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Auto blogTue, 07 Jan 2014 09:58:00 EST
When Don Butler made the surprising decision to leave his post as Cadillac's VP of global strategic development, it was a surprise. Citing a desire to "recalibrate, reassess my priorities" in that August announcement, it wasn't entirely clear where Butler - a virtual General Motors lifer after spending nearly 30 years with the company - would end up. Turns out he took a trip to Dearborn.
Butler has taken a position in the newly created position of Executive Director of Connected Vehicles and Services at Ford, where he'll be responsible for the Blue Oval's global connectivity strategy. "Not only does Don understand the connected car landscape, but probably just as important, he understands customer expectations," said Raj Nair, who, as Group Vice President of Global Product Development, is Butler's new boss. "Having a leader with technology experience both inside and outside the industry is a rare combination - we're excited to have Don join our team."
As Ford has received its fair share of flak for the sometimes recalcitrant MyFord Touch infotainment system and its Sync voice-controls, it appears that Butler has his work cut out for him.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:29:00 EST
If ever there were a Cadillac to truly rival the world's best, this could be it.
With every new model, Cadillac indeed gets closer and closer to actually performing at the top of its class, rivaling those crafty Germans at their own sport/luxury sedan game. The best example yet of Cadillac's efforts to challenge the world came last year, when we met the 2013 ATS - a vehicle that we praised for its on-road dynamics and interior refinement, and later went on to be named North American Car of the Year.
Here's some shocking news to no one: People love crossovers, including those living in China. Since introducing the Cadillac SRX there in 2009, the model's sales have gone through the roof. Now, the brand is considering moving some production of the next-generation model in China to eliminate import tariffs and make it an even bigger player in the market.
According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, the crossover is leading Cadillac's Chinese growth, despite its US-equivalent price of over $67,000 after the country's high import tariffs. The CUV's sales are up 23 percent there so far this year, and it's responsible for over 40 percent of the brand's sales. John Stadwick, General Motors' VP of sales, service and marketing in China, told the WSJ that GM could "very possibly" build the next-gen model there.
The SRX is Cadillac's golden goose in China, and it just keeps pushing the brand's sales forward. "It's the vehicle that took us out of being a small niche in the market," said David Caldwell, Cadillac Communications Manager, to Autoblog. Before the CUV, Caddy was selling a little over 20,000 cars a year there, but partially thanks to the crossover's success, the brand sold 50,000 vehicles last year and could reach 60,000 this year. "The SRX is the most popular Cadillac in that market," he said.