My thanks to Wulf from SaabMedia for cluing me in on this one.
German news source Automobilwoche are reporting that the exercise recently undertaken n the UK to bring Caddy, Hummer and Corvette under the control of a GM unit may be repeated for all of Europe.
Saab GB manager Jonathan Nash recently assumed responsibility for GM’s other three premium marques because the people that were doing it before were achieving two-thirds of one-fifth of nothing. That reminds me, I must check the UK sales to see how they’re doing now….
but I digress.
Here’s the text from Automobilwoche:
“Real consideration is being given to bringing the brands in-house,” the GM Europe executive said.
It is unclear whether the shift would involve firing Holland’s Kroymans Group, which has been exclusively responsible for importing, sales and marketing of the brands in Europe since 2003. But GM’s unit in Britain took back control of the three brands there in July.
European sales of Cadillac, especially, are far below expectations and are considered embarrassing by many in the company. Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe, set a sales target of 20,000 for Cadillac by 2010, but later cut the goal in half.
The luxury brand sold just 2,951 vehicles in 2006.
I know there’s a few that really believe that Cadillac and Saab can happily co-exist in Europe. And you all know that I’m not one of them. Not the way they’ve been doing it, at least.
Perhaps a range of bigger, properly American Cadillacs can forge a profitable niche market there, but the idea of a BLS-style Caddy for a bigger market is a waste of time, and more importantly a waste of serious money that could be building Saab.
Which brand has more realistic upside potential?
Saab on a global level or Cadillac in Europe?
Everything that I know about Saab and everything I’ve learned about European attitudes toward Cadillac would indicate that it’s the former.
If GM Europe are having trouble selling Cadillacs in Europe then it’s probably about 10% attributable to Kroymans, the current distributor. It’s got more to do with the fact that the vehicles just aren’t accepted there and won’t be until they’re truly distinct, renowned for quality and drivability.
Saab have a level of acceptance that whilst small, is something that Cadillac could only wish for at the moment. They have a fundamentally European background and the understand the territory.
Let Caddy get stronger in it’s home market and Saab get stronger in Europe.