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    Looking Into the Mind Of Cadillac's President


    • What Does Johan de Nysschen See for the Future of Cadillac?

    Since Cadillac has brought in Johan de Nysschen as its new president, the decisions made by him - such as the CT/XT nomenclature and moving some of their staff to New York - have caused many to experience a range of emotions from happiness to outrage. So we don't know how many people are going to feel about de Nysschen's thoughts about Cadillac in the future that he talked with a couple of outlets at the LA Auto Show.

    First up is Reuters who reports that that de Nysschen sees Cadillac selling a $250,000 luxury sedan, but not anytime soon.

    "It is too early today for a $250,000 Cadillac. Fifteen years from now, it won't be," said de Nysschen.

    Next up is Car and Driver who got a flurry of thoughts from de Nysschen. Here's what they got.

    • Cadillac is working on an all-new diesel engine that will launch in 2019. The U.S. will be getting this new engine.
    • A 911 fighter from Cadillac? de Nysschen says there is a possibility of this, but not till after 2020. (Also, Corvette may have something to say about this as well. -WM)
    • The V lineup will be growing to possibly five or six models in the future. One of those models could be an SUV - not the Escalade though.
    • Sales target for the ATS-V? Modest Volume.

    Source: Reuters, Car and Driver

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    A diesel is sorely needed, but still 5 years away?  He has some lofty ambitions, but Cadillac isn't going to have a 911 fighter or a $250,000 car or any of these niche cars.  The money just isn't there.  I read the other day that Cadillac is spending $2.5 billion to expand their model line, Audi in spending $30 billion over 5 years on new models.  Cadillac will have a hard enough time just keeping the ATS/CTS current, let alone spending big money on low volume niche cars. 

     

    Part of his job is PR, he has to talk about the bright future to keep investors buying stock in GM.  All this same stuff was said back in 2003 when the CTS came out, how they'd have a new crossover SRX, a new rear drive STS to battle the 5-series and E-class, a new converitible to battle the Mercedes SL, and 5 years later GM was bankrupt and half those models were scrapped.  We have heard all this optimism before without results.  I don't think Johan will have any better result than those that came before him.

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    Actually, it really makes me wonder where all the money is going at Audi since practically everything is built on the MLB platform with a few MQB VW Broughams at the lower end.  Of note, their only real sales gains are when they rebadge VWs. 

     

    Audi is the king of "same sausage, different lengths"... so what are they blowing all this money on?  The interiors aren't that far above and beyond equivalent Cadillacs and they fall apart.

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    Audi is supposed to expand to 60 models, but A4, S4, RS4 is 3 models by how they count.  They spend a lot on body styles.  Perhaps money will go into new engines because that 2.0T and supercharged V6 have been around forever.   Maybe they will role out a new version of MMI and a self driving system for the A8, there was rumor of a new rear drive platform for the A8.  Electric drive could consume a lot of dollars, if they make that E-Tron sports car, or a fully electric sedan that could be a big R&D investment.

    Edited by smk4565
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    Figure a billion per engine platform. No more than half a B on mimi. Electric drive will be in an existing platform, so just the cost of the power train, maybe maybe $1.5b.

    I'm just not seeing $30 billion. It's one thing to *say* your going to spend $XX billion dollars.... Its another thing to do it. How much of this is just Audi trying to out boast Mercedes?

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    ^ Agreed. It smacks of the fallacy that a mercedes headlight assembly actually costs $1300- it's not credible. Accounting/PR spin, IMO.

     

    Add to that this eye-opener; if audi spends 15 times the R&D money yet barely eclipses Cadillac in sales (clearly; audi is on the same crushing volume track MB/BMW is), that's a terrible ROI for R&D dollars. And by that token; to get to MB levels they'd seemingly have to spend 200 billion!

     

    I don't see significant marketshare upswing for audi in the foreseeable future, they're already in most lux/ entry crapbox segments, they have diesels, sports cars, performance variants, AWD….. where are they going to go?

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    He's just saying the current Opel diesels don't cut it when it comes to a luxury brand. No surprise there, really, but still better to offer them right away or to outsource someone's diesel than be left to rot in Europe again.

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    If I am spending $30B only to produce manatee faced FWD vehicles of different sizes, then please dear board of directors, fire me.

     

    I have been reading about Audi's 11-figure R&D for past three years from SMK. Audi has yet to produce anything of significance from that figure. May be it is going to have a nuclear fusion propulsion system tomorrow.

     

    A R&D of $1 with significant outcome is 1 billion times better than R&D of $1B with no outcome.

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    I don't know what Audi is spending it on either, most of their cars seem to have barely changed in the last 5 years. I am only saying that Audi stated they would spend $30 billion from 2014-2018. But remember Audi is the #1 selling luxury brand in the world, they sell like 400,000 cars a year in China.

    This is where the problem for Cadillac is, they don't have the economies of scale or volume for GM to give them a massive R&D budget. So Cadillac gets limited to 3 sedans, a couple SUVs and maybe a coupe. It has been that way for 15 years. And they haven't expanded the line yet or got the money to do so.

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    My point is that you're comparing Cadillac's declared spend with Audi's clearly fictional declared spending plans. 

     

    Cadillac get's their economies of scale from the rest of GM. The 3.6TT is a great engine and it gets much of its bones from other GM vehicles, but Cadillac has done a great job of making it special.  Cadillac has Magnetic ride control which it shares with Corvette and GMC Denalis.  Buick isn't even using MRC right now in their cars that have adjustable suspension, so it really has become predominantly a Cadillac exclusive.  Cadillac gets their economies of scale from the parts you cannot see, and engines, and transmissions.

     

    That leaves Cadillac to worry about bodies, interiors, and chassis tuning. 

     

     

    So Cadillac gets limited to 3 sedans, a couple SUVs and maybe a coupe. It has been that way for 15 years. And they haven't expanded the line yet or got the money to do so.

     

    A3, A4, A6, A8

    ATS, CTS, XTS, LTS

     

    TT, A5, A7, R8

    Absent, ATS Coupe, Absent/New CTS coupe is a virtual certainty, Absent

     

    Q3, Q5, Q7

    Absent/Buick Encore, SRX, Escalade, Escalade ESV

     

     

    Not really seeing the giant holes you are. 

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    Audi has an A5 convertible, TT convertible, to which Cadillac has no convertible.   Cadillac isn't in the A3/Q3 segments, the XTS is a one and done product, the XT6 if it is priced in the 70s probably straddles the A7 and A8 in pricing.  It isn't yet clear what that car will be against.  There are a few product line gaps, more importantly Cadillac has a lack of diesels, and the ELR is their only hybrid/electric.  Cadillac takes too long to get things to market too, alternate body styles and V-series trims appear 2 years after the base sedan.  Again it goes back to lack of funding, Audi might lie about what they spend, but we know BMW and Mercedes are good for about $6-7 billion a year in R&D and Cadillac barely has the budget to keep a 5 vehicle lineup fresh, imagine if they tried to do it with a 10-12 vehicle line up.  And to give Cadillac more money that means you have to take it away from Buick and GMC, which would be fine with me, but GM won't do that.

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    And with BMW, where is the money going? There is no radial departure in styling, they've been selling the same 3-series (stylistically) since 1997.  They've been selling the same 7-series interior since about '91.   Talk about not keeping things fresh....  Mercedes was stuck in a very conservative styling rut there for a good 15 years and only recently has gotten some mojo back (I know some here don't like the new Benzes, but I do)

     

    Cadillac doesn't need the kind of budget you are talking about.  It's not going to take $6b - $7b a year to build an ATS convertible and CTS convertible and a Q3 competitor.  It's not going to take another $1B to build a large mid-size crossover when all the bones already exist in other divisions or within Cadillac itself. It wouldn't even take more than $1B to build a small Z4/SLK like Cadillac roadster on Alpha platform especially with Camaro going on that platform.

     

    Cadillac does not operate within a vacuum at GM, they get to pull on the resources of all of GM.

     

    And I call  :bs:  on the way Audi counts models. The A6, S6, A6 Avant, A6 Allroad, A5, S5, RS5, A5 Cabriolet, S5 Cabriolet, and RS5 Cabriolet are not 10 models. They are 1 model with various bodystyles and powertrains. 

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    BMW has spent a lot of money on carbon fiber, electric motors, batteries, etc for the i3 and i8.  If cars like that become the future of driving they might look like geniuses 10-15 years from now.  I think BMW wastes money on things like the 3-series Gran Turismo, 3-series Gran Coupe, X4 crossover coupe, etc.  They should put money into a 7-series based SUV to go into a new segment, rather than making 8 versions of the 3-series when the 3-series already dominates that segment.  Mercedes has a more complete and well thought out line up.

     

    If Cadillac were to go the Mercedes route, they would need compact, small, medium and large size cars with sedan and coupe (8 models) compact, small, medium, large SUV (4 models), and mix in at least one sports car, and at least 2 of the 4 cars (like ATS/CTS) should have a convertible version.  That is 15 models, at least 10 need a V-series, so that is 25.  They would have to roll out 4 products ( a coupe or v-series version of an existing car would count) a year on 6 year cycles to keep the line up fresh.  It would be at least $2 billion a year,  probably $3.  They aren't rolling out products that fast now, I doubt they have the money to do so.

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    But remember Audi is the #1 selling luxury brand in the world, they sell like 400,000 cars a year in China.

    This is where the problem for Cadillac is, they don't have the economies of scale or volume for GM to give them a massive R&D budget. So Cadillac gets limited to 3 sedans, a couple SUVs and maybe a coupe. It has been that way for 15 years. And they haven't expanded the line yet or got the money to do so.

     

    You are okay to justify Audi to be tarted up VW so as long it is #1 in sales, but yet you have reservations for Cadillac to be sharing anything within GM. If you want Cadillac to chase volume then you should be ready for Cadillac FWD based on Cruze, Equinox, Trax, Impala. Because like it or not FWD sells in masses.

     

    Cadillac should not be chasing Germans for sales crown. It should focus exclusivity. Let Buick handle the low rung BMW, MB and Audi. There is no need for a FWD Cadillac to compete the A3, 2 series (sedan) and CLA. Make Verano and Encore more potent, slap a GNX line and more features; that should do the trick. GM was already ahead in the FWD game with those two before the Germans jumped in, make them better.

     

    GM can make excellent case of economy of scales by diversifying Cadillac platforms with Chevrolets and Buicks/Opels. Cadillac does not need its own platform unlike BMW or Mercedes does.

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    I don't like Audis personally, the lower end cars aren't luxurious, the 2.0 is a buzzy engine, they are unreliable and they have stiff suspensions because the don't have a rwd chassis, so they have to sacrifice ride quality for handling where as a BMW or Mercedes is pretty good at both.

    I don't think Cadillac needs to copy Audi, I am just saying Audi sells a lot of cars and they have a lot of resources and money to work with because the Premier group is VW's profit center. Cadillac isn't seen as the cash cow of GM that gets whatever it wants.

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    they have stiff suspensions because the don't have a rwd chassis, so they have to sacrifice ride quality for handling where as a BMW or Mercedes is pretty good at both.

    Da'f@#k? What the hell are you talking about?! RWD v. FWD has no bearing on ride quality... none at all. 

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    So why do Audi's ride hard compared to a Mercedes or BMW. Audi has to use a super stiff suspension for handling because they are front heavy and not as well balanced as a BMW. Rear wheel drive cars have a handling advantage over fwd, thus the suspension can be tuned somewhat for ride comfort and still handle better than a stiff suspension front driver. Mercedes and BMW make a superior car to Audi is all I am saying, they have better ride/handling balance.

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    I have two coworkers who have Audi's. A4 and A6. Both ride hard but they love it for that reason. As Drew stated, this is NOT a RWD versus FWD but the way Audi has tuned their suspension.

     

    You have clearly not spent any time in BMW or MB FWD appliances as they ride hard and are anything but luxury rides. Cadillac DOES NOT need to compete in the FWD subcompact space. Buick has that covered just fine.

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    I have Airmatic, in Sport 2 it handles pretty well, very little body lean. But bumps are noticeable, especially on our garbage roads, so I almost never use Sport2.

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    I think Audi has always appealed to those uptight folks who want stuff 'just so'.....very conservative designs but for example interiors with really tight fits and gaps and interesting and nice material textures and finishes.  It's more about it being like contemporary art.  Attention to fine detail.  These folks would drop 100 bucks on a pair of jeans because of the stitching pattern and the name.  I dispute highly the notion that people buy Audi's for performance.  For awhile, when their AWD was exclusive, it was another differentiator.  Now its just an asset for them.

     

    Cadillac's big problem in one aspect has been even though their interiors are nice, I don't think they have ever had the precision that one of those Audi bangers would find appealing.  Seats aren't taut enough, the padded surfaces are a bit fluffy.  the precision of which things are put together is not 100% there yet.  Plus Cadillac interiors still probably seem a bit overstyled for the Audi set although i think they are great in comparison to a lot of the BMW interiors.  Mercedes really has jumped back to the front of the pack on a lot of interior stuff.  I really do think interiors drives a lot of it.  A huge percentage of lux car makes is crossovers now.  I don't think performance drives luxury sales as much as some think, except maybe BMW.  I think though the performance has to be available to those few that want it.

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    one local dealer is advertising new CTS for about 16k off list...on their website....

     

    DeNishen needs to get that he can push the price of caddies up all he wants.  there still is a major chore in finding the ceiling on what people will pay.

     

    as for me, i would love to pounce on one of these ATS or CTS deals.

     

    http://www.walserchevroletbuick.com/new-inventory/index.htm?search=&make=CADILLAC&model=ATS&model=CTS&model=XTS&saveFacetState=true&lastFacetInteracted=inventory-listing1-facet-anchor-model-5

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