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Buying experience key to Cadillac sales

REIMAGINED: Cadillac says it will reimagine how vehicles are configured, reserved, and purchased.

Cadillac’s Aussie launch to rebuild trust lost in GM, mix online and dealership sales models

20 Nov 2023

WITH Cadillac well and truly committed to launching in Australia, the iconic US car-maker will have many marketing related questions to address in the run up to selling the first example – the Lyriq large SUV slated for arrival in H2 next year.


Among them: how will Cadillac convince people to buy one if its cars over another premium brand, what form will the sales system take, will digital and other mainstream media advertising form part of its plan, how will Cadillac deal with possible negative GM sentiment, what will be the kick-off price, will it be price competitive?


GM executives at last week’s Cadillac brand launch in Melbourne said the luxury marque will use a multi-faceted marketing strategy starting now by improving brand awareness through an Australasian Cadillac website that gives a raft of product and other information and will link to a sales portal as the arrival of cars approaches.


Two Cadillac "Experience Centres" (stores) have been established in Sydney and Melbourne.


Cadillac’s website and sales portal are structured to allow near-custom design of a car where a vehicle can be specified with certain features before a production slot is allocated. The web presence will presumably be accompanied by teaser advertising in mainstream media.


GM Australia and New Zealand managing director Jess Bala said the company was “reimagining how you design, reserve, and buy”.


“Soon, you’ll be able to purchase your new Cadillac exclusively from us online or in store, making for an experience tailored to you.”


When asked if sponsorships or naming rights for major events was under consideration as a promotional tool, Ms Bala said it was on the cards but finding an uncommitted major event was difficult.


“They’re all gone, we would like a major sponsorship opportunity as part of our marketing plan but The Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open for example are already committed as are other major sporting events,” she said.


“We are looking at a couple of options in that space.”


In relation to online sales, already a buying option for Australians among other brands, Cadillac global vice president John Roth confidently said Cadillac’s direct-to-consumer sales process for this market “has been refined to target Cadillac buyers based on information from some of our other international markets”.


“Alternatively, customers can take advantage of the Cadillac Experience Centres for a more hands-on buying experience if they wish,” he added.


“We are not locked into one particular sales strategy, and will look at and assess our plans as we move forward.”


Asked if Cadillac had plans for any additional retail stores (Experience Centres), Mr Roth said GM was “considering it”.


“Our customers will be able to take advantage of an unmatched buying experience which will focus on not only initial sales but after-sales and service.”


He emphasised that Cadillac’s renaissance globally will “lead the transformation of the automotive industry”, and that “purpose-built right-hand drive models gives the company penetration to the global market along with scale that will deliver a wider choice for Cadillac buyers”.


“Cadillac is recharged as a brand focused on electric vehicles and the Lyriq is the ultimate expression of Cadillac’s future,” he said.


“Our rich history gives us high brand recognition globally, as in Australia, and now with right-hand drive availability from the factory, we are confident Cadillac is at a foundational moment that will lead to market growth globally.”


Cadillac parent company GM retains strong national coverage through GMSV dealerships along with service and spare parts operations related to Holden, an involvement with motorsport through Chev Racing and business units for GM Heritage, parts, accessories, and AC Delco.


In relation to pricing, Mr Roth said the Lyriq would be competitive with “the big three Euros,” Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, which means pricing somewhere between $120,000 and $160,000 depending on which variants Cadillac decides to offer in Australasia.


The Cadillac Lyriq large SUV is well-equipped as standard, boasting features to match the competition across luxury, safety and tech.


North American versions score over-the-air updates, built in Google, SuperCruise hands-free driving assistant, 33.0-inch dual horizontal info/control screens, AKG Studio 19-speaker audio, Nappa leather upholstery, LED ambient lighting, active noise cancelling, and more.


Other features include one-pedal driving, five-link suspension front and rear, multiple drive modes, fixed glass sunroof, automated charge port, extensive ADAS suite, and a choice of alloy wheels ranging between 20- and 22 inches in diameter.


Mr Roth made no mention of brands like Genesis, Lexus or upcoming models from Porsche, Volvo and Polestar that will crowd the premium BEV market.


When questioned about perceived ill feeling towards GM due to Holden’s withdrawal from Australia, Mr Roth and the panel of GM and Cadillac executives at the brand launch were all reading from the same page… that’s it done and dusted, that GM is still actively involved in Australian automotive sector, that Cadillac as a brand has global kudos, and that GMSV products are well accepted here.

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