By on September 13, 2021

Cadillac’s instance that it be the first brand owned by General Motors to go entirely electric has resulted in a shrinking U.S. dealership network, though perhaps a healthier bottom line for GM in the long run. It may also foreshadow the trajectory of other brands committed themselves to EVs and give us a sense of what the dealer landscape might look like in a decade or two.

Over the last few years, American luxury brands have been attempting to grow in select markets they believe will bring in new, affluent customers by building experience centers that mimic high-end airport lounges. Cadillac even briefly moved its base of operations to New York City as a way to gain distance from its rustbelt background and ingratiate itself into high society. More recently, Lincoln introduced a Central Park-themed Navigator as both have been trying to lay down roots in parts of California after ceding a large share of the market to the competition decades earlier. But GM’s insistence that Cadillac become an all-electric brand (with Lincoln also targeting a glut of EV sales by 2026) seems as though it could create complications, even if the end result is a major victory.  (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 - Image: Cadillac

Project Pinnacle hasn’t been incredibly popular with dealerships. Low approval ratings required multiple revisions of the plan, and dealers still found themselves irritated with the final version. There was a lengthy delay, refusal of noncompliant stores to accept General Motors’ buyout plan, and difficulties ensuring eligible shops adhered to the plan’s high standards of service.

Cadillac now says it will weigh customer satisfaction scores and compliance with brand standards more than actual sales volumes when determining U.S. dealer bonuses for 2018. The reason for this comes down to so many dealerships not meeting this year’s sales targets. That’s good news for those smaller outlets that were upset with Pinnacle to begin with(Read More…)

By on October 16, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 - Image: GM China

Imagine a traditional luxury car buyer — yes, some still exist — walks into his or her local Cadillac dealer to check out the radically refreshed 2018 XTS. Naturally, the old XTS is hanging out in the parking lot, quietly serving as potential trade-in. After entering the dealer, a salesperson ushers our buyer over to a virtual reality machine to check out the many glories (and options) that await in the new model.

On the way to that machine, the buyer passes zero Cadillacs. There’s not a CTS or CT6 or hot-selling XT5 in sight. An unlikely scenario? Perhaps. A little weird? Certainly to a repeat (read: aged) buyer. It seems small Cadillac dealers definitely felt that way, as low-volume sales locales soundly rejected head office’s plan to do away with traditional showrooms and physical cars.

As a result, Cadillac has given the ominous-sounding Project Pinnacle a makeover. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Cadillac’s rollout of Project Pinnacle has been, let’s face it, a categorical mess. The program faced an immediate backlash from dealerships when General Motors explained it would categorize them based on sales projections and require an adherence to a higher standard of customer service. This was followed by smaller dealers refusing to take Cadillac’s buyouts, forcing the company to delay Pinnacle’s launch on two separate occasions.

The most recent postponement was so dealers could have more time to understand the program’s finer details — or so Cadillac claimed. However, now the automaker is altering portions of the incentive program so that dealers receive payments sooner and are eligible for partial bonuses even if they fall as much as 15 percent short of monthly sales goals. Caddy is also easing on some of those high standards it demanded of dealers and eliminating the appeals process for those deemed noncompliant. (Read More…)

By on November 23, 2016

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Cadillac has delayed the launch of its dealer incentive program for another three months. Brand president Johan de Nysschen says the delay is all about giving dealers more time to understand the program and has nothing to do with its potential illegality or the extensive dealer backlash against it. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2016

2017 Cadillac XT5

A large-scale culling of Cadillac dealers won’t come to pass, but that doesn’t mean franchise owners are giddy about joining the automaker’s controversial Project Pinnacle.

An overwhelming majority of the brand’s 925 U.S. dealers have opted to sign on to the program, ignoring company president Johan de Nysschen’s last-minute buyout offer to 400 low-volume locations. (Read More…)

By on September 23, 2016

2017 Cadillac XT5, Image: © 2016 Matthew Guy/The Truth About Cars

If dealership owners spring for a recent offer by the president of Cadillac, expect to see a vastly reduced brand presence in towns and cities across the U.S.

Johan de Nysschen is offering 400 low-volume Cadillac dealers cash to close up shop and walk away, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2016

2017 Cadillac XT5

A dealer association in California is the latest group to go after Cadillac, demanding the automaker make changes to its controversial “Project Pinnacle” sales incentive program.

The California New Car Dealers Association, acting at the request of 52 dealers in that state, has sent a letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra in a bid to delay (and alter) the project, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2016

2015-escalade-exterior-masthead-family-960x540

It’s D-Day, so what better time to dish details on Cadillac’s secretive Project Pinnacle?

The luxury automaker plans to completely revamp how its dealers interact with customers — a strategy that even changes how its salespeople dress, according to a draft document obtained by Automotive News.

Under Project Pinnacle — the brainchild of brand president Johan de Nysschen — U.S. dealers will be grouped into five tiers based on expected sales. When the operation kicks off on October 1, car shoppers can expect a higher-end experience at their local Caddy dealership. Get ready to be coddled. (Read More…)

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