The Posh Cadillac Dealership Experience - In China

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 27, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Cadillac Floors It in China

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    by Dexter Roberts

    The Cadillac charm offensive in China starts at the front door. In the companys 39 mainland dealerships, showroom attendants greet visitors by the polished-glass entrance, cigars and Napa Valley wines are on offer at a black-marble bar, and VIP rooms with leather sofas provide a comfortable venue for dealmaking. There's even an exhibit of the brand's 105-year history—with a movie and details on features such as hand-stitched leather seats and authentic wood trim—to show off Caddy's pedigree.

    "Everything gave me the feeling I was a VIP,'" says Hu Ming, a 44-year-old entrepreneur from Shanghai, who in February plunked down nearly $65,000 for a silver-gray Cadillac SLS. "The décor is very different from other brands'. The place has an American style."

    Cadillac is counting on its brash brand of American luxury to differentiate itself from the pack. Caddy's parent, General Motors Corp. (GM), has done well in China with Buick and Chevrolet, but it has lagged at the high end. While Audi, BMW, and Mercedes have been in Chinese showrooms for a decade or more, Cadillac arrived just three years ago. The European trio controls 77% of luxury-car sales in the mainland. And Cadillac? Just 2.7%.

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    Now, Caddy is revving up its marketing engine to narrow the gap. It has more than doubled the number of showrooms on the mainland in the past year. And it offers five models in China, ranging from the $46,000-plus CTS sedan to the $140,000 Escalade SUV and the $160,000 XLR convertible roadster. (Sticker prices run higher than in the U.S. because China slaps a 25% tariff on imported cars.) Cadillac got buzz when it delivered a pink CTS to Mary Kay Inc.'s top salesperson in China. It also ferried VIPs to a boat show in Shanghai and an exhibition of American art in Beijing.

    Then in February, Cadillac introduced a China-designed and -built version of its SLS sedan. The car is four inches longer than the U.S. model, a nod to Chinese customers, who like a roomy backseat since they tend to have chauffeurs. The model powered a 62% jump in Cadillac's mainland sales in the first quarter, compared with a 19% increase for all of 2006. "We are putting everything in place," says Karen Rafferty, Cadillac brand director for China. "Building a brand is certainly not a sprint."

    Luxury is a big deal in China because the high end is the fastest-growing part of the market. While overall sales of domestic passenger cars jumped by 35% last year—hypergrowth, to be sure—those of locally made luxury vehicles soared 57%. "With the growing ranks of millionaires, a booming stock market, and booming economy, the prospects are very strong," says John Bonnell of consultancy Automotive Resources Asia Ltd. in Bangkok. Bonnell predicts luxury sales will more than double by 2010, to 380,000 cars a year.

    GM wants to make China the No. 2 Cadillac market. But it won't be easy to unseat rivals. Audi alone commands a 45% share. And the Asians are ramping up, too, led by Toyota's Lexus. "The problem is Chinese people are not so familiar with [American brands]," says Jia Xinguang, an independent auto analyst in Beijing.

    One who has taken notice is Guo Jing. The 23-year-old Beijinger is a self-confessed car fanatic: His family owns a Citroën (PEUGY), a Hyundai, a Chrysler, and a Jeep. Then late last year they shelled out $58,000 for a black 2.8 liter CTS. What got Guo interested in Caddy? Another American icon: Hollywood. "There was a Cadillac," he says, "in the movie The Matrix Reloaded."

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  2. Welsh0913

    Welsh0913 OT Supporter

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    There are so much money to be made in China. :noes:
     
  3. losbastardos

    losbastardos Pass me the ringer, Knave; we’ll hand it down. OT Supporter

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    never shoulda gave you cinese money :mad: :o
     
  4. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    Fuck GM.
     
  5. Shu

    Shu OT Supporter

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    awesome
     
  6. bizee

    bizee New Member

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    Funny to see this.

    I just got back in from China last night. I passed by one of those cadillac dealerships, too bad no one buys any over there. Only thing you see is VW and Audi.
     
  7. SBandit4

    SBandit4 If shit hits the fan, just make sure you have a go

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    I wouldn't mind haveing one of the new Cadillacs. Namely the SLR.:cool:
     
  8. matt

    matt Active Member

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    cadiracs ftl
     
  9. DagoRcR

    DagoRcR OT Supporter

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    I don't find that exactly true. I was there a few months ago (Beijing) and was very surprised at the number of buicks and caddys
     
  10. Jericho

    Jericho Active Member

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    I guess ad placement in movies really works
     
  11. bizee

    bizee New Member

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    The ratio of VW and Audi to buick or cadillac is like 35:1.
     
  12. Ryan01GT

    Ryan01GT Go Gators!

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    Buick's are huge over there - like the successful businessman's car
     
  13. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    They've also been there for a decade, GM just established Cadillac there.
     
  14. NavS

    NavS its me!

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    What if you didn't buy the car in the end?
     
  15. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Buick and Cadillac are in China what they were in their heyday here in the US. Nothing like a clean slate to start on (with a century worth of lessons learned) and no US franchise laws.
     
  16. nuclear

    nuclear OT Supporter

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    No happy ending, no care.
     
  17. AlkyHauler

    AlkyHauler Do you feel lucky punk? OT Supporter

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    happy ending?
     
  18. AlkyHauler

    AlkyHauler Do you feel lucky punk? OT Supporter

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    fucker :rofl:
     
  19. nuclear

    nuclear OT Supporter

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    :h5:
     
  20. Evidence.

    Evidence. Robot Rock

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  21. DefBringer

    DefBringer Ronnie, if I don't do this, *that's* when I'm goin

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    Look at those fucking suckers buying that overpriced shit :rofl:
     
  22. Madness

    Madness Do not let Dr. Mario touch your genitals. He is no

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    160k for an Escalade ahahahahahaahahaa :rofl:
     
  23. Buick Muscle

    Buick Muscle Guest

    Buicks are a very big thing over there... it's pretty much the equivelent status symbol to what you would expect a BMW here to command.
     
  24. Buick Muscle

    Buick Muscle Guest

    Not to mention that China is a market that is waiting to be tapped by every single buisiness in the world. This could potentially lift GM out of alot of trouble if China really takes this brand and runs with it,
     
  25. Gundam

    Gundam Tell Drama he's on my to do list, right after inse

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    A 350z costs nearly 100k in Vietnam :dunno:
     

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