Category: Leadership

Cadillac Moving HQ Back to Detroit

It isn’t surprising after the ouster of Johan de Nysschen as head of Cadillac that his controversial decision to move Cadillac headquarters to New York City would be reversed.

Per a report in the Wall Street Journal, Cadillac will move their HQ back to Detroit. Reasoning given include getting sales, marketing, design, and engineering together on the cusp of the unveiling of new models like the CT4 sedan and new crossovers that Cadillac definitely needs.

It remains to be seen if de Nysschen’s departure and the shift in direction will benefit the brand.

Johan de Nysschen Out!

Johan de NysschenSuddenly, as of yesterday (April 18), former Cadillac head Johan de Nysschen is out.

Replacing him for now will be, former head of GM-Canada, Steve Carlisle.

de Nysschen was recruited to run Cadillac after a short stint heading Nissan’s Infiniti division where his most significant fingerprints were the change to the confusing Q and QX naming convention. Before this he headed up the VW group’s Audi brand in the Americas.

While at Cadillac since 2014, he pushed for a controversial move of the headquarters to New York. He also quashed the positioning of Cadillac’s Omega chassis sedan as a flagship. It became the CT6 and plans are in the works for something even better above it.

Speaking of CT6, he will be remembered for pushing a new CT and XT naming convention that may be scrapped now that he is gone.

It does seem that GM management never can allow Cadillac to execute a complete vision before getting cold feet and removing the brand’s top executive.

We will regret not getting to see Johan de Nysschen’s vision for the brand fully developed.

Johan de Nysschen Chats About Cadillac

Johan de NysschenCadillac chief Johan de Nysschen spent some time during a journalist roundtable discussing the current and future state of the Cadillac brand.

As part of the discussion, de Nysschen gave as reasons why sedans are not selling well in the US market as being a result of cheap fuel, younger buyers that don’t value performance driving as much as a vehicle that enables their lifestyle and activities, as well as road conditions.  While it is certainly true that none of these help – it is also significant to note that the German competition are handily outselling the Cadillac sedans.  So, it would seem that brand cachet has at least a bit to do with it.  Hopefully Cadillac has a plan for how to build this missing ingredient.

As to motorsports, Cadillac plans to stay their current course and has no immediate plans to field/sponsor a Le Mans team.

The question was also raised about Cadillac bringing more Chinese built models (like the current CT6 Plug-in Hybrid).  Mr de Nysschen did not completely shoot down the idea, but stated that such a choice would be limited to models where building in China makes sense (Chinese consumers want the product) but worldwide volume would not call for the tooling investment to build in multiple locations.  Specifically, he mentioned that the need to share profits with their Chinese manufacturing partner would keep them from bringing high volume models to the US from China.

As to China-only products, de Nysschen reiterated something we have heard before, that luxury buyers are becoming more sophisticated world-wide which drives their tastes to converge.  So, this would tend to drive out the need to sell a China-only model…though it is interesting to note that the ATS is sold in China only in its ATS-L long-wheelbase model.  Since the ATS, CTS, and XTS are soon to be replaced with the new CT5 sedan – this could mean that varying wheelbase models are just part of the platform and will be offered in multiple markets.

So, there was nothing earth shattering in this latest set of observations and direction for the brand.  But it does suggest that Cadillac is continuing on the same course we have heard before.  More crossovers for the US are on the way, investments are made in places where they make sense.

Source: Autoblog and MotorTrend

Cadillac Names Deborah Wahl as New Global Chief Marketing Officer

Deborah Wahl, Cadillac Global Chief Marketing OfficerCadillac has named Deborah Wahl as their new Chief Marketing Officer, replacing former CMO Uwe Ellinghaus.  She will be based in Cadillac’s offices in New York City, NY and will report directly to Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen.

Ms. Wahl comes to Cadillac after her most recent stint as CMO of McDonalds, and before that at Pulte Group.  Though, before you jump to the conclusion that she doesn’t know how to sell anything but happy meals and houses, she has over a decade of experience in automotive marketing with a history as CMO of Chrysler and marketing roles at Toyota, Mazda, and Ford.

She officially takes the reins of Cadillac marketing on March 26th.

We wish her luck.

Source: Cadillac and AdAge

Read on for the press release from Cadillac:

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Johan de Nysschen Chats About Cadillac’s Future

Johan de NysschenThe good guys over at MotorTrend got some time with Cadillac’s head honcho Johan de Nysschen about recent Cadillac moves and what is next.  It’s a great read that you can find over here.

For those of you not wanting to take the time to ready the entire interview, let us give you the high points:

The Escala Concept  Built by GM’s production studio and much more production ready than any of the past concepts we have seen (Cien, Elmiraj, to name but two).  This could mean the Escala is a strong indicator of a flagship that would sit above the CT6 in the lineup.  Mr. de Nysschen had criticisms for the past Cadillac concepts in that they showed design themes that were not part of Cadillac’s plan – so were ‘not a smart move’.  This seems to be admission that Cadillac fans fell hard for these prior concepts which made the lack of production versions sting all that much more.

Changes are coming for CUE  Recognizing that the current CUE system has not met with wide acceptance, Cadillac will be bringing a physical controller to the system, in line with what we see from Audi, BMW, etc.  This will prevent the touch screen from being the primary interface (which is largely where most of the criticisms for CUE center).

Escala’s 4.2l twin-turbo V-8  He isn’t yet ready to announce the engine for production (though this seems like less of a ‘will they’ but rather a ‘we’ll announce it when the product it will live in is ready to be announced’)

Product mix – Crossovers  The market has moved to crossovers in a big way and Cadillac is readying offerings between XT5 and Escalade (XT7?) as well as below the XT5 (XT3?)

Product mix – platform sharing with the rest of GM  75 percent of luxury buyers will be Gen X and Gen Y customers by 2020.  Millennials are also important to the brand and Cadillac (and their competition) are moving to catch these buyers as they get into their first luxury product.  Dedicated platforms in these lower price points are not profitable – forcing some level of platform sharing. (more…)