New Cadillac Boss Discusses ELR’s “Niche” Future

NOV 27 2014 BY JAY COLE 21

In Place Of The 2016 Cadillac ELR At The LA Auto Show Last Week, We Got To See The 2014 Again

The Current Cadillac ELR Stood In For The 2016 Version That Had Been Expected To Debut At The LA Autoshow Last Week

Over the past few years, we have been a little tough on Cadillac’s new boss, Johan de Nysschen when it comes to plug-in vehicle technology.

After Spending Some Time Heading Up Nissan Luxury Brand, Johan de Nysschen Moved To GM's Over The Summer

After Spending Some Time Heading Up Nissan Luxury Brand, Johan de Nysschen Moved To GM’s Over The Summer

Of course to be fair, Mr. de Nysschen has had a somewhat checkered past, in the only segment we cover:

Since taking over the top job at Cadillac in late July, the hits have kept coming:

But lets given Mr. de Nysschen the benefit of the doubt (again) as some of these happenings may have just been circumstantial coincidence.

The Caddy chief sat down with Auto World News at the LA Autoshow to discuss the future of the Cadillac ELR – so perhaps there is some other factors at play behind the extended range, luxury ELR that we are not aware of and he really is a proponent of EVs after all.

On why the Chevrolet Volt should have came out second (or perhaps not at all):

Another Look At The Cadillac ELR From LA

Another Look At The Cadillac ELR From LA

“If we were to have launched the technology into ELR first, and if we had positioned ELR as a segment competitor to a Tesla, which is today so far the premium electric car; and we were to have presented this car as an EV, with the ability to get you home when the charging infrastructure isn’t there to support you; and to overcome a major impediment to people adopting EVs in a widespread basis, which is range anxiety; and we produced this car with the usual Cadillac craftsmanship, technology, and quality of execution, nobody would’ve thought that the car was too expensive. The fact that people do is as much a reflection on, I suppose, our bad, in how we positioned this car.”

On adjusting the ELR’s $75,000 MSRP to better fit the market’s expectation:

“…if we were to reprice ELR, to the point where somehow we found a point that people would buy it buy the thousands, then all we would achieve is, the more cars you sell, the more money you lose. There’s no point in that. It is where it is.”

On future ELR-based cars and technology for Cadillac:

“I absolutely believe that we need not only a successor to ELR but more vehicles of that caliber and they will be part of our future. We must not give up on the car. I cannot have 50 priorities at the same time. The team and I will get around to working on ELR, but it is clearly going to be a niche car.”


Run and hide Cadillac CT6 Plug-In…run and hide

Check out more of Johan de Nysschen’s interview with Auto World News here.


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21 Comments on "New Cadillac Boss Discusses ELR’s “Niche” Future"

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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

“…if we were to reprice ELR, to the point where somehow we found a point that people would buy it buy the thousands, then all we would achieve is, the more cars you sell, the more money you lose. There’s no point in that. It is where it is.”

Volt is $26k-ish for marginal cost to manufacture. ELR is likely no more than $45k-ish. Therefore, if you sell more of them for a gross profit you offset more of the so-called loss, and sell enough of them and it becomes a profit.

This guy is a f–king moron.

I can’t believe GM hired this idiot…

How did he do at Audi? not much. He certainly hasn’t done anything at Infiniti.

“the more cars you sell, the more money you lose.”

Statement like this is really NOT an excuse. It only shows how incompetent GM manufacturing capability is. GM others can figure out a way to make money with lower price point, then GM failed at figuring how to make money at the similar price point.

GM needs to stop using this as an excuse, but figure out a way to make money with lower price.

B/c if GM doesn’t, and others figure out, then it would be too late for GM…

Things like this just means that this guy is NOT a visionary at all.

Visionary thinks outside the box….

I honestly don’t care anymore. We have enough manufacturers that are serious in the game that I can laugh it off as I see manufacturers like Cadillac fall behind. Right now they probably aren’t feeling the heat much. But in 3 to 5 years they are going to be feeling the heat from Tesla and BMW and a few other luxury brands.

Everything this guy says, even when he THINKS he’s being politically correct, basically turns my stomach. People with his kind of thinking have basically turned the Cadillac Marque into something a young person would rarely buy, and an older or senior person ALSO would not consider, what with their ‘contemporary’ Soap Box Derby styling – they call it “Arts and Science”, but to these eyes I see little of neither. So Congratulations. Cadillac sales are down, and Ford has done similar things over at the Lincoln Marque. No matter how much they try to push it, few want it. As far as the ELR goes, I really tried to like this car.. But 2 big things prevented a purchase, namely the funky dashboard which I never got used to, (“You have your choice of 4 dashboards” — “I don’t like those 4; show me 4 more”; “Uh, we only have 4 choices”). Then to that ridiculous back seat where any normal height male cannot sit. Who designs these things? They say its essentially a 2 seater. SO then why make it 4 seats if they’re unuseable? Cadillac I really don’t understand. Just like Toyota took their Prius and just enlarged… Read more »

+1, well said

One of the fundamental lessons in business, and, for that matter, life, is: You can succeed or you can get to do things the most comfortable way possible, but very, very rarely do those approaches take the same path.

GM and especially Cadillac seem intent on not only doing things their preferred way but somehow succeeding wildly in the process. When your way is steeped in “tradition” (a word I detest in any discussion of high-tech products) you’re almost guaranteed to fail, or at least fall far short of your goals.

Eventually, I predict Cadillac will come around, but not until the market marches on, leaving them looking foolish, stubborn, and “traditional”.

Let it go. Like I’ve said many times, your grandpa that watches Fox News all day doesn’t want one of those electric Obamobiles. Cadillac is the wrong brand.

You Nailed it.
Fox Lies.

I agree with Bill; most young people aren’t impressed with Cadillac, and their angular styling doesn’t appeal to the older generation either. WTG GM, you never learn.

Cadillac misses the most fundamental point: the NVH – noise, vibration and harshness of an EV simply can not be equalled by an ICE. No noise. No vibration. You don’t have to engineer them out, or cover them up with noise canceling technology (that does not cover the roar of that 4 cylinder engine when it comes on to push the car up a hill).

Mr. de Nysschen needs to spend more time driving a Tesla. Mine is on offer. I’ll personally deliver it. Just give a few bucks to our Kickstarter campaign Johan and I’ll be right over.

This guy is ignorant, but he’s chickens will come home to roost eventually. Of course by then he’ll probably have rewritten his own history as these kinds of people tend to do.

The fact that GM would hire this guy makes me think that some bigwig at GM owes Martin Winterkorn a favor or something.

All things being equal you’d think he’d be the last to be under consideration.

Tesla and BMW should be happy this guy is in charge of Cadillac.

Properly priced, the ELR should be eating the i3’s lunch. Instead, we have this guy who is literally saying they don’t want to sell too many of them.

Not to worry, his big fix for Caddy is to move the headquarters to SoHo. Yeah, that’ll fix it. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

IF GM had sold the EV1 to customers instead of only leasing…
IF GM had followed up the NiMH EV1.2 with the EV2…
IF GM had not sold it’s controlling interest in ECD/Ovonics to an oil company…

“we need not only a successor to ELR but more vehicles of that caliber”

No, you need fewer vehicles of that caliber, and more vehicles of Tesla’s caliber.

Honestly, Cadillac has a lot more challenges than the ELR right now. The new CTS re-design does not seem to have gone over well (it isn’t bad, but I think most are ambivalent to it), and the ATS hasn’t been the 3 series killer everyone hoped it would be. Sad really since the products are generally pretty good. I know two friends who recently got SRXes and really like them (one traded in his X3 m-sport for one). The fact that their new CTS debuted with new “confidently” high prices didn’t help…

Well between the ATS & CTS Cadilac will sell about 60,000 this year in the U.S. Not bad when you consider its the same car, same platform, same design, built in the same factory, and sold for ruffly the same price. The only difference I see is the CTS is a few inches longer, and has more legroom in the back seat. Personally I would love to see a low cost Cadilac that looks exactly like a Saturn Sky.

The ELR sold over 1000 copies in the U.S. this year, placing it in the top 10 of all plug-in sales. By my way of thinking, their have only been 3 successful plug-in vehicles in the U.S.(Leaf, Volt & Tesla’s Model S). The Tesla because it built a strong brand. The Leaf and the Volt because they transformed their brands. While most car companies have seen their small fuel efficient car sales fall Chevy and Nissan’s sales continue to grow.

As the Brain of Cadilac I think Johan is a wise choice. Moving the Executive and Marketing departments of Cadilac to the world financial and media capital is brilliant. I believe whenever a major news story involving the auto industry breaks in the future a Cadilac representative will be there getting interviewed.

No one likes the alphanumeric naming, but it is good for building the brand. When asked what kind of car you drive you probably won’t say ” I drive an ABC 123 XYZ” instead I think most people will just say ” A Cadilac”

Well, we of course will see in the fullness of time..

Ford had great plans for the Edsel, also.

Just watched the management film for THAT car here on an InsideEVs blog.
Since ford’s management at the time seemed more intelligent than Cadillac’s current management, I just don’t see much prospering at Cadillac.

Gee, de Nysschen must think premium car buyers are stupid.