General Motors’ luxury brand has been on a crossroad for the last two years. The latest chief – former Audi and Infiniti executive Johan de Nysschen – being its third boss during the period.
After swiftly announcing his departure from Nissan’s Infiniti luxury division, just two years after coming as chief executive, the South African national was revealed quickly as the next Cadillac President.
Although he faced the same issue during his two years tenure, de Nysschen looks set to outline a strategy that would see General Motors Co’s 112-year-old luxury brand become a real global threat to the perennial German trio – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Just like Infiniti, Cadillac has been struggling in recent years to shed its US only panache to become a true global competitor – one that would get the same brand awareness and hopefully, sales, in China, Europe or South America.
“Cadillac is struggling with some brand perception issues and Johan is a master brand builder,” says Howard Drake, a member of Cadillac’s national dealer council, adding the brand strives towards “its own team, its own resources, its own profit and loss accountability.”
The brand has seen a spectacular rise in performance since it was introduced on the Chinese market, the largest in the world. On the other hand, at home it faces big issues with the German rivals, which manage to outsell the Detroiter by as much as two to one, thanks to a bigger line-up that now includes many affordable models.