Yes, it’s true. Detroit’s claim to luxury is moving to a low-key neighborhood in New York City.
Uwe (pronounced U-vay) Ellinghaus, Cadillac’s new chief marketing officer, is setting up his shop and Cadillac’s new corporate headquarters in modern loft offices with an event space in the downtown neighborhood of Soho.
“What’s a move to New York City going to do for Cadillac?” several reporters asked at a recent meeting with journalists in New York City. Ellinghaus was ready with answers.
“If you want a global brand, New York is the place. It is a natural home for luxury and Cadillac is not as strong as it could be in important markets like New York and Los Angeles. New York reinvents itself every day and we want to take that spirit and elevate the brand. Cadillac needs a different approach from other brands at General Motors,” remarked Ellinghaus, implying that the move from under GM’s close watch will also give Cadillac room to branch out in its own direction.
In recent years, Cadillac has developed unexpected and heart-racing-new products, including the ATS and the CTS. These are smaller, more performance-oriented cars. They’ve brought some skeptics to the showroom, but Cadillac’s image hasn’t kept pace with its product development, which has kept others away. Some blame the fact that it’s had four advertising agencies in four years. Some say the diehards who buy imports are never going to buy a Cadillac. So where are Cadillac’s new customers going to come from?
Ellinghaus is focusing on younger buyers who don’t have a hangover from GM’s past mistakes. Sales compared to the competition are respectable and certainly better than some. The ATS is outsold by BMW’s 3 Series and by the Mercedes Benz C-Class. Cadillac can do better.
The CTS may hold its own against the competition but Mercedes E-Class and BMW’s 5 Series still outsell. The CTS tops the Audi A6, the Infiniti Q70, the Jaguar XF, and the Lexus GS. The XTS outsells the Audi A8, the BMW 7 Series, and the Lincoln MKS.
Ellinghaus believes there are two pillars that contribute to a brand’s success: product and advertising. “We need to think more about all aspects of the brand; focus and discipline are required.”
Ellinghaus presents himself as the perfect balance between the rigor required to re-shape the image of Cadillac and a free spirit — one apparently being championed by GM.
Cadillac has been fairly accused of chasing the Germans by renaming its cars with alphanumerics (the alphabet with numbers). “I would defend alphanumerics,” says Ellinghaus. “Because we don’t want to — and can’t — spend marketing dollars promoting the special names, we want to promote the Cadillac name. Everyone who has been shopping at a German car dealership knows A4s, A5s, A6s, and A8s. Customers come into the showroom and say, “where’s your A8?”
The company may have left its glamorous names back in the 1970s, but it never gave up its distinctive styling.
“We will not out-German the Germans and we shouldn’t try,” says Ellinghaus, referring to the German attention to craftsmanship and detail.
“Our biggest asset is our styling. And the sheer ubiquity of import brands is our big opportunity. All of our competitors have the same products. Cadillac is all about identity and individuality. We have the emotion appeal of this wonderful country.”
— Kate McLeod, Motor Matters
Manufacturer Photo: 1_ Chief Marketing Officer Global Cadillac Uwe Ellinghaus (l to r), Producers Guild of America President Hawk Koch and “Entourage” Creator Doug Ellin with the Cadillac ELR during the launch of the Make Your Mark Short Film Competition in New York, New York.
2_ Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen unveils the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe. The ATS-V’s 455-hp, twin-turbocharged V6, can go from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.
The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V will launch in late summer 2015 with 640 horsepower, 630 lb-ft of torque and a top speed of 200 mph.
3_ Cadillac markets the ATS as an exclusively distinctive American alternative, unique in its class, delivering a sporty and sophisticated driving experience rivaling the world’s best.
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2015
Posted by Connie Keane