Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen Out After Nearly Four Years

Johan de Nysschen has been the face of Cadillac for nearly four years but he is leaving the company effective immediately.

In a surprise announcement, General Motors said de Nysschen is leaving to “pursue other interests.” The company was coy on details but GM President Dan Ammann said the automaker appreciated de Nysschen’s efforts in “setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac.”

Being Replaced By Steve Carlisle

de Nysschen will be replaced by Steve Carlisle who was previously president and managing director of GM Canada. While the company had little to say about de Nysschen, they praised Carlisle by saying he led a resurgence of GM Canada and “reestablished key relationships” with retailers, employees and government officials.

In a statement, Ammann noted “The world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change.” He went to say appointing Carlisle as Cadillac President will “further accelerate our efforts in that regard.”

Move Comes Ahead Of Major Product Blitz

The timing of the announcement is interesting as Cadillac is embarking on a major product blitz. Just last month, de Nysschen described the push as a “dramatic expansion and elevation of the product range” which will see Cadillac introduce an all-new model nearly every six months through 2021.

Cadillac didn’t elaborate but reports have suggested the company will introduce a large crossover later this year. The CT5 will debut shortly thereafter and it will eventually be joined by an entry-level sedan. The company also has plans for a halo vehicle that will “stun the world” but it won’t arrive until after 2022.

  • Puddingpopper

    Bye Felicia, unfortunately the damage has been done

    • bd0007

      Actually, the damage was done by the prior regime.

      JdN was trying to undue that damage – starting with the XT4.

      Most likely, the top brass at GM got tired of JdN wanting more autonomy for Cadillac (or something else entirely).

      • Puddingpopper

        True, but haven’t been wild about the model naming scheme and NYC marketing office

      • pjl35

        false. he moved HQ to NY and is also responsible for the even more confusing alphanumeric names, starting with the CT6.

        • Status

          Ordered numbers and letters confuse you? I didn’t think the American public education system was that bad.

          • Day_Trader

            Ok, explain what CT6 means???

          • Kash

            explain what the 3 in “3 series” is supposed to mean, or what MDX stands for, or what LS500 means, or what any brand’s alphanumeric naming scheme means. They all mean nothing except to distinguish the hierarchy and relationships of models within a brand. Eventually CTS and ATS will be replaced with other names, something along the lines of CT5 and CT4 to go along with the XT5 and XT4 (unless they’re serious about replacing all 3 sedans with a single model) and eventually a bigger crossover will come in to sit alongside the CT6 with the name “XT6” just like Merc’s C/GLC, E/GLE, and S/GLS match-ups or BMW’s 3 series/X3 etc. The only scheme that might have some legit meaning behind it is Audi’s A/S/RS; i.e. A meaning Audi, S meaning Sport, and RS meaning RennSport.

          • Status

            CT = touring.
            6 = full-size

            That’s it, and the beauty of it is that it can be understood in any language on earth. Everyone knows how to count from 0 to 9, and therefore can understand the difference between a CT6 and and CT5.

            And to turn it back around, explain what a ‘Fleetwood’ means, and then explain it to a Chinese person, and an Arab, and a German, and so forth.

          • Bo Hanan

            C is the model name. T is for touring. 6 is from the BMW 6-Series.

          • pjl35

            no, but CTS, XTS, SRX sound MUCH better than CT6, XT5, XT4, etc…

          • Nordschleife

            I agree while no one is an idiot here. We can all decipher what the alpha numerical names are the ATS CTS just sounded more appealing. Though neither is wrong the current/former names read better plus the CTS did mean something historically.

          • pjl35


        • bd0007

          Cadillac going to a alphanumeric scheme was started by Uwe Ellinghaus who was hired by JdN’s predecessor and it was Uwe who convinced JdN to move the HQ to NYC (frankly, don’t think it matters where Cadillac’s HQ is, and if anything, probably a good thing to get away from all the politicking happening over at GM).

          Expect more cost-cutting and sharing of components (with other GM brands) going forward.

          • Status

            Actually, Cadillac using an alphanumeric scheme is characteristic of Cadillac that is older than everyone on this blog. Cadillac had an ordered hierarchy in their range back in the 1920’s.

        • bd0007

          GM confirms (in a Forbes article) that the decision to move the HQ to NYC pre-dated JdN.

  • lagunas3ca

    The only thing Johan de Nysschen did was decrease Cadillac’s sales by moving HQ from Detroit to NYC.

    • bd0007

      Actually increased sales worldwide; on track for record global sales in 2018.

      • lagunas3ca

        Worldwide *except* for the United States, where sales have declined. When every other luxury car brand is increasing sales globally, including the United States, and you’re not, well, then, it’s not an accomplishment and those numbers aren’t directionally desirable.

        • bd0007

          And yes, in the US that is due to the lack of CUVs and improperly packaged sedans (ATS and CTS) – which were the fault of the previous regime.

          And even for the US, under JdN’s watch, Cadillac’s ATP is at an all-time high with much improved profitability.

      • Cobrajet

        Increased sales from zero.

        • bd0007

          Yeah, but JdN was instrumental in Cadillac being very aggressive in China.

          Compare that with the more cautious approach Lincoln took.

      • Bo Hanan

        He was smart enough to put Caddy in China. China loves shiny things.

    • Supposedly that was not JdN decision, it was made before he took the job….

      • lagunas3ca

        It was his decision. He did not want to live in Detroit. In his interview with Crain’s he says, “global trends are shaped by a handful of global cities, and New York is one of them.” However, Cadillac hasn’t cracked the urban market for anything but limos, hearses, and Escalades for car services or security.

        • Perhaps he was sticking to the company line…

  • Bullitt2605

    Hopefully the new guy has taste.

    • bd0007

      Cadillac’s move to the Escala-based design language is due to JdN.

      • Bullitt2605

        ??? and it’s fugly thus my comment.

        • bd0007

          Well, most would differ with you.

          • Bullitt2605

            Lets see, sales are way down and the just fired their head honcho, so if by most you mean the few people on this post then yes. If you mean the masses then no.

          • bd0007

            Sales are down (not way down), but that’s largely due to having an old sedan-heavy line-up and only 1 CUV – which were problems that pre-dated JdN.

            The 1st product to be developed under JdN’s watch is the XT4 and apparently, all the products that are in the pipe-line that JdN greenlit will be brought to production.

            Carlisle will reap the benefits of the new products in the pipeline.

  • Lower sales is not all of De Nysschen’s fault…Cadillac is saddled with too many sedan models when the market is demanding SUVs in all categories…lower sales were probably used to push him out, because he was unloved by the dealers…the lesson here is keep your dealers happy, keep your job…

    • bd0007

      Sales and finances had nothing to do w/ JdN’s departure.

      It was basically a philosophical difference in how to do things (look for more cost-cutting and sharing of components with the other GM brands).

  • getoffme

    He left it where he exactly found it. In the dump.


    Wait, was this the guy who said the twin turbo V8 wouldn’t go into the mid engined Corvette?

  • MarketAndChurch

    Not comfortable with the new guy. de Nysschen didn’t do much to strengthen my confidence either, but at least I felt he had Cadillac heading in the right direction over the past 3 months. de Nysschen’s time at Cadillac will be judged by all the new products coming out over the next 5 years that were in development under his tenure.

  • jaykit

    “In a surprise announcement, General Motors said de Nysschen is leaving to “pursue other interests.””

    Translated, JDN is has found greener pastures in his chosen field of destroying the model-naming conventions of another global conglomerate’s luxury brand.

  • Bo Hanan

    -Gurl bye!

  • Craig

    I thought de Nysschen was an arrogant sob. So good riddance.


    • donald seymour

      No, I believe they couldn’t.

  • eb110americana

    I’m glad. The stupid names were a monumentally bad decision. Every time you reset the model names, you have to restart advertising from the very beginning. It takes about 3 years for non-car people to even notice the new model. Most people aren’t cross shopping Cadillac to begin with, so they would not even know what to compare. Names like XT5 sound like cheap option packages on rental cars, not like something opulent. If you need any more proof, what is Infiniti’s large sedan called? You don’t know, do you? And YOU read car news sites for fun. If you cannot tell with Johan’s “logical” new naming system, but you remember what a G35 or CTS was, that proves my point. (By the way, the answer is Q80–nah, I’m just messing with you, it’s Q70…or is it?)

    Spending Cadillac dollars on moving the headquarters to New York was also a huge waste of money. It’s rearranging deck furniture on the Titanic, or running away from your problems. Cadillac had such a lead on Lincoln just 5 years ago. Yet with names like Nautilus, Aviator, Continental, and Navigator, and beautiful, ’60s Americana interiors in the latter 3, I suspect that Lincoln “gets it” more than Cadillac these days. Luxury car purchases are not logical by nature. They are a matter of desire. Cadillac needs to romance its buyers, and it needs to do so in a way that only an American brand can. It should stop trying to be BMW, and use real, romantic names again, like “Eldorado.” Escalade already works for them, though they appear oblivious to the fact that this is due to featuring a classic, long-running name over a distinctly American form. Cadillac cannot simply raise their prices by 50% and expect that suddenly people will associate the costs with luxury.

    Getting new crossovers like the XT4 out there are a good start, but the XT4 is rather bland. Other than a few design flourishes, It could honestly be a Chevy, GMC, or Buick without much effort. Cadillac should be sweating the details to make its models unique from not only the rest of GM, but from German or Japanese luxury options. You don’t need to move to NY for that, but you do need to be savvy with premium goods and very conscious of the materials you use. As soon as GM realizes it’s about the product–the right one too, as the V models are incredible sports sedans/coupes/wagons, but not the right product for luxury cred right now–as soon as GM does this, Cadillac will prosper.

    • Danny Adornato

      Bang on!

    • DR.FUNK

      I for one…wanted Caddy to bring both the Elmiraj…and the Ciel to market.
      I know everyone wants a CUV / SUV these days…and yes they should offer premium product in those categories as well.But a low volume un-apologetically luxurious broad-shouldered luxury car will always have buyers, And (as you say) give them names that lend an air of desirous luxury…and don’t get all bean counter with the materials.

  • Commonsenseonthefield

    Same shit he did to infiniti, karma’s a bitch GM

    • bd0007

      Wasn’t at Infiniti long enough and JdN was the one who ordered a redesign of the Q60 coupe and seems like he got that right.

  • Nordschleife

    I can’t say that he added a lot to the company while under his run. When we though Lincoln was down for the count they started to find their way. Maybe Cadillac will do the same. Whether Cadillac sees that under JDN or the new guy I hardly think they care. They just want increased sales.

  • Rich Money

    My grip with JDN is that Cadillac interiors never improved during his reign. The new XT4 appears to finally be class competitive. But until and unless their whole lineup has interior style, quality, tech and appeal on par with the Germans, Cadillac will never be competitive. Its taken too long already.

    • bd0007

      Blame GM’s bean counters.

    • He was stuck with GM’s low-quality parts bin…

  • So what will happened to Cadillac naming scene? Will they change it again.

  • TheBelltower

    The new guy may be perfectly fine. I’m just bitter about de Nysschen leaving. But the goatee has to go.

    • Astonman

      If i run into him, I’ll tell him “TheBelltower said to lose the goatee” LOL

      • TheBelltower

        People always appreciate grooming tips from random strangers from online forums! 🙂

        • Astonman

          I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t recalled him having a goatee….

  • getoffme

    He probably crapped his pants when he saw the new Lincoln Aviator.

  • Paul

    Their old ways die hard there at Cadillac and GM in general.

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