thumbnail

Among domestics, Cadillac has long been the number one luxury brand in the United States, however, a significant gap exists between leading import brands, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus. Over the past few years, Cadillac found itself jostling for fourth place with Acura and Audi. With competition ever-stiffening in the luxury market, the domestic automaker needed to rethink its strategy in order to better position itself for future success. As a result, General Motors shook things up last summer and appointed former Audi and Infiniti executive Johan de Nysschen as President of Cadillac. De Nysschen’s appointment was driven with an eye on transforming the American nameplate into a truly global brand. Having already made headlines with the announcement of Cadillac’s relocation to New York City as a separate business unit ― as well as new pricing strategy with higher sticker prices ― Johan is well on his way to changing how the brand does business. Last week at the 2015 Washington Auto Show, the Caddy president delivered the event’s keynote address where he outlined the automaker’s aggressive plans in the areas of dealer development, manufacturing and product strategy.

thumbnail

With the goal of generating a customer experience that rivals the top luxury brands, de Nysschen presented the network development plan for Cadillac’s 929 retail locations nationwide. Of the many steps within the dealer plan, it includes having about 700 smaller dealers create “boutique” stores that place greater attention on the brand. Another 200 or so retailers will be designated as exclusive dealerships focusing solely on the luxury brand, as opposed to the dual dealership model where multiple brands are found under the same roof. The transformation also includes the development of staff, with specially-trained sales representatives, as well as an enhanced experience providing an air of luxury and top-notch service during the buying process.

While the total number of dealerships exceeds that of other luxury makes with more locations in smaller markets, the dealership count will not decrease. The intended result is a shift in the mindset of selling Cadillacs “out the back door” of Chevrolet stores, to the more upscale front doors of Cadillac dealerships.

Several changes to the brick-and-mortar shopping experience will be utilized as well. Electronic merchandising systems will be implemented to better showcase the vehicles, with customers able to easily configure and compare models. With the aim of highlighting the brand’s exclusive, premium qualities, Cadillac will forego grandiose showrooms in favor of smaller, intimate environments. Of course, even smaller makeovers require substantial investments, but Cadillac has stated they are committed to working with its existing dealer base on changing the brand’s identity.  Dealers will be ushered through the transition with financial incentives from headquarters’ coffers.