By on October 16, 2014

Cadillac ATS New York Plate

Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen has taken a lot of flak as of late for the brand’s moves to New York City, and to (albeit standardized) alphanumeric naming conventions. The first time, he took to Facebook to address his critics.

This time? De Nysschen took it to the source.

In response to Automotive News editor-in-chief Keith Crain’s letter lamenting both issues in the name of Detroit, de Nysschen penned a letter to the editor addressing Crain’s concerns.

Regarding the CT/XT nomenclature chosen in lieu of proper names — including Eldorado, Seville and Fleetwood — the president said such emotional attachment to those names “should be balanced against the fact that those names resonate more with baby boomers and are U.S.-centric,” and are not relevant to Cadillac’s intended global audience “where the reality is that alphanumeric nomenclature is a deeply entrenched industrywide practice.”

As far as the notion of Cadillac abandoning Detroit for SoHo, de Nysschen says the move was not due to any personal preference, stating that “no corporation would tolerate such indulgences by its leadership.” Instead, it was done to help reinforce “the psychological and physical separation in business philosophy” between the premium brand and the rest of General Motors. He adds that the net loss of 50 jobs in Detroit would likely be filled by GM, and pale in comparison against the 1,600 new manufacturing jobs secured by the automaker’s decision to green-light the CT6 earlier this month.

Finally, he does acknowledge Crain’s concern over business efficiency disadvantages as a result of the move, noting that said disadvantages were anticipated beforehand, “and will be overcome by making changes to current corporate processes.” De Nysschen concludes that all business decisions will be made by the brand’s leadership every step of the way, answering only to GM’s top brass and the automaker’s shareholders.

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151 Comments on “De Nysschen: Cadillac Moved To NYC, Alphanumerics To Be Global Player...”


  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Nysschen must be trippin’.

    Global?

    CT, NJ, CA, and many other acronyms and abbreviations aren’t global they are neighbouring states, they aren’t other countries.

    What is a Cadillac?

    Is a Caddy a blinged out Silverado station wagon.

    We will soon have a global Ranger station wagon, the Thai’s should sell it to Lincoln as a station wagon. Lincoln is another global brand.

    Does this guy realise what brand power is? It isn’t a laundry detergent.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      At least Mark Fields knows Lincoln isn’t a global brand.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      I would actually argue that the luxury market is in the middle of an identity reshuffle, and this is an opportunity for Cadillac to remake itself into something that a global audience might want. BMWs new offerings, taken on their own merit, appear to be chasing Lexus, Audi and Lexus are chasing BMW, and if the CLA is any indication, Mercedes is chasing Chevrolet. It’s also worth pointing out that very few of the mainstream luxury players are making high-design, stylish cars anymore. Lexus has that grille. Audi and BMW have chosen pleasant but risk-free styling in Small, Medium and Large. Mercedes is experimenting with its own version of the Bangle Butt. And all of them have ungainly proportions thanks to European pedestrian protection laws.

      Cadillac has the opportunity to offer up the best of each competitor, and charge for it. If you could buy a car that drove like a BMW (used to), felt like a Mercedes, and worked like a Lexus, wouldn’t you be out front waving your checkbook as soon as the dealership opened? Nothing those competitors do is magic – it’s just engineering and production of a complex consumer good – and the only thing stopping anyone from doing it better and more harmoniously is corporate culture and management. So move to NYC. Be free of the GM RenCen machine. But use the opportunity to make something that is the actual standard of the world.

      Do I think that will happen? No. But here’s hoping…

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      LOL yeah, CT6 sounds more like a trial of a bunch of Connecticut hippies. They’ve been tokin’ too much Kentucky jelly…

  • avatar

    At least he’s showing some balls, and what is a Cadillac without big balls, and that gives me some hope.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    naming conventions:
    get over it. no one who matters cares. Auto journos care. they don’t matter. The current Caddy naming convention has been around for about 20 minutes. The naming convention before that was around forever. All the people who knew/cared about that one are dead or don’t drive anymore.

    New York:
    Finally, some common sense. What are the biggest competitors in the luxury market in the US? Where do they sell the best? You don’t design snorkels in a desert. Besides, just getting the hell out Detroit is huge. The last thing you want when you’re trying to do something different is having ‘the olde guard” hang over your shoulder and screw things up. Think about it; all it takes is some GM lifer from the E-suite stopping by the office on his way back to Grosse Pointe and flipping out at what he sees “That’s NOT THE WAY WE DO THINGS AT GM!!!!”

    screw that. move away. far away. let the lifers worry about the next tee time. there are cars to design. change is good.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Proper/marketing model names didn’t start with Cadillac until 1949 with the Coupe de Ville. Before that Cadillac used Alphanumerics like ’60S’ later, in some post-war years called out as ‘Sixty Special’.

      And an awful lot of the people that matter(Cadillac buyers), those who remember and associate the names with Cadillac, care about those names.

      Regarding Europeans and Asians interest in the nomenclature, the guys I deal with, love those names. As one essentially said to me recently, those names have character and are expressive, and recall a special time in American car design that still has great universal appeal that will last to the last drop of Dino fuel fires the last power stroke of an internal combustion engine, and probably beyond.

      There is a certain bland vagueness to the use of Alphanumeric model designations. A8, C250, 325i, mention those designations to people who aren’t fans of those vehicles, and you will get a blank stare. Only those who know and who care about those cars will understand the hierarchy and translate that into substantial info. Alphanumeric’s evoke no passion. Proper/market names need no navigation, you know what they are, they stand alone.

      So Cadillac turning wholly to an alphanumeric model designation, probably means we will never see the Eldorado or Elmiraj name(s) used again, or ever, names that just roll off the tongue, are evocative and mean something, that have history, that are part of the American car culture.

      Globalization… A slow grinding into boring sameness and Cadillac follows suit ignoring its own history, becoming just new paint and a number-letter designation defining who knows what to those who encounter those models on the street or in conversation. And this turn to sameness comes at a time when Cadillac needs to definitively step apart market wise from its competition in its attempt to be once again, the ‘Standard of the World’ before Hyundai/Kia does, or more likely… Tesla.

      At least the French know the value of a proper/market name, or at least Citroen and Renault, do. Citroen Berlingo! Just rolls off the tongue, to bad its a taxicab.

      Megane_Espace_Dacia_Safrane_Twingo_Scala_ etc. And the French concept car names are even more evocative.

  • avatar

    Ha. The guy gave the same reasons I did for not using those old names. Time to get over them. They don’t mean anything to anyone else except Americans, and even to most of you, don’t even conjure up something that positive. Still seems to me Cadillac is going in the right direction.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Interesting insight.

      The joke is on him though. Actual names, alphanumeric soup, Cadillac will NEVER conquer Europe, no matter how well they clone BMWs.

      • 0 avatar

        Opel still seems to know a thing or two about Europe. GM still knows a thing or two about building cars. Cadillac themselves seem very acceptable in drive and dynamics nowadays. It takes time and dedication for the long haul. Audi didn’t become what it became overnight. The current fascination with the German über trio will wane. Cadillac needs to be there, as a credible alternative. If the product is good enough, it could eventually carve out some participation.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not that there’s an issue with the old names, it’s that he’s changing even the established CTS, ATS, SRX and such.* I would give him some credence, had he not blown it so badly with Infiniti’s Q-whatever range, then high-tailed it before the failure stuck with him.

      He has one trick, it seems, that worked once at Audi and he’s trying to replicate it. It’s a classic arrogance-in-management: thinking that something is the right thing to do because it’s what you’ve done in the past; that it’s the right thing because you’re doing it.

      In his case, he’s completely discounting Audi’s improved product that did as much, or more, for the brand than renaming the 80/100/4000/5000 did.

      I really don’t care that the CTS isn’t a Catera, El Dorado or whatever: the old names really don’t have any positive equity; it really doesn’t matter. But going from CTS to CT6 just confuses people needlessly and trashes whatever equity “CTS” had.

      * It’s interesting that he isn’t touching “Escalade”. Apparently someone at GM slapped some sense into him, or he knows he can only push he delusions so far.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree with you the product needs to be there, and from what I read, the product is not lacking too much nowadays.

        As to the Escalade, bet the name will go away as soon as Cadillac feels comfortable letting go of a BOF SUV.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Why would they let go of a BOF SUV or let the Escalade name go away?

          • 0 avatar

            Hey bball. BOF SUVs are being substituted by giant monocoque CUVs. They can be made as luxuriously as you want and I’m sure Cadillac will have one to compete with the likes of BMW Xs. Eventually, if they start selling a lot of them, the Escalade could lose its star quality in the American Cadillac line. Now, GM does make a lot of trucks so it’s relatively simple for them to continue developing the Escalade for Americans. The Escalade’s global market seems very limited from where I sit.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think they would keep it even if a limited market as you say (which is true for the Escalade) because it prints money so easily. The Tahoe and Suburban and Yukon variants aren’t going away, and all it costs them is some cheap leather on the Esc. and they make $30,000+ more dollars on each one.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            As long as the Escalade makes money for GM, it will exist and will continue to be named Escalade.

      • 0 avatar
        mulled whine

        It’s being renamed the Escal8

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Marcelo, you miss the mark.

      Cadillac is not a ‘global’ brand. To sell globally, buyers must have a reason to buy it. Being like BMW isn’t reason enough. Copying German convention may make things seem ‘normal,’ but that will not elevate Cadillac above “me too” status. If you are turned on by what BMW is, would you rather buy a German BMW or an American kind-of-like-BMW?

      Why is selling the Mustang internationally a big deal? Because it’s an American car. No, not everyone wants an American car, but there are people who do, just like there are people who want a German car, or a Japanese car. Cadillac has a built-in advantage with that audience if they are willing to take it. The naming scheme would be one way to capitalize.

      You are correct that the historical names they’ve used don’t mean much (if anything) to the people they need to sell to. The flaw is thinking those are the names they should use. For example, Escalade isn’t a historical name, but it means something because they made it mean something. The E-class, 5-series, G37, MK_, A8, etc., ALL mean nothing to me. I know WHAT they are, just like I know how to find a book in a library, but they MEAN nothing to me.

      Maybe Europeans are different. Maybe the Dewey decimal code of their book is more important than the title. I don’t care, and I’m completely unapologetic. And that’s quintessentially “American.”

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        The logic for switching to alphanumerics isn’t to mimic the Germans. It’s because there are so many car makes out there today, that the vast majority of consumers can’t keep them all straight. Even a lot of carguys like the B&B get confused all the time.

        If you have a simple scheme that uses a letter or number to tell you vehicle characteristics (sedan vs. coupe vs. SUV, for instance) then the consumer only needs to remember the brand, and the model is more obvious.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I understand it, but it doesn’t mean I like it. I own an alphabet soup named Lincoln and I’d much rather it have an actual name.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            I also do not care for alphabet soup for car names. I can tolerate some of the Germans since the name/number (at least at one point) identifies the displacement of the engine. They were functional if not easily remembered, more a taxonomy than name. However, Infiniti has made a royal mess and I found myself quite confused as I followed a Q50 (aka, EX35) wondering how in the hell they shoved a five liter V8 into such a little car. I also wondered if it came with a manual transmission and would it do smoky burnouts, but I like to daydream.
            Furthermore as with Lincoln and Infiniti, having the same prefix letter (M for Lincoln, Q for Infiniti) is pointless. If they’re all the same, why even have them? Maybe at least make them use the first letter of the brand name for some form of continuity or semiotics reason.
            Some may decry the “old” naming custom as anti-global but I don’t believe that the new approach is superior. I read that there was some appeasement reason for “millenials looking for premium products”. Don’t get me started on those impetuous brats, I thought they didn’t buy cars anyway?
            Not everyone, but many people personify their cars, even give them their own names (my car’s name is Voldemort, it tried to kill me again today and it drinks unicorn blood). People like to assign emotion to inanimate objects that evoke emotion–like cars. Why fight that normal urge by attempting to foist some nonsensical nomenclature upon the car buying public?
            I would like to think I’m at least a grade B car spotter and know most of the names of anything reasonably modern/popular. However, in the past few years, I find myself losing track of these silly number/letter combinations more often than previously. Simple complaint: they’re hard to remember, and what automaker wants to be forgotten in the soup?
            I think Cadillac is jumping on a stupid STUPID bandwagon and while likely nothing will come of it, I do not like it.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Yea but everyone knows a Camry is a Toyota and a Sonata is a Hyundai. A CT6 could be anything.

          The trick worked at Audi because it was a new idea and nobody else had done it. Now everyone has alphanumerics. It doesn’t work

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          There’s a lot of people walking around; to help keep them straight we give them names. Numbers are good enough for the SSA, but to them we’re all the same.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Yes, except that social scientists have researched the subject, and found that humans break down the world into sets of communities, typically with about 150 people in them. Our caveman brains don’t allow us to truly know more than that.

            Now that there are more than 150 car models available, we can’t keep them all straight.

            At the end of the day, you didn’t buy a 428 grandcoupe, or an X1 28 s-drive or a 328 GT, you bought a BMW.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I disagree with respect to cars, ask your co-worker if he drives a Camry or a Toyota, ask the secretary if she bought a CR-V or a Honda. Does grandpa drive a Corvette or a Chevrolet? Did the neighbor (in his words) buy an F-150 or a Ford?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Alternately, my co-worker might say “I got the baby Benz”, or “the Lexus crossover”, or “the big Bimmer”.

            Those are analogies from the luxury market, which is the subject at hand.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            If I had a co-worker that said things like “baby Benz,” I would interact with them as little as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Admittedly, those who say “baby Benz” tend to lunch, more than work.

            I don’t think I’ve talked to a co-worker about cars in close to a decade. They are all much more interested in their phones.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve personally never heard people use those sort of phrases when describing their cars. When I asked the last two new car purchasers of people I personally know what they bought the responses where: “Yeah I got the Altima because the Maxima was too expensive” (came from an MY00 Maxima) and “CTS Coupe with the all wheel drive” (came from an MY04 Grand Prix).

            If somebody said to me “I got the baby Benz” my response would be “Oh so you got the crappiest one eh?”. Yes I’m a dick and I say things like that to people. Baby Benz, come on now people, because I know the SLK and SL owners do not refer to their trophy cars as “baby benzes”.

            “I don’t think I’ve talked to a co-worker about cars in close to a decade. They are all much more interested in their phones.”

            VoGo I’d love to take those phones and run them over with one of my cars. Phones are stupid, they will always be stupid.

            Sent from Iphone /sarc

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            They used to call Chevys “baby Cadillacs” (roll eyes, gag)

            Ha, now they call Cadillacs tarted-up Chevys

      • 0 avatar

        @redav

        Doubt the Mustang trades much on its American-ness. It trades on its history of a performance car. Globally, few buy a BMW because it’s German, though many do in spite of it. They buy it because they perceive it as symbolic of luxury and status, and some, for the performance of the car and perceived superiority.

        Wrapping yourself in the flag only works on the local level. Here Nissan tries to sell itself as Japanese. It’s not working and their participation is minuscule. VW sometimes let themselves fall into the same trap. Has not stopped their slide and it seems their traditional second place on this market is being forfeited to GM.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      With all due respect, I don’t see why Cadillac can’t use iconic names in the North American market, and alphanumeric elsewhere.

      The typical North American Cadillac buyer (and the rest of the demographic they’re after) doesn’t know or care what is sold in Europe, Latin America or Asia. To these buyers, it’s much easier to create an aura around a name than around some meaningless letters and numbers.

      IIRC, Toyota and Nissan use different model names in their home market than they do elsewhere. Seems to have worked out ok for them.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Sure worked real well for Infiniti.

    It makes no sense to use the “global player” card when the brand can’t even own its home market.

    American buyers of these cars don’t want alphanumeric serial number names, and if you can’t succeed at home, just quite.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Infiniti is setting sales records globally.

      Keep in mind that Germany is the #3 market for Cadillac’s competitors, like M-B and BMW. They win by playing globally, not trying to “succeed at home.” And they use alphanumeric names for their vehicles.

      The people who care about names like Eldorado, de Ville, Fleetwood and Cimarron will not determine Cadillac’s fate.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        The cars are exactly the same though. Was it really the change from one set of alphanumerics to another that made the difference?

        And they may be setting internal records, but I doubt they are even a drop in the bucket compared to the sales of the big boys. Plus more importantly I’m certain they haven’t made any impact whatsoever in Europe, where everyone seems to be obsessed with suceeding in for legitimacy (even though their collective economy is pretty much doomed, and auto markets have a heavily nationalistic bias).

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “Infiniti is setting sales records globally. ”

        Now that Johan de Nysschen is no longer there

        “The people who care about names like Eldorado, de Ville, Fleetwood and Cimarron will not determine Cadillac’s fate.”

        The people who remember those names and their descent into abysmal quality will determine Cadillac’s fate

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I think I have to disagree with you there. Cadillac is chasing the younger people (like everyone else), and the most recent of those names was used in about 2000 on the Deville.

          The old people remember those names, but are set enough in their ways that they’re gonna buy what they had their mind set on, whether it be Cadillac or no. 70 year olds in the US don’t buy enough new cars to make Cadillac a success/fail.

          The younger people who don’t remember any of those names are more important now.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I agree with you Corey, but car enthusiast sites like this one like to bring up the past and it’s Cadillac’s past failures and their arrogance about those failures by repeating the same mistakes will seal Cadillac’s fate

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        VoGo – Infinity may be selling more vehicles, but its at a time when the majority of manufacturers are. A rising tide lifts nearly all boats (even the tragic Q50).

        Let’s see what happens during the next bout of weakness before reading too much into cause & effect.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Fair point, DW. I don’t think we can really judge JdN on Infiniti’s performance, given that he was only there for 2 years.

          At the end of the day, you can call it CT6, you can call it CTS, you can call it Seville. As long as you call it better than A6/535/E350, it won’t matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You can say the same for Acura. How do you differentiate yourself from the luxo imports when you copy them? It’s an old Detroit practice: if something sells, copy it. The problem is Cadillac is being outsold in its home market!

      Some of those old model names go back farther than just the baby boomers, though Cadillac used numeric model names before the ’50s, and some the old names lasted into this century (De Ville) and are familiar to Gen X and Gen XI (the Millennials). After all, Toyota has stuck with Corolla for over a half century.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Acura had a different “problem”. The Legend had become such a powerhouse name that it overshadowed Acura. The marketing geniuses persuaded them to drop the Legend and go RL.

        Acura managed to go from the best-selling luxury import model – Legend – to one of the worst selling – RL.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Hummer,
      Infinite isn’t a big global player.

      Also, Infiniti isn’t reknown in recent history for producing relatively low rate vehicles either.

      This is the challenge for Caddy. Who can take a vehicle manufacturer seriously if they sell Silverado’s, then to top it off attempt to sell them as a prestige let alone a luxury vehicle.

      Cadillac doesn’t have the brand name, it isn’t BMW, MB, Audi, Porche. It’s not even a Toyota which has a better name globally than Caddy.

      • 0 avatar

        “We will soon have a global Ranger station wagon, the Thai’s should sell it to Lincoln as a station wagon. Lincoln is another global brand.”

        “Who can take a vehicle manufacturer seriously if they sell Silverado’s, then to top it off attempt to sell them as a prestige let alone a luxury vehicle.”

        Big Al I’m confused, as I normally am, but are you saying that Lincoln should build a Escalade type vehicle off the Ranger, but that Cadillac can’t be taken seriously if they do the same off the Silverado?

        We have to get you a ride in an new Escalade and I think you will find its a great vehicle for the journey between Bringabeeralong and Bringabongalong.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Crazycarlarry,
          What I’m stating it is as ridiculous to have an Ranger/Everest as a prestige or luxury vehicle as it is the Silverado/Escalade.

          • 0 avatar

            What about the Lexus GX or LX, Infiniti QX, Mercedes G class, or
            Lincoln Navigator?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Crazycarlarry,
            You are very correct.

            The Lexus 570 is a blinged Landcruiser. The Infiniti is sold here as a Patrol. The G Wagen is a G Wagen and sits on it’s own chassis and they are relatively expensive.

            My argument is the Escalade is built on a $23k platform.

            I own a BT50GT, it has many bells, whistles and leather, bling, etc. It’s built on a cheap platform. You can’t get away from this. It isn’t a prestige vehicle or luxury vehicle.

            A true prestige vehicle is built in it’s own unique platform. This is where the Euro SUVs are different.

            The Japanese copied the US in heavily blinged cheap platforms and try and pass them off as prestige or luxury.

            Infiniti, Lexus, Acura were for the US market as they don’t have much of a market elsewhere.

            If you buy a fancy Nissan or Honda, that’s what you generally buy. An Escalade is a fancy Silverado.

            Who would buy them in the numbers you guys do? We buy true prestige generally.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            What’s “true prestige”?

            Seriously, I don’t know what you mean by it, unless it just means “really expensive” – “prestige” in car talk never seems to mean anything else.

            (Does the rest of the world not buy A8s because they share a platform with the A4, and think the 7 and S are better *because* they don’t share a platform with other cars?

            Will people STOP buying the 7 when the 35up platform underlies EVERY BMW sedan?

            Does the rest of the world market actually pay any attention at all to platforms, rather than badge-affiliation?

            That seems real, real implausible from here.)

  • avatar
    DukeMantee

    Wow,after billions of taxpayer dollars to bailout this circus,this is what we get.
    Yeah,lets rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic one more time. I sure hope the next place DeNysschen lands wises up to this fraud a lot quicker than GM and Nissan.
    Oh and would it kill anybody at GM to actually develop a luxury sedan that “domestic” markets eat up.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      People probably would buy the CTS, if the price didn’t skyrocket with the new model. It’s all part of Cadillac’s pursuit to sell fewer cars with dreams of higher margins.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Well, it’s not so bad as paying @$600,000,000 to the Manchester United in the Chevy sponsorship deal.

      Oh, and GM then decided to drop Chevy from Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        It’s been said many times before, the ManU deal had nothing to do with Europe. It was about those ManU fans in Asia.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          It’s funny how some people don’t grasp this stuff, even after it has been explained to them.

          It should be pretty obvious that most soccer fans (football supporters) in Europe would support a team other than Man U. It’s a popular game and there are plenty of teams; the vast majority of Europeans don’t live anywhere near Manchester and they are going to support a team that isn’t Man U. Even Manchester has more than one team, so ManU doesn’t even have a monopoly in its locality.

          What the other European teams lack is the level of international interest. For whatever reason, ManU has global appeal, including among those who have only minimal interest in the sport.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I think if the NFL went to sponsers on jerseys I could see the Cowboys with Telmex of America Movil. Their popularity continues to grow in Latin America.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            >>It’s funny how some people don’t grasp this stuff, even after it has been explained to them.<<

            I get that feeling every time I make the mistake of reading your stuff.

            I guess something needs to be explained to you. It was a stupid deal and the guy was fired for doing it.

            Get it? Fired.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            If it was such a bad deal, why has GM expanded it’s relationship with ManU? They also have a deal with Liverpool FC.

            Ewanick being fired had nothing to do with the ManU deal.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Right. They fired the guy for doing the deal, then did the deal without him.

            You might want to consider the possibility that GM wasn’t exactly honest about the reasons for his dismissal. If GM really hated the deal, then it would have pulled the plug on it.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          The guy who penned the deal was fired.

          It

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          >>Ewanick being fired had nothing to do with the ManU deal.
          <<

          Wrong.

          "Reuters and the Wall Street Journal said sources familiar with the situation reported Ewanick’s departure was tied to not properly vetting and reporting the financial details about Chevrolet’s sponsorship of Manchester United."
          -LATimes

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            According to Ewanick, GM and several marketing firms crunched the numbers and said it was worth it. Other sources have said that Ewanick was let go because of market share problems. GM has unwound many of Ewanick’s deals and campaigns. They have not unwound the Manchester United deal. In fact, they have made the deal bigger.

            “A day after forcing Joel Ewanick to resign as chief marketing officer, GM bolstered a sponsorship with British soccer team Manchester United that some media reports had suggested was a cause for his unexpected departure.

            But Chevrolet said Monday it would become Manchester United’s official jersey sponsor in 2014. Last week, Chevrolet said it also will sponsor Manchester United’s archrival Liverpool Football Club.

            Issues with soccer deals are just a diversion from the real reason Ewanick was forced to resign, his inability to maintain or increase market share under his leadership, say some analysts.”

            Detroit Free Press

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It is astoundingly naive to believe that Ewanick was fired for the Man U deal.

            This has all the indications of some sort of personal grudge match. Under normal circumstances, an executive would resign for “personal reasons,” and that would be the end of it.

            Here, GM wanted to tarnish his name with a deal that was apparently so terrible that GM went ahead with it, anyway. That makes no sense whatsoever.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Here, GM wanted to tarnish his name with a deal that was apparently so terrible that GM went ahead with it, anyway. That makes no sense whatsoever.”

            What in GM’s recent history makes you think anything they do makes sense?

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            “It is astoundingly naive to believe that Ewanick was fired for the Man U deal.”

            No, actually, it’s not. The timing of the Man U deal, and Chevy’s soon-thereafter departure from Europe, were clearly an embarrassment to GM (especially given the dollars involved).

            But, whether GM liked it or not, they were legally committed to the deal. Whether they wanted to or not, they had to honour it.

            The obvious answer in this situation is to designate a scapegoat. Ewanick was accused of having signed the deal without first obtaining the necessary approvals (a claim I find dubious), and duly jettisoned.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Gee whiz, the deal was so bad that they expanded on the deal that Ewanick had negotiated.

            http://adage.com/article/news/joel-ewanick-speaks-departure-gm/244775/

            The ManU deal was about Asia. It was Akerson’s decision later to pull the plug on Chevy in Europe, and doesn’t change the fact that Man United is popular in Asia.

            In any case, Ewanick had nothing to do with Chevy being in Europe. That decision was made long before he arrived at the company and had nothing to do with him. At the time that he was hired, there were no plans to get rid of it.

            Ewanick was Whitacre’s hire; Akerson inherited him.

            It’s pretty obvious that Ewanick had ruffled some feathers with his change in agencies, his position on the Super Bowl and other changes that he had made.

            The Man U thing was obviously an excuse. The deal had been vetted by GM, which not only did it but expanded on it. Regurgitating GM press releases, as you have here, does not provide one with much insight into a company that spins information to the extent that GM does.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “should be balanced against the fact that those names resonate more with baby boomers and are U.S.-centric,” and are not relevant to Cadillac’s intended global audience “where the reality is that alphanumeric nomenclature is a deeply entrenched industrywide practice.”

    Then rename them overseas and keep the US-centric names in the US. Stop trying to insert the missing logic into your marketing bulls***.

    Idiot.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “should be balanced against the fact that those names resonate more with baby boomers and are U.S.-centric,”

      This just shows how out of touch this man is. When a 16 year old girl from New Zealand records a worldwide hit song with the refrain “They’re driving Cadillacs in their dreams” it’s obvious the name still has presence with people other then American baby-boomers

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I very much agree.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You’re making de Nysschen’s argument for him.

        Many people have heard of the brand (Cadillac). Far fewer would know what an Eldorado or Seville are, or how they differ from each other.

        Alphanumerics help to put the focus on the brand. With the right alphanumeric combination, the customer gets to know pretty easily how the cars compare to each other.

        You don’t have to be an automotive genius to know that an S is superior to a C in the Mercedes pecking order because S is a higher letter than C. Similarly, one can intuitively grasp that an A8 is above an A6, which is above an A4, because 8 is higher than 6 and 6 is higher than 4. If done correctly, the consumer can easily grasp the pecking order without a lot of drama or costly marketing. With names, one has to have a marketing program that explains all of the names individually, in addition to pitching the brand.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          This is essentially the same argument Acura made in the 90s, how well has it worked?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Acura threw away brand equity by scrapping the Legend name.

            Cadillac has almost nothing to lose by jettisoning its old names. Virtually nobody cares about them or even knows what they are.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            In the natural scheme of things “A” and “number 1” are generally the best and it goes down hill from there, so I’m having a hard time following the logic of your argument

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Did she write the song, do you know? Or did an American man write the song and she just sang the words in her smoky voice?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      They could even charge people $500 for the “Heritage Name Package”.

      It’s not like GM doesn’t call the Insignia (and the rest of the Buick line) like three different things all over the world.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Haven’t we beaten this subject to death already? I do realize that it’s important for Deadweight and company to get their daily oxygen, but it would be great if there were some actual news to report rather than rehashing old crap.

  • avatar
    mike978

    It may not be what the majority of us on this site like but the fact is the Germans have set the rules for the luxury market. The three Japanese companies that have luxury brands have all gone the German way with alphanumeric nomenclature, F sport models, sportier image etc. The Germans have been very successful financially and brand wise the past 3 decades, even if some question if it is truly deserved.

    I would love to see names on the cars but JdN knows more about the business than I or most of us on this site.

  • avatar
    Fred

    If De Nysschen wants to sell Cadillacs to China, then why didn’t he move the headquarters there?

  • avatar
    mags1110

    I have to ask, do people actually like the way caddys look? How are sales over all?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I like the look of the new CTS. I hated the last one (both the exterior and, especially, the interior). I can’t justify the price with the V6 though. It starts at $54K with the 3.6L.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I like the exteriors generally (not the XTS), and I very much liked the last bit of the STS.

      But their interiors are a fail at the price point. I’d have an STS4 right meow instead of an M if it had a decent interior.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    He forgot to mention one name that doesn’t resonate with buyers: “Cadillac.” He should re-brand to “KD5-721B” (that’s the license plate in the photo above).

    De Nysschen needs to address Cadillac/KD5-721B’s biggest problem: it’s a niche regional player in a global market. It long ago lost any brand equity outside of the US, and it’s not in the top-tier of luxury brands inside the US. Not surprising when their only memorable recent ad campaign basically said “we tried to copy a 3 Series and ended-up with this.”

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Did you read the article text? That’s what he’s trying to address.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        No. He’s talking about “Cadillac’s intended global audience” when the brand isn’t making any headway at home.

        That’s not addressing the problem; that’s blowing smoke, hoping nobody notices the problem. Cadillac won’t succeed abroad if it’s not a top-tier luxury player in the US. Telling us that foreign buyers prefer model names that sound like passwords is claptrap. You know what foreign buyers really prefer? Same thing American buyers prefer: Audi, BMW, Mercedes.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Fair enough!

          This caused me to re-look at the photo. If you did an inverse triangle cutout of the bumper as well, the car would have a giant Pontiac logo on the back.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            That’s funny. The ATS and CTS would have been awesome Pontiacs!

            They are good cars if you judge them by Pontiac’s brand values: sporty, cheap, and optionally stuffed with the biggest engine that’ll fit under the hood. They just don’t cut it as Cadillacs.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            @heavy: And Buick’s current lineup would have made great Oldsmobiles!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Corey, HH, VoGo – this is precisely that which Motortrend (I think it was Motortrend) wrote about the ATS long term tester they had.

            With so-so assembly quality, much road noise, a selection of not exactly refined powerplants, and too harsh a ride for any Cadillac, but with really good steering and a very balanced/stiff chassis, it would have a made a perfect Pontiac (at a lower price point).

            And given that my rental that had all of 6500 miles on the odometer had various features that no longer worked properly or at all, shook like a piece of construction equipment on start up, and generally, was already falling apart, it’s an even more compelling argument.

  • avatar
    SayMyName

    I can’t begin to describe how much I’m looking forward to watching this train wreck unfold.

    De Nysschen seems a classic case of rampant narcissism, and an over-inflated ego that his product line, parent company and his own middling talent and abilities will never match up to.

    • 0 avatar

      Just Announced “Johan’s Moving & Storage”… We are Moving to New York and putting the Cadillacs in Storage! Perhaps there is talent here that I am somehow missing…Supposedly Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. The difference is they weren’t moving the court and raising ticket prices while telling parents to just deal with it.

      You can’t succeed by turning off your client base, overpricing your product, and walking away from your heritage. Buzz Johan may very well prove to be one of the biggest mistakes in GM’s history.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    The ATS was on my short list to purchase in the next 3 months. I’ve now taken the very rare step of crossing it off the list because of him. I can deal with names and HQ relocation, but this guy needs to learn “it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought an idiot than to open it and remove all doubt.”

    This millennial is taking his money elsewhere Johan.

    • 0 avatar

      Mary Barra and Dave Dombrowski are respectively responsible for end results while sharing weak bullpens and a lack of internal prospective performers. To date, both have failed to obtain the stated goals of Increased Market Share and a World Series Crown. Signing new, outside talent that accomplishes and justifies the significant expense has not proven successful for either executive.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I was relieved when Detroit stopped applying overblown, radical-to-the-extreme names like Super Turbo Thrust this and Whirlfire that to every part of the drivetrain, but enough is enough.

    I don’t wanna buy a CT6 or a X102 or a 492HSC.

    I want a park a Super Chauvinist or a Deercrusher GT or a Rum Rocket Turbo 4.5 in my driveway.

    Weld the alphanumerics onto a name if you must, but at least give me a name!

  • avatar
    TW5

    Facebook is the peanut gallery, not a niche medium for a nuanced pitch in defense of the alphanumeric system. De Nysschen needs to stick to his day-to-day executive responsibilities before he starts a bikeshedding calamity.

  • avatar

    While the Cadillac brand has some storied nameplates, historically alphanumerics seem to have been the practice in the early days, once a company got past it’s first model. So, for example, when Henry Ford’s backers asserted control of the Henry Ford Company and with Henry Leland’s guidance turned it into Cadillac, the first car they sold was simply “the Cadillac”, but in time was known as the Model A, as the Ford Motor Company’s first (almost identical other than the engine) automobile was known. Buick also used “Model X” names in the early days.

    Offhand, that seems to have been the practice by most early automakers.

    Actually, it’s an interesting question as to what the first car that was given a name rather than an alphanumeric model designation. One could say that even could have been Karl Benz’s Patent Motorwagen. With American cars, I know that Stutz gave its models names, and so did Studebaker. Jordan did too, but I don’t know if any of those companies used model names before the 1920s.

    I wonder if any historian has ever compiled a complete list of automobile manufacturers and their models.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Why can’t a car just have a different name depending on where it’s being sold, anyway? Are badges and trademarks so hideously expensive that everything must have the least flattering, easiest to trademark combination of letters and numbers possible?

    Why don’t we just go straight to pharmaceutical companies’ levels of madness and give cars made up jibberish names like Xarelto and Cialis?

  • avatar
    Fred

    All these posts about what to call a car remind me of what Carrol Shelby said, “Call it the GT 350. If it’s a good car the name won’t matter. If it’s a bad car the name won’t save it.”

  • avatar

    At Cadillac this year it’s Buzz Johan… To Infinity and Beyond!

    In the Automotive News, we read that Caddy dealers should be prepared to sell fewer cars? Well, the hits just keep coming from the new guy. We hear of his horrible names going forward, continuation of disaster pricing strategies, the nonchalant attitude repeatedly offending current buyers… this story couldn’t get much worse. Then again we are talking about the company that ruined Oldsmobile by alienating clients, destroyed Pontiac with G this and G that, and lost Hummer, Saab, and Saturn with failed marketing and terrible product planning.

    I wish I had a nickel for every promising hotshot GM had given the reigns to. So far my impression this time is that we’ll be lucky if there still is a Cadillac in a couple years.

  • avatar

    Mary Barra and Dave Dombrowski are respectively responsible for end results while sharing weak bullpens and a lack of internal prospective performers. To date, both have failed to obtain the stated goals of Increased Market Share and a World Series Crown. Signing new, outside talent that accomplishes and justifies the significant expense has not proven successful for either executive.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Another Cadillac post, another 100+ comments.

    Reminds me of Linus and the Great Pumpkin.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Do most people REALLY not know that the Cadillac Eldorado or Cadillac Deville was a thing that happened? I get that some people might have a negative association with the names, but are they actually ignorant to their existence? I mean there are songs and other pop culture references that use those names so even folks that aren’t into cars probably know them.

    I remember when the LX Charger sedan came out Dodge execs said that a big reason they chose the name is because “Charger” was second in recognition for the brand behind “Ram” even though the name had been out of production since ’87.

    I bet if you polled the general population to name a Cadillac that “Deville” would beat “XTS” and “ATS”.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree, the comments are trying to make a case that because the names were dropped years ago, people don’t know what they were. I know what an Edsel is even though it was before my time

  • avatar
    wmba

    Cadillac renaming its products is putting the cart before the horse in my mind. It’s all horse manure born of the typical modern marketing genius peddling whatever they are given to sell, good or bad.

    It’s quite unclear to me whether de Nysschen is really in charge of product planning, which is to say responsible for the bringing to market of completely new models, including the engineering required for suitable bespoke new engines and chassis, or whether he’s just there to adjust styling and features on the tired old bones of milquetoast GM parts assembled underneath the flashy exterior. Since he’s started out with new names, I suspect it’ll be the old crap underneath.

    De Nysschen is famed for reviving Audi in the US. He wouldn’t have made a yard’s forward progress without the implicit backing of Ferdinand Piech, who started out his career as an engineer at the then new Audi in 1970 or so. Piech’s favorite was always Audi. So de Nysschen was never much more than a marionette, a puppet for the real powerhouse behind him, willing to spend billions of deutschmarks and then euros on his pet. Did an all- aluminum A8 make any market sense in the mid 1990s? Was it a profitable venture? Do ducks roar or rhinos fly? No. It was all investment in the future. It might have not worked at all, but Piech had the gonadal development and executive power to give it a go. De Nysschen was a bit player.

    Of course nowadays de Nysschen thinks the success was all due to him, like any over-egoed twit pretending to be a true executive. His belligerent FB posts show that. If the next new Cadillac has that super-cheap Hi- Feature V6 in it, cheap enough to put in the last full model year’s and current old rental Impala and flog it for $18K, all is lost. In the ATS, it’s priced as if it were a fine gemstone, rather than the cubic zirconium it is. The 2.0t is coarse in the ATS in its longitudinal orientation – I’ve driven one.

    So it’s not a good sign that a new naming scheme comes before really solid product. Good product sells because the word gets around if it retails at a consonant price. Nobody cares about its name, not really. Like many other enthusiasts I went to check out the ATS based on the usual “god bless America” reviews in the provincially-minded inward-looking US press, and found a so-so assembled car with decent chassis, poor engine and outrageous price here in Canada. Not good enough. A new name for it before upgrades is, as I said, putting the cart before the horse, and gives me little hope for Cadillac in the future.

    • 0 avatar

      I have retailed over 25,000 vehicles to individuals across America and am here to respectfully reject your claim. Names do help sell cars and alpha numerics do not.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I agree, names conjure up images, “Roadmaster” “Wildcat” “Firebird” “Mustang” Numbers and letters do not “4xDrive35i” “Z4sDrive35is”

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          If Ford could sell as many Mustangs in a given year as BMW sells 3-series, then the guys and gals in Dearborn would be thrilled. If they could sell Mustangs at those BMW-level prices, then even better.

          As of now, they don’t come anywhere close to matching the BMW on either level.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Perhaps if the Mustang came in 13 configurations like the 3 series they’d sell a lot more. I’m all for a 4WD Mustang Sport Wagon

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Suffice it to say that BMW doesn’t need to change the name of the 3-series in order to sell it or command decent prices for it.

            I have serious doubts that Cadillac will make any headway in the global market, but it won’t be because of the alphanumerics. The reality is that American cars don’t get much respect overseas, and they would have been better off using the badge to sell SUVs, since everyone knows that is one thing that the Yanks know how to do.

  • avatar
    skor

    I was in New York City yesterday. I saw a drop dead gorgeous Russian chick walking down the street….legs like god in his heaven. When was the last time anyone saw a drop dead gorgeous chick anywhere near Detroit? I’m with de Nysschen.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I agree, names conjure up images,…Numbers and letters do not …”

    How about: GTO, 300C, 442, Z-28, SJ, GS, SS396, SS454, GT40, SVT, SVO, SHO, or plain old GT?

    Paying new car buyers should decide what sells. Not a hobbyist buying a 55 year old project car. Where does GM get profit? New cars. They hardly get any cut from B-J auctions of collector cars.

    And one more thing, the car fans complaining loud about new cars will most likely say “I never buy a new car, too much depreciation…”, on and on, since you know, they are “experts”. So, if not buying new, then you really have no ‘skin in the game’.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      A lot of those are packages, not car names. If I walked into a Ford dealer and wanted a SHO what would I get a Taurus or a Mustang?

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Exactly. All of those are additions to a name except for the 300 and GT40.

        Mustang GT, Chevelle SS396, Camaro Z28, Cutlass 442. Those alphanumeric combinations are basically meaningless without the car names attached to them (hence why the Chevrolet SS…just…SS is completely silly). Even the GTO started as a LeMans option package, not its own model.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Paying new car buyers should decide what sells. Not a hobbyist buying a 55 year old project car. Where does GM get profit? New cars.”

      I think we all know that. GM can do whatever it thinks will make them money and definitely gives no sh!ts about what I want. If anything my choice to drive stuff they built in the 80s and 90s probably actively upsets them.

      I don’t lose any sleep thinking about the future of Cadillac. Still, if TTAC is going to serve it up for us then I might as well take a bite.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      356
      911
      320i
      2002
      Model T
      328
      944
      S-class
      A4
      205GTI
      GTI
      300
      500
      RX7

      Yep, some of those do seem to work.

      The “real names” shtick is a bit tiresome. Some “real names” work, while others are forgettable and a few should be deliberately forgotten.

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    From the article: “de Nysschen says … ‘those names resonate more with baby boomers and are U.S.-centric’.”

    Uh, so any remaining cachet that the Cadillac name has in the rest of the world… Where did that come from, then? Didn’t they used to be called Eldorados and Broughams and stuff in the rest of the world, too?

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