Economy

Cadillac President Is Out Amid Falling Sales — GM

Cadillac President Is Out Amid Falling Sales — GM

Move comes at launch of critical new products. The next in line is the 2019 Cadillac XT4, which has just been revealed at the New York Auto Show.

The company says Steve Carlisle will replace Johan de Nysschen, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities.

De Nysschen arrived at Cadillac in 2014. But several sources suggested senior GM management was growingly increasingly concerned about Caddy's weak performance in its home market.

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He will report directly to GM President Dan Ammann.de Nysschen did not provide a comment in the GM announcement, but Ammann said the following of the departing executive: "We appreciate Johan's efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac". The change at the top "will further accelerate our efforts in that regard", the statement quoted Mr. Amman as saying.

For a time, Cadillac saw a resurgence in sales. Somewhat ironically, the product portion of the de Nysschen era only just began at the 2018 NY auto show with the introduction of the 2019 Cadillac XT4. Hester was most recently vice president of global product programs. He also presided over Cadillac's impressive sales growth in China.

"It was a very bold move", de Nysschen told WardsAuto during an interview in Detroit earlier this year.

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The decision was made to part ways with de Nysschen and replace him with Carlisle, a GM veteran with a reputation as something as a "fireman", said another insider, someone who can be moved to trouble spots and put out a blaze. Since then, Carlisle has trotted the globe for GM, serving in Asia between 2007 and 2010 and then running global product planning and US sales operations before returning to Canada as its top executive. Carlilse previously served as president and managing director of GM Canada.

"There's no question Johan is a visionary automotive leader, but given GM's conservative culture he may have pushed things a step too far", said Jessica Caldwell, the head of industry analysis for data tracking service Edmunds.

Cadillac's US sales a year ago fell 8.0% to 156,440 units, while BMW deliveries slumped a more modest 3.4% to 352,790 light vehicles and demand at Mercedes was off just 1.4% to 375,409, reflecting the ability of the Germans to respond more quickly to the market's shift. Even the XT5, Caddy's best-seller, sat on showroom floors for an average 100 days.

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Before joining Cadillac, the South-African was at the head of Infiniti for two years, where he imposed a similar strategy by renaming of the brand's models that, today, all feature names that start with the letter Q-or QX in the case of the trucks-followed by a number.


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