Don Butler, Cadillac marketing, on the 2013 Cadillac ATS

Don Butler, Cadillac marketing, on the 2013 Cadillac ATS

Don Butler is the Vice President of global marketing for Cadillac. Butler wanted to be introduced as the VP of Cadillac marketing. I put the global part in because Cadillac is going global and Butler is the man doing the job.

Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, www.drivingthenation.com, met up with Butler at the Atlanta Motorsports Park, a private racing club north of Atlanta, GA.

The Alpha platform is General Motor’s new compact to mid-size rear-wheel drive platform. The 2013 Cadillac ATS (A for Alpha) compact luxury car will be the first car built on the Alpha platform. Butler boasts that this “purpose built architecture” is the lightest vehicle in the compact luxury segment. How does Butler see amortizing the Alpha platform? Is it possible that we would see an ATS SUV?

The compact luxury segment is very competitive; Mercedes-Benz C-class, BMW 3-Series, and Audi A-4 are all competitors to Cadillac. How is Butler going to get people to think of Cadillac when they’re thinking luxury compact? Hint: Don’t expect docile and passive to be part of the theme.

Cadillac is going global. Currently, Cadillac is in 37 countries. China is the second largest market for Cadillac, after the United States, with sales of over 30,000 unit’s in 2011. General Motors, according to Butler, is working on more new brands of Cadillac right now than ever before. Cadillac has been living with three brands (the SRX, CTS and the Escalade). Having a full portfolio of cars, globally, will allow Cadillac to participate in about 90% of the luxury  segments with new products, compared to about 60% currently. Look for an electric luxury roadster (ELR) vehicle in the near future.

The United States is in a tariff war with China. If Cadillac ships a car overseas it will cost 20 percent more than a car built in China. How much of an impact is that tariff having on sales in China? The XTS, the large car positioned above the CTS, will be built in China. Will other cars be built in China as well?

The S-class differentiates Mercedes-Benz. If you have a C-Class you say you have a Mercedes-Benz. If you have an S-Class Mercedes-Benz you say you have an S-Class. Which vehicle is a class onto it’self inside of Cadillac?

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.