Cadillac Has An Unusual Problem In China

2014 Cadillac CTS sedanThe longer, leaner, lighter 2014 Cadillac CTS.

Cadillac has an aggressive plan for China, where it wants to triple its sales by 2015.

But it has an unusual challenge to deal with.

The brand “is almost too aspirational,” says Cadillac Global Marketing Director Jim Vurpillat: Chinese car shoppers don’t realise they can afford the cars, so they don’t buy them.

The good news, Vurpillat told Business Insider, is that Cadillac’s brand image is still very strong in China, unlike in the US, where the common view is of a once iconic mark that lost its edge long ago.

GM’s plan for China involves moving production to the country, to avoid the costs of importing its cars. It will open about 100 new dealerships and has hired Brad Pitt to hawk its products, advertising its sedans as luxury products within reach.

So far, it seems to be working: Cadillac logged a record 2,295 sales in China in February, and reported an 8.1 per cent increase (on an annual basis) in demand for its vehicles.

Sales have been good in the US too. Brand sales are up 32 per cent in 2013, and 70 per cent of people who buy the new ATS — the sedan designed to win over new owners — have never owned a Cadillac.

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