By on August 12, 2015

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport front

According to Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen, it probably could.

According to Automotive News, de Nysschen told analysts that Cadillac would have a “a far higher degree of autonomy and self sufficiency” within two years, and the company could report its own profits and losses, separate from GM.

Already, Cadillac contributes “a very sizeable contribution to the overall profit at General Motors” de Nysschen said, so let’s cut the dead weight already and keep the ugly sorority sisters in the basement?

Not so fast.

The Cadillac CEO admitted that the brand’s narrow portfolio and fledgling dealer overhaul could keep it under the GM umbrella — at least until 2018. The company is planning on several new models, including crossovers and sedans to help steady its financial base, that would begin arriving around 2018.

The company will sell 500,000 cars globally by 2020, de Nysschen reiterated to analysts yesterday. Last year, Cadillac sold 263,697 cars — more than 170,000 of those in the U.S. alone.

Chief engineer Dave Leone said that in the interim Cadillac needs to offer more than its German competitors for less money to gain traction in the luxury market — unlike it had in previous years.

Already, Cadillac has changed substantially its relationship with its dealers. The automaker said it would begin focusing its incentives on dealer experience and not necessarily sales, and it’s encouraging dealers to build standalone, boutique showrooms.

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75 Comments on “Could Cadillac Leave General Motors to Be on Its Own?...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll take a large popcorn and a Sprite, thanks…maybe some Junior Mints. Just let me know when the movie begins.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Seems to some Pie in the Sky comments regarding this article
      “Cadillac contributes “a very sizeable contribution to the overall profit at General Motors” I hope that is not the case as GM is in severe problems if true

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Cadillac’s ATP is $52k and higher than BMW and Audi and much higher than Lexus ($10k higher).

        Sure, that is skewed somewhat by low ATS sales, but at the same time, Cadillac only has the aged SRX when it comes to CUVs, no flagship sedan as of yet and sells over 40k sedans in the mid-price range with the CTS and XTS (which is a lot more than Audi or Lexus).

        Cadillac could probably double its share of profit for GM just by having a full crossover lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It’s not all that far-fetched. It’s actually what GM was before centralization – a collection of car companies run as separate companies. But if Cadillac gets to be “separate but connected”, so should be Chevrolet and Buick, and bring back Oldsmobile and Pontiac while you’re at it.

      In the old days, each nameplate was its own company that took the basic template and used its own bits in its own assembly plants to differentiate the brand from the others. That flexibility allowed Pontiac to take its corporate compact, the Tempest, and drop a big block from its full size offerings and create the GTO. No “division” can do that now, since GM is top-down all the way, and the guys at the top know diddly about cars.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Yes! But name it SAAB…

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Those FWD proportions on the car above look terrible for a Cadillac. The front overhang is too long and the wheel is compressed against the front door. It really doesn’t work as a Cadillac.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    He’s delusional.

    >>Already, Cadillac contributes “a very sizeable contribution to the overall profit at General Motors” de Nysschen said, so let’s cut the dead weight already and keep the ugly sorority sisters in the basement?<<

    He means the Chevy Escalade. Oops. I guess Cadillac needs Chevy too. Take the Chevy Escalade from Cadillac and they'd be lucky to make a dime.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      This. Cadillac’s only suv/ cuv’s are Chevy rebadges (well-done or not). So make Cadillac independent and lose the only two entries it has in the strongest market segment there is currently and for the foreseeable future? Well at least Cadillac is working on another cuv about the size of the lambdas… Oh wait.

      What a joke. I like Cadillac, I really do but this is stupid. I just ditched my cts after went into the shop 6 times over the last year. Then one of the brand new ats’s they gave me as a loaner broke down in the middle of traffic. I know a lot of luxury brands aren’t necessarily the most reliable, but they’ve got to be better than that if they’ve got a prayer of rebuilding the reputation they ought to have.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Cadillac sells 40k sedans in the mid-price segment with the CTS and XTS which is a lot more than what Audi or Lexus do.

      As for the Escalade, it’s more differentiated from its “lower” brethren than the Lexus or Infiniti SUVs.

      Cadillac will eventually go to an all-RWD line-up for sedans and crossovers (JdN is stating that Cadillac’s subcompact models will be RWD, but not sure if that is really feasible).

      Meanwhile, both Lexus and Infiniti are increasingly reliant on FWD models for sales.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I hate it when you talk about how “different” the Cadillac is than the Yukon and Tahoe in the same showroom – and yet the QX80 is “closer” to the Nissan Patrol which isn’t sold in the US, and never has been.

        Just like the GX from Lexus – which is of course the Land Cruiser Prado, and also NOT sold here, ever.

        I know you love the Escalade and Cadillac bd2, but this argument does not hold water for the US market.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Escalade isn’t that different from the its lower brethren. It’s the same underneath and has the same body. The interior is nicer and it has a different face and a$$.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “No, the Escalade is above and beyond different. The QX is too similar to all the other Patrols you see driving around. And the GX looks like the Prados I see at Wal-Mart. Cadillac win.”

            -bd2

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Heck, I think the Escalade is sweet. However, I know what it is underneath. It has the same sheet metal for goodness sakes.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The Escalade, thusly, should never cost more than the equivalent Navigator. It’s just ridic-balls overpriced.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well it should now because it’s a decade newer.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s a fair point. But I bet Lincoln doesn’t increase the price 25K when they bring out the newbie.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They won’t. It’ll go up, but think more how the F150 increased in price. A few grand or so.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Delusions of grandeur straight from VW’s playbook. But at least VW’s dream is merely of sales volume, not how to survive in deep space without a mothership.

    One good thing would come of a separation: clarity to kill off the ELR, which sells a steady 100 units per month, and whose umbilical runs straight to Chevrolet.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    JdN is absolutely hilarious, if he were more sinister he’d make a great Bond villain.

  • avatar
    fozone

    ” so let’s cut the dead weight already”

    …what you did there, i see it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Could Cadillac Leave General Motors and be on Its Own?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    No.

  • avatar
    jmiller417

    Assuming he means in the same sense that Audi is “independent” from VW, it’s not so ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I would argue that Cadillac is already that independent. A Jetta, Golf, Polo, A3, A4 and A5 all share the same platform. They share engines and transmissions.

      Audi isn’t all that independent.

      • 0 avatar
        Lichtronamo

        Audi is actually a stand alone corporation, Audi AG, with it’s own Board of Directors and management, and books. Albeit a whole owned company controlled by the VW mothership. Audi AG also owns Lamborghini and Ducatti underneath VW. Think of it as GM’s relationship to Chevy-Buick-GMC-Cadillac compared to Adam Opel AG.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          In contrast, when it came to talking about missteps Lexus made with regard to product for the US market (such as not developing a 3-row crossover), it was done by the head of Toyota USA, Jim Lentz.

      • 0 avatar
        Davekaybsc

        The A4 and A5 are not on a VW platform. The A3 has its engine sitting sideways and uses a Haldex AWD system, just like the donor Golf. The A4 and A5 have their engines FRONT TO BACK, and their AWD system is proper Torsen Quattro. Somehow this STILL escapes people. People STILL think the A4 is a gussied up Jetta like the TLX is to an Accord. It’s not. The A4 and A5 ride on Audi exclusive platforms, with Audi exclusive, 40/60 biased Torsen AWD.

        • 0 avatar
          banker43

          Dave, I see this misinformation all the time here. Sometimes you’ll see folks describe the A4 as a front wheel drive car. People tend to think they know more than they do!

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          The B5 generation A4 (1996-2001) shared its platform with the 1998-2004 Passat, but not any longer. The A6 of the same period shared a lot with both cars, too.

          And you still can buy a 2016 FWD A4, it is not exclusively Quattro.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            Yes but a FWD A4 still has a longitudinal engine. It isn’t a conventional transverse FWD car in the ways we think of them commonly.

            I believe most A4s sold in Europe still are FWD models (and you can get a FWD A6 and even A7 there as well).

  • avatar
    energetik9

    OK, I see. This is the short version from the article, “Cadillac will operate as a separate business unit from General Motors and report its own financial results within a few years, brand chief Johan de Nysschen said today.”

    This isn’t a seperate company. Simply more autonomy.

    In that sense, yes, I agree. Cadillac needs some serious work on thier brand and image and this might be a smart play. Going from 3.4% to 5% luxury global market share is a stretch though.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Hes looking to separate Caddy so he can call the shots on his own golden parachute for his impending exit.

    Where will he head next? I’m thinking Hyundai/Kia.

  • avatar
    turf3

    What’s the deal here? Do different people write the headlines for these articles than write the articles? Does whoever writes the headlines even read the articles?

    The Cadillac head is talking about modifications to the GM accounting system and the way profit and loss are reported. Not knowing how they do it now, nor the subtleties of the GM accounting system, I have no opinion whether what he’s talking about would be an improvement or not. But that is a vast distance from Cadillac becoming a separate company.

  • avatar

    Probably not. While Cadillac does make use of its own platforms for certain vehicles, the rest of it is inextricably tied into GM’s electronics and powertrain architectures. I suppose GM could keep being a supplier for Cadillac, but that seems kind of pointless compared to just owning it outright.

    de Nysschen sounds like an idiot.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “de Nysschen sounds like an idiot.”

      Or he’s posturing for public consumption that GM’s problems aren’t Cadillac’s problems, as part of the same image-overhaul campaign that led to that silly move to New York.

      Or both.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “Cadillac does make use of its own platforms for certain vehicles”

      Which ones are those again? The only Cadillac-exclusive platform sits underneath the SRX. It’s technically exclusive because it was shared with the Saab 9-4X.

      Cadillac’s been wearing hand-me-downs. Two from Saab (SRX, XTS), and three from Chevy. Any thoughts of independence are a bit premature.

  • avatar
    rickkop

    First the headquarters move to NYC, now this. Remember what GM did with Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn and Saab. If you added Cadillac to that group a few years ago, I wonder where they nameplate would be today.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I doubt he’ll last long enough in the job to see his goals come to fruition. Good luck Mr. de Nysshen. You’re going to need it.

  • avatar
    SV

    This seems like a good move to give Cadillac more credibility as a luxury brand. I do wonder, though, what move other than shutting down entirely would actually meet with general approval from the commentariat here. My guess would be, other than reintroducing their 70s battlecruisers without change, nothing. Personally I think they’ll only see real progress once they have a full lineup of crossovers, regardless of whether they have inappropriately large V8s and vinyl trim.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Cadillac has had since 1995ish when the fleetwood died to build a proper luxury full sized car. Mercedes has the S class, BMW the 7, Lexus the LS. Cadillac has ???

      That is why Cadillac is a joke and continues to be one. The new CT?? still apparently won’t be the actual flagship, that is supposedly an even later model.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    “and it’s encouraging dealers to build standalone, boutique showrooms.”

    This is really rich. The local Cadillac/Chevy dealer was selling Cadillacs out of their former Hummer “Quonset Hut” building. So about two years ago, I started to kick tires for a new car. Just for fun, I walked into the Cadillac showroom with an excited look on my face. Instantly, one of the salesman approached me and asked if he could be of assistance. With a straight face I said “I’ve been saving all my money and I’m here to buy a new Hummer”. His smile vanished as he tried to find the words to tell me Hummers were gone for years now.
    Before he could put together an answer, I started laughing almost uncontrollably. I then said “well if there are no more Hummers, let me see an ATS”. Then he started to laugh, probably relieved that I didn’t go postal on the place for not having the Hummer I was seeking.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Once they move to New York and start making handbags instead of cars, they could probably leave GM for Louis Vuitton.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Too small, especially inside
    Not enough power, slow on pick up
    SUVs spun off GM
    Reliability previously seen in the AMC Gremlin
    Headquartered in NYC where 54% of residents think “Uber” is a brand.
    Don’t bother asking where to report profits, only losses.

  • avatar

    I really,really don’t get GM.
    If Cadillac wants to sell itself as a luxury brand it should be comparing itself to Mercedes Benz,yet it keeps going after BMW as it’s benchmark. BMW has spent 40+ years pitching itself as the ultimate driving machine,not the ultimate luxury machine.
    If I were running GM I’d split the company. Have Chevy use the reputation for reliabilty of Toyota/Honda as it’s goal and build it’s cars w/that in mind.
    Buick and Cadillac would have their own architecture and Buick would be pitched against BMW,w/Cadillac getting a smoother ride and heavily upgraded interiors,being pitched against Mercedes.
    Chevy’s should be reliable,Buicks nimble and Caddies opulent.

  • avatar
    gasser

    GM’s biggest problem with Cadillac (and Buick) is that these cars are pitched to an older demographic. I have been buying new cars since the ’70s and GM cannot get the stink of the 80s and 90s products off its hands. Initially “forced” into buying Honda and Toyota, I now can’t think of a reason to go back to GM (or even Ford). Yes, some of their styles are great, some of the reviews are fabulous, but after years of Honda and Lexus ownership, stories of the PITAs of Regals, Veranos and ATSs put me off from GM products.

  • avatar

    he’s the Anti Sergio

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I can see why he would want to do this. I assume that he has traveled to some of the Cadillac dealerships that weren’t in major Metros and was horrified at what he saw. You know what I am talking about, the dreadful Cadillac dealerships that are combined with Chevy or GMC. Two different ones in two states I regularly travel to stick out to me. One is in The South and it still uses that shiny birthday type lettering and they also do that ghetto advertising where they have the cars near the road and have the lights flashing and the hoods up with giant letters under each one and the vampire salesmen that were meth dealers the week before crawling the lot.

    The second dealership is in the Midwest. It had the giant USA flag the size of a football field and then as if that wasn’t enough, they put a USA flag on a stick on every single vehicle on the lot’s window, every single one. The message you send me when you do that is that you want the business of the rednecks that drive around with giant flags on the back of their 30 year old trucks, not professionals like myself. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus and Jaguar would never engage is such crass and low-class marketing and that is why GM, Corvette and Cadillac will never shed the image they have, not in my lifetime anyway. So JdN can move Cadillac to NYC and attempt to change people’s perceptions, but as long as these types of dealerships and the people that work at them exist, it won’t happen.

    Also, as allegedly good the new CTS-V is, that car is downright embarrassing to drive if you are over 30 with all the Pep Boys add-ons. The M5, E63 AMG, RS Audis etc work because the are subtle, distinct enough, but subtle. You can go to the country club, meeting, pick up clients, go to church, whatever and the car looks like something an adult drives.

    Another thing that is not pertinent but JdN can pass is since I know he reads this is why does GM act like the Corvette is the prized pig at the farm? They don’t want anyone to drive their precious $50,000 Corvette or even sit in it which is a big turnoff from their dealerships in general. On the other hand, if you go to the Porsche dealership and test drive something like say a Boxster, they will practically force you at gunpoint to drive a 911 also, totally different experience and treatment.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      Agree with you about the CTS-V’s looks. I really like what Cadillac is doing in a lot of ways, but I’d really prefer the V models to be more sedate looking. Yes, I know all the scoops and intakes are functional and I love that. Still.

      The Mercedes S63 and S63 coupe have it down just right. You can tell they’re different from the lesser-engined models, but the look is not all Fast and Furious. I’d be surprised if the big AMG cars require any less in the way of cooling than an ATS-V.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes Cadillac dealers need help but that does not mean the German dealers avoid cheesy marketing. The MB dealer north of Daytona beach in fl had a 50′ inflatble purple gorilla out front last summer. They also had all the car hoods in the front row propped up with sales signs.

  • avatar
    wmba

    “Last year, Cadillac sold 263,697 cars — more than 170,000 of those in the U.S. alone.”

    170,000 in the US ALONE, eh? What a surprise! Goodness gracious me. Well, it is an American brand after all.

    Of course, in the first seven months of this year BMW sold over 115,000 vehicles ALONE in the US, compared to 95,000 Cadillacs.

    In 2014, BMW made over 350,000 X3, X4, X5 and X6 vehicles in Spartanburg, SC. That’s 90,000 more than Cadillac made of all its models and it was just SUVs. They exported 70% of those 350,000.

    Let’s not even mention Lexus, who sold 188,000 in the first seven months of this year in the US, more than Cadillac did all last year. Then there’s Mercedes-Benz and Audi, and if you stretch a point, Acura and Infiniti.

    So, if we’re realistic, Cadillac is just one giant screw-up from beginning to end and an utter joke to boot. It is merely a large pimple on the skin of worldwide premium car sales. De Nysschen just issues these silly pie-in-the-sky forecast sales notes from time to time to keep the shed-out-back operation that is Cadillac from disappearing completely from the memory of common folk.

    Still, not a bad gig. Free room and board in New York City, and all the time in the world to think up ways of spending $12 billion on a brand that has not the slightest chance of succeeding. And where the so-called bespoke chassis and engines are quickly farmed out to Chevrolet cars and trucks in order to make an actual return on investment.

    Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      How many models do BMW and MB have?

      Cadillac doesn’t have “4-door coupes”, fastbacks, sport crossovers (or whatever they are called), much less a full basic crossover lineup (or sedan as of yet).

      As for Lexus, the bulk of what they sell are cheaper, FWD-based models which really is the provence of Buick.

  • avatar

    Apparently TTAC commenters are more experienced in car business than Johan. You guys should start running or simply start car companies instead of wasting time on stupid comments about Cadillac and Tesla. I would be the first in the line to buy your car since it will surely beat competition and make it irrelevant.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Well at least we don’t have to wonder what JdN’s handle is on here.

      Hi Johan!

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      It’s not that hard…Just copy the UZ engine from Lexus along with their 8 speed, the styling of Audi’s A7, the interior of the S class and the price of the Hyundai Genesis and Voilà…or something like that, yeah…

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The UZ engine has long been underpowered and an 8 spd AT is no longer up to date as well.

        Cadillac will be launching a whole new series of engines (and accompanying transmissions) in the next few years.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      We’ve collectively been pretty good at observing and commenting on reality since around 2005. Johan could certainly use our help.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, Johan desperately looking forward to input from denizens of Camryland.

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          There are quite a few people on here with 6 figure cars, myself included. Also, we know for a fact that you, I mean Johan comes on here and reads these articles because you, I mean he has said so already. Just so you know, many of the denizens of Camryland are resident physicians and surgeons and young engineers who buy the top luxury cars down the road so you, I mean he better pay attention to them:)

          • 0 avatar

            knowing a thing or two about the industry, as do many contributors here, is why we are called the B&B and why TTAC is my favorite automotive site. I have a few ideas, but mainly visit to learn.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    My question:

    Which brand receives the greatest number of internet comments per units sold, Cadillac, Scion or Mitsubishi?

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