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Amid sluggish sales, Cadillac head rejects lowering prices

by Justin King

New CEO says it could take years before brand can compete with Germans.

Cadillac's new chief reportedly has no plans to slash prices as the brand continues to lose ground against German and Japanese luxury rivals.

Recently poached by General Motors to turn around the company's luxury brand, former Infiniti head Johan de Nysschen suggests sluggish sales will likely continue as Cadillac attempts a long-term refocus that targets an entirely different type of buyer.

"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," de Nysschen told Automotive News.

The company has attempted to build vehicles that are aimed at BMW's 3- and 5-Series lineup. Current MSRPs in the entry-level luxury segment are set at $29,900 for the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, $32,750 for the 3-Series, and just over $33,000 for the Cadillac ATS.

Analysts have warned that many buyers simply don't view the ATS as worth as much as its rivals, regardless of the Cadillac sedan's seemingly competitive specs and other merits. The argument is backed by market data, which shows a slight slide in Cadillac sales as other automakers take advantage of a boom in demand for luxury models.

De Nysschen has called for more separation between GM and its Cadillac division, with a long-term focus on building a "solid base" rather than discounting models to improve short-term volume. He expects the process to take 10 to 15 years before the brand can reclaim its position among the "pre-eminent global premium brands."

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