By on October 21, 2015

Cadillac President de Nysschen poses with the Cadillac ATS-V during the model's world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles

Speaking Wednesday at the 10th annual J.D Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen didn’t mince words regarding Silicon Valley’s infatuation with fully autonomous driving.

The luxury brand chief, while standing before an image of Google’s autonomous prototype, said: “Many autonomous car (prototypes) emphasize sheer functionality. It would be a mind-numbing experience going from point A to B. My goodness, you might as well take the bus.”

De Nysschen said Cadillac’s upcoming Super Cruise strikes a balance between fully autonomous driving and driving yourself.

According to Wards Auto, de Nysschen said that it’s Cadillac’s goal to develop autonomous cars that “enhance the joy of driving, but eliminate the tedious parts, such as stop-and-go-traffic.”

Super Cruise, the semi-autonomous system from Cadillac that will debut on the 2017 CT6 and CTS, should do just that, though not because it can’t go fully autonomous, de Nysschen hinted.

“The difference between Super Cruise and fully autonomous lies more in the legal than the technical arena. I’ll leave it at that.”

Also of note was the CEO’s assertion that Cadillac is still strong and that the delayed purchase of vehicles by millennials will work in the luxury brand’s favor.

“Because they are entering the market later, they have more money to buy a car. They are giving up entry-level offerings in order to make an automobile their first luxury purchase.”

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23 Comments on “Cadillac CEO: Autonomous Cars Must Co-exist with Driving Passion, or ‘You Might as Well Take the Bus’...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    I can see autonomous cars starting to make inroads where the drive is mostly interstate or something more mind-numbing, but that drivers will still be able to enjoy the self-driving experience on roads less travelled. I agree that going fully autonomous would be a real snooze-fest, but having just completed a 21-hour straight drive from Vermont to Alabama, I would have enjoyed being able to relinquish the wheel for a little R&R during the ride.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    ““Because they are entering the market later, they have more money to buy a car. They are giving up entry-level offerings in order to make an automobile their first luxury purchase.””

    Here’s here all week folks!

    JdN look I know you’re not going to tell it like it is, but at least pretend like you’re interested. Why not hold a focus group 22-30 and then surprise them all by showing up and getting to know them?

    Tell me of 100% of Gen Y, what percentage can even afford a new vehicle, what percentage of that can go above $30K, and what percentage do you estimate wants to buy your $25K models for well over 30 with all incentives?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “Also of note was the CEO’s assertion that Cadillac is still strong and that the delayed purchase of vehicles by millennials will work in the luxury brand’s favor.

    “ ‘Because they are entering the market later, they have more money to buy a car. They are giving up entry-level offerings in order to make an automobile their first luxury purchase.’ ”

    Johann THE CARNIVAL BARKER!

    Let me paraphrase: “Even though Cadillac Dealerships have to be bribed with pallets of drop-shipped cash to now take delivery of any new Cadillacs except for the Escalade, and sales of most Cadillacs are in absolute freefall, my 2020 “Vision Thing,” whereby I will proceed to waste 12 billion received from the incredibly naive and incompetent senior-level executives at GM back in dirty, dirty Detroit, on mostly failed and unwanted products, in my obsession to convince people that we are BMW, is on track.”

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      My opinion of Cadillac Motor Company, and JdN, are not that different from yours, Deadweight, but I have to admit that I am glad that a highly visible auto industry personality is stumping for semi-autonomous drivable cars vs. fully autonomous people-movers, both for the joy of driving, and as he points out, for legal reasons.

      The legal issues will get both thorny and expensive when a fully autonomous vehicle chooses to spare itself and its occupants at the expense of a busload of children going over a cliff, or some similar “remote” but foreseeable event.

      I pray we never see the day when driving a car as we know it will become a crime, a la “Red Barchetta”.

      And in support of that idea, I will take all the support we can get, in opposition to the do-gooders who want to sanitize the roads of all drivers.

      But they still need to find a way to make better vehicles for less at Cadillac.

      There is nothing that they make, including an Escalade, that looks one tenth as good as an all black mid-70’s Cadillac, streamlined and finless, roomy and plush on the inside, and with lots of power under the hood.

      Saw one today, and it made me drool the way none of the modern cars under $50K new could begin to do.

  • avatar
    Altair7

    Autonomous cars will coexist with ‘driving passion’ long before ‘driving passion’ will ever coexist with Cadillac.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I wish I was still in Vegas because I’d love to raise some questions at him just based on the model he is leaning on. He’s def taller than me, if I had to guess 6’0 or more, and yet look at how huge that wheel is on him. Why JdN? I look at how tall the supposed race car is and think what does that feel like to drive and how well can I see the track from the front? Why do [real] Porsches sit so much lower JdN? Why is there no grille but a gaping plastic front clip now that’s nearly three foot tall? I mean shouldn’t your race car obey the laws of physics a little bit more?

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I hope that this means we’ll see the return of the burgundy velour pillow seats.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    He’s right about autonomous driving – on the driving experience and the legal part. Only Volvo has (foolishly) claimed they’ll own the liability.

  • avatar

    We will see a bit of both. No need to do your mindless commuting while paying attention to the road in some distant future. Recreational trips for the sheer pleasure of driving yourself is something different, and form the best excuse to hold on to that coveted classic you have been storing away for special occasions. As long as you expect a brand new car to do both, IMO a new type of vehicle is needed.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    ““Because they are entering the market later, they have more money to buy a car. They are giving up entry-level offerings in order to make an automobile their first luxury purchase.””
    This seems like a cynical level of smoke and mirrors delivered by someone who knows his bosses are so stupid they’ll swallow it and keep the gravy train running for at least one more paycheck. It’s impossible to succeed when that’s not even your plan.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Driving Passion and Cadillac have as much in common as Donald Trump and Tai Chi.

    Seriously, I have yet to ride in a Cadillac that I’d ever consider owning. Too pricey, too large, too heavy, too thirsty, too tacky, too pretentious, too poorly made. Pretty quiet when new, though, but they were (and are) cars for gullible old people.


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