Johan de Nysschen, on Cadillac’s new naming system, which started with the all-new CT6 luxury sedan: “Every armchair marketing expert has ten opinions to share. Fortunately, I do not determine strategy based on the unfiltered observations of people who do not have a 360-degree understanding of the problem.” Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Johan de Nysschen, the ousted head of Cadillac who helped Volkswagen AG’s Audi brand achieve U.S. prominence a decade ago and later steered Infiniti, has been one of the auto industry’s most outspoken executives. Here’s a look at some of his memorable quotes through the years.

“I often hear that Cadillac is the brand for retirees and old people. Of course, it annoys the blazes out of me.”

– Automotive News World Congress, January 2018

“We want to go to Europe. You have to be in Europe if you want to be a global luxury brand. And if we want to go to Europe, we better make sure that we have the financial wherewithal and the products. I don’t imagine the Germans are going to invite us into their backyard because Johan is a nice guy. It’s going to be a tough battle.”

— J.D. Power/NADA Automotive Forum, March 2018

“You have to stand for something. You need differentiators. As recently as three years ago, Infiniti was still trying to be all things to all people. That was the brand’s Achilles’ heel.”

— New York Times, 2013



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On setting up Cadillac as a separate business unit: “Emails from GM [retirees] suggesting that is the dumbest idea since the ‘Cimarron.’ I quietly wonder if any of them had a hand in creating that masterful monument to product substance.”

Automotive News via Facebook, 2014

On Apple CarPlay: “There are a lot of things about this product I like, and other things that drive me absolutely nuts. It can bring a lot of functionality in the car, but I will also tell you it is extremely clunky.”

— Yahoo Finance, 2018

On relocating to New York: “To all the indignant souls out there — this has nothing to do with Detroit. And certainly has nothing to do with where I choose to live. It has everything to do with creating an awesome car company. We must develop corporate processes, policies, mindsets, behaviors, attitudes, which are right-sized for Cadillac. … No distractions. No side shows. No cross-brand corporate considerations. … Just pure, unadulterated CLASS. … And if we don’t move, nothing will change.”

Automotive News via Facebook, 2014

“For me, I absolutely will not be moved around in an Uber. I don’t feel like being moved around by some Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s not how I roll.”

— The Verge, 2016