Cadillac Targeting Tesla Motors and BMW According to Marketing Chief

After taking the marketing reins of the American luxury manufacturer last November, Uwe Ellinghaus has been hard at work trying to put Cadillac back on its former glory's tracks. According to the German-born CMO, GM's luxury arm is targeting potential Tesla Motors customers with the ELR and BMW owners with the rest of the model lineup.
Cadillac Ciel Concept 1 photo
Photo: Cadillac
Uwe has formerly worked for BMW and what he learned there kind of shows in his work with Cadillac. Take the brand's May 2014 sales volume as a prime example - compared to the same month last year, Caddy moved 6 percent more cars according to Automotive News Data Center. Sales department aside, Mr. Ellinghaus' brand strategy had a big influence on Cadillac's May sales.

In an interview with Advertising Age, Uwe tells that even though he's currently competing with his former employer (BMW), he likes to think that "We are tiny little Cadillac. If we can't outspend them, we need to outsmart them." In the United States at least, Caddy buyers spend bigger bucks kitting the CTS Sedan than BMW 5 Series or Merc E-Class customers, even though Cadillac CTS sales are behind the two premium German saloons.

Rather than spending top dollar on traditional golf and tennis tournaments sponsoring, Mr. Ellinghaus breaks the tradition, reassessing everything Cadillac has done on the sports scene. "Nobody is surprised if you come to a golf tournament and see a luxury-car brand advertising there. It's exactly what you expect," he explained. That's why Uwe would like to try selling Cadillacs with a new, product-driven message, especially for the ELR luxury plug-in electric hybrid. He even makes a parallel at the hottest name in the eco-friendly car industry - Tesla.

"Tesla teaches us a message: If you offer cars with an electric drive-train that have superb driving characteristics and a beautiful [interior], they find customers. What doesn't work is to position a car for people who are tree-huggers and green-wash an entire brand." But there's a problem with that - unlike the Tesla Model S, Caddy's ELR hasn't really won over the luxury or tree-hugging type of car buyer. The ultimate argument for that is the whopping $75,000 MSRP of the Cadillac ELR. By comparison, the Tesla Model S can be yours for just $69,900, coming with better performance, more equipment and a more desirable badge and nameplate.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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