Do Johan & Uwe understand Luxury? OR CADILLAC? - merged/updated - Ford Inside News Community
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post #1 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Do Johan & Uwe understand Luxury? OR CADILLAC? - merged/updated

via GMSilverado @ GMI (who provided most of the formatting)

5 Questions with Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus - BrandChannel

The new heads of Cadillac are in the midst of a grand plan to elevate the General Motors luxury marque to the same neighborhood as the German segment leaders and Lexus.

Cadillac global CMO Uwe Ellinghaus and his new boss, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, must carve out a more robust and distinctive identity for Cadillac as a serious competitor at the top of the global luxury automotive pyramid. With his prior experience at BMW, Ellinghaus was in the midst of a desperately-needed brand overhaul at Cadillac—redefining it as a distinctly American luxury brand (not a German wannabe) and preparing a new product nomenclature for the brand—when de Nysschen arrived in August.

Now he has a key partner to execute on the brand's global goals: holding firm on pricing, boosting the customer experience at dealerships, and launching a new flagship Cadillac CT6 sedan and ad campaign—not to mention shaking up the status quo by moving Cadillac headquarters from Detroit to New York.

In a further challenge, Cadillac has seen US sales dip (with dealers already warned that things will get worse before they get better) in a year that sibling Buick has been crushing, despite reaching new heights in China. On the precipice of a crucial year, Ellinghaus discussed the Cadillac brand strategy with Dale Buss of brandchannel.

Interview

1) You've been working on turning Cadillac around for almost a year now. What was your first major contribution?

Ellinghaus: It was to show my bosses at GM that luxury works differently than the non-luxury market. GM has huge expertise in technology and engineering, and financially it is in good shape as well, but they didn't understand that a luxury brand works differently. It's all about focus, continuity and consistency—the sort of secondary virtues that the German brands are so good at. Those are some good ingredients for successful branding.

2) How did you begin to apply that to Cadillac?

Ellinghaus: We needed to establish what Cadillac stands for, and not even a couple of values had been defined. What do we bring to the table and how do we explain to customers why to go with a Cadillac rather than something else? We had to set out positioning that differentiated us from the German brands; you can't build a brand emulating your competitors, and in some ways GM admires these brands too much. So Cadillac was missing a little bit on its own heritage and efforts beyond the distinctiveness of our styling.

3) What was the brand missing in terms of relevance?

Ellinghaus: People didn't know what Cadillac stands for. The previous thought was that we have to go in between the segments dominated by the Germans. But I said we need to right-size our cars and make our nomenclature clear. [GM CEO] Mary Barra herself assigned me to come up with a suggestion for fixing the nomenclature. Future cars will have "CT" and then a number behind it that indicates its size in our hierarchy, and future SUVs and crossovers will have an "XT" and a number.

4) You've talked about restoring a sense of "American-ness" to Cadillac. Give me an example of what you have in mind.

Ellinghaus: Well, our marketing will be less technology-driven than in the past. We will walk away from black cars in all of our communications, because that conveys the opposite of optimism. And we will reinject more vibe into the brand. And if you really don't want the American spirit that this brand embodies, then go to the German brands.

5) I know you believe in Cadillac's well-established design language and that it needs to be refined. In what ways is that happening?

Ellinghaus: We're staying with the vertical front grill and carrying the crest and some other elements forward. But we are adding proportion and presence and stance and muscularity, and looking at things like the size of the "greenhouse" versus the rest of the car. It must be about performance and the future. We don't want to go back to a bigger, more comfort-oriented car of the past. Cadillac will not be the car for a couch potato.

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post #2 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

I have the distinct feeling that Cadillac's team are (still) talking/concentrating about/on secondary issues (at best);
VERY unlike Lincoln (which imho has its direction & all its 'ducks' spot-on-target)!!
&
all that Lincoln needs is ... more vehicles quicker

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post #3 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 09:32 AM
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

I don't disagree with what the guys says, but big Caddies have found plenty of "couch potato" customers for decades. He might be underestimating the American love for a large, powerful car.
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post #4 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 10:15 AM
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

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Originally Posted by ZanatWork View Post
I don't disagree with what the guys says, but big Caddies have found plenty of "couch potato" customers for decades. He might be underestimating the American love for a large, powerful car.
That kind of goes along with my theory that not all luxury cars have to be European-tuned and athletic. It's amazing that enthusiasts will tear down a car if it does not have those qualities.
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post #5 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 11:23 AM
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

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Originally Posted by ZanatWork View Post
I don't disagree with what the guys says, but big Caddies have found plenty of "couch potato" customers for decades. He might be underestimating the American love for a large, powerful car.
I agree, I think it would benefit Lincoln if they had 1 or 2 sporty vehicles but the largest vehicle whether it be called MKS or Continental I think should push the envelope for comfort first and foremost but it also shouldn't have sloppy handling like a Town Car, it should be confident but comfortable IMO.

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post #6 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

^ &
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dequindre View Post
That kind of goes along with my theory that not all luxury cars have to be European-tuned and athletic. It's amazing that enthusiasts will tear down a car if it does not have those qualities.
I like the tv show 'Castle' (almost all the time) and somehow thinking of its cars: specifically a hired S-class for a trip to The Hamptons and some exotic like/if-not a Ferarri
&
believe there's a bit of "double-think" (see novel 1984*) frequently going on with people pretending the opposite forms of prestige/desireability share anything tangible

( otoh, imho it makes perfect sense that "enthusiasts" are all(mostly)aboutperformance )

otOoh=me, I'd love to see the same ob$e$$ive inve$tment in offerings that don't require breaking speed limits to prove their level of distinction...
...WHAT IF
,
instead of higher level$ of Msport/M, Vsport/V, S#/RS#(right?) having higher HP / lower 'times' / harsher rides;
they have more/higher-tech electrification (silent) and lower vibration(NVH) not floaty!! but competing to see which car can take the worst road at the legal-limit with the greatest composure
imho ^ way more important for a flagship** than anything having to do with racetrack-like prowess
** actually-iMho,
I'd love to see this applied to EVERY model from SOME() Luxury Brand
+ imho
this would be a great way to put the emphasis on the Brand instead of the model cough*MucK*cough...
...
by having the littlest Lincoln (able to) feel just a 'unflappably'plush' as the largest***
thereby becoming the ONLY Luxury Brand to not have any model that requires a disclaimer...
(...other than RollsRoyce? )




* Double think is to believe a statement and its opposite at the same time
*** Thanks to Gloria for enlightening me to another way to use Lincoln's CCD for instant road-improvement

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post #7 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 05:08 PM
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

In other words, Cadillac's plan to be derivative is still on.

It would be nice if Cadillac could get somebody in that understands marketing, understands the market, understands Cadillac, and loves Cadillac all at the same time.

BTW, CT and XT is very original, Uwe! (sarcasm)

I never thought people that value comfort are "couch potatoes". Interesting.
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post #8 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 06:00 PM
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dequindre View Post
That kind of goes along with my theory that not all luxury cars have to be European-tuned and athletic. It's amazing that enthusiasts will tear down a car if it does not have those qualities.
I think that cars with genuinely impressive ride/handling balance and "functional luxury" will always be hailed as "European-like", just because the USA produced so many floundering whales from our luxury brands...and for so very long. I honestly hope that the entire USA luxury car effort never returns to those days again.

Frankly, if vehicles don't have competitive amenities, handling, ride, and performance for a given market...they deserve to fail, and to damage the reputation of their builders. Lincoln, Caddy, and Chysler have a ton of ground to make up, both in perception and in hardware. However, some of the traditional American luxury customers will likely still flock to offerings they perceive as closest to their own ideas of luxury cars.
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post #9 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

^^ & ^
"derivative" vs "balance" is exactly where imho Cadillac has Over Compensated from previous 'barges'

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post #10 of 185 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 09:09 PM
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Re: GM didn't understand...Luxury - Cadillac CMO

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Originally Posted by 2b2 View Post


It was to show my bosses at GM that luxury works differently than the non-luxury market. GM has huge expertise in technology and engineering, and financially it is in good shape as well, but they didn't understand that a luxury brand works differently.
I feel that Lincoln needs someone that can do this! At this point I am not sure if Ford has realized that the luxury market works different
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