With CUE, De Nysschen Acknowledges Cadillac Aimed Low And Failed To Meet Expectations
“The first-generation CUE didn’t even meet our own expectations.”
Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac President — Motor Trend Interview — October 10, 2016
What was Cadillac’s boss trying to say? It all depends on where you put the emphasis.
Perhaps Johan de Nysschen said, in a Motor Trend interview with Mark Rechtin published yesterday, “The first-generation CUE didn’t even meet our expectations.”
In other words: the Cadillac User Interface we designed for our cabins to take on Audi MMI and BMW iDrive and Mercedes-Benz COMAND, was expected to exceed the expectations of decision makers in the executive boardroom, but CUE didn’t even meet our expectations, let alone exceed them.
But it seems more likely that Johan de Nysschen, who for two years was the boss at Infiniti before joining Cadillac in 2014 and had previously led Audi of America for more than seven years, said, “The first-generation CUE didn’t even meet our own expectations.”
In other words, the first-generation CUE didn’t even meet the low expectations at Cadillac, let alone the expectations of the luxury consumer. Ah, those dang discerning consumers with their unrealistic expectations. Customers: can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.
We asked Cadillac yesterday to further explain de Nysschen’s comments: “Are, or were, Cadillac’s goals for CUE far too low?” Cadillac decided to allow de Nysschen’s comments to speak for themselves. But Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell did point to recent CUE improvements.
“Cadillac quickly adopted Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across the range over the past year or so. We deployed 4G LTE WiFi faster and more broadly than any luxury brand. We have a new system (in the CT6 and Escalade) for rear-seat connectivity that is unique in the industry — enabling streaming video for passengers (only) i.e. Netflix, Hulu, Chromecast. And CUE system operation itself has continually improved — with more enhancements coming,” Caldwell told TTAC via email.
To be fair to de Nysschen, the first iterations of CUE — beleaguered by capacitive touch buttons that didn’t always respond to touch, an annoying volume slider, complicated sub-menus, a useless proximity sensor, and awkward steering wheel controls — were already installed in production cars before he even joined the company.
And to be fair to CUE, rival tech interfaces are far from perfect. In fact, some might even say, “ All Infotainment Systems Suck.”
Nevertheless, the notion that Cadillac’s initial targets for CUE didn’t measure up to the expectations of consumers, that Cadillac aimed low and failed to meet even that low target, is both bizarre and troubling.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.
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