In an effort to revive Cadillac, General Motors Co. gathered 300 salespeople on June 3 for a combined pep rally, lecture and confessional. Amid Cadillac's fading appeal, GM CEO Ed Whitacre said that its customers should be treated better.
During the meeting, GM managers shared an instance that a Texas salesman had discouraged Whitacre's friend from purchasing a Cadillac CTS-V sedan. As he was test-driving the vehicle, it ran out of gas.
In large letters on a screen, Whitacre's emailed response was shown, stating, "If true, awful." Cadillac has had a difficult time of convincing the younger generation to buy its vehicles and also of convincing consumers that the brand is worth paying a premium.
Trainers from Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., a unit of Marriott International Inc., were brought in to demonstrate to dealers how to reconnect with customers. Kurt McNeil, Cadillac US vice president of sales and service, said that the company is embarking on a "new beginning."
He also admitted that a lot of work has to be done "on the product side, the marketing side and the customer service side." There was a time when Cadillac regarded itself as the "Standard of the World" but in 1998, it ended its run as the top-selling US luxury brand for 60 years.
Since 1999, Cadillac hasn't placed higher than third. Cadillac's US sales may have increased 32% for the first months of the year but it can't be denied that its results last year were the worst since 1953. [via autonews]