By on April 2, 2015

On the floor of the 2015 New York International Auto Show, TTAC asked Cadillac head honcho, Johan De Nysschen if he had anything to say to our resident gadfly of all things Cadillac, Mr. Deadweight.

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137 Comments on “New York 2015: A Personal Invitation From Cadillac Head Johan De Nysschen...”


  • avatar

    I’m not a Cadillac buyer, but I don’t hold anywhere near the animosity towards Cadillac Deadweight maintains.

    That said, the Lincoln Continental Concept looks like a more substantial car with a far more ambitious interior. I’m worried that the production version won’t be as nice as the concept.

    The CT6 is a joke to me. Looks like nothing more than a bigger version of the XTS-V sport. 34 Speakers doth not a luxury car make.

    I bought my mother a loaded Crystal Red 2009 STS with V6 and AWD a few years back.

    The exterior looks great – now that no one else has them on the roads. Many people complement her on it.

    I personally liked the XTS interior and the CTS interior, and think their exteriors are sharp, but beyond that there’s nothing to be excited about and the C.U.E. system ruins the experience.

    • 0 avatar

      A friend of ours has a silver 2006 STS-V (which features the supercharged Northstar 4.4-liter), and it gets quite a bit of attention despite its subtlety.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The 2006 STS also has a horrendous interior. However, I like the performance, and I like the exterior MUCH better than that era CTS.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The ONLY REASON I don’t own an STS4 is the interior.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            .

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’m looking forward to when 2016/17 Continentals and CT6s come off lease. So nice, yet so much depreciation!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Corey I call BS on that, you’d have gone from a GS430 to a Sigma Seville in place of the M35x? Does not compute.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            One of the later ones, when they fiddled with the front end. Like MY2010+, sure. I really like the exterior, and the big-carness of it, just the interior falls down so hard.

            I did shop them!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t even know who you are :)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The only reason I have Japanese luxury is because the American options are not good enough at present time.

            If a Cadillac were as good as a Lexus or Infiniti, I’d have one. I fundamentally like the idea of a large, quality built American car.

            I’m an Oldsmobile guy, just born about 40 years too late.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Son, then we need to put you into a Ninety Eight.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            -Artfully lights a Lucky Strike with the quick flip of a Dunhill lighter.-

            “Make it an LS, why don’t ya.”

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Sorry, Corey, but I am an Oldsmobile (now Buick, the closest thing remaining) guy. I’ve passed up countless superior vehicles to drive an Alero and a Verano, you wussed out and bought a competent luxury car.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL

            Woe is me! I guess I’m a pragmatist Oldsmobile guy.

            So really then I should have an LS430.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “you wussed out and bought a competent luxury car.”

            Apox on the traitor!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Okay, new interior pic of CT6 interior in brighter, direct lighting.

            Look at the textures on the dash, doors, and the faux carbon fiber surrounding the center stack:

            http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015-03-31-20.37.40.jpg

            The dash already looks dated, and this car won’t be in production until late 2015/early 2016.

            Imagine how even much more refined Audi, Mercedes, Lexus will be by then.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            What does PANARAY mean, exactly? Previously when I saw that photo, I thought the material around the center screen was all supposed to be speaker.

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          @ bballl

          I would argue that most vehicles from 2006 have an awful interior.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I would agree, especially compared to now. I still think that luxury sedans from the Germans and Japanese had much better interiors at that time. Even the Lincoln LS was nicer on the inside (but it would spontaneously disinigrate).

            I do like the current Cadillac interiors, besides CUE. I find the bug riddled MFT found on the 2011 Edge and Explorer to be better than the current version of CUE. That says a lot, because there were times that I wanted to drive my MFT equipped Focus into a ditch and set it on fire. At least Ford fixed it.

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            LS430 disagrees

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            @bball: The onlyl thing I reminisce about one of my ex’s is her parents T bird which I searched high and low for its battery drain. I can only imagine LS’s were in the same quality hell hole.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        A friend of mine has a black STS-V, it’s a really nice car. I almost made an offer when he was thinking about selling it but the Nortstar’s rep for blowing head gaskets kept me from doing so. He hasn’t had a problem but the car has an OD pulley and tune so it’s always on my mind.

        One good thing about Ford’s older mod motors, they might be yesteryear but they are tough as nails when it comes to keeping the gaskets I’m place and pretty tough overall on the later engines that received more substantial spark plug engagement.

    • 0 avatar
      A strolling player

      Have we truly failed to mention that the CT6 is quite clearly production-ready while the Continental is quite clearly a concept that won’t see production in anything near its current form? Of course the Conti has a more interesting interior, that’s the point of a concept: to be interesting. A production car also, and foremost, has to be usable.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The market is the only importsnt judge & jury, long term.

      To date, only the Escalade wouldn’t have been hung at high noon if sales volume & profits (aka not having to offer heavy incentives while getting remotely close to MSRP) if the market, and not intra-company subsidization on a massive financial scale, were the arbiter.

      Johan got his 12 billion in commitment from GM and autonomy (and physical distance), so let’s see how that 5% of all GM volume that currently belongs to Cadillac, and Cadillac’s revenues & profits grow (or not) over the next 5 years (Johan’s own self-assessment deadline; the 2020 “thing”).

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        They aren’t looking for volume with Cadillac. The ATP for Cadillac so far in 2015 is around 54k, the ATP for 2010 was around 48K, people with more experience than I can comment on that, but increasing ATP over 5 years while introducing a bargain entry seems good to me.

        The General needed to send someone after the Gemans, it’s what the coasts want and the coasts are where are those great off-lease deals are born. They could have used Buick as the Sport Lux brand, but the Chinese like those big floaty Buicks and China is a market far too large to ignore. So Buick got the comfort cruiser job.

        That leaves GM with Cadillac as the only brand they have with enough lingering cache on the coasts to enable GM to move it up market. So yeah, volume goes down as ATP goes up and that is how you increase the value of your brand. That is countered by positive press attention for the new sporty Cadillacs.

        GM wants Cadillac to be on the short list of young professionals shopping Audis and BMW’s, they don’t get there by building highway cruisers. They get there by building sports sedans that can stand up to the Germans. Seems to me they are doing an OK job of that (gauges), but that is where the focus needs to be, on the details of building the best sports sedans in the world, not on rebadging a Trax to pick up cheap volume.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Escalade not only is likely responsible for most of higher ATP YoY, but probably was so while subsidizing lower ATP (real world) on vehicles such as ATS & CTS (both having markedly lower sales volume for the last 8 to 12 quarters – the ATS has been in terminal sales freefall).

      • 0 avatar
        LeeK

        Beneath that gruff DW exterior I believe there is an intelligent thinking man in there. Johan inherited a mess with Cadillac. It’s going to take almost a decade to turn it around and whether one thinks he is doing it correctly or not DW is exactly right: the market is the only measure of success in this business.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Didn’t people say that in 2004ish too? How many decades will it take?

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            Yes, and Cadillac’s answer at the time was to change to alphanumeric designations and put out vehicles that were benchmarked against BMW and Mercedes with an emphasis on driving dynamics. The market is ignoring those results. So now there is a new administration and we will have to see what Johan is planning on rolling out to change the perception.

            We have tons of amateur armchair opinions here from people who have never been in the industry. As Tresmonos will tell you, the
            product development cycles take years to come to fruition and only time will tell if one was successful or not through market share and sales improvements. The CT6 was in the works before Johan was even interviewed for the job. Turning this stuff around is very, very hard and tedious work. It took Lee Iaccoca about five years to rescue Chrysler in the 80s, and ten years to get the momentum going.

            I have never owned a Cadillac and probably never will, so my comments come without having any dog in this fight. What I do have is decades of experience in Fortune 500 supply chain operations and a pretty detailed understanding of what it takes to turn an ocean liner (GM) around. I say, give the man some time to see how his policies work.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nice post and I agree with you. We won’t see the results of JdN’s policies or ideas for some time. I think most of us would feel better about it if it was hinted, what we planned didn’t work well and we’ve got new stuff in store for the future.

      • 0 avatar

        Compare that with 1 billion or so for Lincoln. Who wins?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Pistols at dawn!

    Scoop of the year, Ronnie!

  • avatar
    319583076

    Kudos, Ronnie!

    TTAC is the best because it’s a community!

  • avatar

    Ronnie this is brilliant!

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I just picture him watching that in his office chair, turning beet red, cracking his dental work, and oscillating his clenched fist in a frequency best described as a vibration.

    “What about the instrument cluster…MY NEMESIS!?”

  • avatar
    LeeK

    You have to give the man some respect for willing to play along. Not too many auto executives have that kind of a sense of humor.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    KHAAAAN!

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    That is hilarious

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Unbelievable! DW is now on Cadillac’s radar

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I can’t listen to this until after work! :(

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “This goes out to our biggest Cadillac fan, Mr. Deadweight. We would like you to come down and see the new Cadillacs”…

        … and then we’ll take you out back for a little chat

      • 0 avatar

        Likewise, sadly.

        It is hard, though to deal with this problem if you are in the public eye, be it for politics or business. You are damned if you answer Trolls and damned if you don’t.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          What is “trollish,” and NOT completely substantive & extremely detailed, regarding ALL of my particular current & past criticisms of any Cadillac model?

          Be precise, please.

          Thanks.

          • 0 avatar

            This one’s for you, DW.

            http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/photoshop/future-classic-gm-to-revive-aztek-as-a-cadillac-2/

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It’s not your criticisms that have been trollish. It’s the repetition, and more specifically the very large number of occasions on which you’ve brought them into threads completely unrelated to Cadillac or even to Cadillac competitors.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            He’s not a troll. But he does have OCD.

            He’s your typical Zero Hedge reader — a guy who isn’t happy unless there is something to panic about. I’m no Cadillac fan, but his comments tell you more about him than they do about a particular brand of car.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Pch, I always imagined you as a zerohedge reader. Then again, the only articles I read are posts by Tyler Durden sent to me via a college friend – so I’m not exactly a good judge of ‘zerohedge’ behavior.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Pch, I read a lot of things, including Greg Mankiw’s Blog, Krugman’s “Conscience of a Liberal,” Econmatters, The Economist, NoahOpinion, etc.

            You assume way too much, and claim way too much, about what you believe about me.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I don’t have to assume anything. Your hyperbole precedes you.

          • 0 avatar

            Sorry, didn’t call you specifically out on this. Your opinion is clear and not “trolling” to mess with folks, and I respect it, whether I agree or not.

            I’ve gotten called out for pointing out Caddy’s total lack of penetration in the gilded NYC suburbs. I’d buy one, actually. Look at Cars.com for prices of used ATS. For the hardcore on a budget, this is the killer buy. $20k gets you an ATS.

            This sux for Caddy…though….

            No, I ran for office once. You want to see how nuts your fellow man is ?

            An anonymous board brings out the nut in all of us, and this is one of the few remaining civil boards.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            Oh, please. You have a very short memory. Just two days ago you made the hyperbolic claim that all Cadillacs spend a lot of time on trailers, a point I challenged with my own ownership experience with my last three cars, all Cadillacs. You then switched gears with a lame count-argument essentially saying that my actual experience didn’t count.

            You are capable of reasoned arguments and, at times, have made some very good points. But you are also, at times, a troll. Denying it just reinforces that latter point.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Archie, calling me a “sometimes troll,” wrote the following about driving an ATS loamer yesterday because his CTS had to have its blown rear shocks replaced (thankfully under warranty):

            After calling me semi-trollish above, there’s this from Archie:

            “I missed this entire discussion because, ironically, I was out driving a new ATS loaner from my dealer while my CTS was getting new rear shocks.”

            How’s that Cadillac/GM reliability “thing” working out? Blown rear shocks on a still warrantied Caddy, you say?

            “There are a few things that are really right with this car…Potholes that are painful in the CTS are much less so in the ATS.”

            1st, wow, so how’s that Cadillac luxury working out in the CTS is it can’t handle potholes as well as a $20,000 less expensive Chrysler 300 or $30,000 less expensive Camry?

            2nd, I’ve driven every iteration of the ATS, and the ride is harsh & unrefined (Motortrend put it best when they stated “it’d have been more appropriate as a Pontiac G6,”), so thanks for clarifying what your incredibly low standards of a luxury/premium car are.

            Onto your admission that the ATS is not an appropriate vehicle warranting any premium /luxury designation – in full agreement with my prior opinions of it (though you failed to mention the gauges, the odd noises and startup vibrations, and your ATS apparently, fortunately had a CUE system and cruise control that actually worked):

            “Unfortunately, there are a number of things wrong with it as well: it’s cramped (there’s very little footwell room and with the sunroof, my head was brushing the headliner), the seats can’t be adjusted properly and the trunk is ridiculously small.

            In short, it’s a lot of fun to drive but I’m not sure I could live with it on a daily basis. I tend to like Cadillacs. But this is the first time that I found myself agreeing with the crowd who questions the idea of this car as a Cadillac.”

            So you agree with me, then.

            Thanks for clarifying that, Troll.

            You’re the irrational person, making trollish comments, in love with a fatally flawed, schizophrenic badge.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Deadweight, deadweight?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    This is fantastic. Get down there DW, you’re e-famous.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    The truth is, I don’t entirely disagree with deadweight. His message that is….not always the delivery. When I grew up, Cadillacs had lost their energy and seemed to be the mainstay of the geriatric crowd. Anyone remember Seinfeld and his retired father’s dream of owning a Cadillac down in the old folks community? To this day, I have never felt like I was the Cadillac demographic as I’m 30 years from retirement. I know that’s not entirely fair to some current owners, but it is a perspective (bias) I have carried since I started driving.

    And I have driven Cadillac. The CUE system was beyond frustrating and even my wife wanted to punch the thing. The interior space and controls just aren’t there yet. To me there has always been something about Cadillac (really GM) handling that has always felt rather numb to me. The last ATS I drove had far too many negatives and did not drive as magical as some car magazines had touted. Even the V models don’t really excite me.

    Cadillac has room to grow. Maybe some new energy will help. Sooner or later (my opinion) they have to move on from those hard creases and heavy lines. The styling concept needs a new direction. The interior needs to step it up and that CUE system needs major overhaul. Most importantly, they need to continue to seek a younger demographic.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Fair points and I would expect the reasoning behind the design language and emphasis on performance is to try and get that younger demographic (even Lexus is doing it with the F range).

      Cue will improve (I hope), just like iDrive was lambasted for 10 years before it was regarded as acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        I haven’t ever used CUE, but the wife has an 08 335 with iDrive and I couldn’t possibly imagine a worse interface for doing anything while driving than iDrive.

        • 0 avatar
          Marone

          iDrive became substantially better in 2009. That’s why the reviews now are generally very positive.

          I’ve used both. Trust me, the BMW iDrive system is far and above a better system.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, the CIC iDrive was released in 2009 for some vehicles (3-Series, 7-Series, Z4), in 2010 for others (5-Series, X5, Ghost, etc…) and much later for vehicles that were awaiting redesigns (Phantom, X3). It was an impressive update. And for 2013-2014, iDrive was updated again to the NBT version. As iDrive was the first full-fledged infotainment system, it’s pretty much *the* pinnacle of how to do it correctly at this point, with everyone else playing catch-up on some level.

  • avatar
    NN

    Kudos on Johan for standing up to an internet critic. A passionate leader does such things–stands up even to the smallest least credible internet critic to defend their products and work. I don’t mean that as an insult to DW–his observations can be correct–however, Johan could easily not care the least bit about what he says and ignore him. Leaders such as Jobs, Musk, etc. don’t ever take criticism from anyone lightly, and that passion helps to develop excellent products. It will take time with Johan, but if he is given due time and control, he could be the right person to right the Cadillac ship.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    deNysschen is a BOSS

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Will the real Cadillac please stand up, Johan.

    What IS a Cadillac?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      That’s all you’ve got?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Johan appears to be human and was humble enough to respond to Ronnie’s request for a comment, but he merely regurgitated the “we vill chase & catch zeee Germans” mantra, in so many words.

        How’s that working out?

        Is that he’s got?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      this is an excellent opportunity for you to give to Johan your criticisms, several of which are well warranted. Instead of just complaining on here where it does no good this is an opportunity to actually try and improve things.

      Well done to Ronnie and TTAC – unfiltered interaction between car buyers and executives would be beneficial to all.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ll quote myself from January.

        “The Zohan has spoken!

        So you want to add on a boutique like some Lexus dealer have had for years?

        “The waiting areas in service departments are replete with amenities, ranging from refreshment bars to indoor putting greens.[209][210] Dealerships typically offer complimentary loaner cars or “courtesy cars” and free car washes,[210] and some have added on-site cafes and designer boutiques.[211][212]”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus

        Already done years ago but ok sure whatever but JdZ, riddle me this: why do still you have over 900 dealers?

        According to NADA, Honda has 1,042 dealers (presumably in the US) against 1,359,876 unit sales in 2013. Lexus, a Cadillac competitor, has 233 against 273,847 unit in sales in 2013. Cadillac has *933* dealers against 182,659 unit sales in 2013.

        Honda | 1,359,876/1042 = 1305 per dealer
        Lexus | 273,847/233 = 1175 per dealer
        Cadillac | 182,659/933 = 196 per dealer

        Why do you still have 933 dealers Zohan, and why do boutiques matter?

        Oh right, deck chairs on the Titanic.

        http://www.nada.org/Advocacy+Outreach/IndustryRelations/Yearbooks/NADA+Yearbook/honda.htm

        http://www.nada.org/Advocacy+Outreach/IndustryRelations/Yearbooks/NADA+Yearbook/gm.htm

        http://www.nada.org/Advocacy+Outreach/IndustryRelations/Yearbooks/NADA+Yearbook/lexus.htm”

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/cadillac-gaining-700-boutiques-augment-flagship-stores/#comment-4949362

        “Here’s their approach, our dealer network is nearly the size of Honda’s so we need volume models. So they spin up some volume models, some Xeroxed some not, but then they go and put Mercedes/Jaguar/BMW pricing on them. If somehow the models were very well made or Cadillac were in any way prestigious, this might work; but neither is true. Mercedes/BMW etc despite prestige do not sell in great volumes in the US, not the sort which require nearly 1,000 dealers. Sales figures of both Mercedes and BMW are roughly 1/3rd of Honda’s and nearly 1/6 of Chevrolet’s. So how can a true “luxury” brand be sold in a volume sales channel more akin to Honda? It can’t, and it doesn’t. This is a legacy problem due to GM’s lost footprint I agree, so why doesn’t the Cadillac president do anything about it? He chooses inaction, we’ll open boutiques.

        Brand/Dealers/Sales

        Mercedes: 361/343,614
        BMW: 338/309,280
        Jaguar: 166/16,952

        Chevrolet: 3,035/1,955,131

        “Given that your advice to Cadillac in the past has been to go back to building large oversized sedans as their ‘comeback approach’”

        You oversimplify. Gut 1/3 to 2/3rd of dealers. Gut Cadillac management. Merge disto/sales channel with Buick. Abandon Audi naming approach. Scrap ELR and ATS as the failures they are, spin up ATS sized CUV and only sell this as your entry level. Offer what is now CTS in a SWB and LWB variant and spin up a station wagon, err “CUV”, version of it. Introduce real Cadillac model on top in both sedan and coupe/conv options. Offer a standard V6 with V8 options on most models where possible, not turbocharged failure. Abandon the idea of volume, seek exclusivity in low volume/high price/high content and materials approach – so in other words no lease only junk.”

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/cadillac-gaining-700-boutiques-augment-flagship-stores/#comment-4950938

        April Additional: The smashed crest looks incredibly stupid, either go back to a 1950’s or earlier Cadillac insignia (which would look new to everyone outside of Cadillac aficionados) or return to the 1962-1999 one.

        • 0 avatar
          James2

          I don’t think JdN can do much about the number of dealers, unless he wants to spend some of that $12B buying them off.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            This is the problem.

            The state level dealer franchise laws/statutes make it incredibly expensive & burdensome to cull even laggard dealerships.

            GM’s shot at dramatically paring down the number of franchised Cadillac dealers, especially of the laggard kind (typically selling multiple badges under the same roof) came and sortmofmwent curbing
            the 2009 bankruptcy.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’m not going to distill everything I’ve written about what’s flawed with Cadillac’s rebranding & current product over the last year, and post an itemized list of those specific criticisms, when this wasn’t meant to be a substative interview nor tell.

        If Johan is game, I will do so, though, as long as he gives specific replies – but I’m betting he’s not.

        And that’s okay.

        Let us survey the landscape again in the years that follow.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I hope you do meet with him as it could be very informative to hear his answers and if he is receptive. 28 cars Later makes a great point about the number of dealers. The number should be cut, but some people were very loud in condemning the cuts that came in 2009.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            A missed opportunity during the bailout.

            The only other thing I can think of that’s feasible is to give both other sales channels (Chevrolet and Buick-GMC) an opportunity to sell Cadillac but slim down the model offerings and warn them Cadillac will no longer be a “full line” brand. This involves cutting any standalone Cadillac dealers which are left (I can’t imagine much more than 10%) and the probable layoffs of some Cadillac centric employees due to an anticipated sales volume dropoff.

            FCA seems to have been very successful consolidating all of their brands under one roof. GM is probably too big to consolidate them all, so give Chevrolet and BPG a chance to move Cadillacs (I recommend Ford do the same with the 200 or so Lincoln dealers. Consolidate them so Ford dealers can sell Lincoln and Lincoln dealers either get a Ford franchise or go away).

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Evidently someone is at least now listening over at RenCen… or Soho NYC… or [the planet] Saturn…

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I really don’t believe there’s hope unless they acknowledge that the ATS & CTS, which were part & parcel of the “chasing BMW” schtick, are product failures, and more importantly, incompatible with what should be Cadillac’s mission statement.

            Johan made a joke about “boat anchors.”

            That type of comment tells me that chasing the BMW’s of the world is still front & center in his consciousness.

            It doesn’t have to be black & white, Johan.

            Comfortable, roomy, plush riding, powerful, bold Cadillacs do not need to have “boat anchors” (just the opposite).

            Look at Mercedes S Class or the Audi A8.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Wait… so you say he’s making a mistake by chasing the Germans… and then as an example of what he should be doing you cite two (bigger, more expensive) Germans?

            Sort of sounds like you might like the CT6 more than you think.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            DW likes CT6, pass it on…

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I should have written that models like the ATS & CTS are too small inside, not plush riding enough, focus on the wrong driving dynamics, and do not have detail & material quality (gauges, interior materials, etc.) that are either of the correct nature, or of the quality, to establish Cadillac as Tier 1 Premium player that’s also consistent with what should be Cadillac’s je ne sais quoi.

            Take out the harsh, ugly & gritty, and replace with plush, aesthetically pleasing & refined.

            By these metrics, a Mercedes C (the new one), E AND S Class all work.

            Painfully, by these metrics, so does a Hyundai Genesis (new one) at $38,000 MSRP work more so than either the ATS or CTS.

            Oh, and the 800 pound gorilla, which caused so many former GM owners to defect elsewhere (especially Lexus), being quality & RELIABILITY, has to be a given, and is a constant GM/Cadillac albatross (cage that demon, GM).

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            28, will anyone stand up and dare defend the use of the ubiquitous 2.0T as the base motor in the CT6, which is Cadillac’s most high end (and presumably expensive) sedan of the current generation Cadillac portfolio (until the CT8 is revealed at some unknown future date)?

            Some have already defended its use as such on the basis that the CT6 is allegedly lighter than the CTS, but this ignores the fact that it’s not nearly refined enough to use in even the CTS or any Cadillac, IMO, and that the CT6 is likely to be priced along Audi A6/Mercedes E Class terms (big mistake, too, not learning lessons from Lexus’s proper birth, which offered more for less in every way).

            This reminds me of the clear faux pas of using the GM 2.5 liter (same one used in the Malibu, Equinox, etc.) in the base ATS.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh offering an I4 of any stripe in a car of that class and supposed prestige is a complete fail, hell its a fail in CTS as well. I don’t care if Rolls fracking Royce starts doing it, its a fail yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

            I suspect in addition to not having a clue it happened as: 1. a cost cutting measure by GM to simply use existing drivetrains to launch the model because the intended one(s) were not available and they’ll “fix it later”, 2. emissions worship and/or CAFE nonsense, or some combination of one and two (but personally I believe one more than two). GM did this with Northstar, the 368 “V8-6-4” (which was supposed to launch for MY79, not 80), and the Olds Shortstar 3.5 (Intrigue launched with 3800 for MY98 only getting Shortstar in MY99) just off the top of my head.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            In my opinion, were it not for emissions mandates and onerous displacement taxes, there wouldn’t be a single car above Corolla size with an inline four, and American full-sizers would all still have V8s.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The OPEC crisis changed everything — expensive and scarce oil encouraged downsizing. And even before that, large high output engines were options that sold in low numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I concur with Pch101, however in the age of a 707bhp Hellcat which can achieve a 16mpg combined mileage on watered down gas there is no excuse for anyone to put a penalty box motor in an $80,000 automotive product.

            The Northstar Cadillacs I used to run around twelve years ago would avg 16.x mpg on the trip computers, the 4.9s typically between 14 and 15 unless you consistently stomped on them (at which point it was about 12 avg). Now you can achieve literally over double the Northstar Deville’s 275bhp and achieve the *same* mileage? THAT is progress, but its progress which is only being made available to the monied few. Which makes more sense, I4 turbo fail getting 17mpg city or V8 N/A achieving the same (and *better* highway mileage) while also giving the end user much more power and options (towing etc)?

            “It’s fast, it’s powerful and it’s actually more fuel efficient than you’d expect. Chrysler announced today that the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is EPA rated at 13/22/16 mpg city/highway/combined.”

            https://www.cars.com/articles/2014/12/2015-dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-epa-rated-at-22-mpg-highway/

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            But what is a Cadillac?

            Ask the average “non-car” person?consumer this of Mercedes, Lexus, Volkswagen, Toyota, BMW, etc., and they’ll have some notion and be able to articulate it in even some rough, approximate manner.

            Go ahead and ask the same question of them regarding Cadillac.

            Cadillac has a deep bipolar, schizoid-affective disorder in reality and in perception as a brand and as a manufacturer of automobiles.

            What’s a Cadillac?

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            DW says Cadillac is bipolar trying to be performance and “luxury”. I agree, but other luxury makers, such as Lexus are also going that way – the whole F series, even on an RX?

            As to the use of a 2.0 turbo engine. I personally would like to see the V6 as the base model. But the BMW 5 series also has a 2 litre turbo engine as its base engine. The CT6 is competing against that model.

            I personally would like to see the CTS dropped and have the CT6 cover that segment – it is presumably of higher quality than the CTS and is larger inside so it addresses several of DW’s points.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “I agree, but other luxury makers, such as Lexus are also going that way – the whole F series, even on an RX?”

            I’m honestly not 100% on all the developments at Lexus, but it seems to me they want to offer a performance line of their existing models which may or may not have been designed for performance. Cadillac wants their whole brand to echo a performance idea, Lexus does not AFAICT.

            “But the BMW 5 series also has a 2 litre turbo engine as its base engine. The CT6 is competing against that model.”

            CT6 should be clearly better than its competition, not a flavor of the same thing. From a mfg costs standpoint I see little difference in GM’s mfg cost per unit for using the N/A 3.6 (shared with many models inc Lacrosse and Camaro) vs 2.0T (shared with ATS and Malibu) and if there is one we’re talking maybe a few thousand dollars. But on an 80K car, this does not matter, you should not half ass it at that price point. If it was between this new twin turbo 3.0 and a 3.6, then costs would come into play more in my mind, but the same argument to be better than the competition and do it right remains.

            “I personally would like to see the CTS dropped and have the CT6 cover that segment”

            I would too but we have to remember this is a new platform altogether and Alpha costs are being amortized with ATS, CTS and the new Camaro (heck I could see a forth model coming just because two of those are such low volume as it is and Camaro may or may not be a big seller with Alpha). If RenCen could work out the platform costs of Omega, CTS on Alpha could be dropped in favor of an Omega variant but I doubt this will come to pass. Cadillac just doesn’t move enough volume to qualify for the costs to start making sense.

            Now if they want to follow my suggestion and target a low volume high value/content/price approach then drop ATS/CTS altogether (and the plebs that go with those) maybe it would work but I suspect: notgonnahappen.com

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I would ask JdN: does he think the new product nomenclature has been successful for Infiniti? If yes, explain how when even car enthusiasts have no idea what QX60/70/80 means, when everybody knew what the FX, JX, and QX56 were.

    I would then ask, if he still thinks his Audi aping plan was a good idea at Infiniti, if he thinks Lexus should move from ES, IS, GS, RC, and LS to something like IS2, IS3, IS4, IS5 etc. If not, why not?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m stunned that it will cost $12 billion over 5 years to fix Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      You’re assuming that the “let’s throw enough money at a problem” strategy works.

      It is the default strategy of many troubled companies/brands desperate to turn things around, however (sadly).

      Cadillac, which garners 5% of total GM sales, and has done so for the last approximate decade, has been given an estimated 33% of total new model development $$$ that GM will allocate, over the foreseeable future.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        GM did something similar with the Volt. During that time frame, I feel that the Silverado and Malibu were neglected IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          And this is a BIG problem that doesn’t get nearly enough analysis.

          Only 1 of every 20 GM brand vehicles sold is a Cadillac.

          In order to justify giving Cadillac a third of all new model development funding, there has to be a solid thesis that such models will be far more profitable on a unit basis than models from other GM brands, even assuming something like a shared platform/component use across the entire GM brand portfolio (similar to VW’s MQB program – even though JdN is apparently trying to reserve many of these things as Cadillac specific, in order to not dilute the perceived “exclusivity” of Cadillac going forward).

          At this point, the most profitable (by far, as many Cadillac models likely lose money on a net basis) Cadillac model is the Escalade, itself essentially a more nicely equipped/trimmed version of the Yukon.

          This is tricky business, this.

          Is GM going to be in a cash flow position because of the 12 bln allocated to Cadillac whereby they need to neglect other important models from other brands (volume sales generate cash flow which can be a lifeline during deep cyclical downturns)?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “You’re assuming that the “let’s throw enough money at a problem” strategy works.”

        Hey it worked for public education… wait…

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    There is an awful lot of over-simplifying going on here regarding the problems facing Cadillac and GM as well as the supposed ‘solutions’ to these problems. Since GM has multiple brands, with Cadillac sitting at the top, they must have an entirely different strategy for their internal workings than a single-brand company like Mercedes-Benz or BMW. (And history shows that these two companies haven’t exactly done well when they picked up another lower end brands, e.g., Smart and Rover, respectively. Even Mini might prove to be BMW’s Scion.)

    But, back to GM. With multiple brands, high-volume manufacturing and world-wide resources, GM’s life is both more difficult and easier than the high-end Germans. In that sense, Cadillac’s best comparative brand might be – surprise – Audi, which sits at the top of Volkswagen’s multi-brand global empire. So, here is Johan working on a bigger challenge than he’s had in his career: Taking a brand that has suffered mismanagement for forty years as opposed to a brand with no real legacy (Infiniti) or one that had about ten years of bad image (Audi).

    Since it will take Cadillac ten to fifteen years to re-order its product line, dealer network, and brand, all the suggestions from the B & B sound so much like, “What do we want? Perfection! When do we want it? Now!” Good for Johan for facing DW – one of the worst of the instant gratification cry-babies on this site. But Mr. de Nysschen has a job to do, and I’m guessing that he won’t add another moment’s thought to the 30 seconds he spent on this video. And good for him.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      He told GM that he’d turn Cadillac into a successful, profitable, world competitive luxury division by 2020 if they just agreed to grant him autonomy and a huge share (in nominal & % terms) of GM’s future allocated development funds, and he got that which he asked for.

      Run, Johan, run!

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        It is unlikely that I will ever have that much money to be in that league, but were it to happen, why would I want to buy a Cadillac? Any Cadillac?

        There’s better out there. From Germany, Mercedes, BMW and Audi have better products than anything Cadillac offers in the same class. And from Japan, Lexus and Infiniti would be my favorites instead of a similar Cadillac product.

        Maybe DW is just more candid and outspoken than the rest of us, because he cares. Maybe the rest of us just don’t care what happens to Cadillac. I certainly don’t. Not even on my radar. Completely off the scope.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “From Germany, Mercedes, BMW and Audi have better products than anything Cadillac offers in the same class. And from Japan, Lexus and Infiniti would be my favorites instead of a similar Cadillac product.”

          You’d really rather have the “German Camry” 3-series, which doesn’t have the driving involvement of older BMWs or the luxury of Mercedes, than a similarly priced (after rebates) CTS? Or the ancient LS 460 rather than a turbo CT6?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            dal20402, I have to say that my comment was more in support of DW’s observations and commentary, than it was for a choice of one of these vehicles, for my use.

            Like I opened my comment with, “It is unlikely that I will ever have that much money to be in that league”, to ever have to worry about it. Plus, I’m really a pickup truck and Large SUV type of guy.

            After reconsideration and re-reading your question, I am still not a GM/Cadillac guy anymore either. Quit GM altogether in 2008.

            So, were I to want a large sedan, my #1 choice would be the Lexus LS460, ancient as it might be. I gotta have that 4.6L V8!

            Sporty sedan? Most likely something akin to a BMW 540 or 545 V8.

            And if I was really made of money, something along the likes of the BMW 650 Coupe with the V12. I know only one guy in Grand Junction. CO, who owns one and he is as happy as a pig rolling in a dung heap with it.

            Large SUV? No Escalade for me, but will settle for a 2015 Sequoia 5.7L 4X4. I already got that one.

            Like DW, I’m just not that into Cadillac. So many people get on DW’s case about his outspokenness when it comes to Cadillac.

            And for Ronnie to specifically single out DW, surprises me because GM/Cadillac has people reading ttac all the time. My brothers read ttac when they were Buick/GMC dealers.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Ronnie is having benign fun, and I don’t perceive it as malicious in any way. Ronnie actually, in gentle fashion, casted his own doubts on Cadillac’s new marketing strategy & HQ move to SoHo in one of his op/ed pieces some months ago.

        I am as passionate about what I believe to be Cadillac’s failings because I would love to see them ascend to a real & perceived position as a global manufacturer of luxury vehicles that are, to steal a line from Mercedes Benz marketing, “the very best,” in all ways that a luxury vehicle should be, but with a distinct American flavor (bold, powerful, plush).

        Someone earlier lodged what is a fair complaint against what have been some of my criticisms of JdN, to wit, that he only landed his position atop Cadillac’s chain of command as of summer, 2014. Therefore, some of Cadillac’s vehicles that I criticize most harshly (the ATS & CTS) weren’t even probably developed or influenced in large part by him (although it’s fair to claim he has to have some influence over the pricing of the ATS and 3rd gen CTS – which I believe to be too high given Cadillac’s current market and product position, and its quality control and reliability issues).

        • 0 avatar
          sunridge place

          DW,

          Johan priced the 2014 CTS when it started arriving at dealerships in late 2013 when he started working for GM In August 2014?

          He priced the ATS too? He had influence on those prices??

          Really???

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Okay, regardless as to his start date and the unveil & original pricing of either the ATS or CTS, once he became Presisent of Cadillac Division, he had the discretion, or at least heavy influence, to adjust the pricing of those two models, no?

            Also, the 3rd Gen CTS came out in MY 2014, and there was heavy criticism (that was warranted, as things and sales turned out, IMO) that it was priced to high.

            Fair?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Mini has been much more successful than Scion and is a global brand that sells in good numbers. They are, as BMW is want to do, over expanding with all the different models.

  • avatar
    darkwing

    Somewhere, BTSR weeps softly, cancels his order for a smartphone steadicam mount, and creates a new account…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @DeadWeight,
    I would take him up on his offer.

    For your meeting dressed in retro 60s.

    When you enter Johan’s office don’t be surprised by the Andy Warhol pictures and the Kinks for background “mood” music.

    I do know you like the Silverado Escalades, but ask Johan if Cadillac will offer a SUV that is at least on par with Kia Sorento (Korean made) in build quality.

    Also, feel him out and find out if Cadillac is serious about taking on the German prestige marques. Base on frame pickup station wagons really don’t cut the mustard.

    My nephew has an Escalade and the quality of the materials, fit and finish is quite disturbing. I would assume looking at it, it would have trouble traversing anything harder than a dirt driveway.

    Maybe Caddy can use the global Landcruiser or Patrol as a benchmark instead of a Great Wall ute from China.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Unfortunately, by the time DW makes it down there, JdN will have already moved on to another company and moved its headquarters too, maybe Paris this time:)

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    You know, it’s almost like DW has become the Kim Kardashian of
    TTAC…famous for being famous. And the fame opportunities keep on coming!

    Seriously, I’d love to see a meet up between these two…there’d be enough hot air to float a blimp.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @FreedMike,
      I’d rather DW’s input than BTR’s.

      DW’s is more entertaining, I’m wondering what his connection to Caddy was? Was he a GM person who was removed from Caddy?

      His Caddy attacks are almost at a personal level.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      It’s obvious you don’t share my opinion of Cadillac’s products, mike, but to compare the level of discourse, in term of legitimacy, substance & specifics, to anything remotely “Kim Kardashian” is a low blow, ridiculous & ad hominem comment that sinks below anything you’ve stated in the past.

      From Merriam’s Dictionary:

      Full Definition of GADFLY

      :  a person who STIMULATES or annoys especially by persistent criticism {emphasis mine}

      I stimulate substantive, thought-provoking and meritorious debate regarding Cadillac’s global strategy (global in both the business case & geographic sense) & the merits/deficiencies of its vehicles.

      Be mature enough to at least ignore someone, rather than attack them using ad hominems, if you can’t handle opinions and comments not consistent with your own.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        DW,

        Your problem, at times, is when you go off on stupid rants blaming a guy who started his job on August 1, 2014 for an inventory problem on August 2, 2014 and then a product that debuts months later or a product already in the market. It is as if you have no clue how products come to market.

        You end up looking like a fool blaming Johan for this stuff. You latch on to a public statement as if he should tell all he feels to the public.

        Then, you obsess on volume…ignoring Johan’s statements that volume in the US isn’t the goal right now given the current state of the lineup.

        Pay no attention to the fact that global Cadillac sales were up in 2014….all due to ongoing growth in China.

        You have some fair criticism….the target of your criticism makes you look like a fool at times.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DW,
        I do now have one criticism of you.

        What strategy does Cadillac have??? I have yet to see one.

        Caddy will never be a global product. How can you even consider Cadillac with BMW, Mercedes Benz, even Audi as a globally recognised prestige vehicle?

        Cadillac is a US thing and maybe it might gain some traction in China, if Buick isn’t already the better of GM’s brand names there.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “What strategy does Cadillac have???”

          More importantly IMO, what buyer-base does Cadillac have?

          Rolls-Royce is a brand to aspire to. But their buyer base is very limited.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Seems to me that GM has been years behind on modern production practices until recently. The new CT6 looks to correct that by the use of various new processes to knock out the body in white. But that’s only part of the story.

    Consumer Reports list the XTS and ATS as having Much Worse than Average reliability, and not just the electronics. Brakes and body hardware seem to be sore points. On the other hand, the CTS V6 comes out as Better than Average, two blobs to the good by comparison.

    So something is out of whack. GM should probably be concentrating all Cadillac car production in one place, so as to instill a sense of pride or whatever. They knock them out wherever it’s convenient at the moment, and there’s a lack of a unifying theme.

    The ridiculously awful past CEO of GM Akerson who was the man behind the three year dud Malibu and the XTS, must have at least grasped the idea of making a real decent Caddy because he also authorized the new CT6. Now de Nyscchen has to create and follow a rational plan that will unify Cadillac’s theme.

    Both the present CTS and the CT6 seem to have been developed for minimum chassis weight for their size as their main technical theme. A rear drive CT6 that weighs less than a loaded mid-sized mainstream AWD car currently 3600 lbs or more, but is much bigger, quieter and at least as economical while offering oodles of power is a start. Handling and ride can be easily changed to suit different markets. The interiors have to be sumptuous in the modern idiom. And reliability has to be tops – no more bits misaligning or falling off. There’s the Plan as I see it.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    Wasn’t ridding Cadillacs of dead weight one of the goals for the CT6?

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    GM/Cadillac has spent a fortune on advertising, PR, moving headquarters etc etc and Ford/Lincoln quietly introduced the Continental and that’s what everyone is talking about and wants to buy. That’s gotta sting. If the new Navigator is remotely even anything like The Continental then the Escalade is going to be in serious trouble.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The El Miraj is a stunning concept, and I believe its general styling cues are far more consistent with what a premium, luxury automotive line of vehicles should project than the now dated Art & Science theme.

      There were undoubtedly practical reasons Cadillac decided not to proceed with production of the El Miraj, either in coupe or sedan form, but that’s not to say that the CT6 wouldn’t have benefited greatly from borrowing more of its exterior design aesthetic.

      People can try and slam Lincoln for whatever reason regarding the Continental concept they showcased, but I believe has a very bold, attractive & more premium exterior aesthetic than the CT6 (just as the El Miraj also does).

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I keep thinking that the CT6, even the model with the twin-turbos, is just another placeholder until the V8-powered CT8 comes along.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I missed this entire discussion because, ironically, I was out driving a new ATS loaner from my dealer while my CTS was getting new rear shocks.

    It was a base model with the 2.0T. There are a few things that are really right with this car: the drivetrain and the ride/handling balance are at the top of the list. It’s very impressive for a base model. Potholes that are painful in the CTS are much less so in the ATS. The transmission shifts much more quickly. The 2.0T is punchier than the 3.0 in my car. Unfortunately, there are a number of things wrong with it as well: it’s cramped (there’s very little footwell room and with the sunroof, my head was brushing the headliner), the seats can’t be adjusted properly and the trunk is ridiculously small.

    In short, it’s a lot of fun to drive but I’m not sure I could live with it on a daily basis. I tend to like Cadillacs. But this is the first time that I found myself agreeing with the crowd who questions the idea of this car as a Cadillac.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    LMAO!

    After calling me semi-trollish above, there’s this from Archie:

    “I missed this entire discussion because, ironically, I was out driving a new ATS loaner from my dealer while my CTS was getting new rear shocks.”

    How’s that Cadillac/GM reliability “thing” working out? Blown rear shocks on a still warrantied Caddy, you say?

    “There are a few things that are really right with this car…Potholes that are painful in the CTS are much less so in the ATS.”

    1st, wow, so how’s that Cadillac luxury working out in the CTS is it can’t handle potholes as well as a $20,000 less expensive Chrysler 300 or $30,000 less expensive Camry?

    2nd, I’ve driven every iteration of the ATS, and the ride is harsh & unrefined (Motortrend put it best when they stated “it’d have been more appropriate as a Pontiac G6,”), so thanks for clarifying what your incredibly low standards of a luxury/premium car are.

    Onto your admission that the ATS is not an appropriate vehicle warranting any premium /luxury designation – in full agreement with my prior opinions of it (though you failed to mention the gauges, the odd noises and startup vibrations, and your ATS apparently, fortunately had a CUE system and cruise control that actually worked):

    “Unfortunately, there are a number of things wrong with it as well: it’s cramped (there’s very little footwell room and with the sunroof, my head was brushing the headliner), the seats can’t be adjusted properly and the trunk is ridiculously small.

    In short, it’s a lot of fun to drive but I’m not sure I could live with it on a daily basis. I tend to like Cadillacs. But this is the first time that I found myself agreeing with the crowd who questions the idea of this car as a Cadillac.”

    So you agree with me, then.

    Thanks for clarifying that, Troll.

    You’re the irrational person, making trollish comments, in love with a fatally flawed, schizophrenic badge.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

      Okay Derek,

      I’ve had enough of this. There’s not enough civility around here to keep moderates like me from sticking around. So I won’t.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        If you’re referring to me, you probably missed Archie’s unprovoked attack on me (not immediately above, but way, way up closer to the top of this thread), which is uncharacteristic of him, to be honest.

        I’m not just going to not respond to what is a sucker punch, and I like Archie.

  • avatar
    Fred

    When I read comments about what’s wrong with a particular car I wonder what the commenter would buy. So Mr Deadweight, what car do you drive and why? If you could and wanted to spend $60,000 on car what would you buy?

  • avatar
    redav

    I am genuinely impressed with the technology they put into the CT6. That doesn’t mean I’m impressed with the car. Time will tell on that.

    As far as I can tell, Cadillac passionately wants to be the American BMW. But they never will be, or at least it won’t work if they do. I don’t see how the CT6 is the right direction for Cadillac. Conversely, the Continental is exactly the right direction for Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I remember a time when Cadillac was the standard of the world in luxury cars. My dad bought a Sedan de Ville. Enormous land yacht. Wonderful ride. Your living-room recliner on wheels. Impressive Road Whale. Powerful social statement. It didn’t need to pretend to be anything other than what it was – a luxo barge.

      But the 8-6-4 HT was a mess.

      Maybe Cadillac should recons!der trying to be everything to every car-buying demographic and focus on where it needs to be and what niche it needs to fill.

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