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Northstar

Cadillac still looking for international volume

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Northstar    11

By DAVE GUILFORD | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek | Published 03/02/06

http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...1024/LATESTNEWS

Jim Taylor, Cadillac marketing general manager, says the division needs to make progress on one laggard element in its largely successful revival plan: building international volume.

American dealers should pay close attention to Cadillac's efforts to pump up sales in Europe, China and elsewhere, Taylor said, because overseas sales can be decisive in getting products approved for the United States.

For instance, he said in an interview here, the CTS and STS required significant investment for relatively low volumes. The expectation that incremental volume would come from overseas was important to their business case, he said.

"You add 5,000 units in Europe, 5,000 in China and 5,000 in the Middle East and pretty soon that adds up to real money," Taylor said. "It can make the difference between a program that can make it and a program that can't."

Even getting the 5,000 in Europe will be a struggle, where Cadillac sold about half that last year. Taylor conceded that GM's projections of overseas growth have been overly optimistic.

Cadillac had to regain its reputation in its home market before it could win credibility with overseas buyers and -- equally importantly -- overseas dealers, he said. But gaining volume, especially with the entry-luxury compact BLS in Europe, is a more realistic possibility now, he says.

"The international volume for us is really key," he added.

Taylor said he has three other priority items on his to-do list:

(1) Fixing the SRX. Cadillac's Sigma-based crossover has been well regarded, winning enthusiast-magazine praise for its handling, but sales have been weak. Taylor said Cadillac will re-launch it this summer with a multimedia campaign that will tout a new interior and a sport version. But longer term, the vehicle's extended station-wagon look that allows for a third row of seats needs to be modified to give it a clearer crossover personality, he said.

(2) Getting an X3 fighter. Cadillac wants to battle BMW's small crossover. It's hunting for a platform because the niche "probably is the next target area for us," Taylor said.

(3) Reviving the ultra-luxury sedan proposal. Cadillac has long wanted to bring a $100,000-plus sedan to market. But, Taylor conceded, GM's current financial problems have put the project on hold.

"It's a nice-to-have," he said, "but not critical."

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turbo200    6

By DAVE GUILFORD | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

(1) Fixing the SRX. Cadillac's Sigma-based crossover has been well regarded, winning enthusiast-magazine praise for its handling, but sales have been weak. Taylor said Cadillac will re-launch it this summer with a multimedia campaign that will tout a new interior and a sport version. But longer term, the vehicle's extended station-wagon look that allows for a third row of seats needs to be modified to give it a clearer crossover personality, he said.

Good. For both points. I'm glad the exterior is not being ignored, but I'm disappointed we will have to live with it as is for some time apparently. I love the looks of the SRX, but overall there are a lot of wierd angles, and clearly the station wagon look is not what the market wants.

(2) Getting an X3 fighter. Cadillac wants to battle BMW's small crossover. It's hunting for a platform because the niche "probably is the next target area for us," Taylor said.

Fine. Make it RWD or at least a damn good handling car.

(3) Reviving the ultra-luxury sedan proposal. Cadillac has long wanted to bring a $100,000-plus sedan to market. But, Taylor conceded, GM's current financial problems have put the project on hold.

What about the damn coupes? What about something above STS? Fix the STS too, more than just a grille and interior, it needs more. What about coupes and convertibles? And in the future, something off Kappa with a 3.6 DI and 3.2 GDI turbo worth 400 hp

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Croc    268

My mom loved the SRX except "it looks like a hearse." Plus the interior wasn't so great. Me? I love it. I think depending on the interior facelift it will be my car after graduation.

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turbo200    6

My mom loved the SRX except "it looks like a hearse."  Plus the interior wasn't so great.  Me?  I love it.  I think depending on the interior facelift it will be my car after graduation.

I love the SRX too, but I think that has more to do with my bias towards Cadillac than anything. The look on the outside is just not right. The interior is awful, obviously

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Croc    268

I like the exterior. I think it is the best of the A&S vehicles. The only thing eh about it is the rear quarter window treatment. The line doesn't go with the beltline, and only upon seeing the taillamp treatment does it make sense...but it can look very awkward from certain angles. The rest of the design works for me, though.

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turbo200    6

I like the exterior.  I think it is the best of the A&S vehicles.  The only thing eh about it is the rear quarter window treatment.  The line doesn't go with the beltline, and only upon seeing the taillamp treatment does it make sense...but it can look very awkward from certain angles.  The rest of the design works for me, though.

It's the wheelhousing that is too large for the max wheel size they use too. that rear is mostly what I'm talking about. the front end, I'm not sold on it. It's starting to look bland.

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regfootball    234

yeah, the srx exterior needs tweaks, the interior needs a complete replacement.

i would not go x3 hunting. x3's are a joke anyways. but i guess every automaker needs a 'chick car' to sell.

a ULS is too ambitious right now. I'd rather see the investment in amking the next CTS mindblowing and hurrying up the STS replacement and readying a new DTS replacement. Although I would still keep the DTS as it is for the fogeys and stuff.

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Croc    268

a lot of the exterior issues are resolved if you get it in Black.  i followed one today.  very hot!

But I like Sand Storm...

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balthazar    1,882

turbo -- Please explain how you "love the SRX" if the exterior is "just not right" and the the interior is "awful, obviously" What is it then that inspires such adoration; the lug nuts? The exhaust hangers?

Edited by balthazar

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pow    106

yeah, the srx exterior needs tweaks, the interior needs a complete replacement.

i would not go x3 hunting.  x3's are a joke anyways.  but i guess every automaker needs a 'chick car' to sell.

a ULS is too ambitious right now.  I'd rather see the investment in amking the next CTS mindblowing and hurrying up the STS replacement and readying a new DTS replacement.  Although I would still keep the DTS as it is for the fogeys and stuff.

I agree... and the type of buyer who'll be interested in a ULS will probably buy an equally bling Escalade instead.

The most important car for Cadillac, I think, is the upcoming CTS.

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Croc    268

turbo -- Please explain how you "love the SRX" if the exterior is "just not right" and the the interior is "awful, obviously" What is it then that inspires such adoration;  the lug nuts? The exhaust hangers?

Hm, maybe it's the driving? You know, some people actually like cars that handle well and don't wallow all over the road.

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SimonDavid    0

In terms of international volume it's really simple

- good interiors

- diesel engines

In Europe well over 50% of Mercs and BMWs are diesel. It's not an option - it's simply critical to getting a credible 5 series or S class competitor.

And Cadillacs interiors are still so far off the pace it's a joke. They need to be not "better than previous GM" but world class.

Apart from that it's going to be a long haul to attract the right dealers, achieve a body of satisfied customers, and then establish a track record of high residuals - that is the key to the luxury market.

It took Lexus many years to reach 10,000 sales in Europe.

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Cadillacfan    0

The reason for Lexus taking so long to reach 10,000 is because people in Europe who buy luxury vehicles are extremely loyal to European brands.

Also.. take a look at the new Escalade interior. It's not just better then previous GM interiors. It's pretty damn luxurious and attractive. The only thing that I don't approve of is the cheap looking radio unit. They could've at least change the color of it.

I'm sure GM is going to give the new Cadillac vehicles the interiors that everyone is hoping for. It's just going to take a while.... unfortunately.

Edited by Cadillacfan

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ponchoman49    23

Not only does the SRX need an interior re-do but I would also like to see some exterior changes. The naked sided look so foolishly introduced by BMW a few years back really needs to go. It's sickening to see 60K plus Caddys with door jams and creases already. They put a nice chrome molding on the new trucks, why not the SRX? And please tone down the sharp creases a little. Other than that it should do well.

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buickguy    0

GM should have Caddy and Buick cover the entire luxury market, aiming at Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus. Caddy the upper end, Buick the lower end taking on the cheaper Lexus, and Acura.

Caddy needs a coupe to compete with the Mercedes CLK, and a 4 seat convertible in the high 40K to 50K range.

The SRX needs to be jazzed up a bit. It looks kind of plain and I think they need to dump some of the boring colors like beige that make it look cheaper than it is.

Buick also needs a coupe and a 4 seat convertible in the 34 to 39K range.

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jbartley    0

GM should have Caddy and Buick cover the entire luxury market, aiming at Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus.  Caddy the upper end, Buick the lower end taking on the cheaper Lexus, and Acura.

Caddy needs a coupe to compete with the Mercedes CLK, and a 4 seat convertible in the high 40K to 50K range.

The SRX needs to be jazzed up a bit.  It looks kind of plain and I think they need to dump some of the boring colors like beige that make it look cheaper than it is.

Buick also needs a coupe and a 4 seat convertible in the 34 to 39K range.

Yeah caddy needs some NEW BLUES. That blue chip is so boring on the SRX/CTS

where is the cool "pearl blue" or "oyster blue" those would be good colors

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97regalGS    0

I agree... and the type of buyer who'll be interested in a ULS will probably buy an equally bling Escalade instead.

The most important car for Cadillac, I think, is the upcoming CTS.

so, you're saying that those folks that buy SClass and 760i would just as soon purchase an Escalade? I think you are mistaken.

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Croc    268

there's no accounting for taste.

Good taste, of course. I like it because it looks the best with the rear lamp cluster and shows off all the body lines without being dull like white. I also liked that one color Moonstone, though without checking I think it's been discontinued.

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pow    106

so, you're saying that those folks that buy SClass and 760i would just as soon purchase an Escalade?  I think you are mistaken.

No, but the Cadillac brand demographics are different.

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cavalier36    7

(2) Getting an X3 fighter. Cadillac wants to battle BMW's small crossover. It's hunting for a platform because the niche "probably is the next target area for us," Taylor said.

can anyone say Cadillac "equinox"?? this would work if it had a upgraded interior, and maybe the 3.6L VVT DOHC V6 under the hood.. it would be sort of a baby escalade..

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