Where is Cadillac?

There have been numerous services covering the fact that the promotion of Cadillac in the United Kingdom is going to be taken over by the guys and girls at Saab GB. This is because the previous promoter, a Dutch company called Kroymans, either doesn’t know it’s arse from it’s elbow, doesn’t care, or they found the job of pushing non-diesel land yachts in the UK understandably difficult.

Saab GB head honcho will also add Hummer and Corvette to the portfolio.

The articles mention that Caddy has only sold 600 vehicles in the UK since relaunch in 2004, and that included the new Euro-specific BLS. Even I thought this was surprisingly low, so I looked up the SMMT vehicle sales stats for April, just to see how many vehicles Cadillac sold during that month, and a year-to-date figure as well.

Here’s the spreadsheet, which is clickable for enlargement:


Cadillac aren’t even listed!

There’s a section at the bottom of the spreadsheet for “other imports”. Brands in this group aren’t specified and could include the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini, as well as Nash’s two other new brands Corvette and Hummer. None of these are included in the main SMMT spreadsheet.

I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but there’s bucketloads of resources being thrown at Cadillac for Europe and the UK and to this point, there’s been no return or even the hint of a return on the horizon.

Now, to add to the problem of zero-or-negative recognition, GM are going to add these boat anchors to the portfolio of one of it’s semi-successful brand teams in the UK. So not only are Cadillac etc consuming vehicle development and marketing resources that could have been allocated to Saab, they’re also going to be consuming the resources that Saab have already been allocated. I assume there’ll be some sort of increase in their budget, but you can bet your bottom dollar that a four-fold increase in the size of the portfolio doesn’t mean a four-fold increase in their marketing budget.

Any UK folks that notice changes in the marketing of any of these brands, particularly Saab of course, feel free to drop a line.

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  1. as a corporation operating in their self-interest they are free to do as they please, but this is silly.

    i just want to know why. what they think will come out of this, how long they expect it will take, and how expensive it will be in the long run.

    build a brand with a poor image in a new place –or– grow a respected brand with a good reputation in a place with roots in the ground?

    cadillacs don’t even have a great brand image here at home.

  2. Just a note: American SUV styling has taken yet ANOTHER turn for the worse. New line of lincoln and gm suvs look absolutely disgusting.

    Honestly though, the new full-size navigator looks like an oversize school bus…

    This didn’t add much to the article… I know.

  3. There were figures for sales to date in the UK in Autocar I think, or it could have been auto express.

    It was something silly like 26 cars sold this year so far, against 80 odd for Lamborghini. Which is a damning statistic. Granted, the BLS is a huge flop, any of us could have told GM that outcome before they even started the cars conception. The BLS would never have worked. Just imagine what Saab could have done with that money, launch a 9-1 perhaps? Or a Sonnet or even the fabled 9-5 🙂 :). Heck, how much engineering know how would it really have taken to put the Aero X into production using the rear drive platform of the new Commodore? The recently launched Vauxhall VXR8 is grabbing fabulous reviews based on that platform.

    GM, please, just hire me to sort your market segments out, or at least listen to us. We are not saying we know better, but we are saying we know what, as a consumer, we want to buy.

  4. Apparently the BLS is quite a capable car. But the people don’t want what the people don’t want.

    The BLS wagon, on the other hand, is an abominations.

  5. Personally, I like the new GM SUV’s, but that’s just me. If I were to buy something like that, on the other hand, and couldn’t get a 9-7x, I’d buy a Jeep Wrangler…but that’s just me.

    We all know Cadillac will never succeed in Europe. Personally, I think Swade is kind of beating a dead horse. Until something new happens in the EuroCaddy market (word from GM, new Euro models, etc), any more pointing out that Cadillac is doing badly is kind of being (gasp) Snaabish :p

    Of course, this might just be me defending Cadillac, so maybe you should just ignore me :p Because…you know…I actually LIKE Cadillacs *ducks

  6. Jeff, we don’t hate Cadillac but what GM tries to do is just silly. Trying to sell a Saab as a Cadillac, how stupid do they think we are? Why don’t they start selling Opel in UK when they are at it?

  7. There certainly is a (smallish, though) market for American cars in Europe. However, those cars should represent ‘traditional’ values of an American car (i e big engine, rear wheel drive, somewhat aggressive design etc).

    The BLS never met these criteria and didn’t succeed. I still wouldn’t say Cadillac will never sell in Europe.

    I think the Chrysler 300 has been a minor success in Europe and proves that with the right product even Cadillac could sell here (and, Swade, still wouldn’t steal any customers from Saab).

    One specific feature in Europe is that with a big(=heavy) car you should offer a modern diesel engine. Many of you might disagree but I believe that with a diesel engine option Saab might have been able to sell quite a few 9-7X’s in Europe.

  8. Kaz, that really low European Cadillac sales number you were guessing on: was that INCLUDING the BLS, or only American-built Cadillacs like the CTS?

    riku1100s: Cadillac already offers a diesel engine in Europe in the BLS. They’ll be getting a supposedly really nice one in the 2009 CTS also.

    Caddy is only using the BLS to get themselves a dealer network going. They have to have a product to offer (BLS) in the short-term until they get the products they really think are going to sell there (starting with the ’09 CTS). They’re just getting their “ducks in a row” right now.

    At least SAAB was able to borrow the new doors design for the 9-3 for very little cost as the development cost was likely charged to Cadillac (for the BLS) so that’s a positive trickle-down effect for SAAB…

  9. I agree that GM is making mistakes with Cadillac in Europe, but I think that (besides the BLS), they could sell very well there if GM would put some nice Diesels into them or something…make them more Euro-centric without actually introducing a poorly done EuroCaddy. Aim them at businessmen who want something different than your usual Merc or Bimmer. Of course, that would only work if the cars were perceived to be just as nice as the Benzes, but that’s another story.

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