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Intrepidation

Saab 9-3X and 9-5 officially confirmed for 2009 rollout

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Over the last six months, the fate of Saab has become even more of a question than it has been for the last several years. General Motors put the marque up for strategic review last Fall and it was not listed among the company's core brands when it submitted its viability plan to the U.S. Congress in December. With many of its new model introductions being delayed this year, one has to wonder if Saab will just slowly slide off into oblivion. Given the seeming absence of anyone willing to step up and buy the Swedish automaker, that may yet happen.

Before that time, though, Saab dealers in Europe will get at least two additions to their product lineup. The 9-3X and the recently spied 9-5 are listed among new European introductions confirmed for 2009 in a new company press release. That news nugget came buried in a missive about The General's global sales for 2008. As far as we know, the 9-3X is basically a higher riding version of the 9-3 wagon, à la Subaru Outback. It will probably use a variant of the Haldex XWD system seen on the Turbo-X. The 9-5, of course, is an Epsilon II based replacement for the long-lived Saab flagship of the same name. No mention was made of the 9-4X crossover that shares its platform with the new Cadillac SRX. That vehicle has likely been delayed until at least 2010, if it hasn't been canceled altogether. Check out the press release after the jump.

[source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE:

GM Announces 2008 Global Sales of 8.35 Million Vehicles

• GM Asia Pacific sales volume grows 3 percent; Chevrolet sales in China grows 16 percent to nearly 200,000 vehicles; 1.09M vehicles sold in China sets record with 6 percent volume growth

• Third consecutive year of more than 2 million vehicles sold in Europe; Chevrolet sales breakthrough 500,000 mark with record share; Opel sets sales record in Central and Eastern Europe with volume up 13 percent

• GM beats the industry with more than 1.27 million total vehicle sales in Latin America, Africa and Middle East Region led by top-selling Chevrolet Corsa, Celta and Aveo

• GM continues emerging markets leadership with 2008 market share growth in 14 of 26 markets

DETROIT – Record-setting sales performance in GM's Latin America, Africa and Middle East and Asia Pacific regions, and a third consecutive 2 million vehicles sales performance in Europe during 2008, helped General Motors sell more than 8.35 million vehicles globally last year. GM's nearly 3 percent growth in both the Asia Pacific and Latin America, Africa and Middle East regions partially offset North America sales that declined 21 percent, and growing pressure in Europe that resulted in 7 percent fewer sales. Compared with 2007, GM's total sales were down 11 percent, reflecting continuing global economic pressures that include tightening credit, falling commodities prices and lack of GDP growth.

In 2008, GM sold 5.37 million vehicles outside the U.S., accounting for 64 percent of total global sales volume compared with 59 percent a year ago.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, GM sales of 1.70 million vehicles were down 26 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago. Most of that decline was reflected in 379,000 fewer vehicles sold in North America as the market yielded to a crushing lack of consumer confidence, and tightened credit requirements, in the United States.

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GM Continues Growth in Emerging Markets

"GM's 2008 sales performance shows that we are continuing to take advantage of new emerging market opportunities and are meeting customer needs with fuel-efficient products that offer compelling design and great value – such as the award-winning Opel/Vauxhall Insignia in Europe, the Buick Excelle in China and the Corsa in Latin America," Jonathan Browning, vice president, global sales, service and marketing, said today. "We saw sales volume increases in the key four emerging markets of Brazil (up 10 percent), Russia (up 30 percent), India (up 9 percent), and China (up 6 percent)."

"The challenges in the global financial markets, including credit tightening, the drop in commodity prices, and economic uncertainty continue to negatively impact overall demand for new vehicles," Browning added. "For the total global industry, we saw about 3.5 million fewer vehicles sold in 2008 than the previous year."

With these market challenges comes significant opportunity and GM is well-positioned with new products either on showroom floors or on the way in the near future.

Chevrolet sales in Asia Pacific grew --14 percent in 2008 compared with a year ago. Chevrolet sales in China (up 16 percent) and India (up 9 percent) powered much of this growth. The Wuling brand continued strong growth in China with sales up 17 percent in 2008 compared with a year ago. The Buick channel is very strong in China with the all-new Regal and soon-to-be-launched LaCrosse. The Chevrolet Cruze and Cadillac SRX also will play important roles in taking advantage of China growth in the months and years ahead.

In the Latin America, Africa and Middle East region – a traditional Chevrolet stronghold – 2008 sales grew 3 percent compared with 2007. Chevrolet accounted for nearly 90 percent of GM's sales in the region and Brazil remains the second-largest volume market for Chevrolet. Also, GMC, Cadillac and Saab showed impressive annual percentage increases in their sales volume – up 24, 22 and 16 percent, respectively, compared with a year ago. GM sales in the LAAM region beat the expected industry performance, with more than 1.27 million vehicles sold.

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A large, relatively young population with a low car-per-capita ratio, hold promise for the market in years to come. Several new Chevrolet product launches are on tap for 2009 including the Cruze, Malibu, Traverse and Camaro.

Chevrolet sales in Europe also contributed to the brand's solid 2008 results, growing 11 percent and breaking though the 500,000 vehicle mark for the first time. Chevrolet is also performing strongly in emerging markets. It remains the top-selling import brand in Russia. In addition, Opel sales in Russia increased by 49 percent, while Saab increased 68 percent in 2008 compared with a year ago. The Opel Insignia won the prestigious European Car of the Year Award – a first for Opel in 22 years and a strong statement about GM's global midsize vehicle architecture. Important launches for GM this year in the region include the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer and Astra; Chevrolet Cruze; and the new Saab 9-3X and 9-5.

A highlight of GM's North America regional performance was the all-new Chevrolet Malibu sedan that achieved the highest percentage gain in annual sales volume (39 percent) of any of the top-20 selling vehicles in the United States. While GM's total North America vehicle sales volume in 2008 declined 21 percent, there were a number of bright future product opportunities highlighted at the North America International Auto Show in Detroit this month. They included the new Chevrolet Camaro and second-generation Equinox; the second-generation Cadillac SRX and all-new CTS sport wagon; and the Buick LaCrosse.

Sales of Cadillac outside of the United States were supported by strong growth of the brand in Latin America, Africa and Middle East (up 22 percent).

Note: Global sales results are based on preliminary numbers reported and have been rounded.

MORE

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), one of the world's largest automakers, was founded in 1908, and today manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 252,000 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries. In 2008, 8.35 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

Note: GM sales and production results are available on GM Media OnLine at http://media.gm.com/us/gm/en by clicking on News, then Sales/Production. In this press release and related comments by General Motors management, we use words like "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "forecast," "objective," "plan," "goal" and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements, representing our current judgment about possible future events. We believe these judgments are reasonable, but actual results may differ materially due to a variety of important factors. Among other items, such factors might include: our ability to comply with the requirements of our credit agreement with the U.S. Department of Treasury; the availability of funding for future loans under that credit agreement; our ability to execute the restructuring plans that we have disclosed, our ability to maintain adequate liquidity and financing sources and an appropriate level of debt; and changes in general economic conditions, market acceptance of our products; shortages of and price increases for fuel; significant changes in the competitive environment and the effect of competition on our markets, including on our pricing policies. GM's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q provide information about these factors, which may be revised or supplemented in future reports to the SEC on Form 10-Q or 8-K.

Source: Autoblog

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So, they are wasting Pontiac's money on Saab?

Wasting Chevrolet's money on Pontiac, Saab, Hummer, etc

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if styled right, and that picture from the first page shows how satisfying Saabs can be, this will be a good triple assault on the mainstream lux market from GM. with the lacrosse at the low end, CTS in the future competing more with mid lux sedans, and the 9-5 as an all encompassing exec sedan GM will have a good cover on the luxury market. saab is more acceptable amongst high end shoppers than Buick, and on a par with Cadillac in image perception. if they can get the right product, and with distribution through Cadillac's heavily cemented dealer base, they can move a lot of these. with the right driving dynamics, and maybe a standard Haldex RWD-biased 4 wheel drive setup, this could be a remarkably upscale sedan. this is why saab is a good entity to have in GM. I hope that when they say it won't be a core unit for GM it doens't mean they'll do away with it entirely. though some here see it as stealing from the piggy bank, saab can produce a good level of profit and can go a long way towards cementing a healthier GM. a healthier GM can then produce a good alpha sedan to make pontiac a more compelling sporty affordable car.

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and on a par with Cadillac in image perception.

Yeah... Keep dreaming :rolleyes:

I admit that Cadillac still needs work, but it has DEFINITELY surpassed Saab in terms of image... Hell, it was never even as low as Saab in the first place.

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Saab is dead, not only due to low brand awareness, but bad reputation for reliability, and dated product. They will never compete with Audi on interiors, never compete with BMW on performance, never compete with Mercedes on image and engineering, never compete with Lexus on quality/reliability. Cadillac can't even do any of those 4, how on earth will Saab. And front drive cars, even with awd option are never going to stand a chance against the Germans or Infiniti. Look at current front drive luxury cars (over$40k), DTS, 9-5 and S80 are sales dogs, the Acura RL even with AWD only never sold well, and never will, because it can't match the Germans in handling or ride. In today's market, if you have a luxury car (not an entry lux like an ES350, TL or MKZ) that isn't rear wheel drive, you might as well pack up shop and go home.

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Saab is dead, not only due to low brand awareness, but bad reputation for reliability, and dated product. They will never compete with Audi on interiors, never compete with BMW on performance, never compete with Mercedes on image and engineering, never compete with Lexus on quality/reliability. Cadillac can't even do any of those 4, how on earth will Saab. And front drive cars, even with awd option are never going to stand a chance against the Germans or Infiniti. Look at current front drive luxury cars (over$40k), DTS, 9-5 and S80 are sales dogs, the Acura RL even with AWD only never sold well, and never will, because it can't match the Germans in handling or ride. In today's market, if you have a luxury car (not an entry lux like an ES350, TL or MKZ) that isn't rear wheel drive, you might as well pack up shop and go home.

I thought Audi's sedans were based on FWD platforms. I could have sworn that I read somewhere recently that Audi has passed both Mercedes Benz and BMW in sales in Germany (the home turf for these three companies). I'm sure that they achieved that accomplishment on the success of their FWD/AWD sedans more so than any other products in their portfolio.

If I were GM, I would transform Saab into a small premium vehicle boutique brand that continued to support Cadillac. Saab would use AWD versions of the Gamma and Delta platforms (both short and long wheelbase) to create some interesting and upscale small vehicles with turbocharged engines. This is an area where GM really doesn't have any real presence while Saab has enough of its premium perception and quirkiness remaining to pull this off. Basically, Saab would be to Cadillac what Mini is to BMW; a small premium vehicle niche brand that complements the more mainstream luxury marquee. This is an area (small premium boutique vehicles) where Cadillac doesn't need to be and Saab could shine.

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Audi uses longitudinally mounted engines in the A4 and A6, that differs from any Acura, Lincoln, Saab, etc, so Audi quattros have about a 55/45 front to rear weight distribution. Not as good as BMW's 50/50, but good enough to get get close in performance, and Audi has been using their interiors and MMI system to attract buyers. They did outsell BMW in Germany and sell 1 million units worldwide in 2008. But Audi just had a big product assault, BMW and Mercedes have theirs coming in 2009-2010, so they may overtake Audi again.

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if styled right, and that picture from the first page shows how satisfying Saabs can be, this will be a good triple assault on the mainstream lux market from GM. with the lacrosse at the low end, CTS in the future competing more with mid lux sedans, and the 9-5 as an all encompassing exec sedan GM will have a good cover on the luxury market. saab is more acceptable amongst high end shoppers than Buick, and on a par with Cadillac in image perception. if they can get the right product, and with distribution through Cadillac's heavily cemented dealer base, they can move a lot of these. with the right driving dynamics, and maybe a standard Haldex RWD-biased 4 wheel drive setup, this could be a remarkably upscale sedan. this is why saab is a good entity to have in GM. I hope that when they say it won't be a core unit for GM it doens't mean they'll do away with it entirely. though some here see it as stealing from the piggy bank, saab can produce a good level of profit and can go a long way towards cementing a healthier GM. a healthier GM can then produce a good alpha sedan to make pontiac a more compelling sporty affordable car.

...and collectively sell fewer units than the crappy G6 alone.

The priorities are backward.

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G6 is a money loser since it goes to Avis or to people getting $6,000 off sticker. But it is a crappy car that can outsell several of GM's luxury offerings put together.

The problem is luxury cars need image and status. GM's brands have lacked focus and Cadillac has lacked the flagship to make them a legit contender. Cadillac for example tries to be like Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, and Lincoln and makes a boaty soft car, a sports sedan, a huge SUV for rappers and athletes, a soon to be soccer mom crossover, etc. They are all over the map and don't do any one thing particularly well that defines their identity. And the money to make that happen doesn't exist, I think Cadillac will continue to decline as long as GM has more than 3 brands. Saab was lost years ago, time to put us out of Saab's misery.

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G6 is a money loser since it goes to Avis or to people getting $6,000 off sticker.

Show me evidence that GM loses money on the G6.

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Show me evidence that GM loses money on the G6.

GM hasn't made an annual profit since 2004. That is 4 years in a row, going on 5, losing money on every car sold regardless of badge on the front.

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Didn't Wagoner say GM loses something like $2500 on every car sold because of UAW commitments? Yet there is at least one poster on C&G who insists on huge rebates when he buys a new GM, then says basically that he makes up the difference by paying the dealership $50 for an oil change.

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G6 is a money loser since it goes to Avis or to people getting $6,000 off sticker. But it is a crappy car that can outsell several of GM's luxury offerings put together.

The problem is luxury cars need image and status. GM's brands have lacked focus and Cadillac has lacked the flagship to make them a legit contender. Cadillac for example tries to be like Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, and Lincoln and makes a boaty soft car, a sports sedan, a huge SUV for rappers and athletes, a soon to be soccer mom crossover, etc. They are all over the map and don't do any one thing particularly well that defines their identity. And the money to make that happen doesn't exist, I think Cadillac will continue to decline as long as GM has more than 3 brands. Saab was lost years ago, time to put us out of Saab's misery.

Saab is a really sore point for me, if only because it exemplifies the corporate ADD afflicting GM for years. How hard would it have been to have been to 'Outback' the entire line-up? SUV's are really just a macho expression of the hatchback---a design Saab favored for years when independent.

That being said, Saab is in no man's land--not enough money to euthanize, nor enough to truly develop, market and support the brand as an entry-lux product. Sale is truly the only hope.

I disagree about Caddy, however. The CTS is a great product, the Escalade a money-machine and the rest of the line-up needs help---I believe the SRX will be a success, despite the fact that I like the old one. Many of my yuppie, SUV-lovin' friends have abandoned their BOF vehicle and have gone to highline CUV's and cars---the RX, while not my cup of tea, has proven to be an enduring success--one that Toyota probably makes $10k/unit on....if Caddy needs that to develop CTS derivatives and the Converj, I say "go for it."

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G6 is a money loser since it goes to Avis or to people getting $6,000 off sticker. But it is a crappy car that can outsell several of GM's luxury offerings put together.

The problem is luxury cars need image and status. GM's brands have lacked focus and Cadillac has lacked the flagship to make them a legit contender. Cadillac for example tries to be like Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, and Lincoln and makes a boaty soft car, a sports sedan, a huge SUV for rappers and athletes, a soon to be soccer mom crossover, etc. They are all over the map and don't do any one thing particularly well that defines their identity. And the money to make that happen doesn't exist, I think Cadillac will continue to decline as long as GM has more than 3 brands. Saab was lost years ago, time to put us out of Saab's misery.

I'll agree that Cadillac (like most of GM's divisions/brands) has been out of focus for quite some time, but I think Lexus also tries to be all things to all people in the luxury market. The worst thing that has been said about Lexus is that their products lack soul. Lexus has a real estate agent's car (ES), a soccer mom crossover (RX), 3 RWD sedans (IS, GS, LS), 2 traditional SUVs (GX and LX), a retractable hardtop coupe (SC), and an upcoming dedicated hybrid sedan (HS, which doesn't really look like a luxury car at all). I'd say Lexus has cornered the market on schizophrenia probably more than any other luxury brand out there today. The area where Toyota has succeeded with Lexus is that the company has done a great job of maintaining a separation between their mainstream brand (Toyota) and their luxury marquee (Lexus). GM sort of squandered Cadillac when the corporation gave the division the Cimarron; that product stated clearly to the public that Cadillac was nothing more than just another division of GM. However, I don't believe the damage is irreversible if GM is dedicated to the task of restoring Cadillac's image and perception.

I think Cadillac needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up though. They need sedans (and accompanying series) that can effectively compete with the best compact and midsize offerings in the luxury segment. These 2 segments drive the volume of the luxury market more so than the large flagship sedans. Cadillac needs to establish that they can compete with the big dogs in the heart of the market to build up their credibility in the luxury segment. This credibility will then pave the way for public acceptance of a large flagship sedan in Cadillac's portfolio. The current CTS sedan is a great first step (as long as GM keeps it technologically up to date and doesn't let it languish in the market), but it needs to be followed up with additions to the series (coupe and wagon) plus a smaller compact series (sedan, coupe, and wagon). I know a large flagship sedan would generate higher profit margins, but that is only true if the corresponding brand has the luxury cred to move the product off dealer lots. I don't think Cadillac is quite there yet.

I think Saab (in its current form) does distract GM from properly positioning Cadillac and Buick/Opel. I don't think Saab needs to be a full scale division anymore; GM has Buick/Opel to cover the midmarket (executive class) territory and Cadillac to cover the upper portions of the luxury segment. Saab (in its present form) essentially just provides overlap while not adding anything incredibly vital or distinct to the mix. I still think Saab could complement Cadillac best by becoming a small premium vehicle boutique brand. Again, this is an area where GM currently has no presence and Saab has the goods to be the brand to accomplish this task.

Saab could be an incredible small premium vehicle boutique brand with the following vehicles:

1) 9-1: 2-seat 3-door coupe built on an AWD version of the Gamma platform with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Styling would be inspired by the recent Aero X concept.

2) 9-2: 4-seat 3-door coupe built on an AWD version of the Delta platform with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Styling would be inspired by the recent 9-X Air Concept.

3) 9-3: 4-seat 3-door wagon built on an AWD version of the Delta platform with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Styling would be inspired by the recent 9-X BioHybrid Concept.

And that would be it for Saab. I know this wouldn't make Saab a high volume brand and it isn't intended to be (Besides, Saab isn't a volume brand now). It is intended to give Saab a specific purpose and focused mission in GM's brand hierarchy. If Saab could properly pull off the product portfolio listed above, then I think it would be a much cooler boutique brand than Mini. The Gamma and Delta platforms already exist, it's just a matter of applying the right elements of Saab-ness to make unique and desirable products for the small premium boutique car segment. Since I seriously doubt that GM will be able to sell Saab given the current unstable conditions of the global economy, it might be in the corporation's best interests to finally give this brand its own particular niche and identity in the market.

Edited by cire
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I still think Saab could complement Cadillac best by becoming a small premium vehicle boutique brand. Again, this is an area where GM currently has no presence and Saab has the goods to be the brand to accomplish this task.
Aha, good thiking there! Too bad the money isn't there.. and I suspect the management expertise to turn Saab, for lack of a better comparison term, into a Swedish Mini isn't there either.....
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Saab is a boutique brand now with 3 models, and they are a money loser and generate nothing in sales volume. GM is facing chapter 7 liquidation if they can't turn the ship around, they should put 90% of their resources into Chevy and Cadillac and hope for survival. If on February 17th the government decides to recall the loan, GM is dead, they have to make drastic changes or they will not see the end of 2009.

Cadillac lacks focus, BMW for 50+ years has been know for driving experience and handling, Mercedes for 110 years has been know for engineering and rock solid build quality, etc. Cadillac isn't really known for anything because every 10-15 years they change their mind on what they want to be. They need a consistent product lineup of vehicles that share design and driving dynamics (CTS, DTS and Escalade share nothing as far as driving dynamics).

Edited by smk4565
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Aha, good thiking there! Too bad the money isn't there.. and I suspect the management expertise to turn Saab, for lack of a better comparison term, into a Swedish Mini isn't there either.....

Yeah, I agree. Too little, too late. It would have been nice to see it happen, though.

Actually, I think GM should have sold Saab when it had the chance. It seemed to me that the corporation displayed a certain degree of arrogance in not selling it a few years back. Now that the global economy is unstable, there really isn't much of a chance in that happening now. A potential source of revenue at the middle of this decade has now become a rusty anchor around GM's neck.

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Yeah, I agree. Too little, too late. It would have been nice to see it happen, though.

Actually, I think GM should have sold Saab when it had the chance. It seemed to me that the corporation displayed a certain degree of arrogance in not selling it a few years back. Now that the global economy is unstable, there really isn't much of a chance in that happening now. A potential source of revenue at the middle of this decade has now become a rusty anchor around GM's neck.

Yeah, it's sad...

Now let's see how long it takes for GM to establish Cadillac globally, and how much it will cost... and also if GM can handle Cadillac as a niche luxury brand, which is what it will be outside of NA for years to come...

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Saab is a boutique brand now with 3 models, and they are a money loser and generate nothing in sales volume. GM is facing chapter 7 liquidation if they can't turn the ship around, they should put 90% of their resources into Chevy and Cadillac and hope for survival. If on February 17th the government decides to recall the loan, GM is dead, they have to make drastic changes or they will not see the end of 2009.

Cadillac lacks focus, BMW for 50+ years has been know for driving experience and handling, Mercedes for 110 years has been know for engineering and rock solid build quality, etc. Cadillac isn't really known for anything because every 10-15 years they change their mind on what they want to be. They need a consistent product lineup of vehicles that share design and driving dynamics (CTS, DTS and Escalade share nothing as far as driving dynamics).

Saab isn't a boutique brand. It is a sorely neglected second string luxury marquee that overlaps and competes with other GM brands (and is often overlooked in the process due to limited marketing and outdated products). I agree that Cadillac needs to be GM's priority in the luxury segment. To me, that would also mean that GM needs to quit wasting money developing the 9-5 and 9-4, products that overlap and compete with entries (Insignia/Regal and SRX, respectively) in GM's other divisions. I know the argument is that bringing these 2 products to market might eventually help GM sell Saab, but who is going to buy Saab during a credit crisis and unstable global economy (conditions that appear as though they may be around for quite some time)?

I do agree with you that Cadillac lacks focus and has products in its portfolio that damage or dilute its image. The Escalade, ESV, and EXT need to go; GMC should be handling premium truck based products, not Cadillac. The DTS needs to go also; Cadillac shouldn't be selling floaty FWD land barges anymore. I would discontinue the STS too (or replace it with the Chinese market SLS); it is too close to the current CTS (which is more attractive and more in tune with the direction Cadillac should be going). The XLR should probably go too (maybe a production version of the Converj Concept would be a more appropriate for Cadillac); it hasn't sold well and Cadillac doesn't have enough equity in the luxury segment to sell such a product yet. GM should focus on expanding the CTS series (coupe and wagon); these products should already be available. I have no problem with the upcoming SRX except that it should be available as an AWD vehicle only to further differentiate it from other GM offerings. A sub-CTS series needs to be a priority; the preference would be for the series (sedan, coupe, and wagon) to be on a RWD platform (Alpha or modified Sigma), although an AWD version of the SWB Epsilon II platform may have to do if GM cancels Alpha and Sigma can't be shortened to accommodate the product. To me, a proper AWD or RWD compact series (sedan, coupe, and wagon), an expanded CTS series (sedan, coupe, and wagon), the upcoming compact SRX, a Sigma based midsize crossover (ERX?), a production version of the Converj Concept, and maybe the SLS sedan (although I think it is unnecessary at this time) would be all Cadillac needs to reestablish itself in the luxury segment. That would leave room below Cadillac for a small premium boutique vehicle lineup for Saab (a segment that Cadillac shouldn't be involved in at all).

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Saab is a boutique brand now with 3 models, and they are a money loser and generate nothing in sales volume. GM is facing chapter 7 liquidation if they can't turn the ship around, they should put 90% of their resources into Chevy and Cadillac and hope for survival. If on February 17th the government decides to recall the loan, GM is dead, they have to make drastic changes or they will not see the end of 2009.

Cadillac lacks focus, BMW for 50+ years has been know for driving experience and handling, Mercedes for 110 years has been know for engineering and rock solid build quality, etc. Cadillac isn't really known for anything because every 10-15 years they change their mind on what they want to be. They need a consistent product lineup of vehicles that share design and driving dynamics (CTS, DTS and Escalade share nothing as far as driving dynamics).

mercedes has had crap quality for the last 10 years or more now

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Was sharing the highway with a CLK350 yesterday. It was always ahead of me, darting & weaving in a vain attempt to gain position in crowded, 3-lane traffic. Failure for at least 10 miles (tho I admit to having a lead foot). Observations:

> Showing the tubular steel tailpipe inside the bolt-on exhaust tip works for an off-shelf Pep Boys bobble, not a supposed class-leading lux make. Maybe if there were at least 'dual' tips, but with only 1, it looks uber-cheap.

> Headrests still use the same 2 chromed rods that econoboxes used in the '80s. They stands out clearly thru all windows- look cheap. Couldn;t see the headrest construction itself clearly, but it reminded me of those sheepskin covers, for the rear of the 'rest was small & hard-looking, but the front swelled outward all around. Weird.

> Making the tiny decklid out of 2 pieces instead of 1 stamping sure does no favors to the ol' 'engineering' image.

> Hardtop styling, while great and admirable, is mared by very large plastic belt housings that jut up from either window 'sill'- engineers should have devised a safety-compliant system that bypassed this visual blemish.

Frankly, WRT Cadillac- they are not doing anything different than the supposed 'leaders' bmw & mercedes have been doing, except with less SUVs and NO MINIVANS. :rolleyes:

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From what I can tell from pictures, the decklid is one piece, there is just a crease that runs across it to make it look, ya know, not flat.

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