Nobody is anybody without a Cadillac!!!
At GM Mary Barra is betting on two products to bring back GM’s old glory.
Long gone have been the times when Hollywood’s fame and fortune were measured by the possession or lack of thereof a Bel Air mansion; a luxury New York Condo and … a Cadillac!!! From Kim Novak to Jane Russell to Angie Dickinson; from John Wayne to David Niven to Bing Crosby Hollywood could not live without the Detroit manufactured Caddies. And the company logo, of course, was: ‘Our customer list is a Who’s Who of the Highway”.
This A list would come all the way to Detroit to receive their cars and even cooperate in the tightening of the last screw for publicity photo ops. And the bran lived swing times from the 1950’s to the 1980s. But after three decades of travel to Europe Americans became demanding as consumers and more refined in their consumption. European wines; food and cars began to penetrate the upscale US market and the US car industry began to take a blow.
BMW; Mercedes and Volvo took over affluent households in the US. Stars vouched for Maserati ; Porsche; Ferrari and Mercedes McLaren. Then came the Japanese brands and as a result Cadillac became a glory of the past. Come 2008 with its financial Tsunami and whatever market Cadillac had managed to grab disappeared under bankruptcy proceedings staged by its parent company GM. Plans to develop and intelligent car were shelved as the company brace for survival within the extended TARF support offered by the Federal Government.
But this was up an until Mary Barra came to the helm of the company. Ms Barra has GM in her blood and the auto industry in her genes. Daughter of a die maker at Pontiac, automobile making was part of her family’s background. Of Finnish descent Ms Barra grew up in a home were discipline and achievement were highly prized. At the GM Institute( now Kettering University) she excelled as a student leader and a volunteer for community projects.
Recipient of a GM grant to do her MBA she attended Stanford concentrating in building value chains from the consumer’s perspectives and desires. Along her corporate career she always emphasized anticipating consumer’s aspirations as one of the keys to success the other being creating and preserving a robust supply chain. At GM she is betting on two products to bring back GM’s old glory. The truck division will continue to provide the necessary cash and dividends to embark in the relaunching of the coveted Cadillac brand. A new CEO was brought to the Cadillac helm.
A team of great designers deployed and state of the arts technology placed in what now could be dubbed as the emissary of the upcoming intelligent car. Cadillacs now offer WIFI; parking instructions and voice operated navigators; phones and radio.
Safety and stability have nothing to desire from the leading European brands, and the color palette is far more attractive and chic. Cadillac headquarters recently left Detroit to disembark in New York City where they stand better chances of being admired and driven by Asian tourists than anywhere else in the US. And these will largely be the targeted consumers. As Xi Jinping continues to crack on corruption, affluent Chinese households will switch to less conspicuous luxury products. And this is the great virtue of the new Cadillacs. They are unassumingly elegant while offering the best of US technology.
And while many still doubt whether the strategy will work, Ms Barra is already benefiting from double digit sales growth, particularly among American executive women who are betting on her success and that of the brand that made so many stars shine !!
(Featured Image: Anna Kournikova with Cadillac Escalade / enriqueiglesias.com)