L.A. Auto Show 2017: Five minutes with Cadillac’s Johan de Nysschen

Cadillac president Johan De Nysschen at Automobility LA, the media portion of the 2017 L.A. Auto Show.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

We asked executives in town for the L.A. Auto Show a few questions about cars, driving and the future of the automotive industry.

Here’s what Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen had to say:

What current motorized vehicle (made by some other company than your own) do you particularly admire?

I suppose I will convey some of my traditionalist sense. My favorite plane is the Boeing 747-800i, which is the last of the genre and a magnificent aircraft.


What historic car or truck do you wish you owned?

A 1955 Cadillac Series 62 convertible in red with red and white interior.

What’s the top speed you’ve ever traveled in a car and where did that take place?

I drove 321 km/h (199 mph) on the high-speed oval test track in Wolfsburg.

What’s the biggest challenge currently facing the automotive industry?

The biggest challenge is how to respond to changing consumer preferences, particularly when it comes to retail distribution. I think the business model of having fixed stores and demanding that customers come to us is ready for disruption.

What’s the most exciting change currently at work in the automotive industry?


The most exciting change is the convergence of technology through autonomous driving and the whole host of opportunities offered by zero emissions propulsion systems. I think as those come together, the companies that master them best are going to have a very compelling advantage and I think that we will see a change in the ranking of automotive companies as a result.

If the future offered flawless autonomous driving, would you still keep a car for weekend driving?

Absolutely, because real luxury means the freedom to choose. I think that for Cadillac, as a maker of exhilarating drivers’ cars, but also luxury automobiles, we want to give customers the choice of being driven or when the mood takes them, to do the driving themselves.

The L.A. Auto Show runs Dec. 1-10 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Times coverage is at