QOTD: Whose Side Are You On?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

General Motors’ Cadillac division started the week with one president, but ended it with another. In dropping former brand chief John de Nysschen, GM either rid itself of an executive who, as Lee Iacocca would put it, wasn’t cutting the mustard, or revealed itself as an impatient and overbearing automaker that held unrealistic expectations for its goal of a quick brand turnaround.

There’s only two camps in this face-off and, perhaps unfairly, you’ll need to pick a side.

To hear de Nysschen explain it, the executive didn’t “challenge hard enough.” A number of de Nysschen’s ideas — moving the division’s corporate HQ to New York City, launching a subscription service, and running wildly East Coast-urban marketing campaigns — met with furrowed brows. Insiders claim the automaker felt de Nysschen was too forward thinking, and not sufficiently now thinking.

Those of you wrankled by GM’s decision might claim the automaker is the one that could use a better crystal ball. GM allegedly felt de Nysschen wasn’t capitalizing on current domestic market trends fast enough, despite the brand’s rapid growth in the burgeoning Chinese auto market. Essentially, Cadillac wasn’t spitting out lucrative crossovers at a proper pace. And whose fault is that, really?

Already, the XT5 midsize crossover is the brand’s U.S. best seller, and there’s an XT4 compact crossover launching later this year (with another, larger utility to follow). The replacement of the brand’s lesser sedan lineup with two strategically priced models (plus the XT6) is a project that’s well underway, and de Nysschen planned — tentatively, perhaps — for a halo model to appear once the new sedans and crossovers hit the market.

Was this the right product plan, or was it too cautious and safe? Even if you agree with the potential profitability of the brand’s direction, was de Nysschen simply too much of a thorn in the side of dealers and brand faithful to stay on with the company? Pick a side.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Ra_pro Ra_pro on Apr 21, 2018

    We are back to the stupid old cliche "Cadillac needs to produce American cars". I got news for the Americans, Americans don't want American cars, they want European cars. If Cadillac cannot sell semi-european feeling cars how the hell are they going to sell American cars. Nobody in the world wants American cars, least of all Americans. America is good at producing cheap shit from food (burgers) to jeans (Levi's) clothing (Calvin Klein). Cheap hardly ever equals good, whereas luxury generally implies quality (though not always). America can produce luxury when there is no competition as was the case with Cadillac for decades. As soon as European competition arrives American goods are shown to be mediocre or worse. America doesn't do luxury (with may be a few exceptions) because American business is geared towards mass-production not luxury. Cadillac is dead, it's just a matter of time when the GM management comes to see it.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Apr 22, 2018

    Cadillac and Lincoln both might be dead brands. One of the costs to consider is the cost to closed the dealerships. The less costly choice might be to phase out the car models as they age and demand goes down and over a period of time offer the free standing Cadillac only dealerships a GMC/Buick or Chevrolet franchise unless that dealership is close to a same brand competing dealership. The Cadillac and Lincoln brands might be beyond redemption. Might be better to put more funds into developing a better Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC and make Buick the luxury brand.

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