Cadillac will once again try to penetrate the European luxury market, after several failed attempts to do so. This time, Cadillac has set more humble targets supported by a new retail strategy that, if successful, could also be adopted in the United States. Instead of increasing the number of its dealerships in Europe from the current 40 store, Cadillac will open several test-drive centers, stand-alone service facilities and pop-up storefronts across Western Europe.
The US luxury carmaker wants to expose potential buyers to Cadillac offerings without forcing them to visit a dealership, which is "not really what they want to do given how limited their leisure time is," according to Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac's global chief marketing officer. He remarked that elements of the new retail model "clearly" could be adapted for the US market.
"I think the future of retail in the automotive industry is without bricks and mortar, at least compared to what we do now, which is invest multimillions in dealerships," Ellinghaus said during the recent Geneva auto show. He said that such move would enable Cadillac to "control not only the transaction prices better, but also the quality of the experience, of the dealer touch points."
Other luxury carmakers are launching alternative retail strategies in the US as they try to fit into shifting shopping habits of customers, who may want to test drive a car or know more about an offering without any sales pressure or financing pitches.
For instance, Porsche is planning to open "experience centers" in Los Angeles and at its Atlanta HQ, allowing owners and prospects to know more about the differences between Caymans and Cayennes. On the other hand, BMW's new retail sales model entails plans for regional pools of test cars featuring wider range of models.