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Oh NO..............

I stumbled into GMi and...

Road&Track - BOB LUTZ - APR 19, 2018
Why Johan de Nysschen Failed at Cadillac
Auto industry titan Bob Lutz weighs in on what de Nysschen wanted to do at Cadillac, and why General Motors might not have wanted to cooperate


It seemed like a perfect, if unconventional, solution: Appoint a newcomer, not tied to decades-long immersion in the General Motors culture‎, to head the renascent Cadillac brand. The fact that he had successfully led Audi and Infiniti provided him with a knowledge of the multiple challenges faced by the so-called "second tier" luxury brands struggling for enhanced status.

A major Cadillac problem, instantly recognized by the newly-appointed Johan de Nysschen upon his arrival in 2014, was that it was seen as a "discount luxury brand." Cadillac, despite the uncontested excellence of its cars, and after a multi-billion-dollar investment in sophisticated rear-wheel drive architectures, had trouble competing with Mercedes and BMW in the retail arena. Cadillac's domain was fleet sales, daily rental and heavily-subsidized lease rates. These practices, while producing volume and throughput for dealers, severely damaged the value of used Cadillacs. De Nysschen addressed that by reducing daily rental sales and instituting more realistic lease rates. Sales in North America began to sink almost immediately. If sufficient corporate patience was provided, the plan would, in a few years, wipe out the "discount" image, improve residual values, and help the brand regain respectability.

Alas, it was not to happen. News of plummeting sales destroyed reputation faster than sound sales practices could improve it. Struggles with the dealer body over factory-mandated showroom upgrades introduced friction. Bold new marketing thrusts such as Book by Cadillac (pay a monthy fee, then order up any Cadillac model as needed) never got traction. Expensive advertising campaigns showing emaciated, scraggly-bearded, tight-jacketed metrosexuals posed in rain-drenched back alleys, urging the viewer to Dare Greatly—at what?—flopped miserably. Moving the brand headquarters to New York City, always a bit of a mystery to me, was of little reputational value, but served to distance the Cadillac marketing people from GM's powerful Detroit-based planning and product development groups.

What was the deciding factor in de Nysschen's departure? I doubt that there was a single, explosive event. Like a bad marriage, there came a point when both sides saw it was never going to work. Johan was never going to get the "pure Cadillac" crossover-heavy product line he and his dealers felt he needed. The GM organization is not prone to doubling down on unprofitable ventures that show no signs of imminent recovery. GM's powerful Detroit-based planning and product development organization never really relinquished their tight grip on design and portfolio decisions‎. Perhaps they trusted their experience, data and instincts more than they trusted a bunch of effete East Coast marketing genii. Outgunned by the bulletproof reputations of the Germans, the onslaught of competitor crossovers, the relative failure of the new Cadillac sedans, the lack of traction of marketing initiatives and the steadily-sinking profitability of the brand, circumstances conspired to lead everyone concerned to one conclusion—let's end it.

Divorce is sad. Cadillacs are superb. De Nysschen is a brilliant executive and leader. But he ran out of corporate patience, and vice-versa. No one, and everyone, is to blame.

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I think De Nysschen was just at the right place and time when it comes to Audi, his track record after has been horrible. VW/Audi already had a plan in place they just needed it to be executed properly. It’s funny how Lincoln is looking more like Audi in the late 90s early 2000s by doing a gradual improvement to products, while Cadillac has became more like Infiniti. Despite their good products neither are gaining ground in their market and think it’s because the product didn’t grow with their current customers. Lincoln will be able to raise their prices because the customers will experience how impressive the current cars are at their price, so when the next generation rolls around the price increases won’t be unexpected. What they need is a new design direction immediately I’m tired of that weak falling body line they’ve been doing since 1999 and branch out from the vertical lights.
 

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Re: Oh NO..............

GM lacks vision for what Cadillac should become
Detroit Free Press
- Mark Phelan - April 24, 2018 | Updated


Building great cars is not necessarily the same thing as building successful cars.

Just ask former Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen.

Most of the vehicles Caddy sells today are as good or better as anything other luxury brands offer. The brand just introduced a breakthrough technology: Super Cruise, a major step toward safe self-driving cars.

Despite that, Cadillac’s U.S. sales are unimpressive, declining steadily since before de Nysschen took the helm in mid-2014. The brand has been unable to generate buzz, largely because General Motors repeatedly misread where the market is headed and what luxury buyers want.

That’s the Cadillac Conundrum: It sells great vehicles, but not in the segments customers crave.

Expect GM to use the leadership change to obscure a more basic problem: a lack of vision for what the brand should become. De Nysschen, who left GM abruptly last week over “philosophical differences,” will probably get a lot of the blame.

He’s an easy target. De Nysschen arrived after an undistinguished stint running Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand and was immediately associated with the silly decision to relocate Cadillac HQ to New York, a boondoggle GM committed to before hiring him.

In many ways, de Nysschen was exactly what Cadillac needed, but he mixed with GM’s culture like oil and water. The lanky South African was flamboyant, loved the spotlight, stepped on other executives’ toes and talked freely about product plans to obscure the fact that Cadillac’s model line was cadaverously thin compared with other global luxury brands...


...After four years on the job, de Nysschen was about to see the fruit of his labors. Instead, GM threw Cadillac back into turmoil by ousting him just before the flood of new vehicles de Nysschen kept promising arrives.

Cadillac will look better this time next year, for reasons that have nothing to do with de Nysschen’s departure or new brand boss Steve Carlisle’s arrival.

A new version of Cadillac’s strongest and most profitable vehicle, the Escalade SUV, arrives in 2019. The brand will finally launch a compact SUV this year, when the XT4 belatedly gets it into one of the market’s hottest segments. A bigger SUV to competes with hotties like the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 should debut early in 2019. It’s expected to be called the XT6 or 7.

Don’t be fooled, though, the coming bump in sales does not mean GM has remedied the blind spot in Cadillac product planning. The new Escalade, XT4 and three-row XT-whatever will give Cadillac three of a kind, a strong hand but not a winner. Cadillac needs a royal flush, five or more products that anticipate what buyers want, and surprise them with more than they expected.

GM must create an exciting vision for its luxury brand.

Changing brand bosses and moving brand HQ from Detroit to New York — and soon, I expect, back, a move that will only create more turmoil and waste time — won’t do that.

Johan de Nysschen was not the problem. Getting rid of him won’t be the answer.

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Discussion Starter #25
The folks over at GMI are extremely against bringing back names to Cadillac for some reason.
 

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The folks over at GMI are extremely against bringing back names to Cadillac for some reason.
The threads I've been reading there have been non stop talk about Seville, Deville, Brougham, and Fleetwood....
 
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