GM are listening! BLS to go.

Ding Dong, the witch is dead!!

It’s a win for common sense, of sorts. There’s a story in Auto Motor and Sport today stating that GM will make it’s future Eurocaddies based on a rear wheel drive platform. Basically, they’re challenging themselves to make Caddies that will appeal to both Americans and Europeans.

Good luck.

This means that GM have seen the writing on the wall for the BLS and it likely won’t be continued when the next generation 9-3 comes. The writing on the wall that they’re still choosing to ignore is the supersized script saying YOUR STINKIN CADDYS DONT SELL HERE!!!

The story says that there will be a new, smaller RWD Caddy from around 2011 that’ll be built for both the US and Europe. Other updated Caddys will presumably be Euro-bound as well.

This could mean one of two things for Saab, depending on how GM choose to play it.

They could make their Caddys however they want to make them and market them quietly as a boutique thing for those that want them. Sell them on quality and word of mouth. Selected marketing to the most likely people. Build up an air of exclusivity. OR, they could try like blazers to market their luxobarges to anyone with a heartbeat and continue to push %#$! uphill with a toothpick.

If they do the former, perhaps GM will plough some more resources into marketing Saab in Europe. If they do the latter, expect more of the same.

Count up all the citizens of Ireland, Norway, Sweden, the UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland and you get around 350,000,000 potential Saabisti. Well, not really, but that’s a lot of people.

The UK and Sweden are going along pretty well and Spain’s come along in leaps and bounds. In the remaining 8 countries on that list, Saab could probably be doing better than what they are. In order to do that, they need better product and better exposure. When you consider that Saab sold around 90,000 vehicles in Europe to Cadillac’s 3,300 in 2006 – and that’s with the addition of the Eurocentric BLS – you can see where the money’s going to be better spent.

What’ll be easier? Getting a 5,000 per year sales rise out of Saab, or selling 5,000 more Caddys on a continent where you’ve sold 3,300 at best and have had to downgrade your forecasts – multiple times.

GM should be investing in Saab to make it a true European competitor.

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UPDATE: Autoblog have a US perspective on this, dealing with the revised models that will be coming.

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Thanks to Ivan and ctm for the link.

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16 Comments

  1. There is another thing in this. Both Cadillac and Chevrolet are “old american cars” to people in Europe, so the marketing task is a big one. But, while Cadillac sold about 3.000 cars in 2006, Chevrolet sold over 340.000! This despite Chevrolet just beeing re-badged Daewoo’s, and not made in America. Or maybe because…?

  2. CTM: Your comment proves my point: the reason that Cadillac struggles isn’t because the cars are necessarily bad, it’s just that Euros are car snobs.

    I was never a big fan of the BLS because it’s badge engineering of the highest order, but I am sticking to my guns: Cadillacs will sell in Europe. They are very good cars with a unique heritage that will resonate with a segment of the population.

    To paraphrase Ford’s 1990’s advertising campaign: ‘Have you driven a Cadillac…lately?’

  3. I understand your thoughts, But i think you are looking at the small picture. GM has to look at the large picture, they need to offset the cost of all of this new product with sales.Saab and cadillac, are different, they drive different, look different, but they are both great cars in different ways, one is the european car and one the new american car. You need to stop looking at this as an either/or game. GM needs both premium brands to do well. I think in europe as well as here in the US people have different tastes, wants and needs and if a Saab does not fit their needs, then they will go to BMW, Lexus, Audi or some other brand. I think that GM is looking at it the same way as I am if not a Saab, then maybe a cadillac, and then GM gets the sale. Get out of your head that for Cadillac to grow Saab needs to lose. I believe that if GM was looking at that then why keep making Saabs better, let them go the way of the Oldsmobile, keep the products you have and let them wither on the vein, That is not what they are doing. Give GM a chance with Cadillac to make in roads with sales a dealer network that may help saab in the long run, this is not a sprint, but a marathon.

  4. “Your stinking Caddys don`t sell here”. Regarding the BLS I think be carefull saying this since it may also mean Saab are stinking cars.

  5. The only Caddy I would buy is the BLS. The rest really suck, they just need to realize it themselves (GM)…and that won´t happen! Haha! Loooosers!

  6. I have no problem with Cadillac as such. It’s the way GM try to market it in Europe that makes me wonder what the heck they are thinking.

    I agree with Swade. If they need to sell it as premium over here, then sell it as a real premium American car with all the heritage of the brand. Go all the way and make a real battleship out of it. Sell it a selected dealers in the bigger cities (and that means a maxium of 2-3 dealers in Sweden). Target the marketing to the rich people who have money to spend. Compete with Mercedes, Lexus, Jaguar and even Bentley. But be real American and don’t try to play the European game on our home turf. That way there is a chance of selling some and making a profit.

  7. ctm: Saying that all Chevys are rebadged Daewoos is the same as saying all Saabs are rebadged Cadillacs.

    Except the Aveo, that actually IS a rebadged Daewoo.

    Anyway, thank God they’re dropping that thing. It destracted the Europeans from the awesomeness that is the CTS.

  8. Jeff: What do you mean? In Europe Chevrolet are rebadged Daewoo’s. In Sweden they have 6 models, and 5 of them are Daewoo’s.

  9. ctm:

    That ‘taste’ leads millions of Swedes to buy Volvos. I rest my case.

    Saying that Cadillac should still make luxo-barges for Europeans is like saying that Saab should stick with the 2-stroke engine or that Saab should stick with the hatch (wait a minute — perhaps they should!). My point: all consumer product companies change. Saab and Cadillac included.

  10. Well, I would rather buy a Volvo than a Chevy or a Caddy. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the only brand whitin Ford actually making a profit, and I think there is a reason for that. 😉

  11. ctm:

    You are either humorless or you really are a car snob. One or the other.

    Actually, Volvo’s numbers haven’t been made clear for some time, and I believe that’s because it’s difficult to sell a bleeding company. Volvo is no different from any other Ford division — too many products and lack of excellence in most of them. Certainly, you may select specific high points, but I could easily do the same with Ford.

    And, pray tell, when have you actually driven a Cadillac? If your dislike is based upon your personal bias, then you’ve proven my point. If you’ve driven one and didn’t like it, you should be a little more specific with your reasons for not liking the cars. We Saabisti are disappointed that the ‘black turbo’ isn’t going to top 280 bhp; the BASE Cadillac XLR comes standard with 320 bhp and 310 ft-lbs. of torque. It will eat ‘black turbos’ off the line every single time. If you go to the ‘V’ models, all three come with engines with over 400 bhp output (supercharged, thankyouverymuch). The ‘black turbo’ won’t even touch them.

    I’m hoping that they transplant this stuff into the Saab line. Soon.

    Bad mouth GM all you want. Saab will be using this technology and you’ll have to change your tune. You can work within the program to get what you want or you can fight the program and take the scraps. Up until now, Saab has been fighting the program. It’s gotten them an ancient 9-5 that’s too small to compete, a failed experiment selling Subarus and an SUV that doesn’t complement the product line.

    Here’s to hoping that Saab cozies up to Cadillac to make some great things happen. For Saab.

  12. eggsngrits,

    English is not my native language, and I’m sorry if you can’t understand what I’m writing. But please try to read it anyway.

    As I said before, I don’t *dislike* Cadillac as such. I have driven one (1) Cadillac (the BLS) so I can’t judge the whole brand for personal reason – and that I don’t do. The BLS was OK, but then again it’s basically a Saab and I don’t see the point with the model (and hardly does anyone else). I haven’t driven any other Cadillac because there hardly any in Sweden or the rest of Europe – not even to test drive. And why test drive a car you never ever want to buy because you don’t have any interest at all in buying it just by the look of it? It’s the same reason I don’t spend my time test drive Seat’s or Logan’s or SsangYong’s or Kia’s. It’s called a personal opionin. I hope I’m allowed to have one without being sued.

    It may be the fact that the base XLR have a great number of bhp, but that doesn’t seem to help. 128 were sold in the *whole* Europe during 2006 (on a market with a sale of something like 15 Million cars). I don’t know what other cars it is competing against, but it’s not selling. Also, I don’t know why you are using that car when talking about the Saab 9-3 Black Turbo which is a totally different car. And even the Black Turbo will probably cost only half of a XLR in Sweden.

    Cadillac’s are *not* selling in Europe. Period. 3.400 cars in the *whole* of Europe during 2006 is about the same number even little Saab (with only a weird SUV, a Subaru nose-job and two outdated models) were selling in the U.S. in June 2007 alone. Are we car snobs because of that? Are the world outside the U.S allowed to have a different opinion than you on cars, music, movies and foreign politics without you Americans thinking we are strange and snobs? Maybe this has something to do with the current status of the U.S. auto industry? To my knowledge, an American designed and built car has never sold good in Europe. On the other hand, companies like Volvo, Mercedes, Porsche and BMW (and even Saab) are selling the same cars the make for Europe in the U.S. with good results. So sue us, call us snobs – or ask your fellow American’s why they are buying European (and Asian) cars?

    And I don’t know why you are saying that I badmouth GM. Is that because I don’t drive a Cadillac? If you would try to read some of the posts I have written here for some time, I have constantly defended GM as an owner of Saab (the last time earlier today), and even defended some of there decisions about Opel and Chevrolet. If I badmouth something, it’s the opinion that GM Europe has any need for the U.S. “know-how” on building big SUVs or thirsty V8 engines or unsafe cars. If Saab (and GM Europe) has been fighting that “program”, it’s something I clearly understand. Also, the 9-7X and the 9-2X you mention was something invented in the U.S. when cooperating in this “program”. Go figure the result.

    This whole thing started with the *fact*: Cadillac is a huge fiasco in Europe, and clearly something has to do with the cars. But if they think like you and blame buyers who don’t get it, then I understand the problems more clearly. Chevrolet in Europe, on the other hand, consists of rebadged Daewoo’s, and they are selling. I don’t have anything to add anymore on this matter. I think Swade made the point in an excellent way.

    Volvo:
    Please try to stay with facts. Between 1999-2005, Volvo made about 3.5 *Billion* USD in profit for Ford which they moved to the parent company to cover the losses the make on the U.S. models, and the sales have increased even further after that date during the time they shared even more components with Ford Europe. This is no secret, it’s all in the books.

  13. ctm:

    Touche. I’ll read yours if you read mine.

    1. A BLS a Cadillac doesn’t make. So you HAVEN’T driven a Cadillac, now have you?

    2. Europe’s rejection of the brand does NOT mean that it’s meritless. American opinions matter, too. That’s my point.

    3. It is my opinon that Cadillac’s European failure has more to do with the protectionist tarrifs (the EU as a whole has the highest tariffs for automobiles in the world – fact, look it up) than with actual performance or design. I can buy a Cadillac here for about 30% less than one can in Europe! What is Europe afraid of if the cars won’t sell? Hmmm???

    4. Volvo’s ‘profits’ came after Ford ‘invested’ a similar amount of money in the company. In any accountant’s book, that’s not a net profit. Perhaps if they sell the company they will realize a profit, but for now, Volvo hasn’t exactly been a growth engine for Ford.

    5. Thanks for clarifying your stance on GM — much appreciated.

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