Cadillac can regain leadership of the U.S. luxury market if it comes out with a revitalized vehicle lineup with a stronger brand identity, according to recently named new marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus. When interviewed by Automotive News, he cited the car of the year award given by Motor Trend to the 2014 CTS sedan, saying that it’s a “good start.”
However, 44-year-old Ellinghaus (who used to be a BMW marketing executive) said that the recognitions for its quality are not enough to win over customers. He believes that people won’t enter dealerships if they don’t think that the brand is relevant. Ellinghaus’ appointment takes effect on Jan. 1. He will be reporting to global Cadillac chief Bob Ferguson.
He said that he seeks to sharpen Cadillac's brand identity around the distinct design of its vehicles. He said that being unique is Cadillac’s best competitive advantage since the other premium manufacturers are far more mainstream. San Diego research firm Strategic Vision conducted a survey, which determined that Cadillac buyers already place a bigger premium on styling than those of other luxury automakers.
In 2012, 71 percent of Cadillac buyers chose exterior styling as an “extremely important” factor in their choice. On the other hand, only 50 percent for BMW buyers and 47 percent for Mercedes buyers selected this reason.
Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at research firm Kelley Blue Book, said that it’s a huge challenge for Cadillac to attract those who already drive Germany luxury brands. He thinks that Cadillac is releasing the right products but since these luxury import buyers are “fairly well entrenched,” they’re likely to switch to a German brand.