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Cadillac Global Strategy Shows Signs of Progress

In recent years Cadillac has embarked on a $12 billion quest to reassert its position as one the world’s great luxury cars … going up against major premium international brands like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, and Volvo. 

In the last two months Cadillac is moving in that direction with global sales up 23.7 percent in August and over 20 percent in July. 

US Cadillac sales — down overall for 2016 — bounced a respectable 3.8 percent even as the general auto sector slid 4.2 percent.

Under the direction of outspoken veteran auto executive President Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac has been undergoing an identity makeover, moving its headquarters from Detroit to New York City in 2015. 

Significantly Cadillac has produced an impressive stable including the fearsome 640 horsepower CTS-V … sporty ATS … highly acclaimed XT5 crossover and now the sedate but powerfully capable CT6 sedan. 

Cadillac’s Global Appeal

The management rationale for the move to New York City was to put Cadillac in the heart of the international crossroads … to help convey the message of Cadillac quality and performance to a global audience.

The big mover for Cadillac internationally has been China where they sold nearly 10,000 units in August as compared to 16,000 in the US. Notably sales of new crossover XT5 nearly doubled last month. In some ways Chinese buyers are more receptive to the new Cadillac identity than Americans. The sporty ATS … a real competitor up against European luxury sports sedans … is so well received in China that Cadillac has issued an “L” model to lengthen the car for more rear seating.

While the global sales strategy makes sense, even if successful, it doesn’t entirely compensate for generational shift here in America that makes it challenging for Cadillac. A younger audience is looking at the new Cadillacs … the question remains … can they see past the old Cadillac image?