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From Auto News .Com -

De Nysschen, 'Dare' I say, needs a better plan to rebuild Caddy's image

DETROIT -- An open letter to Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen:

Fixing Cadillac will be the biggest challenge of your career, a far larger task, even, than breathing new life into Audi.

My brother is a perfect example why.

He’s 42 and a current -- and very satisfied -- owner of a General Motors product. He’s a voracious reader of automotive publications. He can easily afford an ATS, CTS, SRX, etc. He readily admits that technically, Cadillac’s cars are interesting, maybe even appealing, at least from a performance aspect.

But he’s never test driven a Cadillac, and he likely isn’t going to. Several of his car-savvy friends feel the same way, I learned during a recent Facebook chat.

To them, Cadillac’s brand image does not convey the kinds of things they want a car to say about their lifestyles.

“I realize Cadillac makes a sound product. But if I told any of my friends that I bought one, they’d ask if it came with a free AARP membership,” my brother, a banking executive in Orlando, told me the other day.

Johan, this is perhaps Cadillac’s biggest problem: The reality of what Cadillac is today is not aligned with target buyers’ lingering brand image.

To people my brother’s age, Cadillac’s image is still the floaty, boaty vinyl-roofed land yachts of years ago.

How are you going to fix this, Johan?

Where are new ideas?

Your first moves as head of the brand -- moving some marketing functions to New York, and the confusing and soulless letter/number model designations -- have been bankrupt of original thinking.

And don’t expect the “Dare Greatly” advertising campaign to do much to change Cadillac’s image, either. It might be a slick piece of work, but wistful, poetic flourishes of wisdom from a dead president are not going to motivate people like my brother and his friends to visit a Cadillac dealer for a test drive. I doubt they will pay much attention to it.

It’s troubling that GM CEO Mary Barra signed off on this stuff when she should have said: “Is that all you’ve got?” and challenged you to come up with a fresh, original plan to go to market and win.

I asked GM’s product development chief, Mark Reuss, about Cadillac’s marketing ineptitude recently and got this terse reply: “When did Cadillac ever have good marketing?” Clearly, marketing is a sore point at GM.

That Cadillac’s sales are sinking at time when demand for luxury vehicles is growing (luxury-brand volume has risen every year since 2009, and luxury sales rose 6 percent last year) and the brand has its strongest lineup in history underscores that GM’s old way of doing business no longer works -- no matter how good the products are.

Put butts in the seats

See, I know something about the new Cadillacs that my brother and his friends don’t. I have driven them. I know they are shockingly good, well-made, fast and fun and exciting cars to drive. I know most new Cadillacs are worthy of being considered on equal terms as BMWs and Audis.

GM has spent the money and endowed Cadillac with world-class technology -- safety, chassis, brakes and powertrains. And Bob Boniface and his design team have done the heavy lifting and made Cadillacs look great again.

But Cadillac’s product revival has been underway for years now. And still the most coveted minds -- and wallets -- that Cadillac needs to grow remain stubbornly closed.

One way to open them, I think, is to get butts in the seats. Hands-on experience -- especially with Cadillacs being so good -- could be more effective in the long run than throwing tens of millions of dollars at the TV for advertising campaigns in which the target audience is not only shrinking by the day but really isn’t receptive to your messages. Couldn’t that money be better used to empower dealers to market directly to customers?

With that in mind, here are a couple of suggestions to consider:

• Take a look at how Ford markets the F-150. Before the redesigned aluminum 2015 model went on sale late last year, Ford rolled out a nationwide program that saw more than 20,000 potential customers take a drive. Cadillac has done similar events on a smaller scale. So, why not create a sustained, nationwide, market-by-market plan to introduce potential customers to the new Cadillac lineup, a plan that supports and empowers dealers to go after competitors locally and directly?

• Americans love a bargain, Johan. Give ’em one. Part of the DNA of the American consumer is we love to feel like we got a hell of a deal.

Cadillac’s pricing is out of line with the brand’s image (Example: ELR, CTS, ATS) and what consumers are willing to pay. Residual-destroying incentives to prop up sales only perpetuate the problem. Price Cadillacs so anyone in the market for a luxury car would be foolish not to consider the brand.

You’re in a war, Mr. de Nysschen. And you’re losing ground against very tough competitors. GM’s old-fashioned way won’t work in this new era of hypercompetition. You have said you view Cadillac’s turnaround as a 10-year project. GM, which has already invested billions in Cadillac and has pledged billions more, is not known for that kind of patience. You are very likely not going to get a decade to fix Cadillac.

And one more thing: If you want my brother and his pals to start adjusting their perception of Cadillac, build the Elmiraj -- and keep that name.
 

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I couldn't say it better myself.

I hope that Johan reads this and takes action.
But this would mean that he will have to admit that some of his first decisions at Cadillac were wrong.
Let's see if he is man enough to do it.
 

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From Auto News .Com -

De Nysschen, 'Dare' I say, needs a better plan to rebuild Caddy's image

DETROIT -- An open letter to Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen:

Fixing Cadillac will be the biggest challenge of your career, a far larger task, even, than breathing new life into Audi.

My brother is a perfect example why.

He’s 42 and a current -- and very satisfied -- owner of a General Motors product. He’s a voracious reader of automotive publications. He can easily afford an ATS, CTS, SRX, etc. He readily admits that technically, Cadillac’s cars are interesting, maybe even appealing, at least from a performance aspect.

But he’s never test driven a Cadillac, and he likely isn’t going to. Several of his car-savvy friends feel the same way, I learned during a recent Facebook chat.

To them, Cadillac’s brand image does not convey the kinds of things they want a car to say about their lifestyles.

“I realize Cadillac makes a sound product. But if I told any of my friends that I bought one, they’d ask if it came with a free AARP membership,” my brother, a banking executive in Orlando, told me the other day.

Johan, this is perhaps Cadillac’s biggest problem: The reality of what Cadillac is today is not aligned with target buyers’ lingering brand image.

To people my brother’s age, Cadillac’s image is still the floaty, boaty vinyl-roofed land yachts of years ago.

How are you going to fix this, Johan?

Where are new ideas?

Your first moves as head of the brand -- moving some marketing functions to New York, and the confusing and soulless letter/number model designations -- have been bankrupt of original thinking.

And don’t expect the “Dare Greatly” advertising campaign to do much to change Cadillac’s image, either. It might be a slick piece of work, but wistful, poetic flourishes of wisdom from a dead president are not going to motivate people like my brother and his friends to visit a Cadillac dealer for a test drive. I doubt they will pay much attention to it.

It’s troubling that GM CEO Mary Barra signed off on this stuff when she should have said: “Is that all you’ve got?” and challenged you to come up with a fresh, original plan to go to market and win.

I asked GM’s product development chief, Mark Reuss, about Cadillac’s marketing ineptitude recently and got this terse reply: “When did Cadillac ever have good marketing?” Clearly, marketing is a sore point at GM.

That Cadillac’s sales are sinking at time when demand for luxury vehicles is growing (luxury-brand volume has risen every year since 2009, and luxury sales rose 6 percent last year) and the brand has its strongest lineup in history underscores that GM’s old way of doing business no longer works -- no matter how good the products are.

Put butts in the seats

See, I know something about the new Cadillacs that my brother and his friends don’t. I have driven them. I know they are shockingly good, well-made, fast and fun and exciting cars to drive. I know most new Cadillacs are worthy of being considered on equal terms as BMWs and Audis.

GM has spent the money and endowed Cadillac with world-class technology -- safety, chassis, brakes and powertrains. And Bob Boniface and his design team have done the heavy lifting and made Cadillacs look great again.

But Cadillac’s product revival has been underway for years now. And still the most coveted minds -- and wallets -- that Cadillac needs to grow remain stubbornly closed.

One way to open them, I think, is to get butts in the seats. Hands-on experience -- especially with Cadillacs being so good -- could be more effective in the long run than throwing tens of millions of dollars at the TV for advertising campaigns in which the target audience is not only shrinking by the day but really isn’t receptive to your messages. Couldn’t that money be better used to empower dealers to market directly to customers?

With that in mind, here are a couple of suggestions to consider:

• Take a look at how Ford markets the F-150. Before the redesigned aluminum 2015 model went on sale late last year, Ford rolled out a nationwide program that saw more than 20,000 potential customers take a drive. Cadillac has done similar events on a smaller scale. So, why not create a sustained, nationwide, market-by-market plan to introduce potential customers to the new Cadillac lineup, a plan that supports and empowers dealers to go after competitors locally and directly?

• Americans love a bargain, Johan. Give ’em one. Part of the DNA of the American consumer is we love to feel like we got a hell of a deal.

Cadillac’s pricing is out of line with the brand’s image (Example: ELR, CTS, ATS) and what consumers are willing to pay. Residual-destroying incentives to prop up sales only perpetuate the problem. Price Cadillacs so anyone in the market for a luxury car would be foolish not to consider the brand.

You’re in a war, Mr. de Nysschen. And you’re losing ground against very tough competitors. GM’s old-fashioned way won’t work in this new era of hypercompetition. You have said you view Cadillac’s turnaround as a 10-year project. GM, which has already invested billions in Cadillac and has pledged billions more, is not known for that kind of patience. You are very likely not going to get a decade to fix Cadillac.

And one more thing: If you want my brother and his pals to start adjusting their perception of Cadillac, build the Elmiraj -- and keep that name.
Listen folks. He just got here. What makes you think you have any idea where he is going. You think you have it all figured out. You don't. Your friends need to continue to buy the great brands. We at Cadillac don't care. The perception will change. And if it doesn't suit your timing well then... Go buy some German. We don't care I promise you!!!
 

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" Americans love a bargain"??? Dude, not the demographic Cadillac is targeting !! We are talking the top 5% of income earners. The buyers who have made Mercedes, BMW, Lexus the huge success they are. They are NOT bargin shoppers. Cadillac is reclaiming its top spot as the luxury car people want and will pay for. Sit back and enjoy an amaZing American comeback story !!
 

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X2 - why do you think Cadillac can't keep Escalades in stock? If people wanted a bargain, they would go buy the exact same truck with a Chevy or GMC badge on it. At this level, a significant number of people buy BECAUSE it's expensive. Google "Veblen goods"
 

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" Americans love a bargain"??? Dude, not the demographic Cadillac is targeting !! We are talking the top 5% of income earners. The buyers who have made Mercedes, BMW, Lexus the huge success they are. They are NOT bargin shoppers. Cadillac is reclaiming its top spot as the luxury car people want and will pay for. Sit back and enjoy an amaZing American comeback story !!
X2 - why do you think Cadillac can't keep Escalades in stock? If people wanted a bargain, they would go buy the exact same truck with a Chevy or GMC badge on it. At this level, a significant number of people buy BECAUSE it's expensive. Google "Veblen goods"
x3

Cadillac's problem is because they went with the bargain route since their revival in 2003, they attracted the wrong type of customer. Now that they fix it and have vehicles priced and sized accordingly, the customers they had( the bargain shopper) is leaving for not other luxury brands, but back down to the mainstream brands. Cadillac does not want to be stuck where Acura, Lincoln, etc are. They are not striving for that market and GM has Buick for that. And being a bargain is where they will find themselves at.

I am not saying Cadillac can demand German pricing, but they have to be competitively priced. They can still be cheaper than the competition, but have to be within the ballpark. They can still be creative in how to package the vehicles where things like HID headlamps, the lighting accents, etc are offered/standard on lower trims, but none of this $10K cheaper off the bat BS I see a lot of people wanting.

Cadillac's issue is pure marketing/image( along with dealers). Apple was on the brink of going under back in the 90's. But Jobs turned Apple around mostly on marketing and look where they are now. Granted Jobs also brought in better products as well( iMac, iPod, iPhone, etc), but they turned around because they marketed themselves perfectly and had people desiring to own an Apple product even if the iPod lacked an FM tuner, was more expensive than other MP3 players, etc. Same case with the iPhone. Sure Android phones have more features and are cheaper, but the iPhone remains the top selling smartphone( well top or 2nd best depending on where the iPhone is during its cycle) because of Apple's effective marketing. It takes good product to keep customers, but it takes marketing to get them in.
 

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Listen folks. He just got here. What makes you think you have any idea where he is going. You think you have it all figured out. You don't. Your friends need to continue to buy the great brands. We at Cadillac don't care. The perception will change. And if it doesn't suit your timing well then... Go buy some German. We don't care I promise you!!!
Telling customers that you don't care what they think and want is a sure way to lose them.
May be that kind of attitude is the reason why Cadillac sales are dropping.
 

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My question is why do these threads keep showing up in the Gen 3 CTS forum? Seems the complaint is about Cadillac in general.
 

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I love mine but there are issues that need to be addressed.. I guess when you watch reviews on YouTube and the comparisons are made to the Germans and then you pull the trigger and get one, only to sit at a traffic light while your motor shakes and sputters makes you question your decision. It is fun, it does draw attention, but there are issues a car at this price point shouldn't have. And with that, dealerships that are seeming clueless as to the proper fix.. There's probably more to talk about but that sums it up for me..
And there you have it. Cadillac went down the tubes the first time around because it offered products that annoyed it's customers, and didn't respond to their wants or desires as time went on. Imagine having grown up lusting after the neighbor's Cadillac, vowing to own one when you grew up, only to be rewarded with a V8-6-4 that shuddered like a drunk with DTs, or a 4100 V8 that couldn't get out of it's own way and blew it's HGs after 50k miles, or a Northstar that could get out of it's own way but pulled the same lame HG stunt, and Cadillac REFUSED TO FIX THE PROBLEM FOR 20 YEARS! Or insisting on building FWD cars when every other serious competitor in your target market is RWD, and buyers are telling you that they want RWD.

The truth is, Cadillac's problems are largely of it's own making.
 

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Great letter. You forgot to ask him to fix two things:
1. Get CUE to do what it is supposed to do
2. Fix the Dealers who are clueless about repairing Cadillacs and about basic customer service.
This! Let alone attracting the new buyers, with this Cadillac dealer that I have in my area, Cadillac will not be in my shopping list after my lease ends, and I am a hardcore Cadillac fan!
 
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I asked GM’s product development chief, Mark Reuss, about Cadillac’s marketing ineptitude recently and got this terse reply: “When did Cadillac ever have good marketing?”
LOL that is funny.
 

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Unfortunately, Mr. Reuss's response to your question only confirms the management and creative quagmire that has affected GM for many, many years. There are excellent engineers and designers among the masses at GM, but, as has long been apparent, they only occasionally succeed surmounting the corporate molasses that so characterizes the corporation.

Even when they do bring to market highly sought after products, the Cadillac brand loses sales momentum due to the divisions unwillingness to correct obvious product defects and failure to create and support a first rate dealer network.
 

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In my opinion, it's very simple for Cadillac to get noticed again. And it's not something that's going to happen with a V-Series, a 3-Series competitor or even a 5-Series competitor. It's going to have to be something a true flagship takes on. When you get into a brand new Mercedes S-Class, IF YOU'RE HONEST WITH YOURSELF, you're extremely impressesed. You should be thinking: WOW!

...and that's BEFORE you start experimenting with all the high tech "stuff" that's in these cars. THAT is "wow factor". Cadillac doesn't have any of that.

If you haven't sat in an S-Class or any of it's true competitors on the market, you should do so before attempting to understand where I'm coming from with this message...
 

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If Cadillac only wanted to appeal to the 1% crowd that would be a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love for GM to build the Elmiraj. That would definitely get a lot of people talking about Cadillac but, it wouldn't cause the common misperceptions folks have of Cadillac to evaporate. And it wouldn't bring more buyers into Cadillac showrooms IMO. Cadillac should continue building cars like the V series, CTS, ATS, etc...
Bottom line is it's going to take time, and great cars to restore Cadillacs image.
 

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Cadillac Maniac
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If Cadillac only wanted to appeal to the 1% crowd that would be a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love for GM to build the Elmiraj. That would definitely get a lot of people talking about Cadillac but, it wouldn't cause the common misperceptions folks have of Cadillac to evaporate. And it wouldn't bring more buyers into Cadillac showrooms IMO. Cadillac should continue building cars like the V series, CTS, ATS, etc...
Bottom line is it's going to take time, and great cars to restore Cadillacs image.
Cadillac absolutely MUST build cars like the ATS, CTS and V-Series or they'll simply become irrelevant. But to become a brand people aspire to own they need bigger and better things than that.
 

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When your flagship looks like this:



All you have to do is run a decent advert campaign and people will flock to the dealership.

Remember that the CTS was even lauded by the Top Gear UK presenters and we all know how badly they all hate American cars (well, all except Hammond who wants to be American.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZseBpPufLI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aU09WT5rXg

This is from Top Gear US:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sUjOiCj-bQ

^ that's the kind of publicity Cadillac needs to continue getting.
 

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If Cadillac only wanted to appeal to the 1% crowd that would be a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love for GM to build the Elmiraj. That would definitely get a lot of people talking about Cadillac but, it wouldn't cause the common misperceptions folks have of Cadillac to evaporate. And it wouldn't bring more buyers into Cadillac showrooms IMO. Cadillac should continue building cars like the V series, CTS, ATS, etc...
Bottom line is it's going to take time, and great cars to restore Cadillacs image.
^^^ The V series cars could all just as well be Buicks or Chevrolets (or better yet Pontiacs) none of those cars contribute one iota to the type of "prestige" needed to compete with Mercedes. When it comes to prestige even BMW and Audi can't compete with Mercedes in Europe or around the rest of the world. Anyone can build high performance versions of their cars that will win praise from the automotive press (at least until a more exciting "flavor" comes out), but that does not garner status as a true "luxury" car on the world stage.

What Cadillac needs is the kind of product that will gain favor with 1%ers who can afford and will buy the very best. First they need to produce the product, then they need to build a sales and after sales organization that will attract and keep the owners of this superior product satisfied and happy to be a return customer.

At times over the last several decades they have had a product or two that have attracted these kinds of buyers ... but Cadillac has lost this clientele due to poor sales and after market service. Lack of attention to correcting even relatively minor, yet very niggling and frustrating, problems with customers new cars (often the result of poor quality control at the production line level) let many to seek higher quality (in their eyes) in the form of much better materials and assembly from non-U.S. car makers. This problem is not a recent development but began back in the 1950's and snowballed in the '60's and '70's and while the product has greatly improved in the last decade sales and after sales service has not.
 

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Cadillac Maniac
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Exactly! :)

^^^ The V series cars could all just as well be Buicks or Chevrolets (or better yet Pontiacs) none of those cars contribute one iota to the type of "prestige" needed to compete with Mercedes. When it comes to prestige even BMW and Audi can't compete with Mercedes in Europe or around the rest of the world. Anyone can build high performance versions of their cars that will win praise from the automotive press (at least until a more exciting "flavor" comes out), but that does not garner status as a true "luxury" car on the world stage.

What Cadillac needs is the kind of product that will gain favor with 1%ers who can afford and will buy the very best. First they need to produce the product, then they need to build a sales and after sales organization that will attract and keep the owners of this superior product satisfied and happy to be a return customer.

At times over the last several decades they have had a product or two that have attracted these kinds of buyers ... but Cadillac has lost this clientele due to poor sales and after market service. Lack of attention to correcting even relatively minor, yet very niggling and frustrating, problems with customers new cars (often the result of poor quality control at the production line level) let many to seek higher quality (in their eyes) in the form of much better materials and assembly from non-U.S. car makers. This problem is not a recent development but began back in the 1950's and snowballed in the '60's and '70's and while the product has greatly improved in the last decade sales and after sales service has not.
 
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