Johan de Nysschen is on a mission to revitalize Cadillac. Since taking over as chief executive of the American luxury brand, the former Audi and Infiniti exec has set about moving the brand's headquarters to New York, switched advertising firms, launched a completely new naming scheme for its model line, and has a whole raft of new products planned. And now he's working on changing how its dealer network operates.

Speaking at both the Washington Auto Show and the NADA dealers' convention in San Francisco this week, de Nysschen has outlined a new plan for its US dealers. The network presently consists of over 900 stores – some 200 of which are stand-alone Cadillac dealers, with the remaining 700 attached to other GM brand showrooms. Contrary to earlier fears, de Nysschen notes that the dealer network is larger and covers more territory than those of import brands, and has no intention of cutting that number down. But he is asking those 700 mixed-brand dealers to create a new showroom experience for Cadillac customers.

In this latest announcement, Cadillac refers to a new model of "boutique" showrooms that will encompass new technologies, higher-trained staff and luxury amenities to give those attached Cadillac showrooms a more unique feel. The plan includes installing "virtual showroom" systems that will allow potential customers to configure a new car using interactive displays and "potentially even holograms."

The plan also calls for "new standards for compensation... with more precise alignment of local sales and potential for each dealer" in order to make sure that the requisite investment in the infrastructure and staff training are worthwhile for the dealers.

Just what form these new systems will take, we don't know at this point. Nor are we sure why Cadillac isn't including its 200 stand-alone "flagship" dealers in the initiative. But we're sure we'll be finding out more about de Nysschen's plans on the dealer front in due course.

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Cadillac Discusses U.S. Dealer Network Development
2015-01-22

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of Cadillac's overall mission to expand and elevate within the premium automotive sector, the brand today outlined its strategy to upgrade its U.S. dealer network.

Speaking at both the Washington, D.C. Auto Show today, and this weekend's annual National Auto Dealers Association convention in San Francisco, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen will outline how the brand will target enhancements in the customer experience.

The company's philosophy is to place customers at the center of the brand experience. New concepts for facilities, network development, high-technology showroom systems and increased financial strength are key aspects of the plan.

"A strong, financially healthy dealer organization is an essential element of Cadillac's expansion plans," de Nysschen said. "The stronger our dealers are, the better our service quality will be. Cadillac is on a journey back to the pinnacle of premium brands, and dealers will contribute every step of the way."

Cadillac's current U.S. network consists of more than 900 stores, giving the brand a substantial advantage in geographic coverage against its import luxury competitors.

"Our comprehensive market coverage supports customer convenience, especially in access to service," said de Nysschen. "Our task is to take further advantage of our network."

Cadillac's U.S. network today features a core of approximately 200 flagship, stand-alone dealerships. Its concept going forward is that core of roughly 200 flagship stores will be complimented by 700 smaller, boutique locations. The boutique concept would feature exclusive Cadillac consumer touch points, highly trained sales and service staff and luxury amenities.

"Our recently announced $12 billion investment in product must be accompanied by corresponding upgrades to the customer experience," de Nysschen said. "For all dealers, including multi-brand outlets, we should strive to create a premium showroom atmosphere and the sophisticated brand experience that luxury consumers expect."

de Nysschen outlined a plan to bring emerging technology to the showroom experience. "Virtual Showroom" systems could enable shoppers to quickly configure and envision multiple models, color and interior choices using interactive digital displays, or potentially even holograms.

He said Cadillac will develop new systems to incentivize and support customer satisfaction performance and dealer compensation. New standards for compensation will be built with more precise alignment of local sales and market potential for each dealer, to better ensure efficient investment.

Growth in dealer profitability will be supported by financial incentives to reward dealer investments into facilities and high achievement in customer satisfaction.

The company has no plans to reduce the number of U.S. dealers.

Cadillac dealers often rank at or near the top of influential customer satisfaction surveys, including J.D. Power's Customer Service Champions designation of the best brands across major industries.


Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today, Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com. Cadillac's media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.

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