GM Revamps Responsibilities for Ammann, Reuss

Ammann focusing on autonomous vehicles, Reuss leads products, Cadillac

by on Jun.21, 2018

General Motors President Dan Ammann (right) with Cruise Automation co-founders Kyle Vogt (center) and Daniel Kan (left).

Two of General Motors top executives are getting new responsibilities with GM President Dan Ammann focusing on the company’s development of autonomous vehicles and Executive Vice President Mark Reuss taking on oversight of Cadillac and GM’s product portfolio planning.

Ammann will now be able to focus his efforts on the company’s ever-growing collection of autonomous vehicle subsidiaries, such as GM Cruise, as well as the deployment of these vehicles through a variety of outlets, such as Lyft.

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In the meantime, Reuss will bear down on the company’s global enterprises, product development as well as Cadillac. The luxury brand’s oversight comes a critical time as the company parted ways with Johann de Nysschen and replaced him with long-time GM executive Steve Carlisle.

Carlisle and product portfolio planning chief Sam Basile report to Reuss in this new structure. The changes were announced within the company earlier today, according to Automotive News.

(Cadillac culling sedan line-up, new plant investment emphasizes shift to SUVs. Click Here for the story.)

Mark Reuss is taking on more product development responsibilities as well as oversight of Cadillac.

Ammann will remain based in Detroit, but he’ll be racking up some serious frequent flyer miles as he’s expected to spend more time in San Francisco to keep tabs on GM Cruise. Additionally, he continues his oversight of GM’s other brands, global regions and GM Financial.

The move to lighten Ammann’s load so he can keep GM Cruise on track toward its goal of introducing an autonomous vehicle next year reflects the importance that the company places on that business. Japan’s SoftBank plowed $2.25 billion into GM Cruise recently — GM responded by putting another $1 billion of its own into the enterprise — probably provided some incentive to make sure it meets its goals.

Meanwhile, Reuss gets a new title to go with his new responsibilities: Executive Vice President and President, Global Product Group and Cadillac. Reuss, who’s thought of a “product guy,” takes over as Cadillac is about to undergo a significant transformation of its product portfolio, including introducing a new vehicle every six months through 2020.

(Click Here to see more about de Nysschen’s departure from Cadillac.)

GM CEO Mary Barra is pushing to ensure the company meets the deadlines for autonomous vehicles and other products with the announcement.

This high-stepping cadence also includes a transformation of the types of vehicles the luxury brand will offer. It was just announced that Cadillac is cutting its ATS, CTS and XTS sedans and coupes with just two cars. This clears the way for more crossovers and utility vehicles, such as the new XT4, which is set to arrive next year.

GM’s flagship brand has not revealed what it plans for the two new sedans under development. Some sources suggest they could be targeted as “tweeners,” or models that slot between traditional market segmentations.

Caddy took that approach when it launched the very first CTS sedan in 2002. The approach generated buzz both for the brand’s new and distinctive “Art & Science” design language and for the extra roominess and features offered in comparison to import models.

(To see more about SoftBank’s $2.25 billion investment in GM Cruise, Click Here.)

What’s unsettled is the role that the newly appointed Carlisle, who was head of GM Canada prior to taking over for de Nysschen, will play in the development of Cadillac and the brand’s vehicle. His predecessor, who came over from luxe competitor Infiniti, had a fair bit of authority, including moving the brand’s headquarters from Detroit to New York City. Carlisle isn’t expected to get that kind of authority.

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