Andover, New York, United States
According to new Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen, it will take between 10 and 15 years to elevate GM's top brand, which was once hailed as "The Standard Of The World," back to prominence in the minds of American customers. And to hear the executive talk of it, the brand is going to have to be willing to see sales falter in the near-term before they recover:
"Either you have to bring your volume aspirations into alignment with reality and accept that you will sell fewer cars... Or you have to drop the price and continue to transact at the prices where you were historically... I think the logical conclusion is that it's better to build off a very solid base in terms of [product] credibility, charge a fair price for the car and realize you have to wait until the volume comes."
In other words, sales will fall before they rise, and the brand has to be okay with that. Notice, too, that de Nysschen speaks of "a fair price" for Cadillac cars and utility vehicles. In this case, "fair" means more than many of the brand's traditional buyers are accustomed to, and roughly in line with the brands and machines Cadillac believes it is competing against. For instance, the newly enlarged 2014 CTS carries a suggested retail price that is over $6,000 higher than it was in 2013, and some trim levels boast an even higher price premium over the models they replace.
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."
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.