recently were there any sign of agreements between the two forces. But now with de Nysschen gone, the future of Project Pinnacle seems uncertain, and with that in mind, the dealer body gets to stick to their old ways for the foreseeable future.
Losers: Future Product
One of the qualities of Johan de Nysschen is that he wasn’t afraid to criticize the products he was in charge of. From sharply criticizing the drab instrument panel of the Cadillac ATS, to calling Apple CarPlay “clunky,” to admitting Cadillac’s unbalanced lineup of too many sedans and much-needed crossovers. We found his critiques to be healthy, and pointed to his overarching plans to elevate the brand as a whole. With four years at the helm, it’s safe to say that he (and former product chief Travis Hester) oversaw much of the development of the 2019 Cadillac XT4 crossover, as well as the expected XT6 three-row crossover, a new Escalade SUV, and the impending CT5 sedan. The future products appear to be well in line with what the brand needs to rebound from its slipping sales in the US market. Beyond them, however, we could see a step backward. And with GM’s unwarranted emphasis on electrification, who knows what’s to happen of the charismatic V-Series line.
Winner: Old GM Culture
We have now witnessed a full pendulum swing. Six months ago Cadillac had Uwe Ellinghaus, a German “outsider” from the likes of BMW and Montblanc, helming the marketing department, reporting to de Nysschen. During Uwe’s tenure, the marketing strategy and tone was sharply criticized for either being over-promising, tone-deaf, alienating, or all three. Then Uwe left. Now Johan – another outsider who oversaw a great turnaround of the Audi brand a decade ago, and was working on changing Infiniti before GM wrote a big enough check – “walks out” on “philosophical differences.” Whereafter Johan is hastily replaced by somebody whom “despite many years abroad, remains an avid hockey enthusiast, and has enjoyed returning to the GM Canada Salaried Hockey League,” according to the press release covering the announcement. And they’re teamed with a former McDonalds marketing executive turned brand CMO. This is the leadership now charged with turning Cadillac around? Suddenly the far-reaching perspectives and marketing direction from the German and South African outsiders don’t seem so bad.
Losers: The Customers
See: Cadillac Dealers, Future Product, and Old GM Culture. But hey, at least there’s that fat Escalade discount happening right now as a consolation prize.
Winners: The Nay Sayers
Upon the hiring of Johan de Nysschen four years ago, a lot of curmudgeons of the automotive media machine puffed their chests and decreed that he wouldn’t last. That there would indeed be sudden fallout between him and the rest of GM’s management, because Johan ultimately wouldn’t be able to “fix Cadillac.” The news this week vindicates each and every one of those old hacks. The same goes for any GM employee that didn’t welcome his changes.
Loser: The Cadillac Brand Cachet
The ousting of Johan de Nysschen also means the utter rejection of a strategy structured around elevating the brand. Several readers naively proclaim that the New York move was a bad one. Even though Johan didn’t make the call on that decision, it was a low-risk and necessary move to focus the Cadillac brand around movers and shakers in one of the world’s major hubs in finance and fashion, and did allow the marketing team to focus without the white noise of GM’s corporate silos. It was a positive step towards elevating Cadillac, just as with the launch of any flagship product. The next phase was to have Cadillac establish its own financial independence, but who knows if that’s happening now. The New York image-play could very well be unraveled in the coming months. As could Project Pinnacle. As could various halo vehicle programs. Johan’s persistence in working to restore Cadillac to former midcentury glory felt like a glowing light coming after the directionless darkness of the Bob Ferguson days, and now it’s hard to shake the feeling that things are going to regress.
Are we wrong? discuss in the comment section below.
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VSS-R RWD/AWD (Next- gen-alpha chassis/Omega chassis. Not going any were. XT7/XT8 crossovers RWD/AWD (5passgers), (8passgers), Next-gen XT6/XT5/XT4/XT3 crossovers RWD/AWD. Escala halo still going to be build, CT7, CT5/CT4, PHEV’s and Full batteries plug-in electric drive, etc. All these programs jdn got approve has been sign and paid for and are being developed right now. They haven’t stop these programs.
The core elements of the product are not enough. They must have the details. They will not without JdN.
The dealers are part of the problem and must be treated as such, not placated.
“XT7/XT8 crossovers RWD/AWD (5passgers), (8passgers), Next-gen XT6/XT5/XT4/XT3 crossovers RWD/AWD.”
I really wouldn’t count on it. In fact, I am almost certain this is why JDN left.
Never for one second, did I believe he and Ellinghaus decided in favor of Cadillac building FWD/AWD CUVs to compete with Mercedes-Benz and BMW. I think GM management made them do it and pretend it was thier idea.
After reading this article, I’m confident that even the timing wasn’t the issue, but rather the execution: https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/04/02/why-general-motors-made-cadillac-wait-for-the-all.aspx
Study De Nysschen’s quote:
“We recognized that there was all this white space in our product portfolio. But General Motors is now run with a very high degree of vigor in terms of financial discipline.”
“That’s why the company is performing well.”
-Translation: I have to say this.
“But the downside of that is that there are no pet projects. If a vehicle program doesn’t pay its way, then it doesn’t happen. And Cadillac’s struggle had been that it was literally starved of product.”
-Translation: Cadillac MUST ignore the beancounters to build what they need to compete, but the beancounters keep blocking the products until they can be made cheap enough. This is how Cadillac got starved of COMPETITIVE product (and continues to).
I think De Nysschen pushed for a the upcoming CUV portfolio to be RWD/AWD by either getting the VSS-R to support CUVs, or getting the VSS-S to support RWD/AWD. Both options would require more time and funding, which the board is apparently unwilling to give.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this happened after the NY Auto Show, where the Aviator generated buzz, while the XT4 received a lukewarm response. I think people are understating how much Lincoln raised the bar for Cadillac here. I take it JDN pointed this out to the GM brass and left in frustration because of their stubbornness, or they fired him for striking a nerve. The Vehicle Set Strategy IS Mary Barra’s baby, after all.
The next-gen Cadillac CUVs are supposed to be FWD/AWD. Johan wanted VSS platforms re-engineered for RWD/AWD CUV duty, but GM beancounters are demanding they be rushed to the market as FWD/AWD.
Lincoln raised the bar for Cadillac because they went back to a focus on American luxury, instead of German driving dynamics. Reflective of this Lincoln also is going back to real names, instead of timidly using the German naming conventions, itself a tacit indication that “Germans are best, we are not worthy”.
“Dare Greatly” was a slogan, “Imitate Meekly” was the reality. I loved Bob Lutz’s recent take on Johan’s era too, priceless. The Aviator showed up the sub-mediocre, non-Cadillac XT4 and put Johan out to pasture. Thanks Lincoln, thanks Aviator!
You are incorrect….The VSS-R RWD/AWD chassis development program is on schedule and due to begin in 2022-2023.
JDN didn’t seem to care to much about details, if he did he would have had a better marketing team to started with, and paid more close attention too how these sales were here in these states. If had he still would be these ceo over Cadillac today.
From that perspective, Johan was on a doomed mission all along. Gotta remember too that Uwe was onboard at Cadillac before Johan was.
Expecting JDN to turn a brand around in a mere four years, with overpriced vehicles mostly in dying segments, would be a misstep on GM’s part.
Gm’s management even ask why, aren’t you marketing these car’s, like these CT6 and XT5 at all or better?
They were not his cars and 5hey did not represent what vehicles he wanted.
Why market the. Wrong message?
The xt4 is for the most part “his” car.
This new standard in mediocrity is reason alone to get canned.
No hybrid (accept for a chinese ct6 nobody buys), no electric, dated high emission ice engines, 1 cuv after being there for 4 years.
He should have spent less time drinking coffee in hipster NYC, and more time rebuilding a mostly irrelevant brand.
And in the mean time dropping sales in the US, and postponing europe again by 5 year.
The slogan of cadillac is not dare greatly but “wait till next year”. We are all still waiting.
Yes, sales increases in china, but all sales of every brand increases in china, with zero effort.
They have unlimited funds and a nearly unlimited population. They buy every car that gets build.
They have so much money, they can even waste it on a cadillac.
It takes a lot longer than four years to not only turn around a brand but to even launch that one single model you speak of. The XT4 is very competitive in its segment. Has the same power (Almost but I wish it had more) as the X1, Q3, NX200. It is a little bigger and wider so more room. But lets not forget that the All New Q3 is right around the corner and will be close to XT4 size per reports.
Johan wanted to turn around Cadillac properly which he was doing but obviously GM never was nor will they ever be 100% serious about Cadillac. This is all on GM not wanting to allow Cadillac to act like a true tier One Luxury brand b/c the Corporate Bean Counters and more importantly the Share Holders only care about the current profits and not what the future will hold for them if allowed to properly fulfill the journey.
GM messed this whole thing up. I personal will stop purchasing GM vehicles and even suggest them to Family and friends as I have for years. This move proves to me that GM will always look to cut corners. This is why Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Audi, Mercedes, BMW can sell vehicles in the so called Dead Segments. They Go All In on every vehicle they make. They stand for something.
This response really gets me riled up b/c I am 40 years old and for as long as I can remember I have been a HUGE GM fan and always make excuses for them. But I am done. If GM is NOT going to go full NO EXCUSES for Cadillac, just imagine the behind the scenes decisions on like Chevrolet. I started getting this feeling with every new Chevrolet car that was released the last three years that had the worse Hard Plastics in the interior in the Business. It was solidified when I saw the Ram interior compared to the All New Silverado. The Impala has the best Chevrolet Interior in their lineup and so does the Tahoe. That shows me that Chevrolet can indeed make nice interiors (I am only talking about materials as the designs are pretty nice) but they obviously chose not to do so to save money. They then wonder why their vehicles are not selling in certain segments compared to others.
No more excuses from me. GM needs to win me back. I will always continue to be a Huge GM fan and will always pull for them to be great and relevant but I will not continue with the excuses to myself about them, to my family, and my friends.
Now the problem I will run into is I do not want to purchase a Toyota, Honda, or Nissan, so Do I keep my car forever or get a VW HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
I don’t support GM either but lets wait and see what the upcoming Cadillacs, Buicks, Chevys and GMCs look like first before writing those brands off.
GM is a company that hire engineers to produce Cadillac, GMC, Chevy and Buick, not the finance guys & BOD.
The board of directors is the problem that GM is the way they are.
Well said, i feel the same way. Tired of GM being so conservative and following not leading. They dont take any risks. I also like they have taken a step back in reliability recently. I bought a 2014 impala ltz and although real nice the electronics took a crap at 40k miles. Cost me 3500 to get it fixed. Still not everything got fixed.
This news of Cadillac going back to its old ways really gets me upset cause i was waiting for the XT4 to be released to see if it was worth buying. Now i feel like GM really handcuffed JDN on that vehicle and it shows. I feel thats one of the reasons he left.
From a business perspective it is good to take risks here and there, to gain the brand attention but you definitely need a successful possibly conservative portfolio to do those things, you don’t want o bet the farm on something that may not pay off. With that being said you don’t necessarily not want to take any risks as you run the risk of becoming stagnant and potentially getting into a mess that requires the US government to bail you out.
Momolos wrote: “The XT4 is very competitive in its segment. ”
That is such non-Cadillac thinking. A leader does not build “adequate for the segment” – a segment defined by someone else. Cadillac used to mean something, an extraordinary experience that you didn’t get with other cars. When Cadillac came out with a new model, they didn’t say “is this good enough for the segment?”. No, they said “is this good enough for the Cadillac name?”
Until of course, the Cimarron. Then it was about making a car to fit someone else’s “segment”, in that case the BMW 3 series. It was short-sighted and a massive blow to the Cadillac brand, from which they still haven’t recovered. And they won’t recover from by looking to others for “segments” to fill on a “just as good as the average of the segment” basis.
The XT4 represented all that was wrong with Johan. It wasn’t a Cadillac, didn’t come close to Cadillac standards. It wasn’t even a great car by anyone’s standards, despite the delay and the hype that he was taking his time to “get it right”. Cadillac isn’t about doing average implementations of someone else’s “segment”, and frankly it doesn’t even seem average to me for a luxury car, more an average car in a non-luxury sector.
Johan even killed the classic Cadillac vertical taillights with the XT4, then bragged about his “youngest ever designers” fought to make the lighting elements the way they were. I hope Steve kicks Johan’s “youngest ever/XT4” designers to the curb, and proudly makes Cadillacs look like Cadillacs – frankly the exterior design was the best part of the recent Cadillac line-up, minus the XT4. But the XT4 was a massive step backward, in Euro-trending exterior design, in cheap and non-luxurious, unimpressive interior design, in front legroom, in cargo room, in engine power, possibly in refinement and reliability too, though we won’t know that just yet.
Bottom line, real Cadillac doesn’t do “adequate” and doesn’t follow in other people’s “segments”. Cadillac makes Cadillacs worthy of the name, and reflecting a proud history (yes there were missteps at times when they tried to be something other than Cadillac, but that doesn’t mean the brand doesn’t deserve great pride or have a great set of core values). Let Chevrolet make the cheap little cars like the XT4, if they have to be made at all. Johan didn’t “get” Cadillac. Never did, never really could, just wasn’t in his background. Plus I think some at GM suspected Johan was strong on hype but weak on execution, and the XT4 confirmed it.
‘Prideful values’ is an oxymoron that fits this general society’s recent era well.
Mostly agree, especially on the XT4 styling. But I wouldn’t call it “Euro-trending,” since in my view BMW makes some of the most beautiful cars/cuvs in the world. Cadillac was just about there for a while but their newest designs seems confused to me, as if they lack cohesiveness. Like front end was designed in Studio 3 while the rear third of the car was designed in Studio 7.
My view has always been that if Cadillac are to be taken seriously in the top tier luxury sport segment, then they must lead not only in chassis and powertrain technology but also in industrial design. Alas, GM bean counters wouldn’t know good industrial design if two tons of it fell on top of them.
They gave him 10 years, to turn it around, not four years, they gave time too turn it around.
How do you figure 10?
He was here 5 years last August. P
JDN and company have been fairly vocal about a 10 year plan at Cadillac. Now it’s cut short. Something else besides corporate impatience may be afoot regarding his departure.
Sorry I though he mean JDN was here for ten.
The bottom line is we all lose with the GM board
I necessarily dont want to buy into the fact that Old GM ways of running Cadillac will return. I think Andrew Smith the guy in charge of Cadillac design is really going to fight and push things in terms of product sustains, he is sort of our last man and he has been a Cadillac design for a long time.
They can reassign him if he was vocal & loud enough to make him quiet.
Unfortunately they did it before & can do it again.
Clay Dean kept nagging GM for Alcantara headliners & contrast stitching… It took 6 years of nagging & begging for his reasonable requests to get approved. Once his product finally came out (XTS Platinum), they moved him from Cadillac in a personnel shuffle up.
Alcantara headliners started back in the 08 DTS Platinum long before Dean and the XTS.
Spot on analyses.
Project Pinnacle is most likely dead, if the dealers haven’t already spent the money on the improvements required, they’ll never will … Even if the new CEO asks them to, they’ll just stall until he leaves in a couple of years.
As long as they have the shortsighted beancounter mentality, GM will never change. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.
The V line will survive, Mark Ruess will fight for this baby, but I won’t be surprised if the line up comes down to a single car. If Mark left GM, then its time to panic.
If money already exchanged hand & ironclad contracts were signed, I expect JDN’s upcoming cars to see the light almost unmolested… If there’s room to wiggle & save a buck, we’ll be seeing another Mark Vs Beancounters door handles saga. The patch after it is the one to worry about though … If the new CEO turns out to be a spineless Yes man, you know what’ll happen.
As for the future of Cadillac as a whole, If this dude sends them back to square 1 & undo JDN’s progess, then its time to put the brand out of its misery. GM can’t recognize luxury even if it punched them in the face. The way I see it, there are 2 ways Cadillac can recover their long lost status in the luxury lifestyle world:
A) The new CEO miraculously achieves complete financial independence & total autonomy from GM.
B) GM part ways & sell Cadillac to someone with guts, vision & capital. Geely, are you interested? ?
It’s poised for the current CEO to stay the course until he’s promoted to the Corporate board…JDN was not spineless but that didn’t get him very far…
Good points. GM would be wise to reform ALL of their dealerships, but of course they won’t.
Some dealers are great but it seems like for every great one there are two or three run by con men.
Inheriting a brand that was just starting to make inroads against the luxury competition and letting it languish near death while expecting some ambitious 10year plan to bring it back to life is a good strategy that benefits customers? Give me a break. By the time this plan hatches, no one will care anymore. The brand will be irrelevant and forgotten by then – the customers already lost. Cadillac needed strong evolution and competitive adjustments, not a complete rehash. Things weren’t so bad around 2012 or so with 3 distinctive versions of the CTS, a couple larger sedans and a couple of SUVs.
He should have been assigned to Pontiac as far as I’m concerned.
Losers: Johan, Uwe, Melody, and New York City hipsters.
Losers: Johan’s cheerleaders and apologists
Losers: The track-performance/German wannabe crowd.
Winner: An American icon
Winners: The Cadillac customers.
Winners: The GM shareholders.
Winner: The United States of America.
A stupid question I am sure but how is The United States of America a winner here if Cadillac isn’t a Tier One Luxury brand? Let alone the customers, and who gives two you know what about the Shareholders when you’re trying to resurrect what you call An American Icon.
Please explain as I am completely baffled by your post.
Momolos = Katakis.
Checked the IP.
Thanks Gjio, nice job. The more these Johan cheerleaders and apologists cry and whine about the loss of their man, the more I like it. This has been a great week for American. Johan was killing an American icon, and some of these people were cheering him on. I’m so glad the GM board stopped him before it was too late.
What I don’t understand is why these people wanted him to kill Cadillac and make it a weak imitation of Euro-cars. I guess they just prefer Europe over the USA. Now Cadillac can be proudly American AND GM can make more money – it’s a win/win for the USA. America is back! Cry about that, Euro-loving Johan-fanboys.
You’re making this into a nationalist fight when in reality it’s simply “great cars” vs. “bad cars.” Cadillac made bad cars for decades, and now mostly make very good cars, with a few great cars.
BMW are kicking Cadillac’s arse because they make freakin’ awesome cars. Hating Europe for making great cars is exactly the sort of thinking that got GM into bankruptcy. That’s not hyperbole, I know a few high level people at GM, and their corporate culture was riddled with arrogance and imbecility. It’s better now but there’s still a lot of dead wood that needs to be cut out.
Honestly what GM really needs is to slash management jobs by at least one half. There are far too many middle managers at GM who only have jobs because of a byzantine corporate structure. It would be a 5 year project to slash and burn GM management and rebuild with the remaining talented GM veterans and plenty of new blood who are hungry to lead the world in automotive design and engineering.
Gijo, yes. Momolos = Katakis. You win the grand prize: a year’s worth of souvlaki.
Why does someone assume I am Manoli Katakis? Wonder how that assumption came up.
Evidently I cannot be my own person on this site?
And no proof needed at all!
You didn’t check frig all.
How did you come up with this if you do not mind me asking?
Evidently I cannot be myself on this site HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Mom – you are right, that’s a stupid question. Also a misleading/loaded question. And you know it. You make an entirely fallacious assumption that Johan was going to make Cadillac a more prestigious brand than it will be with Steve.
The reality is that Johan was just a follower, and under Johan Cadillac would have just been a follower, not a leader. Johan could only copy what the Europeans have done in the past. Johan thought the only way to make a luxury car was to make it to the German specifications of sports-luxury. And even then he could only imitate the prior generation cars, by the time they appeared on the market.
Was the XT4, Johan’s one true project, a “tier one winner”? Did it make Cadillac a leader, in any way? Was anything about it unique to Cadillac?
Now that Johan is gone, Cadillac can go back to being an American leader, defining luxury as Americans define it. That makes the United States of a America a winner – now we can have our own cars instead of imitations of European cars.
Maybe you aren’t American and you can’t understand this. Even if you were born in the USA, if you feel culturally connected to Europe or a part of Europe than to the USA, then you don’t have the same outlook as mainstream Americans. And that’s ok. You have European cars that you can buy, and I hope you will. What I don’t understand is why someone who doesn’t like what Cadillac represents as an American brand would be on a website about Cadillac. Cadillac was not meant to be a follower. For decades it offered a unique luxury experience in mass-produced cars (i.e. this side of Rolls Royce), with bold American styling, not a Euro-imitation, matching spec-for-spec in a pathetic attempt to be branded “Tier One” by some self-appointed “enthusiast” snob.
Cadillac was not going to copy its way back to American pride. It needs to get back to its core principals and its leadership in American luxury. It needs to stop thinking that German luxury cars are the only way to go, and that the best it can do is present a feeble imitation, like Hyundai/Genesis. If you don’t get what that means, too bad for you. But get out of here with your “Tier One” garbage. The Germans aren’t Tier One, they are just different. GM is an American business, and hopefully they’re on the road to acting like one.
Cadillac a leader in luxury like before? It sounds like you want them to build road barges again. I mean, come on, Rolls Royce? Those are wallowing pigs for rich douchebags who only ride in the back seat of their own cars. Cadillac builds driver’s cars, and as the owner of an ATS coupe I believe they’re damn good at it. In fact the only thing keeping my ATS from being every bit as good as BMW’s finest is the powertrain and CUE.
Cadillac desperately need their own powertrains so they don’t have to rely on corporate engines. It’s not that GM makes bad engines, they’re just not competitive with BMW’s inline sixes. And the transmissions, well, thankfully I have the 6L45, because the newer 8 speed is a disaster.
I expect that if Cadillac had their own 3.0TT V6 to complement their 4.2TT V8, then they would have the powertrain situation solved (assuming GM’s 10 speed is as good as we’re hearing).
you have no idea what cadillac is supposed to be
No, Cadillac engineers are on record as targeting the E46 3 series when they designed the Alpha platform and ATS. They set out to build the ultimate driving machine and they nailed it, insofar as GM’s bean counters would let them.
What you seem to want is a floaty road barge to insulate you from the road. I suggest you either go for a Buick or a Lincoln if that’s the experience you’re after. The last Buick I drove was like that, with virtually no road feel and an over-assisted steering wheel that felt like it wasn’t even connected to the steering rack. I can see why grocery moms and Old Spice geezers would want that sort of thing, and if GM wants to service their souless needs then I’m cool with it so long as they keep building driver’s cars.
The XT4 was started before Johan. We all have heard he wanted at least V-Sport variants and V-Series variants and what Cadillac gave us was an XT4 with the weakest engine in the its class. Johan pushed for Tier One Luxury and the GM Bean counters refused. Do we not remember he wanted to go against the Macan? How well did that go with GM Brass? Were getting NO Omega CUV and we are going to get saddled with a Cadillac version of a Traverse. You think that was Johan’s vision going in when he accepted the job?
Johan knows how to turn around a Luxury company. he did it with Audi. Audi was in much worse shape than Cadillac is now.
Without stable and independent leadership, Cadillac’s more likely to succumb to the wishes of profit happy board members, and China, with it’s growing appetite for Cadillacs, could begin playing a larger and larger role in their development and product plans–much as they have with Buick.
People, V-series/V-sport performance models were here way before JND got here, why would it not be here? Because JDN is gone, BS. RWD/AWD, Omega chassis and alpha chassis was here( next gen- VSS-R, gm’s next gen chassis) way before he got here. I think a lot people on here, is JDN crazy. What Cadillac needed is more new crossover’s, a new escalade suv, and get there electric drivetrain out here on these market, and that should have been pushed a lot harder.
12 billion dollars, and 10 years to get done at that pace it wasn’t going to happen. Cadillac would be irrelevant by then. Should have pushed harder, a lot harder on these new Crossovers (XT3/XT4/XT6/XT5/XT7/XT8), New escalade suv, CT6/CT5/CT4, CT7, Escala halo, PHEV, Fully electric battery powertrains. New VSS-R RWD/AWD chassis.
Even if that’s the case, that’s GM’s fault for not allocating enough time, money, engineering and assets towards an accelerated Cadillac revival. Maybe if they put some of that high-risk AV and EV money into getting the job done. If timelines was Johan’s demise, then at no point was he set up for success. More like an elaborate ruse.
I have to agree.
Johan wasn’t given the full resources and the ability to run Cadillac as he was promised. He needed full Autonomy and GM chickened out.
They do not have the same aspirations to be a Full Tier One Luxury Brand as Johan envisioned.
A car company can only develop cars so fast. From paper to dealer lot! So pushing harder is not a option.
The whole “He didn’t push hard enough” is completely BS. The truth is he probably pushed too much to be a true Luxury Brand. There is a reason Cadillac lost three top executives within a six month period.
I admit that I lament Mr. de Nysschen’s departure from the brand…. While some aspects of his vision for Cadillac may have been considered controversial, most of us have to confess that his intentions to create more autonomy and exclusivity for Cadillac was a valiant effort! And the right mindset needed to compete more effectively in the market! Even so, with Johan no longer being with the brand, I don’t see why GM should forego some elements of his vision. It oughta be everyone’s hope that Cadillac becomes the standard of the world once again! But not by emulating the principles of the past few decades, nor by “copying” other brands! But by being innovative! Both soft luxury and sport luxury exist in all forms in today’s market, and from nearly every luxury brand! And Cadillac SHOULD be capilizing on BOTH for the sake of creating a true luxury car experience, one that at least genuinely separates them from the rest of the corporate GM family! Yet, neither soft or sport luxury in and of itself can define the Cadillac brand; despite their heritage or recent achievements! So it’ll behoove them to come up with a more unique approach to the luxury market! Utilizing and developing new tech or tech not currently being used much in the market! This is the main thing the new leadership MUST focus on!
Otherwise the notion of “American luxury” will continue to be defined by the German luxury brands! And perhaps the Hyundai Group and Lexus! As these brands are currently delivering the so-called “Cadillac values” some of you see lacking in the Cadillac brand today! In my eyes, the Mercedes S-Class is more of true Cadillac than anything currently in the Cadillac lineup! Worse yet, take a look at what Hyundai is pumping out: large, spacious, comfy sedans very much in tune of “American luxury!” I just saw a first-drive review of the new Kia K900 and the main thing that stood out was its smooth, effortless ride! There’s your “traditional Cadillac” right there, for those willing to overlook the badge!
I agree completely
Interesting idea for Cadillac to focus on both soft and sport luxury. It also leaves Buick with no discernable role, as usual.
Again and again we’re reminded of the uselessness of the Buick brand in GM’s lineup. My view has always been that it was a mistake to leave Buick in business after the ’08 bankruptcy. Having only two brands would have better focused GM to make every product count. Instead we now have a muddled strategy in which it remains unclear WTF the purpose of Buick is and why Chevys are so stripped down.
MY PRAYERS ARE THAT CADILLAC CONTINUES ON ITS CURRENT TRENDS WITH ITS CARS. CADILLAC NEEDS ITS V-SERIES CARS TO STAY RELEVANT WITH THE LIKES OF AUDI, BMW AND MERCEDES BENZ. WHAT I AM HOPING TO SEE IS FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF ITS NEW DOHC TWIN TURBO V8 CARS. CADILLAC IS OFF TO A VERY GOOD START WITH THE NEW 4.2l TWIN TURBO V8 AND I WOULD LOVE TO SEE MORE VEHICLES IN THE CADILLAC LINEUP RECEIVE THIS POWER PLANT WITH THE 10-SPEED AUTOMATIC BEHIND IT. I THINK IT WOULD BE AWESOME IN THE ESCALADE AS WELL AS IN THE ESCALA, THE CT6-V SPORT AND EVEN IN THE CT5-V BUT WITH A BUMP IN POWER TO 600HP. THERE ALSO NEEDS TO BE A 4.5L FLAT PLANE CRANK TWIN TURBO V8 IN A MID-ENGINE CHASSIS SPORTS CAR FROM CADILLAC BASED ON THE CORVETTE.
CHEVROLET ALSO NEEDS TO DO SOME THINGS AS WELL WITH SOME OF THEIR LINEUP. RUMOR HAS IT THAT DODGE IS COMING OUT WITH A 426CI 525HP 7.0L V8 IN THEIR TRUCKS AND WE ALL KNOW ITS GOING TO TRICKLE DOWN TO THE CHALLENGER AND CHARGER. CHEVROLET NEEDS TO ANSWER THIS WITH AN UPDATED VERSION OF THE LS7 7.0L 505HP 427CI V8 SMALLBLOCK WITH A 540HP Z/28 THAT NEEDS TO BE MORE STREET FRIENDLY THAN THE LAST Z/28 WHICH WAS COMPLETELY TRACK FOCUSED. BASICALLY AN SS 1LE WITH A 7.0l V8 ENGINE WITH THE CURRENT 2SS EQUIPMENT AND A PREMIUM ALPINE STEREO SYSTEM ALONG WITH NAVIGATION, AND SOME TRACK FEATURES BASICALLY HOW THE CURRENT CADILLAC CTS-V IS. COMFORTABLE, PRACTICAL BUT STILL READY TO DESTROY THE TRACK WHEN IN TRACK MODE. THATS WHAT THE NEW Z/28 NEEDS TO BE. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO SEE THE RS V6 MOVE TO THE 410HP 3.6L TWIN TURBO C6 FROM THE XTS WITH A FULL SS-1LE SUSPENSION PACKAGE SO THE RS-1LE WOULD BE A SERIOUS THREAT TO ALOT MORE CARS INCLUDING THE CURRENT MUSTANG GT. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO SEE THE 2.0l TURBO TO JUMP UP TO 375HP WHICH WOULD STOMP ALL OVER THE MUSTANG ECOBOOST. CHEVROLET ALSO NEEDS TO HAVE A ALPHA-2 CHASSIS SEDAN WITH ALL THE SAME PERFORMANCE PACKAGES AS THE CAMARO JUST WITH DIFFERENT NAMES. IT WOULD BE NICE IF THE NEW SEDAN WAS A CHEVELLE MODEL WITH A BASE, RS, SS, SS-V (7.0L) & SS-R (6.2L S/C) MODELS. LASTLY CHEVROLET NEEDS A SILVERADO SS WITH THE 7.0L 540HP V8 TO COMBAT THE NEW RAM 7.0L BANSHEE V8 PICKUP AND HOPEFULLY IF RAM COMES OUT WITH THE RAMCHARGER FULL SIZE SUV, CHEVROLET WILL ANSWER BACK WILL A FULL SIZE TAHOE BLAZER Z71 TRAIL BOSS PACKAGE WITH THE BIG 6.2L V8.
You pray? Really you think that’s going to solve the problem? Cadillac will be just fine! But it will take hard work not the idea of praying which doesn’t fix anything in the automotive business.
I heard if you pray in ALL CAPS then God will answer.
I think GM upper management has for the first time in a long time started to look at Lincoln as a serious threat. Yes many on here will still laugh and joke about Lincoln’s lower sales and some of thier older products, but they cannot be ignored or laughed at any longer. They have started bringing back real names of cars, they have had a REAL luxery advertising theme, they have introduced vehicles that are close or in the Navigator’s case, better then Cadillac. And all of a sudden in less then 3 year’s, Lincoln is all over the automotive news.
It dose not matter who’s fault it is at this point but its needs fixed or Cadillac is done and might as well go back to its old roots of being just a small step above Buick. The days of only trying to keep up with the Germans is done. They now have to worry about what’s in thier own backyard. Not to mention Tesla and the Japanese too. Who knows how long Barra might be CEO after this whole JDN disaster.
Lincoln offer some things that I would like to see on Cadillac but they are not doing that much better than Cadillac sales-wise.
The Continental is a joke, the Navigator raises the bar but did not go far enough for as features and technology are concerned, the MKZ is mediocre and same as for the rest of the line-up. Lincoln is doing things differently than Cadillac but I’m not impress with their products at this moment. Although Cadillac have their problems at current, they are still far superior than anything Lincoln.
The upper management needs to pay close attention to everybody, not just Lincoln. On every block you see Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Land Rover, Escalade and Tesla. I like to see Cadillacs and Lincoln to be on every block, not Escalade and XT5 only.
Now that GM no longer has Saab for Corporate to screw over, they’ve started on Cadillac. For the 20 years they were involved (10 as full owner) I heard that song: same tune, same lyrics.Too soon Cadillac will be back to being a rebadged Chevrolet with a 40% price addition.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra gave the green light to a number of things Johan de Nysschen wanted and despite de Nysschen’s termination, the programs will continue to move forward as Mary Barra knows electrification of Cadillac products will be key for Cadillac of China and Europe given that they only want to sell ZEV and some if not all of these vehicles may find their way to the United States which means there isn’t really a need for a lot of hand wringing as Mary Barra knows what is needed to keep Cadillac and General Motors to continue moving forward and successful.
If Johan had spent more time trying to revitalize Cadillac to what it once was when it was the Standard of the World and stopped trying to make the division more inline withe Europeans he would still be there .
The Chinese would have bought them because like our Millenials they are buying an image . The American market would have been a winner , the Chinese would have continued buying anything with a Cadillac crest and hopefully if the product was what the new customers wanted from Cadillac more sales .
Not only is Lincoln coming out with some exciting new crossovers adding to the pressure , on the car side look at Genesis , they are building what old school Cadillac customers want . Cadillac is getting hit from all sides right now and they are just not in the game .
Cadillac has been trying to lift their tarnished image for a couple of decades and they are just barely staying alive here in America . The old STS , DTS , and ETC were all attempts to be more German like , even their bread and butter the Sedan deVille came out minus whitewalls and a stiffer suspension with blacked out parts and new wheels and this was the beginning of their down fall , trying to copy some one else .
Even the young designers pushed the envelope by forgetting that a hallmark of Cadillacs were the ” verticle ” tailight design known the world over , and what do they do to XT4 but start to go horizontal with an American iconic image .
Plus just when is the last time you have seen a car manufacturer in need of help go on HIATUS . I’m sure he can walk and chew gum at the same time , look at what he did to CT6 why there was no attention to fixing what was truely wrong with the product he had at his start and also focus on bring to market things that are selling .
If some of Johans cheerleaders actually checked out other car related websites and read some of their bloggers you can see just how far Cadillac has tarnished their image , it’s actually sad and worrysome .
So here we go again with new management at Cadillac , and are folks pointing their finger at the wrong person and is the problem even on a higher floor at the Ren Center .
why do you change executives like i change my underwear? nielr
Actually it’s GM that changes Cadillac executive, not Cadillac. Do agree with constant changes to underwear though. Pretty funny.
Save for the nameless and soulless shift to the new nomenclature, i was hesitantly rooting for Johan. In light of how GM operates, i wondered how on board was the company with his long-term approach versus the fact that under the watch of Americans, the brand was ran into the ground for many years; it takes time to recover. Wasn’t his fault that they missed the mark on the market shift to CUVs. His approach to limit incentives to maintain resale value probably bucked up against GM’s desire for instant gratification. The current setup post Johan doesn’t leave me hopeful.
I agree. And your post unfortunately seems to apply across much of GM for quite some time now.
The other companies Johan was at weren’t as beholden to shareholder demands for increasing quarterly profits. As an American company GM faces unrealistic demands from shareholders that are an impedement to long term planning for the health of the company.
This article could use a little fact-checking. It says “Now Johan – another outsider who oversaw a great turnaround of the Audi brand a decade ago…”
Please. Johan was in charge of sales/marketing at Audi USA. He was never in charge of the Audi brand the way he was at Cadillac. He happened to be in the right place at the right time – Forrest Gump style – when Audio of Germany was putting out a lot of good product and the overall German luxury car fad was rising and peaking in the USA.
So yes, Johan was at Audi USA there when Audi US market share essentially doubled in a decade or so. He even moved Audi USA HQ from Detroit to Herndon VA, as if that made a big difference in Audi’s appeal. But to give him credit for doubling US market share is about like crediting the hot dog vendor at the Philadelphia Eagles games for winning the Super Bowl this year. You could make that hot dog guy the general manager and head coach of another football team, but his “expertise” from the Eagles is not likely to transfer to the new role.
Years of leadership changes, but no way of ensuring Johan’s (or his predecessor’s success) –
this one’s on mgt and the board.
Kim Brink, Ewanick, a lobbyist (Ferguson), Johan, and now a Canadian lifer.
Sorry, but mgt and the board are failing in picking the right people, and setting them up for success.
And even if GM’s risk-averse management put the right person in charge of Cadillac, they would withold the needed funds and autonomy to reform Cadillac.