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Cadillac planning BLS-based entry-level station

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Cadillac planning BLS-based entry-level station wagon for Europe

By HARALD HAMPRECHT | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek | Published 02/01/06, 4:46 pm et

Cadillac will build a station wagon version of its European BLS entry-level sedan.

General Motors' premium brand will start producing the BLS sedan next month at Saab's factory in Trollhattan, Sweden. Sales begin in March.

Starting in mid-2007, a station-wagon version will be added to the line there, GM executives told Automobilwoche at the Detroit auto show this month. Automobilwoche is owned by Crain Communications Inc., which also owns Automotive News.

"We are going to build a few thousand units of this version annually," said Carl-Peter Forster, GM Europe president.

"This model is important for our factory in Trollhattan and for the Cadillac image," said Fritz Henderson, former chairman of GM Europe, who became GM's CFO on Jan. 1.

The BLS station wagon is expected to debut no later than the Geneva auto show in March 2007.

Cadillac plans to build 10,000 units annually of the lower-premium BLS, which is based on the Saab 9-3. Saab, a GM subsidiary, needs the BLS to boost volume at its underused Trollhattan factory.

Two high-volume models -- the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 -- now are assembled there. Their successors will be built at GM subsidiary Opel's factory in Ruesselsheim, Germany.

Cadillac also could build a third model at Trollhattan, a crossover, say company sources.

Forster says Cadillac could sell 20,000 units in Europe by 2010, up from 2,000 units last year.

"A luxury brand can't grow more quickly than that," Forster said. "It would not be healthy."

Link: http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...E/60130012/1041

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Since the 9-3 and 9-5 will be built there until the end of their lifecycles anyway, they figured the BLS would use more of SAAB's capacity.

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