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.
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.
UPDATE: Autoblog have a US perspective on this, dealing with the revised models that will be coming.
Thanks to Ivan and ctm for the link.