How do you build a luxury brand? How do you turn one that used to be a luxury brand, but fell on hard times, back into a respected luxury brand?
For General Motors (NYSE:GM), these are $12 billion questions. That's the amount GM's board of directors has committed to an all-out effort to make Cadillac into a global peer -- or maybe even a little more-than-peer -- to the big three German luxury-car makers: BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.
GM CEO Mary Barra and president Dan Ammann are serious about this effort, so serious they hired a new president for Cadillac and gave him unprecedented freedom within GM's corporate structure. Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen is a 20-year veteran of Audi and Infiniti, and he has set out to remake Cadillac on the Audi model -- as a subsidiary of GM with its own headquarters, not just a small department within a giant company.
Cadillac's revival has hit the point where the brand has an interesting challenge ahead. While Cadillac's latest products are as good as or better than their German peers, the brand itself doesn't yet have the cachet to draw German-car loyalists into its showrooms.
Having elevated the quality of its cars, how will Cadillac now elevate its brand? That's one of the questions I asked de Nysschen when we spoke at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week. In this short video, you'll hear his thoughts on the challenge facing Cadillac, and get some great views of the new ATS-V and some of the other models on Cadillac's show stand.
Check out the video and then scroll down to leave a comment with your thoughts.