Luxury

Cadillac is Willing to Sacrifice its Traditional Buyers for Richer Ones

It's called going after its German rivals with absolutely no mercy.

Cadillac wants to become the "Standard of the World" once again. It’s been a long time, a few decades in fact, since it was viewed as a symbol of true luxury in the purest sense. Sorry, but those overweight land yachts that dominated its lineup for years nearly ruined everything. The old men who bought them to the brand are either dead or dying. A bit blunt yes, but the absolute truth. And as you’ve likely noticed, Cadillac’s current lineup is the best it’s been since the early 1960s.

Models like the ATS and CTS are world-class luxury performance sedans and the Escalade SUV is the unrepentant symbol of bling. But there’s still a major problem: US sales are slumping. Potential customers aren’t exactly willing to fork over $10,000 more for a redesigned 2014 CTS than the previous-gen CTS. Just look at the ELR. That heavily rebadged Chevy Volt retails for $75k. But Cadillac’s new CEO doesn’t care. Johan de Nysschen, former head of Infiniti and before that Audi of North America, has no plans to lower those high sticker prices or offer incentives to attract buyers. "We cannot deny the fact that we are leaving behind our traditional customer base.

It will take several years before a sufficiently large part of the audience who until now have been concentrating on the German brands will find us in their consideration set," de Nysschen stated. In other words, Cadillac is going all-out here, and it has no intention of letting those German brands have their way. De Nysschen has also been granted broad authority to run Cadillac as a stand-alone brand. "Nobody who goes to work at Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi works on a part-time basis for those brands," de Nysschen bluntly said. "They are absolutely 100 percent immersed in annihilating the opposition."

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