Cadillac CEO: No One Will Buy Our Sedans Because Teens And Infrastructure

Illustration for article titled Cadillac CEO: No One Will Buy Our Sedans Because Teens And Infrastructure
Photo: Cadillac

Cadillac is, quite possibly, the most hapless carmaker at the moment. When its competitors are making huge strides, Cadillac feels like it’s always playing catch up to what everyone else was doing five years ago. And finally, Cadillac has figured out the culprit: it the Youths and their damn infrastructure, clearly.

Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen dropped his elegy for Fun and Good Things and also Sedans in an interview with Motor Trend (emphasis mine):

“It’s partially happening because of energy prices, where people are less focused on fuel consumption and sedans being lighter,” he said. “But also it’s been driven now by the entry of younger consumers who really are less tuned into dynamics and handling and all of those things that used to excite enthusiasts. It’s more about the way cars complement and enable their lifestyle now.

And candidly, I also have to say it may also be influenced a little bit by the decay of America’s infrastructure. When roads no longer support high-performance sport sedans and ultra-low-profile rubber, people are going to respond to it.”


Yes, it’s the Teens who don’t like Fun, is what it is. The kids these days just aren’t into “enjoying cars” and “general excitement,” just their snapping chats and instatweets. And despite our longstanding calls to just BRING BACK BIG SIDEWALLS, it’s the conflicting demands for both ultra-low-profile rubber and, uh, pot holes, I guess, that are making people buy SUVs.

Never mind that BMW Ms and Mercedes AMGs are selling like hotcakes (AMG sales, alone, are up 33 percent). Never mind that that a Mercedes E-class looks like this on the inside, all gorgeous leather and matte wood finishes, and a Cadillac CTS looks like, well, this, full of black plastic and GM parts bin infotainment screens:

Illustration for article titled Cadillac CEO: No One Will Buy Our Sedans Because Teens And Infrastructure
Photo: Cadillac

And never mind that Cadillac’s non-luxury Michigan rivals at Dodge have no trouble printing money with one high-performance Challenger and Charger variant after the next. No! It’s the children who are wrong.

Also, the thing about America’s roads being shitty is a hilarious and sad cop-out. Of course America’s roads are shitty. Everyone knows America’s roads are shitty. That doesn’t stop the aforementioned M, AMG and Dodge (just to name a few) from making rad performance cars that seem to handle America’s shitty roads just fine.


Don’t get us wrong—Cadillacs are, at this point, exceptionally great to drive. We love them. They’re a hoot, with up to 640 horsepower in a family sedan, and they’re not just one-trick ponies laying it down at the drag strip. They can take a corner fast enough to re-arrange your face, too.


The thing about Cadillac, which had to claw its way out of the depths of late-1990s mediocrity, is that it can’t be as good as BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, and Lexus. It can’t take a corner real well and then forget to take care of the discerning fingertips of the average, elderly luxury car buyer. It has to be better than everyone at everything to make a convincing argument to get someone to ditch any semblance of brand loyalty.

And since it’s not doing that, people generally aren’t buying. It’s not because the Youths hate Fun. We’ve said this ad nauseum. It’s not because the roads are bad either! And even if that were the case, you’d think a nice, supple, luxurious Cadillac would be just what the doctor ordered!


Johan, my guy. We’ve all heard the “I GUESS GIRLS ARE JUST INTO ASSHOLES NOW THEY DON’T WANT NICE GUYS LIKE ME” excuse before, and it’s not really working here, either. Because that’s basically what this is.

Deputy Editor, Jalopnik. 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross.

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Brad Landers

The problem with the inside of Cadillacs is that they look great in the photos, and then you sit in one. I really want to like the Cadillac line-up. I think their exterior design is striking. But every time I sit in one, all I can think is that I really want out of there... Like, quickly! Upon close inspection, everything looks cheap, and feels cheap. It makes me kind of sad, because for the most part, I like the interior design language as well.

It’s like they’re stuck in a kind of quality-related uncanny valley.