Since his arrival at Cadillac, former Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen has tried to cultivate a more distinctive brand image for the automaker through high-profile moves like a new naming scheme, new flagship sedan, and moving Cadillac's headquarters to New York City. Now, he's turning his attention to dealers. At last week's Washington Auto Show, de Nysschen said Cadillac will reorganize its current network of roughly 900 dealers.
That network consists of 200 flagship standalone showrooms, and 700 smaller showrooms shared with other brands. The latter will be asked to upgrade, creating "boutique" locations that de Nysschen hopes will better show off the Cadillac brand and give customers a more upscale experience.
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These swankier showrooms will be distinguished by unique Cadillac consumer touch points, sales staff with more training, and luxury amenities. Cadillac also plans to deploy a "virtual showroom" system that allows customers to configure and compare multiple models using interactive digital displays, and potentially even holograms.
Dealers will likely have to spend a significant amount of money on these upgrades, but Cadillac says it will add financial incentives for those that do, as well as for dealers that perform well in customer-satisfaction rankings. It will also institute new standards of compensation based on local sales and market potential.
Exactly what all of this means is unclear, and Cadillac did not discuss when these changes, or the boutique upgrade program, would start.
The automaker doesn't plan to reduce the number of its U.S. dealers, though. According to de Nysschen, the current network gives Cadillac greater geographical coverage in the U.S. than other luxury brand.