With CUE, De Nysschen Acknowledges Cadillac Aimed Low And Failed To Meet Expectations

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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.

[Images: Cadillac]

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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  • Plee Plee on Oct 11, 2016

    My 2011 Taurus Limited with factory Nav has been problem free. There are still buttons to control the heated/cooled seats, sound system, phone without having to go into the Nav screen. The voice activation works reasonably well, other than that, I am glad that the car does not have MFT. If I stick with Ford/Lincoln vehicles, I will be sure to get Sync 3 next time and bypass MFT altogether.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Oct 11, 2016

    There are three types of system: Acura MDX. Buttons, buttons everywhere. You need to look at the buttons, but no menus to speak of for any commonplace function. Press. Once you know where they are, pretty easy. Takes up a lot of space, though, OK for a truck, harder in a small car. Pre-Cue Caddy. Everything is a simple button. The radio is simple, on/off, tuning, etc. The only menus are for tweaking the sound fields, but normal use is simple buttons. Likewise, pre-I Drive BMW, all controls are simple and intuitive. I-Drive. I've always liked i-drive. The original was the best, with limited (no ?) buttons, and one knob. The Knob changed how it responded depending on what you were doing, and as a friend with a 7 series pointed out, if you can run a computer, this isn't tough. The haptic interface is intuitive after a short time. Notably, there is still a volume knob for the radio.... I drive allows you to do most everything, by feel, without looking for a button or ***taking your eyes from the road***. We rented cars in Germany a few years ago and both had I drive. I got ipods working in 5 minutes, both cars-it's a great system. In Car electronics are being overtaken by the smart phone. My "dumb" 03 BMW has a $40 bluetooth button and by using the smartphone, has full voice command, hands-free telephone-and you can even dictate texts. Car makers are literally falling all over themselves to give you something...meanwhile, a $250 aftermarket radio will beat the vast majority of OE radios, but since the DIN hole has been obsoleted, you are stuck paying $1500 for $200 worth of kit maybe, and an interface from heck.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂