Cadillac has been populating headlines quite a bit lately, with recent releases of a couple of performance cars in the ATS-V and CTS-V. These two cars are causing quite a stir as both are monstrously fast and perform as well as any other competitor from anywhere in the world. Well, Cadillac is once again making a headline splash, but this has nothing to do with performance.
Cadillac’s new brand chief, Johan de Nysschen, is planning on creating a far higher degree of autonomy from its parent company, General Motors. de Nyssechen also wants Cadillac to report its own financial results within a few years and not be tied to the profit-and-loss statements of GM. This comes at an important time for Cadillac, as it’s finally starting to become a brand that might be accepted by the rest of the world.
de Nysschen understands the that Cadillac must reinvent its brand if it wants to compete with Audi, BMW and Mercedes on a global, or even North American, scale. de Nysschen originally set a goal of selling 500,000 Cadillacs globally by 2020. However, last year, Caddy only sold 263,697 vehicles globally, or 3.4 percent of the global luxury market. So if Cadillac wants to increase those numbers, it must first be accepted as a luxury brand worldwide, something that it simply hasn’t ever been.
According to de Nysschen, Cadillac currently suffers from an image problem and “a very narrow product portfolio,”. While the ATS-V and CTS-V are outstanding cars, they still lack in terms of luxury and refinement in comparison to their German or Japanese rivals. That’s been the biggest knock on the ATS and CTS model lines since their inception. While both are good cars, their interiors and build quality are just not up to par with the rest of their luxury competition. Cadillac also only offers and handful of models, which makes it difficult to compete with the larger German niche-busting automakers who seem to have a specific car for every need.
But right now, de Nysschen is looking toward the future. “We’re in the investment phase,” he said. “We are preparing for the future.” Before Cadillac starts creating a new model lineup, it must first change its image and attract a younger audience. Creating separation from itself and GM, who’s notoriously know for making cheap cars with subpar quality, will be the first step in creating a brand with a global luxury reputation. Cadillac clearly has the engineers to take on the best from Germany, as evidenced by the ATS-V and CTS-V, but it still doesn’t have the image or quality to match. If de Nysschen can succeed, Cadillac will be a driving force in the global luxury market by 2020.