Much of Cadillac’s lineup is just a few grand away from matching the prices of comparable models from Germany’s big three luxury makes, and when we’re talking the lower end of the portfolio like the ATS the prices are almost equal across the board. While this strategy has turned off some former Cadillac buyers, the brand’s new chief, Johan de Nysschen, says he has no plans to reduce prices or offer huge incentives, even in the face of slowing sales.
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Cadillac’s sales in the U.S. through August are down 5 percent on the same period a year ago while the overall luxury segment is up 8 percent. According to dealers, it’s the rise in prices on key models like the CTS that are turning off buyers.
"We cannot deny the fact that we are leaving behind our traditional customer base," de Nysschen told Automotive News (subscription required). "It will take several years before a sufficiently large part of the audience who until now have been concentrating on the German brands will find us in their consideration set."
To de Nysschen, Cadillac’s latest models have the craftsmanship, design and driving dynamics to match their German rivals, and it’s only a matter of time until import buyers notice. He should know, as he’s worked at Audi for close to two decades and was running the brand’s U.S. operations before quitting to join Infiniti in 2012. He quit Infiniti earlier this year to take up the new role at Cadillac, starting August 1.
The South African executive says it will take about 10 to 15 years to get Cadillac back in the luxury brand big league, which is about the same amount of time before he plans to retire. Hopefully that means he will be staying at Cadillac for the long haul.