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BLS a bust?

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pow    106

Cadillac BLS a bust in Europe?

Despite lowering expectations for its Euro-only BLS sedan all the way down to around 7,000 to 10,000 units annually, it appears Cadillac was still a bit too optimistic with the car's chances for success in the old country. The FWD sedan that's based on the Saab 9-3 and built alongside the Swede in the company's Trollhatan factory has sold a little over 400 units after being on sale since April, with the month of May being its first full sales month. Trollhatan has slowed its production of the car down to 30 units a week. When the BLS launched the factory was producing that many cars per day. At this pace GM/Saab is on track to produce only 1,560 cars a year, a number well off any of GM's original targets. Despite the slow start, the BLS is still the best selling Cadillac in Europe so far this year. The BLS has also been fairly well received by the European automotive press and dealers are reporting many requests for test drives, so don't count out Cadillac's chances for success in Europe just yet.

http://www.autoblog.com/2006/06/15/cadilla...bust-in-europe/

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sciguy_0504    0

Needs to gain momentum. The Euros thought, "Ahh, great, another Cadillac, another American car." Now they need to be shown that's not the case.

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VenSeattle    8

Not a good break out of the start-up gate, but it's too early to tell if it's a bust. I'm sure GM will sell more than 1,560 of them. With full-month sales starting in May, GM only needs to sell 4,600 to reach the annual goal of 7,000.

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balthazar    1,882

what- no daily sales totals? I thought we were living in the instant info age...

As I said from the beginning, a Cadillac shared with a saab and built in a saab plant already has 2 strikes against it.

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pow    106

what- no daily sales totals? I thought we were living in the instant info age...

As I said from the beginning, a Cadillac shared with a Saab and built in a Saab plant already has 2 strikes against it.

But at least it's doing better than any other Cadillac. The fact the BLS is based on a common Saab makes buying from an unknown brand less daunting.

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rearden82    0

The BLS was on Top Gear recently, and the hosts did a good job of summing up what I'd consider to be a typical European car buyer's perspective. They said something like (and I'm heavily paraphrasing here!) "If you wanted to buy this car, you'd have to say 'I don't want the BMW 3-series, I don't want the Audi A4, I don't want the Mercedes C-class, I want... the Cadillac.' "

Basically, Cadillac has an even worse image over there than it does here in America, plus the BLS is competing with several very well-established cars. It seems to be a good car, and it's cool to see that GM is trying to establish the Cadillac nameplate on a global scale.

It shouldn't be too surprising that the BLS isn't selling too well at this point. I think the idea is that offering it will make buyers aware of Cadillac, and that over the next few years they'll start to consider the brand as something they'll actually want to buy.

The Escalade and CTS both got off to a bad start over here, but ended up selling quite well while tremendously improving Cadillac's image. Hopefully, the same kind of strategy will work out in Europe.

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Not always a good thing to see slow sales numbers, but like what everyone said, Cadillac doesn't have the biggest image in Europe, and what everyone over there needs to see is that its not just another American car, but its a competitive ride that deserves the same respect as the already well-known vehicles in Europe competing in the same catagoery.

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SimonDavid    0

It was the most stupid idea in history

the SAAB 9-3 it is based on is only marginally competitive - sells a bit in the UK and Scandinavia but basically nowhere else, many on discounted leases. The idea that a Cadillac version sold through a non existent dealer network with a brand few trust will do better, well thats crazy.

One of the big differences between US and Europe is that europeans actually use the performance. When I was driving to work at 160 kmh in Belgium I could really tell the difference between a 3 series and a warmed over Vectra or Mondeo

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X2222    0

I was recently in france and i did manage to see a few CTSs and even an STS. Truthfully, i dont see why those cars don't have a real chance at thriving in the european market. Theyre stylish and well built and at the luxury range, theyre not as susceptible to anti-american sentiment at all.

As for the BLS, it needed to be more of a niche design to have succeeded as a cadillac in europe. Maybe a cool coupe would have done better.

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While its not my ideal car,.its the best styled Caddy since the CTS, and they did a good job of disguising the mediocre, bland Saab 9-3 as a Caddy, even though it still looks a bit like the 9-3 on which its based.

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ZL-1    160

I was recently in france and i did manage to see a few CTSs and even an STS. Truthfully, i dont see why those cars don't have a real chance at thriving in the european market. Theyre stylish and well built and at the luxury range, theyre not as susceptible to anti-american sentiment at all.

As for the BLS, it needed to be more of a niche design to have succeeded as a cadillac in europe. Maybe a cool coupe would have done better.

No diesels in the CTS and STS is one of the reasons. A pretty bad reputation for quality and driving dynamis of American cars in general is another. Finally, The cars are big for our standards. The argument of a bigger car at a smaller car's price might work over here for the Chevy Epica, but not in the luxury segment.

BLS is a distinctive design. It looks nothing like the Saab (on the outside). A limited dealer network and the Cadillac / American cars brand image in Europe are the main factors in sales being so slow.

EDIT: the above is IMO

Edited by ZL-1

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Mikko O    0

Needs to gain momentum.  The Euros thought, "Ahh, great, another Cadillac, another American car."  Now they need to be shown that's not the case.

No, that's not it. They know it's a Saab underneath and it doesn't interest them as Europeans don't care much for Saab. Plus it needed to be RWD to compete with the 3 series. Simply put it's just not good enough for Europe. It's just an average car dynamically with a Cadillac body.

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SoCalCTS    25

It was the most stupid idea in history

the SAAB 9-3 it is based on is only marginally competitive - sells a bit in the UK and Scandinavia but basically nowhere else, many on discounted leases.  The idea that a Cadillac version sold through a non existent dealer network with a brand few trust will do better, well thats crazy.

One of the big differences between US and Europe is that europeans actually use the performance.  When I was driving to work at 160 kmh in Belgium I could really tell the difference between a 3 series and a warmed over Vectra or Mondeo

The stupid part was that they built the car for the European market. They should have imported them here and sent them to China as well. They could easily sell 7,000-10,000 units in here and in Asia.

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MyerShift    7

I don't see how the Saab 9-3 may be considered "mediocre" when it is technically the best of the Epsilons, possibly the BLS/Opel Vectra excepted.

Other than the STS as a whole, and the DTS's interior, I consider this small BLS to be my favourite Cadillac even if its interior isn't radically unique.

It's smaller, still has the look, has great (right?) quality on a proven architecture (even though that architecture debuted, what...2002 on the Vectra?).

If the BLS were rear-drive and it was known as BTS, I would like it even better.

It's taken too long for GM to utilize this platform across the range. Saturn is just now getting the Aura. I'm amazed that GM didn't produce an Epsilon Buick...yet. It's been almost five years since Epsilon debuted. I know it's solid and decent, it's just that the time frame is too expansive. When Epsilon-2 debuts, the Aura will only have been around for 2-3 years. Will Epsilon continue for each brand for as long as it underpinned other models, or will GM place Epsilon-2 under all of the cars at once?

Cars like the Opel/Vauxhall Vectra, SAAB 9-3, Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac BLS, Pontiac G6, and Saturn Aura. Quite an empire to lord over...

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