Here’s Where Cadillac’s New Marketing Chief Sees an Opening


2014 Cadillac ATS

A look at Cadillac stats says General Motors (NYSE:GM) couldn’t ask for much more from its luxury brand. Cadillac is growing faster than any of its competitors while racking up impressive year-over-year growth. Yet General Motors’s legendary line sees room to improve. In fact, new Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus sees the Cadillac’s “iconic design” and “distinctive presence” as the key to gaining on German rivals in the next decade, Automotive News reports.

Ellinghaus knows a few things about luxury competitors. The newly announced Cadillac CMO served in the same position for BMW (BMAXY.PK), from 2010 to 2012. At BMW, Ellinghaus had Rolls-Royce under his belt as well as the iconic German brand that is the highest-selling automobile among U.S. luxury buyers annually. Though Cadillac’s sales figures continue to climb, they still trail BMW and Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF.PK) by margins of nearly 100,000 vehicles in 2013 sales.

Ellinghaus sees part of the problem in the packaging. He told Automotive News that Cadillac is winning with its products but not doing enough to impress upon Americans how special and “relevant” the brand is. Among Cadillac’s product triumphs is the 2013 Car of the Year for the ATS, which preceded the recent 2014 Cadillac CTS win for Motor Trend Car of the Year. Ellinghaus wants to see a more unified strategy for the brand as a whole.

“The other premium manufacturers are far more mainstream and can’t be as unique,” he told Automotive News. On that note, Cadillac is showing a unique pace of growth. Against the growth rate of 13 percent for both its German rivals in 2013, Cadillac has posted gains of 27 percent through October. Add to that 17 straight months of sales gains among American buyers and there’s plenty of material with which to build.

Ellinghaus’s most recent experience with luxury goods company Montblanc should provide him with even more tools to enhance the brand image of Cadillac. While the glory days of the 1950s may be behind the General Motors luxury line, the trends show Cadillac is on a strong track across the globe.

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