Staying At The Forefront Of Innovation: Cadillac's Andrew Lipman

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This year’s edition of the Dubai International Motor Show (DIMS) saw iconic automotive brand Cadillac showcase its Escala concept car for the first time in the Middle East, with the sleek and sophisticated vehicle providing a peek into how the New York-headquartered brand is anticipating, and indeed, shaping the future of mobility as we know it. Cadillac has declared the Escala to be “both a driver’s car, and an indulgent flagship sedan,” with Global Communications Director Andrew Lipman, who was here in Dubai for DIMS 2017, noting in a statement that the concept car “lays the blueprint for the future of the brand.”

Andrew Lipman, Global Communications Director, Cadillac

Lauded for everything from its cutting-edge design to its futuristic tech, the Escala is yet another indication of how Cadillac is staying true to its longstanding spirit of innovation- after all, as Lipman points out, the 115-year-old brand’s tradition of industry firsts started out way back in 1912, when its Delco electrical system integrated self-starting, ignition, and lighting functions for the first time. “That was Cadillac,” Lipman stresses. “We’ve always been at the forefront.”

Cadillac Escala debuts at Dubai International Motor Show 2017

Source: Cadillac

Indeed, this has been the message that Cadillac has steadfastly tried to reinforce over the last ten years or so, when the brand started out on its journey to rebuild and reinvent itself and its values. “One of the first things we had to do was really determine what is Cadillac, what does it stand for,” Lipman remembers- this is what led to the company’s “Dare Greatly” ethos, which today informs not just its product portfolio, but also its communications and messaging- and this was essential, Lipman says, for Cadillac to remain relevant in today’s market. “We had to define what Cadillac meant- what was [once] a traditional expression of luxury is now a more modern expression,” he explains. “The booming reality is that every single person who sells any product realizes is that, by 2020, four out of five luxury car buyers will be from Generation X or Y.”

And according to Lipman, Cadillac’s efforts in this regard are bearing fruit now. “We’re really starting to see momentum build amongst all of our brand awareness metrics with the younger demographic,” he says. Cadillac’s positioning as being ahead of the pack was further bolstered earlier this the brand debuted its Super Cruise technology, billed as “the world’s first true hands-free driving system for the freeway.” The functionality -which makes sure that the driver is completely attentive while it’s switched on- was tried out by journalists along freeways in the United States, and the reports that came afterward –with phrases like “the future of driving” and “reinventing driving” being freely thrown about– were essentially a validation of Cadillac’s prowess in the automotive field, even as it is in the throes of change.

Cadillac Escala debuts at Dubai International Motor Show 2017

Source: Cadillac
“Certainly, autonomous driving is the hot topic right now,” Lipman says. “But a lot of people don’t love to dig into certain realities that while the technology might even be there, the legislation, the liability that’s involved in that- [there’s still] so much work to be done, before we even really get to fully autonomous scenario… Cadillac -and General Motors, quite honestly- are really putting the safety of the customers at the forefront of everything- we’re never going to beta test on a customer. That’s why Super Cruise was the natural evolution, the natural next step, because the driver still has to be engaged and aware- and the driver really becomes the supervisor of the car.”


Such achievements, which essentially showcase how Cadillac is really walking the talk when it comes to being an innovative enterprise, is also how Lipman approaches his role as the brand’s Global Communications Director. “I would say that what drives me, by way of messaging, positioning, when I look at our strategic plan for next year, it’s [all about] not apologizing- Cadillac has nothing to be sorry for. I feel like there was a period when it was like, ‘Oh, try it, it’s actually a good car.’

Cadillac Escala Concept

Source: Cadillac
But this is a company that [has] built cars that are the finest in luxury automotive, and we need to act like a leader. So, from a communications and messaging standpoint, I think that is the behavior that you’re seeing now.” As an example, Lipman gestures toward Cadillac’s presence at DIMS 2017: “This looks like a company that’s a leader.” And Cadillac is certainly making no apologies about it.


Related: Cadillac Middle East MD Christian Soemmer On How The 115-Year-Old Brand Is Still Making Waves Globally