Cadillac dealers in recent years have trekked to annual meetings with the factory to hear an ever-changing cast of executives assure them of a pending boom in sales.
They heard the same thing at last week's dealer gathering in Las Vegas from Johan de Nysschen. Cadillac's new global chief opened his remarks with the announcement of a buy-one-get-one-free sale on 2014 sedans.
The line drew a big laugh among the hundreds of dealers who were there. And it acknowledged a pressing concern among many Cadillac retailers. Yes, they wanted to hear de Nysschen's long-term vision to bring Cadillac back to luxury prestige, in part by holding a firm line on pricing and production. That's a game-changer for dealers. But many also are seeking short-term help from General Motors to clear dealership lots choked with unsold ATS, CTS and XTS sedans.
The seven-hour meeting had a buzz and optimism that belied Cadillac's tough year, several attendees said, with sales off 5 percent through August amid swollen inventories. It didn't hurt that GM also dispatched CEO Mary Barra, who flew straight from an appearance in New York, and President Dan Ammann, de Nysschen's boss, to speak.