Our national newspaper, The Australian, has a pretty interesting article covering the dilemma that GM Australia find themselves in here.
Cadillac is being thrust up on them. Some markets around the world will find that Cadillac provides a product that extends their existing range. It does the same thing here in Australia, but to a much smaller extent. Holden already have a large, RWD sedan range, which extends into a luxury range that provides critically acclaimed performance and value compared to the European competition.
GM’s global guys want to make Caddy a global brand, but risk cannibalising Holden here in Australia, and have already met stern resistance in Europe.
The other argument that I’ve been making for a long time now on this website is that forcing Cadillac on markets where it’s not wanted or needed is that it divides the resources available to promote Saab. Here in Australia, Cadillac will come uner the GM Premium Brands umbrella. What was once merely Saab Australia now includes Hummer and will soon include Cadillac.
They’ve tripled the brand portfolio. Do you think they’ll triple the staff or the financial resources available?
It’s a very interesting read, written about the Australian market but applicable to all.
There was one line that I found most interesting.
Whenever I’ve queried the push of Cadillac into Saab territory I’ve always received a GM response that buyers for each of these brands are highly unlikely to cross-shop them. Despite the fact that in many instances – and even more in the future – they’re to be sold from the same showrooms, and both are in the (near) premium class. To a certain extent, I can accept this. One is FWD and the other is RWD and they’re different in terms of styling – American and European. But they’re both a premium product and I’ve always maintained that if presented together then customers would look at both.
Here in Australia the Cadillac CTS will have a direct competitor in the Holden range. The Holden Calais is available as either a V6 or a V8 and pricing starts at around $45,000. It’s a large-ish rear-wheel drive sedan that’s well appointed and made to look pretty sharp. It’s even got a V-series model.
Despite all this, someone from Holden is compelled to wheel out the same company line:
Holden denies it is competing against its own locally built line-up and insists, somewhat vaguely, that the cars will attract different buyers.
….which doesn’t escape the attention of the writer at the end of the article:
Holden will need all the varieties of CTS it can get, because the one thing it can’t afford is for Cadillac to fail. From a GM standpoint, this time its flagship is definitely going global. Can you imagine the poor local executive who had to explain to Detroit why Cadillac wasn’t working in Australia?
“We tried selling Caddies Down Under, but Aussies just don’t seem to go for large, rear-drive performance sedans.”
Why do they insist on taking Caddy global?