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De Nysschen: 'Don't mess with me'
Automotive News
October 6, 2014

Sounds like Johan de Nysschen’s attitude has already moved to New York.

After what he called “a hectic few days” of product, branding and business announcements, the global head of Cadillac last week used a long and, at times, cutting Facebook post to punch back at critics of his plans.

• On his mandate: “Mary Barra and Dan Ammann have been very explicit in their instructions: restore Cadillac to the pinnacle of global premium brands, not in sales but in aspirational brand character. OK, so let’s get to work. Obviously, doing what has always been done won’t yield a different result.”

• On the new naming system, starting with the new model called the CT6: “Every armchair marketing expert has ten opinions to share. Fortunately, I do not determine strategy based on the unfiltered observations of people who do not have a 360-degree understanding of the problem.”

• On setting up Cadillac as a separate business unit: “Emails from GM [retirees] suggesting that is the dumbest idea since the Cimmaron. I quietly wonder if any of them had a hand in creating that masterful monument to product substance.”

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
He's certainly bold and brash, I'll give him that.

Still, I can't help but think two things:

1. If the bravado won't play well with some of the press and the larger car-buying public; especially if he "slaps" other executives out there who may understand branding better. De Nysschen is certainly product and engineering guru, but he may not fully understand how this kind of stuff plays in the court of public opinion, and;

2. If most of these decisions were made before he came on board (such as Uwe E.'s renaming scheme) and he's just putting his name on them. If so, he may be trying too hard to sell the idea that these ideas were his own -- and in doing so he could potentially piss a few folks off.

As for my opinion, I think some of these decisions are good, and some are just dumb.

Firstly, I applaud the idea of a "separation" from the rest of GM in order to create/cultivate a mindset and direction for the brand. That makes a lot of sense.

However, as others on GMI and around the web have stated, they could have moved Caddy's headquarters to another town in Michigan/outside of Detroit if they wanted to do that, without running to NYC.

And even if that was the case, why SoHo? No one in SoHo drives anyway! There's no car culture in NYC. Hell, BMW, Volvo, Benz, Subaru are running their operations out of New Jersey, not New York. At lease people in Jersey actually drive. And if you were going to locate it in NYC, why not the old GM Building, which also houses Apple's flagship NYC store, rather than some trendy area that no one will care about in 10 or 15 years?

Secondly, as per the naming scheme, I'm still scratching my head. Does it make sense from a "rationality" and "everything in it's place" standpoint? Absolutely. But that doesn't always make for good branding and marketing? Remember, we want people to form some kind of an "attachment" to their vehicle.

I've never been on the whole "give them names again" bandwagon. I was never a fan of some of the old names like Deville and Seville anyway. To me, when Caddy broke with tradition, they were signaling that they were doing something different. I applauded the move.

However, while I was on the "rationalize the nomenclature" train, if this is the best they can come up with, perhaps we should go back to regular names. With the entire segment going to some kind of alphanumeric designation, maybe it makes sense to stand out and do something different.

Alfa Romeo is giving actual names to their new products, with more on the way. Higher-end products from Rolls, Bentley, Porsche, and Maserati already do this as well. If Cadillac hopes to one day have ultra-luxury aspirations (as the CT6 designation alludes to, with plenty of room above for a raft of CT7, CT8, and CT9 vehicles), then perhaps actual names work best.

This makes sense for a few reasons.

For one, they can never have a truly "integrated lineup" as long as the Escalade exists. There's no way that they'll kill the Escalade nameplate; it's too valuable and recognizable. If that's the case, they why have an outlier? Why not just give all the cars names?

For another, Cadillac has stated that they want to create evocative designs and bring some passion to their vehicles. De Nysschen says he wants to bring "class" back to Caddy. I applaud all of that, and if the Elmiraj is any indication, those designs will hit showrooms over the next few years. But how do you get "excited" and feel "passionate" about "CT6"? Does that quicken the pulse? Does it make you feel like you'd have some "connection" to your vehicle? I may be a cynic, but I don't think it will for most people.

Don't get me wrong here. If they brought back actual names, I don't think those names should be Fleetwood or Deville or Seville or Eldorado. As sad as it is to say it, those names are "old" and conjure up images of the land yachts of yore. No amount of marketing or ad campaigning will change that in the eyes of consumers.

Rather, I would want to see new, inspiring names that go along with Cadillac's new designs and aspirations. They could have some kind of "theme" to them if they wanted. There's lots of examples out there of companies that used to do this successfully. Lancia used to name their cars after the Greek alphabet, and later, after Roman roads. Many Maseratis and VWs used to be named after various trade winds.

Couldn't Cadillac do something similar?

I understand the idea of rationality. I also understand the thought process that goes behind giving customers an instant snapshot of where a product stands in the portfolio just by observing the vehicle's name. If Uwe and Johann want to do both, maybe the solution is to "alphabetize" the actual names in order to give customers that kind of idea (i.e. "Cadillac Arion" for a subcompact; "Cadillac Bellerophon" for the compact/entry-level sedan; "Cadillac Chimera" for the mid-sizer, "Cadillac Damascus" for the fullsizer, etc).
 

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Why not come up with a truly original idea instead of retreads of German luxury car trends........
Think outside the box......
Being an American/German brand won't fly.....
 

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Nothing restores aspirational brand character like a brand manager who talks like a drunk truck driver.

This jerk looks like he's going to be running Caddy into the ground. Putting the HQ in Flint does make a lot of
sense -- why headquarter a car brand in a city where everyone rides public transportation? Is Cadillac
planning to build a bunch of subway coaches?

The new brand naming is stupid -- nothing screams aspirational brand character like alpha numeric models:
Although, it's a shame 6000 SUX was already taken....... I guess we'll have to settle for CT6.
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Why not come up with a truly original idea instead of retreads of German luxury car trends........
Think outside the box......
Being an American/German brand won't fly.....
But trying to copy the Euro Luxury brands has worked well...wait...nevermind. Aligning the names even closer to the German naming conventions isn't going to change anything and is essentially redoing what has been done before. When that doesn't yield different results, then what?
 

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Sorry, but I think he is making the right moves. Cadillac has to move away from the image of being GM's top brand and move into a position of Cadillac is a tier 1 premium brand. After Chase Hawkings was let go, Cadillac had a year with no focused leadership. Ferguson was being torn between making Cadillac decisions and lobby-ing for GM. Now they have a leader that knows what it takes to bring a brand to tier 1 status, as seen with Audi. As long as GM top brass give him the freedom he needs to get the job done, we will see a bright future for Cadillac. For all those that say "new" GM looks a lot like "old" GM, I think this is going to be one of those defining things that show, its a whole new Cadillac and a fresh mindset at GM.
 

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"Armchair" observation in his responses: Major Ego or Thinned Skinned?
Just doesn't give a ****.

Note to this arrogant SOB, don't run your mouth if you have shown nothing of substance to back the trash talk up with.
Note to this arrogant SOB, don't run your mouth if you have shown nothing of substance to back the trash talk up with.
Nothing restores aspirational brand character like a brand manager who talks like a drunk truck driver.
His arrogance makes me not want a Cadillac. Ever.
Grow some balls. Maybe you need some testosterone shots, I suspect you suffer from low T-levels.


This jerk looks like he's going to be running Caddy into the ground. Putting the HQ in Flint does make a lot of
sense
-- why headquarter a car brand in a city where everyone rides public transportation? Is Cadillac
planning to build a bunch of subway coaches?


"Flint07.jpg"










I like his responses.
Because you need compression shorts to run.
 

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I like his responses.
So do I. I may not like some of the goings on at Cadillac with names etc., but like all the other armchair critics I too wonder about the future of Cadillac. I hope they get it together before it is too late and hope these moves/changes work out. I guess only time will tell.
 

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Wow, why did he feel a response was necessary? Me thinks it may have something to do with the failure over at Infiniti. When you have success in the beginning and then fail so hard, I guess it makes you a tad bit thin skinned. Like an elite athlete who's skills are being questioned in the twilight of their career. This could go two ways, huge success and quiets the critics or fails so hard he will be out of the league/job in a few months/years.

In this case I hope it is the former because Cadillac cannot survive another decade of mediocrity(In sales not product, well in a way not enough coverage of the many segments).
A tip for Mr. De Nysschen hang out with Mark Reuss for a month and learn how to be cool kid before this turns into negative PR for GM/Cadillac. Yes, super rich prickly people
(50/50 chance not always the case) may buy these uber luxury vehicles but that does not mean you have to act like one to sell one.
 

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De Nysschen: 'Don't mess with me'
Automotive News
October 6, 2014

Sounds like Johan de Nysschen’s attitude has already moved to New York.

After what he called “a hectic few days” of product, branding and business announcements, the global head of Cadillac last week used a long and, at times, cutting Facebook post to punch back at critics of his plans.

• On his mandate: “Mary Barra and Dan Ammann have been very explicit in their instructions: restore Cadillac to the pinnacle of global premium brands, not in sales but in aspirational brand character. OK, so let’s get to work. Obviously, doing what has always been done won’t yield a different result.”

• On the new naming system, starting with the new model called the CT6: “Every armchair marketing expert has ten opinions to share. Fortunately, I do not determine strategy based on the unfiltered observations of people who do not have a 360-degree understanding of the problem.”

• On setting up Cadillac as a separate business unit: “Emails from GM [retirees] suggesting that is the dumbest idea since the Cimmaron. I quietly wonder if any of them had a hand in creating that masterful monument to product substance.”

CONTINUE AT AUTONEWS.COM
I didn't have an opinion on him one way or another up until now......

I LIKE HIM!!!
 

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I like his responses.
+1.

Seems like a man on a mission, if you ask me.

But after 7 years of saying EXACTLY the same thing de Nysschen is saying, it's just nice to sit back here on GMI and watch everyone on GMI throw a fit.

I mean, why repeat the same strategy that has failed over and over and over? Want to change Cadillac? Change the strategy.
I've never said I hated or liked the new CT6 naming convention. I'm saying, let's wait to see how they build up the buzz around it. And then if it sucks, let's start bitching.


To me, it seems like Cadillac is going to be elevated to a stature it once enjoyed nearly half a century ago. And I'm certainly fine with that.
If Cadillacs are suddenly going to cater to people who can afford it, I'm 100% OK with that.
If Cadillacs are suddenly going to be a car people want to be seen driving and being driven in, I'm 100% OK with that.
If Cadillacs are suddenly going to be a car that some people can't afford because it's suddenly "more than just a nicer car," I'm 10000% OK with that.

Why anyone here would bitch and moan about Cadillac suddenly catering to the clientele it used to have, is beyond me. It's probably because Cadillacs have spent decades catering to the "common man."
It's about time Cadillac cater to the luxury customer!
 

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"Armchair" observation in his responses: Major Ego or Thinned Skinned?
I would say both....

I am increasingly getting the idea that he was a mistake, maybe getting him was more about PR or maybe they didn't have a bunch of good choices on hand. As far as products go it is going to be years before we know if he can make products that are good for Cadillac. He is certainly going to try and put his prints on what is coming in the next two years. Fact is for products coming up soon there is little input that he can have on them at this point without major delays.
 
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