Cadillac to sell small RWD car in Europe

Started by Christopher Cummings, October 30, 2007, 03:42:11 PM

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Christopher Cummings

From Autoweek.com:


Cadillac to sell small rwd car in Europe
 
By JAMIE LAREAU, AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

General Motors appears ready to sell a small rear-wheel-drive Cadillac in Europe. The vehicle would be based on GM's new Alpha architecture.

GM has been frustrated in its efforts to boost Cadillac's sales in Europe, particularly after its small, front-drive BLS sedan sold poorly. But CEO Rick Wagoner says GM will continue to push Cadillac in Europe and a strong, small vehicle is key to the effort.

"We've been consistent on saying that we wish to grow the Cadillac portfolio, and it makes a lot of sense â€" particularly if we're going to be serious about Cadillac outside markets like the U.S. and Middle East â€" that we're going to need smaller Cadillacs," Wagoner said in an interview with Automotive News.

Recently, GM told the UAW it will develop a new architecture called Alpha at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The Alpha program is intended for Cadillac and likely would debut in the 2011 model year. It will be a small luxury entrant to compete with the BMW 3 series and the Mercedes C class, GM insiders say.

Wagoner declined to say specifically how small Alpha vehicles will be and whether any Alpha products will go to Europe. He declined to say what the future holds for the BLS, which is not intended for the United States.

Cadillac sold 1,981 units in Europe for the first eight months of 2007; that was down 4.6 percent from the same period one year-ago.


Chris Cummings
CLC #20072

Rich S

It has been reported that the goal at General Motors is for Cadillac to make the brand a "global" nameplate, similar to Mercedes-Benz or BMW. Unfortunately, the bulk of those brands sold in the European market includes several quite small models, similar to or smaller than, the 3-Series BMW's. The first generation CTS was already bigger than that by several inches, and with the 2008 model, the second-generation CTS has grown even more in dimensions and in weight. These factors are believed to be a reason for its poor sales performance in Europe. Cadillac will be addressing some other engine offerings by developing a diesel engine, far more popular in Europe than in North America, too. The first BLS (?), offered at-present exclusively in Europe, is a re-badged Saab, a front-wheel-drive model, and it has failed miserably in the marketplace. GM wasted millions on that car, now even developing a station wagon version of it, all for an abysmal sales performance. Apparently they can't seem to grasp that consumers see-through re-badging, whether it is called a Cimarron or a BLS! Hopefully, by designing the next-generation of that model exclusively/uniquely as a Cadillac model, with the GM developed Alpha architecture underpinning it, it will correct many of the mistakes in the first effort. However, Cadillac faces quite a difficult challenge in meeting their goal: overcoming over a century of being perceived as a long, low, wide, "in your face" styled (flamboyant), powerful engine, luxury vehicle. The second generation of that BLS (small) Cadillac will also be offered in the North American market, slotted below the present CTS model. Unfortunately for those of us who love the more traditional Cadillacs, the STS & DTS will both soon be phased out and merged into one full-sized, yet unnamed, model. There are also Coupe and station wagon versions of the CTS in development stages. Time will tell how the worldwide consumers receive these new products and the reorganization of Cadillac's model offerings. I sure hope the replacement full-sized model continues many traditional Cadillac qualities, especially design cues.
Rich Sullivan CLC #11473

1971 Eldo Conv., 2013 CTS Cpe