Cadillac Still Want Europe Sales
Guest writer, MAC, had always wondered about the policies of the big American automakers since he was a kid, seeing the Ford Mustang splashed across the screen in countless films and TV shows…
Despite growing up in the shadow of the Ford’s factory in Dagenham, one of the biggest Ford factories outside of the US, all we got was the Ford Capri which was a very watered down version of the venerable pony car from Detroit. Just last weekend, as I watched a number of different car shows, most of which at some point extolled the virtues and amazing attributes of the Cadillac, I got to thinking about why our American cousins won’t allow us the privilege of owning one of these new cars in any country except for the US of A and China, or so it would seem.
In Europe, it is safe to say that Cadillac is conspicuous by its absence. Its cars are just not sold on any meaningful scale. Well, this may be coming to an end with the recent announcement that Cadillac hasn’t given up on the dream of gaining a foothold in the European premium car market, that is according to General Motors President, Dan Ammann’s remarks in a recent interview.
Ammann said, ‘Clearly our number one priority is the USA followed by China, but in the longer term there is a role for Cadillac in Europe and the rest of the world.’
GM still believes it can sell Cadillac’s in Europe, but they also admit that taking on the German luxury trio of Mercedes, BMW and Audi will be always be tough. Ammann admitted that Cadillac’s scattergun approach to Europe in the past under different bosses had hindered its chances here.
‘Therein lies the problem,’ he explained. ‘We’re in, we’re out, we’re in but we don’t do diesel…’ although he left that remark hanging, any pundit out there will be able to tell you that Europe luxury sedans need to have a diesel option to be able to compete, and Cadillac and other US brands generally do not. The simple fact that GM has a number of wholly owned subsidiaries that compete well in Europe and have a developed diesel platform seems to be ignored.
Ammann went on ‘But in the long term there is a role for Cadillac in Europe. Is it going to be a high-volume contender in the medium to long term future? Probably not, but is there a role for something other than the three German luxury brands? I think there is’. On this remark he is, of course, not on his own as I am sure that there will be people over at Volvo, Peugeot, Jaguar, Citroen, Volkswagen, Seat, Ford, to name just a few, who regularly compete with the German luxury providers.
‘We’ve got to figure out what it is, what our portfolio is, a different value proposition. But trying to out-German the Germans will not be the path to success. We have to have a different proposition. In the past when we haven’t had cash, the first thing that has been cut back is the frivolous “Cadillac in Europe” strategy,’ he joked, I think… ‘For sure GM’s more solid financial footing will allow GM to pursue its ambitions with Cadillac,’ Ammann stressed.
The current CTS and ATS models were engineered with Europe in mind, and Amman said they showed the brand ‘was in a better place than it had been for some time’.