Auto blogWed, 01 Oct 2014 14:30:00 EST
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:15:00 EST
"Our strategic plan is a pathway to earn customers for life and create significant shareholder value in the process." - Mary Barra
General Motors laid out ambitious plans on Wednesday to become the world's "most valued automotive company," a goal it says it can reach by strengthening its business in China, rebuilding the Cadillac luxury brand and fixing the foundering GM Europe operations.
Cadillac is moving swiftly to change up its naming scheme. Barely over a week ago we received our first indication that it was considering a different name its the upcoming flagship sedan previously known as LTS. Then Cadillac not only revealed the model would be called CT6, but announced that it would set the stage with a massive overhaul of its model nomenclature. And now we have another piece of the puzzle.
According to Forbes, Cadillac will not only rename its sedans with the letters CT, but will realign its utility vehicles under the banner of XT - both to be followed by a number indicating its place in the lineup. The one exception will be the Escalade, whose nameplate has such a strong following that it would be foolish for Cadillac to cast it aside. That leaves only the SRX (pictured above), but makes room for a new crop of crossovers said to be in the works.
It's a similar approach which Cadillac's new boss Johan de Nysschen took in revising the naming scheme at Infiniti. While it's bound to ruffle some feathers and scratch some heads in the beginning - especially since the company's current flagship sedan is called XTS - it's equally sure to make sense of it all in the long run. All we need to know now is what Nysschen and his marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus plan to call the coupes.
Cadillac is in the midst of some big changes. It's got a new chief executive. It's taking some distance from parent company General Motors and moving to a new headquarters in New York. And it's instituting a new naming scheme that will allow not only for a more clear progression in its lineup, but also for more models. But that's not the end of the story. Not by a long shot.
Speaking with Automobile magazine, Cadillac's new president Johan de Nysschen revealed his intention to develop several new models and powertrains. For starters, he does not want Cadillac to continue borrowing engines from the GM parts bin, but intends to develop a new range of engines specifically for the luxury automaker. The program will likely start with smaller-capacity engines but eventually lead to new V8s as well, taking the place of the long-serving Northstar engine that finally ended its lifespan a few years ago after some two decades of production. Along with other technologies, de Nysschen envisions possibly sharing these powertrains with other GM divisions, but developing them first and foremost for Cadillac.
The bigger question, however, is where those engines would go, and de Nysschen had some thoughts to share on that front as well. For starters, the former Infiniti and Audi exec sees room for an even bigger sedan above the upcoming new CT6 that will cap the current range. Maybe even two of them. But that's not all. Johan wants to see Cadillac get (back) into the sports car game with a new halo model or two - something it hasn't really done since the Corvette-based XLR roadster. A pair of new crossovers are also said to be in the works, flanking the SRX on both sides with smaller and larger models.
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:57:00 EST
Johan de Nysschen isn't afraid of taking quick, decisive actions, even if they are criticized. Since taking the wheel at Cadillac, he instigated moving the luxury division's base of operations to Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood and introduced a new naming scheme for the future of the brand, like he did at Infiniti. The polarizing boss recently explained his feelings about the future of Cadillac in more depth on his Facebook page, but unfortunately only his friends could read it. Thankfully, Daily Kanban posted much of the strongly worded missive for the whole world to see.
Much of the message examines the decision to move some employees to New York. De Nysschen claims that it's all about giving Cadillac distance from Detroit to reshape itself. It allows for, "No distractions. No side shows. No cross-brand corporate considerations. No homogenized lowest common denominator approach. Just pure, unadulterated, CLASS."
Well, this is awkward.
A few years ago, Audi Of America's boss Johan de Nysschen went on record describing the Chevrolet Volt as "a car for idiots." Fast-forward to earlier this summer, and the well-regarded executive suddenly found himself in a new office with new business cards bearing the title: President, Cadillac. That means that among other challenges, de Nysschen is now tasked with selling the ELR, a car that is, at its core, a Volt in a sportier, less utile frock wearing a price tag that's twice as expensive.
Frankly, it's not a prospect we imagine the South African executive and recent Infiniti boss relishes. Just about nobody is buying the ELR - Cadillac has sold but 774 examples of its plug-in hybrid coupe this year and it presently has an almost a 200-day supply according to Automotive News. What's more, those numbers actually represent big improvements over just a few months ago, before GM started heaping on the incentives. The cynic in us says that the bad news for De Nysschen is that he's got a borderline sales-proof car in his new corporate garage. The good news? Cadillac customers apparently aren't idiots.
This weekend will see the world's collector car crowds descend on Las Vegas, NV for one of the biggest shows on Barrett-Jackson's popular auction circuit. There are hundreds of vehicles up for bidding, ranging from a brand-new Lamborghini Aventador to a spattering of Art Deco classics and a huge swath of classic muscle cars.
While it's virtually impossible to assemble an inarguable list of the best cars coming during the three-day, 700-plus vehicle auction, we've sifted through the listings for this year's show - it was a tough assignment, we promise - and assembled a list of what we think will be some of the most interesting lots. We'll admit, it's a bit heavy on American iron, but if you browse BJ's listings, you'll come to a similar conclusion. Still, scroll down for our list of what we think will be the most interesting vehicles at the upcoming auction.
The US sales issues facing Cadillac are not being paralleled in the People's Republic of China, as a new report from Automotive News indicates the US luxury maker should see its sales increase by as much as 40 percent.
The report cites Cadillac's own forecasts, which put its 2014 sales in the PRC at 70,000 units after cresting 45,000 vehicles at the end of August. Provided the sales pace holds true through 2015, the brand would hit its new 100,000-unit sales goal, AN reports.
"We're very optimistic about the luxury market, we believe that the luxury market by 2016 here will become the largest luxury market in the world, surpassing even the size of luxury in Europe," GM China President Matthew Tsien told AN. "With [Cadillac president] Johan [de Nysschen], we have somebody that really is an executive that understands luxury, but he also is very, very keen on understanding what do we need here in China for Cadillac to be successful."
Johan de Nysschen has been at his new post as president of Cadillac for not even three months , but he's already seen two of his most notable accomplishments from his two-year tenure as president of Infiniti matched by Cadillac. The brand has announced that it is relocating its headquarters, and is now officially changing its nomenclature.
The brand's new flagship model will abandon the familiar three-letter designation enjoyed by every other model in the range (aside from the Escalade), and adopt an alpha-numeric title. So, rather than the expected title of LTS, Cadillac's top-end car will be called the CT6.
Of course, this won't be limited to just one model. According to Cadillac's press release, "familiar lettering like 'CT' would be used for car models, with the number indicating the relative size and position of the cars in the hierarchy of Cadillac models." And yes, that means what you think it means - Cadillac will use the exact same naming formula, albeit with different letters, as Infiniti.
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:29:00 EST
"We're going to take it to a place [New York] to change the way that we do business around the brand of Cadillac." - Mark Reuss
General Motors product chief Mark Reuss elaborated Tuesday on Cadillac's move to New York in 2015, saying it will "elevate" the brand and allow it to reach new customers.
Cadillac is under new leadership, and the automaker is committed to turning itself (back) into a global luxury powerhouse. It's got a strong product offensive (of products currently in showrooms, and much more on the way), and now it will have a new location to call home.
Following earlier speculation, GM has confirmed that it is moving Cadillac's base of operations from Detroit to New York. Lest you think it might rent offices in the Chrysler Building (which is, after all, one of the tallest in the city), the new Cadillac global headquarters will be located in the Soho area with a "multipurpose brand and event space in conjunction with modern loft offices." The company is still evaluating which staff will move along with it to Manhattan, and which will remain in Michigan where technical operations will still be based.
The move from Detroit to New York is the first major change being instituted by new Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen, who previously undertook a similar shift in moving Infiniti away from Nissan headquarters to its own facility in Hong Kong. Ford had attempted a similar move in relocating its luxury portfolio under the Premier Automotive Group (which then included Lincoln, Mercury, Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Volvo) from Dearborn to Irvine, CA, but ended up moving Lincoln (the last one still under the Ford umbrella) back to Michigan. Other luxury automakers like Audi (Volkswagen) and Maserati (Fiat) are headquartered away from their parent companies as well, but have a longer history of independent operation.