The General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) has appointed Johan de Nysschen to head its Cadillac division. De Nysschen most recently led the Infiniti luxury-car division of the Nissan Motor Co. (TYO:7201), based in Yokohama, Japan.
De Nysschen will be joining the Detroit automaker on Aug. 1, after working with Nissan for two years. He is also known for leading a revival at Audi AG (FRA:NSU), where he worked for 19 years: During his tenure, its American operation’s sales rose to more than 139,000 from 77,900 units. The move comes as Cadillac attempts to compete in markets like the U.S. and China with the European luxury brands of manufacturers such as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (ETR:BMW), best known for its BMW, and Daimler AG (OTCMKTS:DDAIF), best known for its Mercedes-Benz, as well as Audi.
“Johan brings to our company vast experience in the development and proper execution of luxury automotive brands,” GM President Dan Ammann said, in a statement Friday. Ammann noted, “With over 20 years in this exact space, especially in the development of the Audi brand, his track record proves he is the perfect executive to lead Cadillac for the long term.”
De Nysschen will be responsible for determining Cadillac pricing and marketing techniques to boost sales of the brand in the American and Chinese markets, where they fell 1.9 percent in the first half of 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported. Mercedes-Benz sales in the same two markets rose 8 percent during the same period, while BMW and Infiniti both reported double-digit percentage growth.
Cadillac’s parent GM has been widely criticized of late because of faulty ignition switches that have led the company to recall millions of cars. Last month, it offered to pay $1 million for each of 13 deaths linked to the switches.
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In the latest recall issued in June, the company recalled 62,000 luxury cars, including certain Cadillac CTS and Cadillac SRX vehicles. Overall, GM has recalled more than 25 million vehicles in 2014.