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Caddy in Europe? Heard it before -- it won't happen


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Caddy in Europe? Heard it before -- it won't happen

Luca Ciferri

Automotive News -- March 1, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

Now and then someone at General Motors Co.'s global headquarters in Detroit decides that Europeans are about to fall in love with Cadillac.

It's kind of silly, really -- like taking your own beer to the Oktoberfest in Munich or asking for a loaf of Wonder Bread in a Paris bakery.

I have covered the European auto industry for more than 20 years, and I have lost track of how many times -- and in how many ways -- GM has said it finally has found the way to make Cadillac a success story here.

This week at the Geneva auto show, GM will try once more.

Last March, Cadillac's independent European importer, the Dutch dealership group Kroymans, went bankrupt. Now GM will attempt another comeback with a new Cadillac Europe organization based in Zurich, Switzerland.

I think it will be another mistake. Russians may like Caddies, but Europeans simply don't.

The brand has never been more than a niche player here, and a minor niche player at that. According to the market research firm Jato Dynamics, GM sold 3,029 Cadillacs in Europe in 2007, 2,701 in 2008 and only 1,218 last year. Since Kroymans bowed out, some Cadillacs, such as the CTS and the CTS-V sedans, have remained on sale in Europe.

In the last 30 years, annual Cadillac sales in Europe have never totaled more than about 5,000, according to a GM spokesman.

Cadillac has never had it easy in Europe, where it has had to face Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz on their home turf.

The idea of growing in Europe with a product especially designed and built here has not worked either. The uninspiring BLS sold just a fraction of what Cadillac had hoped for.

Cadillac has more allure in Russia. Last year GM sold 1,529 Cadillacs in that country, a 4 percent decline in an overall Russian market that went down 48 percent. For wealthy Russians, a Cadillac is a status symbol, but in Europe it is a different story.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100301/RETAIL03/303019959/-1#ixzz0gw4Pw4Dl

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Hogwash. If the cars are good, they will sell. What, Europeans don't like good cars? If GM produces a good, competitive diesel engine, and offers the sedan, coupe and wagon, and maybe even builds a few IN EUROPE, I don't know what it wouldn't sell.

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Expand in China, Russia, other countries outside the US. It is still worth distributing Caddy in Europe but the cars need to be good. And diesel needs to be a priority.

Caddy could sell the ATS, CTS, SRX in Europe, but I admit they probably need a halo car too.

At least caddy could outposition Acura and the likes.

The other part of this, I think Opel needs a true flagship. A zetaII car, of which caddy can share a platform for its next flagship.

No XTS should set foot in Europe unless its hybrid only.

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Cadillacs are too big and thirsty to sell in Europe, plus they lack build quality. Without a diesel they have zero chance. Cadillac's product lineup just doesn't match up with European tastes, plus they have a poor brand image there.

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