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August 29, 2016

I saw a post by Michael Accardi at GM Inside News that says an article published by The Detroit Bureau got a forthright response from a commenter named… Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac’s president.

Assuming it was in fact him, he wanted to clear up misinformation and divulged fodder for fans and, no doubt, the competition to chew on. This is a partial quote (numbered for reference):

  1. We ARE planning a Cadillac flagship which will NOT be a 4 door sedan;
  2. We ARE planning a large crossover beneath Escalade;
  3. We ARE planning a compact crossover beneath XT5;
  4. We ARE planning a comprehensive enhancement to CT6 later during life cycle;
  5. We ARE planning a major refresh for XTS;
  6. We ARE planning a new Lux 3 sedan entry;
  7. We ARE planning a new Lux 2 sedan entry

So, what does #1 mean? An SUV? A twin to the mid-engine Corvette? And what does this say of CT8; is it dead or was the axed flagship sedan positioned above that?

To most, #2 and #3 are completely expected and viewed as late to the party.

Being their newest car, it is curious de Nysschen found a MCE for the CT6 to be worth mentioning. Would that be the adoption of thier latest styling language? Or, maybe that would be the time of a merging of the CTS and CT6, as many people have speculated is inevitable.

I find it rather incredible that Cadillac would be planning not just a refresh but a major refresh for the XTS. Now, I’m actually okay with the idea of Cadillac keeping the XTS around as a model to cater to the older clientele that might otherwise wind up behind the wheel of a Continental. I’m also intrigued by the proposition of an updated fwd Cadillac design but this was possibly a bigger shocker than #1.

I’m a little confused by the “Lux #” terminology used in items #6 and #7; he also refers to “Lux 5” in his discussion on the cancelled flagship sedan. Is it possible that “Lux” refers to a more luxury-focused line, such as “CL5” and “CL3” etc., to compliment their current “CT” line? That’s pure speculation but wouldn’t the naming scheme have a nice ring?

In any event, it’s fun to speculate on this stuff and I’d love to hear your opinions. Here is all of what is purported to be Johan de Nysschen’s comment:

   

Sir, your well-written article was just brought to my attention and I feel obliged to respond. I do not know the sources of your information, but must assume they cannot be very high ranking, certainly they do not have access to the full spectrum of information. Some of what you report is correct, some incorrect, most is conjecture. I would just say I’m a lot more optimistic than the gist of this article would have readers believe.

It’s not so much an issue of Cadillac programs which have been “cancelled”. The only item which is correct, is the change in planning for a Lux 5 flagship sedan, versus the plan which was previously reported to our dealers. Rather than calling it a “cancellation”, I prefer to consider the change to the flagship program as a revision to what will constitute the Cadillac flagship. There will be a flagship, but given the segment development, it will not be a large four door sedan.

GM is currently in the normal annual planning cycle for budgets and the five year mid term plan. All functions in the company seperately develop their own resource balancing proposals which at this early stage of a bottom-up planning process, are likely subject to considerations of individual functional goals and resulting prioritization. Some of these may at this stage be better aligned with corporate and strategic objectives than others. This is a normal part of the corporate planning process, in my long automotive experience across three different corporations.

There are still many steps in the process as we bring these functional budget proposals into alignment and consolidate them across brands and the global regions, for approval by GM top management and the GM Board of Directors, both groups, incidentally, having repeatedly expressed their support and endorsement of the Cadillac strategy.

I suspect that a lot of the speculation that your sources may be experiencing, and reporting to you, was gleaned around the water cooler and likely has its origin in customary managerial tactics as people jockey for resource allocation at this early stage of the budget process.

I consider myself to be very well informed about the Cadillac business and planning, I am fully aligned with my peers leading other corporate functions and divisions within the global GM corporation. As enterprise leaders, we jointly decide final resource allocation in response to the bottom-up proposals, once these are received .

To clarify any misconception which may arise from your article, allow me to share future Cadillac product plans, as recently informed to our global dealer organization:

We ARE planning a Cadillac flagship which will NOT be a 4 door sedan;
We ARE planning a large crossover beneath Escalade;
We ARE planning a compact crossover beneath XT5;
We ARE planning a comprehensive enhancement to CT6 later during life cycle;
We ARE planning a major refresh for XTS;
We ARE planning a new Lux 3 sedan entry;
We ARE planning a new Lux 2 sedan entry;

These programs are secure and development work is well underway, with very substantial costs already committed.

In addition, new powertrain applications for the above portfolio, which will include New Energy applications, are also part of the confirmed planning.

I trust these unusually transparent insights which I have shared, will allay the fears of thousands of Cadillac fans who will greet your article with justified consternation .

Johan de Nysschen
President
Cadillac


Be sure to chime in with your thoughts. There’s a lot there to decipher.