Luxury brand customers are thirsty for connected car technology, Cadillac’s Donny Nordlicht told Paul Myles at 2018 NAIAS.

Premium consumers are driving the uptake of connected services according to Donny Nordlicht, head of product and technology communications with Cadillac.

That’s not all down to sheer chance, either, because the upmarket brand has made great efforts to convince consumers of the benefits of engaging with their car’s technology. Nordlicht explained: “We have a very robust system of dealership training to go to the consumers so that when they purchase a vehicle they are taken through all the car systems. We also invite them back to learn even more in special sessions kind of like an Apple store’s Genius Bar.

“From a connectivity stand-point, Cadillac and General Motors as a whole, has been at the forefront for some 20 years with OnStar. It’s especially important for consumers of Cadillac because they use it quite extensively. This is aided by features like the myCadillac app where you can check the health of your vehicle, lock/unlock, remote start, monitor your wifi connections – our Cadillac customers use this more than any other GM consumer.”

From the carmaker’s view point, the extra engagement allows the brand to get involved in its customers’ live choices. Nordlicht said: “Through the myCadillac portal we can react with our consumers and we’ve been rolling out things like our Marketplace with OnStar that allows not just apps downloaded to your vehicle but things like predictive routing: ‘We know you drive past Starbucks every morning on the way to work, so here’s a discount on your coffee there’. Because that sort of thing goes straight to your vehicle or your phone, is a really great way to engage with the consumer.”

Nordlicht predicts the closer relationship between carmaker and consumer will only grow stronger with the increased introduction of autonomous technology. He said: “This potential extra engagement is one of the scenarios we are experimenting with at the moment. Last fall, for instance, in the US we introduced Super Cruise our semi-autonomous system which has already been a hit with consumers reducing driver fatigue as it allows handsfree travel on the freeway. This is a building block for the company and we will continue to take learning from its use.”

He also predicts that, with premium brands at least, the provision of fully autonomous features will happen sooner rather than later. Nordlicht concluded: “As a company we are looking at quarters and not years in terms of autonomy in GM overall, especially if you look at Cruise Automation our subsidiary, we are already on our fourth generation AV. So we are moving quite rapidly.”

[Tele.Myles.2018.01.14]

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