It’s rare that corporate presidents rebut media criticisms of their products, so it’s interesting that General Motors President Mark Reuss found it opportune to comment on critiques written about Cadillac’s recent move, change of direction, and recent products. Right or wrong sometimes the motor press scribes feel that because they’re removed from the corporate goings-on within the silver silos they have a better perspective of what real consumers want. Maybe MotorBiscuit is one of them?
It was once said that rather than make what consumers want, GM builds what it wants consumers to purchase. That’s what it said pre-bankruptcy, anyway.
President Mark Reuss Pens Op-Ed
So yesterday Reuss penned an op-ed in Automotive News that tries to clear up public misconceptions of what GM is doing and trying to do with Cadillac. Cadillac sales are down in general, in spite of shifting goals, managers, and corporate headquarters. So many ask why with all of the machinations Cadillac is going through why nothing has been a silver bullet.
Reuss comes to Cadillac management’s recent decisions head-on saying, “…despite slings and arrows of the pundits and naysayers, by every critical measure–sales, quality, dealer engagement, and consumer satisfaction–Cadillac is making great progress.”
That is good to hear. But if Cadillac is on the right path why is it now headed in a different direction as the “lead electric vehicle division” of GM? Over the last 15 years or so Cadillac has been trying to be the BMW of GM. Now, it’s trying something else.
“Making Great Progress”
Here are some of the bullet points Reuss makes in his argument that Cadillac is “making great progress.”
- Since being launched last year, the XT4 quickly became and remains the bestselling vehicle in the segment.
- Escalade remains No. 1 with a bullet in large luxury SUVs, despite nearing the end of its life cycle. It has an 8,000-unit lead over its nearest rival while delivering significant profitability for our dealers.
- XT6 deliveries began in June, and we sold more than 1,000 units in July before its August media launch. We expect it to do even better based on the largely positive reviews, despite a hotly competitive segment and recent reports to the contrary.
While Reuss made some impressive claims, Automotive News did add an editor’s note to the bottom of the op-ed.
Editor’s note: The Automotive News Data Center classifies the XT4 as a compact premium crossover, and it was the No. 5-selling nameplate in the segment in the first half of this year in total sales. GM places the XT4 in a different category, and Reuss’ comments refer only to retail sales.
In addition, an earlier version of this editor’s note regarding the Cadillac Escalade’s ranking in the premium SUV segment did not include sales of the Escalade ESV nameplate. Again, Reuss’ comments refer only to retail sales.
Exceeding Customer Expectations
We like his forceful defense of Cadillac’s conquest of customers, “We intend to exceed customer expectations in every aspect of the vehicle, no matter the vehicle, inside and out, from the driving experience to passenger comfort and convenience. No trade-offs, no compromises.”
Cadillac will be launching new models every six months through 2021. So, Cadillac will feature new models over 90% of the luxury market. This is great. But now Cadillac’s announced that it’s headed down Electric Avenue, are these models that fit that direction?
Leading Edge Technology Or…
Reuss, and as an extension all of Cadillac feel that the connectivity and technological features are leading edge and will soon be found across all Cadillac models. But the reality is that this technology is not offered across the Cadillac line now. If you have it, and it’s worth bragging about, why not offer it across all of your products if it makes those products better, or special?
Cadillac’s SUV lineup is expanding, but in reality, it seems a bit late, don’t you think? The Escalade has been a segment leader, yet Cadillac has been slow to update and redesign to maintain interest.
Some would suggest that the Escalade has always been a slightly changed Chevy Suburban. If your sales leading Cadillac is perceived as an upgraded Chevy with restricted effort to make the sheetmetal look different, is that really class-leading?