For its report, the New York Times spoke to David Placek, who is the founder and president of branding strategy and marketing group Lexicon Branding. Placek said he believes Cadillac is “stuck in time,” with its marketing approach and is insure about the next steps to take to improve its image. He also described the brand’s move to New York City as “wishful thinking,” and said that if Cadillac wants to “get their edge back,” the company will have to focus on developing solid products first and foremost.
Before implementing its most recent strategy, in which the company will try to position itself as a tech-forward brand capable of taking on the likes of Tesla, GM essentially touted Cadillac as an American alternative to BMW. Now the company isn’t as focused on Deutschland as it once was, instead trying to find a new type of buyer that appreciates technology and innovation above all else. Steve Carlisle, the brand’s recently appointed new president, explained this strategy to NYT for its report.
“We’re not trying to out-German the Germans anymore,” Carlisle said. “We have to find our own audience. When Cadillac has done its best, it is when we have represented the best of technology and innovation.”
Talk of Cadillac’s revitalization has been ongoing at GM for years now, so to see the brand again try to reposition itself is hardly a surprise. With an aging customer base, GM is right to try and find new customers for Cadillac to appeal to. The company keeps shifting the goalposts, though, making it feel as though the brand is running in place. Even the new EV-focused strategy seems a bit flawed. Cadillac’s first dedicated EV won’t be here for a few more years, while brands like Jaguar and Audi already have such products on sale. By the time the Cadillac EV does arrive, the EV marketplace will be much more saturated, so the availability of an electric car alone may not be enough to position any brand as a technology leader.
Cadillac also has the semi-autonomous Super Cruise hands-free driving system to help it win over buyers who appreciate innovation, but as NYT points out, the technology won’t be offered on its crossovers or SUVs for a few more years. In a rapidly evolving automotive landscape, there are risks in betting big on current-day trends that may take two to three more years to actually bring to market in large numbers.
Earlier this year, GM president Mark Reuss said trying to position Cadillac as an innovation leader could be GM’s last attempt to build the brand into something of significance.
“We don’t have any chances left with taking Cadillac to a really new place,” he said. “This is pretty much it.”
Source: New York Times