GD: Do you think with younger generations, we will see performance end up in a museum?
I do not. I really do not. It’s just like the discussion that says millennials don’t want cars because they’re getting their licenses later. That was the party line. Well they don’t have any jobs, they have no money and they can’t afford a car. So they hate cars? They don’t hate cars. They love cars.
GD: They are much more conscious of impact on the environment. Are they going to turn on performance?
You can put a Volt in sport mode and have a blast. That’s performance. We could make a small block hybrid that was really cool and really fast that doesn’t burn hardly any gasoline doing it for a very low cost. I don’t think that would be a bad thing.
GD: Are you going to do that?
I would say the elements are there to create it and have fun. At the end of the day [ vehicles] are an emotional purchase—always. People don’t want to drive around in 20 second, 0-60 power. That stinks. People like performance and I just don’t see that changing. Fun is fun. We’re delivering that today that’s for sure.
GD: How fast are you going to be able to put the product into Cadillac and regenerate the brand?
I think a better question would be when do you think you are going to have the product right to be able to introduce it with high quality and technology that reflects what the brand should be? That’s the way we approach that. I’m not on a timetable to say we’re going to have eight new products in two years and just hang on. We’re trying right now the products we want to do because we can get ahead with our products of where the brand really is. That’s where we sit today and so we have to really have a discussion around what the brand health is when we talk about when we’re going to introduce products because we got to have a brand that can handle the product that’s being introduced.
GD: You’re talking about product and brand image. And part of that was that the reason that Cadillac made the move to New York?
For sure. Johan’s job is not to go and develop an Omega platform for the CT6 Cadillac. That’s my job. Johan’s job is to take and use those products and change the brand perception of Cadillac into a brand that’s high on consideration lists so they give us a real shot at buying our cars.
If we always did what we always did we’re always going to get what we always got. That was doing it out of Detroit. We’ve got to be able to change these things and that’s what we’re doing. We’re giving it a shot. There’s no downside to it, by the way. There’s no downside other than you guys may say well that didn’t work. OK? So we’re going to keep trying.
GD: Is there a product push for them going to be on the crossover side?
I’m not sure that I would say that but it could be. because there are some things that are going to happen at the same time so I’m not sure there is a sequential cadence—we look at our product launch capability across all of General Motors not just Cadillac so I mean what we don’t want to do is have things happening in five places at one time and trying to get our supply base to do it and bring them up at the same time it would be a disaster so I’m pretty careful about that but that said Cadillac’s got a lot of priority. From my people’s standpoint, it is to make it happen with the right timing, the right product with the right quality and performance. That’s where we’re focused.
If you look at our portfolio at Cadillac today it’s got about half the entries that some of our competitors do and that’s a lot and so you look at what they are really doing and where they are successful and some of those are crossovers and some of them are cars that we don’t play in. So here’s a car (CT6) that we need to do well with and I think we will. But then there’s some crossovers beyond SRX that you know are probably pretty attractive for us as well.