Slow sedan sales are all because of those kids and their rock music, according to Cadillac’s president.
It’s no secret that cars aren’t selling like they used to, and especially four-door sedans. Cadillac is a company that built its fortune on selling performance four-doors, and now that those sales have dried up the luxury carmaker is feeling a bit of a pinch.
They’re responding, as all automakers are, but adding to their lineup of crossovers and SUVs. Sales of the XT5 are strong, and Cadillac will be adding the XT4 to go along with it for the 2019 model year. But in an interview with Motor Trend, you get the sense that Cadillac’s CEO is a little miffed at the whole paradigm shift.
Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac, is a famously opinionated guy, so if you ask him why sedans aren’t selling these days he’ll give you a candid answer. And one that might be expected: he blames the younger generation.
“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.”
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So, the kids these days care less about performance and more about not having to replace their suspension every six months because of all the potholes on the roads. It sounds like the kids these days just don’t care about performance because it’s both: A) expensive, and millennials don’t have money, and B) irrelevant because there are no roads left to drive fast on anyway.
Mr. de Nysschen also said not to expect a fully autonomous Cadillac, as they believe their cars are meant to be driven. Or at least, have the option to be driven.
“For us, it would make no sense to spend all the time, resources, and, candidly, money to put all this dynamic substance into our cars—our cars are fantastic to drive, they are rewarding, they’re exhilarating, they’re comfortable, luxurious, refined, but they’re also performance cars—to put all of that capability into the vehicle and then remove the option of driving,” he said. “That would be absurd. For us, luxury is about having the freedom to choose. And a Cadillac personal autonomous vehicle will have autonomous capability, it will allow the driver the opportunity to drive themselves and enjoy a finely crafted automobile, but when the mood takes them or the circumstances dictate, they can let the car do the onerous part of driving for them. That is the longer-term timeline, the horizon view for Cadillac.”
There’s a whole lot more over at Motor Trend, such was what Cadillac plans to do in China and if Cadillac will ever drive in Le Mans, but those statements are a little less aimed at the kids. Kids these days don’t care about China or Le Mans anyway.