What a waste

OK, here I go riding GM again….

Inside Line are reporting that Cadillac will expand it’s North American range to include vehicles in the entry-luxury category.

Saab’s playground.

First there’s the sub-$30,000 crossover vehicle. This will no doubt bring a conflict to the proposed 9-4x. But that’s not the one that gets me flared. It’s this one:

Cadillac also has plans to build and sell an updated version of its compact BLS sedan in North America in late 2009, according to GM suppliers. The new model would be slotted below the CTS in size and price, and would be based on the next-generation Epsilon global midsize architecture. It presumably would be offered in both front- and all-wheel-drive variants, with a choice of four-cylinder and V6 engines. The current BLS, which is built by Saab in Sweden, is sold only in Europe.

So.

How much has it cost to “re-launch” Cadillac in Europe, only to be faced with a resounding flop that anyone with half a brain could have predicted? And what could Saab have done with the 9-5 if they’d been allocated those funds instead?

Now, in order to justify all the money spent on Caddy’s failed Eurresurrection, they’re going to dump the BLS on the American public and create more competition for Saab in it’s most important market. Not only will it draw sales away from the 9-3 and possibly even the 9-5, it’ll water down Caddilac’s own market segment. They should be trying to steal sales off BMW and Audi, not Saab.

I tell ya. I’m trying to keep the faith and I’m trying really hard to believe there’s this 5 year plan and that GM really do want to see Saab succeed. But when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, you got to figure it’s a duck.

An open letter to GM from Trollhattan Saab:

Saab is your global premium brand. It provides a point of differentiation and has a loyal customer base that’s just itching to see the brand restored to glory. A Saab drives like no other car in your stable and if you invest in it, it will bring you very good returns. Not world-on-fire stuff, but very good returns.

Cadillac is your American luxury brand. Outside of America no-one wants to buy one becuase outside of America, we don’t think like you do. Bling is not our thing. We don’t have four-lane superhighways that go straight on for ever and ever. We have high fuel prices so we want smart, nimble and enjoyable cars. Not 1950’s throwback luxobarges. Outside of America Caddy’s are costly to buy, too costly to run and they look like crap.

Actually, they look like crap anywhere.

The golden age is over. Get with the freaking program and prioritise.

—–

Disclaimer: I’m on day three of sick leave. I’m getting a little stir crazy and I’ve just been watching Fight Club.

’nuff said.

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13 Comments

  1. Matt, I wish I knew what you were on about…

    Paul, I’ve read several reports since writing this. I just got the IL article thru my RSS feed and now have seen theres others out there. Autoblog notes the discrepancies.

    Regardless, other than providing the Trollhattan plant with some extra work to do, the Eurocaddy has been a flop and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the money would have been better spent elsewhere.

  2. It IS sickening…seeing a Cadillak or a Hummer and then realizing that at least here in the US GM is hooking Saab with those “conspicuous consumption” brands in maybe a third of its dealers. Wheres my barf bucket? Saab, the “flagship?” of GMEurope should be getting the cream of some of Opels sweet offerings, instead we get V6s(how are those selling worldwide?) and V8 SUVs masquerading as “the future”. Our vision of that future(with $3-7 petrol thanx to Ws “GWOT”…but dont call it a tax)is quite different.

  3. To be fair, I really doubt that a 2009 BLS would compete against Saab in North America.
    The two cars will appeal to totally different customers, with the new BLS being a luxury version of the Chevy Malibu (and most likely be made in the same factory). Bring-on the color-matched crushed velour interiors!

  4. Clarification from GM about the news on the net (Automotive News). There was plans for a coupé and an cab of ther BLS, bur they have been stopped. A combi should arrive next year, though.

  5. I agree with Bernard. NOBODY interested in a Saab would cross-shop Cadillac. Maybe the opposite could happen, if a Cadillac shopper saw some of the 9-3s parked on the same lot (many Saabs are sold through Cadillac dealerships here). But for the sort of person looking at a Saab, Audi, BMW, etc., Cadillac represents everything that person is trying to avoid. GM doesn’t get it, but one of the main reasons people in the US get interested in European cars is that they HATE American cars and everything they stand for. Saab might lose sales to BMW or Audi, and it might lose sales to Honda/Acura or Toyota or Volvo – but nobody, nobody, nobody ever has to flip a coin to choose between a Saab and a freakin’ Cadillac! It’d be about as likely as finding somebody who couldn’t decide whether their favorite actor is Jude Law or Vin Diesel.

  6. This shouldn’t be an issue.

    Caddy vs. M-B, BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar (RWD/AWD performance luxury)

    Saab vs. Acura, VW, Subaru, Volvo (FWD/AWD practical performance)

    The GM move I don’t get is Opel-Saturn. If you’re going to align Opel and Saturn why not just bring Opel as Opel?

  7. I don’t have time for a lengthy comment – I’m stuck at O’Hare airport waiting for a connection to Albany, NY (yes, I wimped out and decided to fly to the SOC).

    But the history of small Cadillacs in the U.S. market is simply dismal. The Cimarron was widely regarded as a joke, and the Catera had no presence at all.

    The U.S. brand image for Cadillac is not consistent with small or mid-size cars. Cadillac is big, bold, a sign that you’ve finally made it.

    The BLS will do almost as poorly here as it has done in Europe.

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