General Motors has tapped Uwe Ellinghaus, a former executive at BMW, as the new chief marketing officer for its Cadillac luxury brand, which is seeking to capture import-minded customers. Ellinghaus is a 14-year marketing veteran at BMW who had held a number of posts like head of brand strategy from 2010 to 2012.
He also worked for BMW’s Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of global Cadillac, said in a statement that Ellinghaus’ expertise in marketing and luxury brand building will help the luxury brand extend its growth globally. Prior to GM, Ellinghaus was based in Hamburg, Germany, as executive vice president of marketing and sales for Montblanc International.
Ellinghaus' appointment to Cadillac came three months after its former chief marketer, Don Butler, left for personal reasons. GM’s luxury brand has been rebuilding its vehicle portfolio – with a greater emphasis on performance -- to be able to compete against BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Despite the critical acclamations received by its ATS compact and CTS mid-sized sedan, many analysts and dealers think that the Cadillac's marketing is struggling to get rid of its reputation as a brand for older buyers wanting a big, comfortable ride. Ellinghaus said in the statement that Cadillac has “a new momentum and energy, embodied in its new products," creating a unique opportunity to build the luxury brand globally.
In October, Cadillac tapped Bill Peffer, a former Nissan executive, as vice president of US sales and service. Peffer will replace Chase Hawkins, who exited Cadillac in June. Cadillac posted a 27-percent hike in sales in the United States in the first 10 months of 2013 to 148,206 units, boosted by its overhauled and expanded product lineup. GM is currently making a push for Cadillac in China, with an aim of tripling sales in the country to 100,000 units by 2015.