ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cadillac executives want better retail sales in 2006. They also plan to have bolder ads and to push dealers to improve customer service.
Cadillac sales for 2005 were up only 0.3 percent from the year before, but the brand has seen a remarkable resurgence over the past four years, with sales increasing 37 percent over that period.
Still, Cadillac executives are not satisfied, "which is good," said Lynn Thompson, co-owner of Thompson Sales Co. in Springfield, Mo.
At the make meeting, executives told dealers they want a 7 percent retail sales increase this year.
"This is a momentum business," said Jim Taylor, general manager of Cadillac, in an interview with Automotive News after the meeting.
"The turnaround in Cadillac has been so successful in the past four or five years with heavy growth that we just have to keep the focus and realize that's an important variable." He said he wants a 5 to 10 percent retail sales increase every year.
Taylor also told dealers Cadillac is looking to make bolder advertising to fit the "attitude" of its products.
"We raised the bar so high the first time that that is one of our challenges," Taylor said. "We don't want to be caught in the same old area where our advertising looks like everyone else's and feels like everyone else in the luxury space."
Taylor is working with advertising executives to stay on top of trends. He said there are psychographics that accompany each product and he wants the advertising to reflect those attributes. For example, people who buy an Escalade are bold and self-confident, so that attitude must come out in the advertising.
Taylor also emphasized the importance of dealers upgrading customer service. He said there are training programs and dealer forums to guide dealers in customer service improvements.
On the product side, Cadillac dealers are now getting the new Escalade SUV and will get the XLR-V coupe and STS-V sedan this spring, Thompson said. Taylor said the SRX crossover will get a new interior in the fall.
You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at [email protected]