Cadillac Boss: Plug-In Technology To Be Applied Across Entire Lineup

JAN 26 2015 BY JAY COLE 26

Who is Cadillac Boss Johan de Nysschen when it comes to electric vehicles?

Is he the Volt/EV hater he was years ago when he worked at Audi, the guy who marginalized the ELR, took the next generation off the auto show schedule and put it on production hiatus in 2015?

That is pretty much how we had him pegged…then he delivered the opening speech last week at the Washington Auto Show.  If one didn’t know better you might have sworn it was Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn at the stand.  Kinda.

De Nyssschen said that the expertise GM has learned from plug-in technology from cars like the Chevy Volt and Spark EV would be “applied across the spectrum of our (Cadillac’s) portfolio”. 

Last Week In Detroit de Nysschen Was All About The 640hp CTS-V - " the very best of the Cadillac brand"

Last Week In Detroit de Nysschen Was All About The 640hp CTS-V – ” the very best of the Cadillac brand”

Unfortunately, no specifics were given.

So for now, all we really still know is that the 2016 Cadillac ELR is coming at some point, and a plug-in version of the new CT6 will debut late this fall as a 2016 Cadillac.

The Cadillac boss did say that the start of that expanded new plug-in learning would be to introduce start/stop technology in the lineup to assisted with fuel efficiency and emission.

Overall for the brand, de Nysschen said that Cadillac will introduce eight new models over the next 5 years, five of which will “will take Cadillac into market segments where the brand is not even present today.”

Separately, GM is going to ask the 700-odd dealers (out of 929) who sell the Cadillac brand along side Chevrolet to create specialized “boutique locations” for the brand.

De Nysschen said that Cadillac won’t be culling the excessive number of dealers in the US, but also said noted last week that, “I am definitely going to be in disagreement with dealers who think they can sustain the business for Cadillac by selling Cadillac out the backdoor of a Chevy store.”   It sounds to us like a little war is coming to a Cadillac showroom near you.


Categories: Cadillac


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26 Comments on "Cadillac Boss: Plug-In Technology To Be Applied Across Entire Lineup"

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David Murray

Interesting.. The “boutique” statement definitely sounds like they are preparing to do battle with Tesla. And if that is true, then they definitely need more plug-in cars.


I think they are more battling against Mercedes who have announced that they will put plugs on pretty much every car.

no comment

i think that is correct; my suspicion is that he is seeking a stronger brand identity by having separate showrooms for Cadillac so that the brand isn’t diluted buy sharing showrooms with down-market brands.

this also suggests to me that GM has made the strategic decision to directly attack the PHEV segment with the BEV niche being served by cars like the Spark and the Bolt (which i suspect will replace the Spark).


Yours is the 2nd comment I’ve seen in InsideEVs recently re the Bolt replacing the Spark EV.
Why? The two are vehicles from different size classes, and assuming EVs gain marketshare, any vendor in the space will need a model in (almost) every size class — just like eahc vendor has multiple hybrid models.
Specifically, the Spark was not designed as a compliance car, even if it isn’t sold that many places yet.

Jay Cole

I think you perhaps are seeing that as the Spark is going through a generational upgrade this year (it was a late arrival to the US), not because the Bolt would necessary be a straight class replacement.

Given the assumption the Bolt (or something similar) will be produced (as confirmed by GM’s “200 miler is coming” mantra of late), it seems like a logical decision to discontinue Spark EV production this year and bridge the gap to the ‘next’ EV with inventory as opposed to spending the resources/effort on a 12-18 production gap.

Sidenote: The Opel Karl (Vauxhall Viza) is pretty much the new Spark EV, which Opel will debut in Geneva this March.

no comment

first, i think that the primary focus at GM is on PHEV. the way that pamela fletcher seemed to hedge her bets on the future for the Bolt leads me to suspect that BEV is more of a niche for GM and not their primary focus.

one of the problems with the Spark is that it does not have sufficient range for nationwide deployment. so the Bolt provides enough range to make it a credible offering for nationwide deployment.

to your point, there is always the possibility of maintaining the Spark with the range upgraded to 200 miles. but the question then is, is there really enough of a market to support both a Bolt and Spark offering? i kind of doubt it.

That’s an astute insight. I agree that use of the word “boutique” seems to telegraph something important. I wonder if it means that we’ll see Cadillac studios in retail malls?

Lou Grinzo

Whether it’s the issues raised here (selling Caddys out of the back of a Chevy store) or the animosity some Chevy dealers have toward the Volt, GM has some “interesting times” ahead in its relationship with the people who actually sell their cars.

Marshal G

Yeah good thing they have those middlemen.

no comment

one of the biggest obstacles in deploying new technologies in the U.S.; be it energy efficient cars, or building products; is the dealer network. i have found many sales persons to be very closed minded and tied to that which is familiar with an aversion to that which is not familiar. this alone is a reason why Tesla’s sales model is a better one: Tesla is building its own sales channel instead of trying to teach an old dog (the existing auto dealer network) new tricks.


“De Nyssschen said that the expertise GM has learned from plug-in technology from cars like the Chevy Volt and Spark EV would be ‘applied across the spectrum of our (Cadillac’s) portfolio’.”

Sounds great, but it may mean nothing more than that they plan to put stop/start tech into their entire line, perhaps with a few other minor EV-tech enhancements. I think it’s far too early to believe any legacy auto maker is going to jump into the EV revolution with both feet. The time will inevitably come when that will happen, but that time is almost certainly still some years off.

I would be not merely happy, but -ecstatic- to be proven wrong by Cadillac.

David Murray

That’s more or less what I figured. It’s probably start/stop technology. Which, honestly, I find a bit useless.


He clearly stated plug-in technology.


But “plug-in” includes PHEVs, all of which use some form of electric stop/start tech… don’t they?

What the Cadillac rep did -not- say is “All our future models will be plug-in EVs.” He didn’t say that because — obviously — that’s not what they’re planning.

Frankly, I think he was just using “plug-in” as a buzz word to attract attention, just like marketing departments like to use the term “high-tech” for the same reason.


PHEV is a form of PEVs…


So he liked plug-in vehicles now. That’s good.

Micke Larsson

I’m a bit surprised by this. I know all the big car brands will do this since it will be more or less a requirement to sell cars in Europe. But Cadillac don’t sell cars in Europe (well, in numbers less than the Mirai 😉 ) so that can’t be their reason.

So it must be for the Chinese market. Then we would see vehicles that get 50 km in electric mode on the Chinese cycle.


It might be needed to meet the CAFE requirements which continue to get stricter in the future years.

Bill Howland

Sales people go GAGA over atmospherics.

My area only has one stand-alone Caddy dealer, so perhaps that is what he’s criticizing. In fairness to the other dealerships that sell Caddys out the back door, GM hasn’t in my view provided much of a product line up to justify the investment of a huge number of stand-alone dealerships and as long as they do ‘Important’ stuff like removing the Wreath from the Cadillac Shield, I still don’t see why this dude has as of yet earned his keep.

I’m sure some of this was discussed amounst Caddy dealers at the NADA convention in SF over last weekend, so I’m sure he’ll get some ‘constructive criticism’.

Bill Howland

Why don’t they take the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid they discontinued in 2013 , bring it back as a PHEV by putting 48 kwh of batteries in the truck rails and give it a 6600 watt charger?

100 mile all electric range.

Imagine all the articles on the transmission here on InsideEvs: that thing had 2 motors in the transmission , 3 planetary gearsets and 4 clutches.


Who is this person and what have they done with Johan de Nysschen?


My DeNysschen rendition:

“Whoah, whoah, EV folks. Let’s take this slow. We’ll begin with start / stop, graduate to Micro-Hybrid, and then in 2019, when batteries are small enough that we don’t have to modify the shell of the CTS V8 bi-turbo, we’ll put 5kwh in the trunk.”


LOL! Unfortunately, I suspect you are all too close to the truth there.


Wow, plug-in CT6 by end of this year. That sounds like a more aggressive timeline than we’ve heard from the other high-end brands for their large plug-in sedans. I wonder if this will be one of those ~20-mile AER PHEVs or something even more exciting.

Josh Bryant

I guess he didn’t drop any hints on his naming scheme for all these future plug-ins. CT6-Q?


Where is Ford in all of this plugin on every model? They have been pretty quiet.

I have been waiting for the Energy Escape or Edge.