How Cadillac wants to get started in Germany
Source: General Motors
The traditional US brand Cadillac is struggling with poor sales figures in Germany. That doesn’t stop the managers from bringing two more new models – one of the rare Cadillac station wagons and a sedan that wants to score points against BMW.
A bit of adventurism, in the spirit of the “Sieur”, is also in the plan of the US luxury brand Cadillac to conquer the European market. Models such as the Roadster XLR, the luxury SUV SRX or the mid-range BLS sedan have already been positioned against Mercedes, BMW and Co., but so far have only had meager sales figures. Still, Cadillac is bursting with self-confidence. "Now we finally have the right cars to be on par with the premium manufacturers in Europe," says Cadillac boss Jim Taylor.
Two new models will be launched in Germany in December – the CTS, which aims to score against BMW’s 5-series and Mercedes E-Class, and the BLS Wagon, a station wagon the size of an Audi A4 Avant. "We Americans don’t like the boxy station wagons," says Jim Taylor, and that may be the reason why Cadillac doesn’t want to expose its youngest baby to US customers in the first place.
Built exclusively for Europe
The station wagon is built in Europe exclusively for Europe; in Sweden it shares the platform and assembly line with the Saab 9-3. Its body is independent, which takes on the angular design language of Cadillac and is a bit more massive than the northerner. The engines are known from the Saab range and prices start at just under 30,000 euros. You don’t have to be a prophet to predict the station wagon a rather modest success. Although well made and of high quality, it is the answer to a question that has never been asked.
The other newcomer, the CTS, is far more important. The first model with this sequence of letters marked the turning point for the Cadillac brand in 2002. Sonorous names such as Eldorado, Fleetwood or Brougham determined the range of models, and the design had aged along with the customers.
“The average age of our customers at the time was 64,” reveals Jim Taylor. “Today we broke that sound barrier downwards and have reached 59 – thanks to the new design. We lost some of our regular customers, but won over many younger ones. ”With the modern, almost futuristic shape, only the vertical arrangement of the front and rear lights is reminiscent of earlier Cadillacs. Today, designers of the brand are happy to use the stealth bombers of the US Air Force as a comparison when describing their design principles. The brand new CTS continues this line.
Chief designer John Manoogian points out the high-quality interior workmanship: “Hand-sewn leather covers for the dashboard and door panels, real chrome, expensive materials – all of the finest quality."
And the CTS does indeed look classy. Dignified well-being in the midst of state-of-the-art technology. A navigation device that saves the data on the hard drive and therefore calculates faster, six-speed automatic, adaptive chassis, parking aid and much more.
The CTS starts in Germany with two V-6 petrol engines (211 and 311 hp), with a diesel to follow in 2009. The top model scratches the 250 km / h mark and is fed up on European asphalt – thanks to many electronic aids that also keep a Munich or Stuttgart competitor on the road. The distance is really hardly noticeable – maybe even with the rolling noise of the rear axle or the more indirect steering. On the other hand, the prices (from 36,290 euros), adjusted for equipment, are 20 percent below the competitors from Europe.
Nevertheless, the CTS will also be reserved for the individualists among the freelancers. "Conquering Europe is like running a marathon for us," says Cadillac Europe boss Gerald Jansen. "And we only managed seven kilometers on the 42-kilometer route."
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