Though the overall vision for Cadillac in Canada is in sync with outlines made by U.S. Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen in late January, executives in Canada said they are not in a position to comment about retail plans north of the border.
Jerry Daniel, general director of sales at GM Canada, told Canadian AutoWorld more studying and consultation with dealers will be required before solidifying any new retail strategies for the brand in Canada.
“As you look forward, I don’t think anyone would deny that for any true luxury maker to have stand-alone operations to heighten the luxury component is just good for business. And that’s what customers expect,” he said. “When and how and in which markets are some of the questions we need to work through.”
His comments came after de Nysschen spoke first at the Washington, D.C. Auto Show and again at a closed-door meeting at the National Auto Dealers Association convention in San Francisco. His topic: how the brand would target improvements in the customer experience.
Chief amongst his plan was news a concept that called for 700 small, boutique locations established in the U.S. complimented by a core of approximately 200 flagship, stand-alone Cadillac dealerships.
The boutiques would feature exclusive Cadillac consumer touch points, highly trained sales and service staff and luxury amenities.
“Our recently announced $12 billion investment in product must be accompanied by corresponding upgrades to the customer experience,” de Nysschen said. “For all dealers, including multi-brand outlets, we should strive to create a premium showroom atmosphere and the sophisticated brand experience that luxury consumers expect.”
The retail plan also called for greater adoption of emerging technology to the showroom. Virtual showroom systems could enable shoppers to quickly configure and envision multiple models, color and interior choices using interactive digital displays, or potentially even holograms.
He said Cadillac would develop new systems to incentivize and support customer satisfaction performance and dealer compensation. New standards for compensation will be built with more precise alignment of local sales and market potential for each dealer, to better ensure efficient investment.
Growth in dealer profitability will be supported by financial incentives to reward dealer investments into facilities and high achievement in customer satisfaction.
Currently, Canada has just two stand-alone Cadillac stores both located in Quebec. They are primarily dealer-driven initiatives; the automaker does not have a specific retail program in place that calls for separate rooftops from its three GM cousins Chevrolet, GMC and Buick.
Daniel said Cadillac total sales increased by 10 per cent in 2014 marking the brand’s best total sales since 1979. Couple the performance with huge injections in product spending and he said the automaker is “very optimistic” about its luxury line.
“I think the dealers are very optimistic too. We have our eyes set on major growth.”