GM Holden have today confirmed that they will be bringing the Cadillac brand back to Australia in 2008 after a close to 40 year hiatus. The plan to reintroduce the luxury brand to this country was announced today by Holden chairman and managing director Chris Gubbey, at an end of year lunch for the media in Melbourne.
The Cadillac badge is expected to be seen on local dealer forecourts in the fourth quarter of 2008, on the rump of the Cadillac CTS model. Powered by a 3.6-litre version of the Commodoreâ€™s 3.8-litre Alloytec, the 3.6-litre version in the Cadillac is more powerful, sporting 227kW thanks mostly to a more efficient direct injection system. A 2.9-litre V6 turbo diesel is likely to be introduced as an alternative powertrain choice in 2009.
The CTS comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, stability control, front, side and curtain airbags as well as iPod compatibility. Options will include a choice of two suspension packages, keyless start system and a 40GB hard-drive.
Expect pricing for the Cadillac CTS to be in the $70-80,000 range, pricing it well above the Holden Statesman range and making Cadillac the new luxury arm of Holden, although itâ€™s debatable that the CTS would be superior to the current Statesman range, perhaps limiting its appeal to those looking for the cache associated with the Luxury American brand.
There will be around 15 Cadillac dealers set-up through the GM Premium Brands division, whose range also includes Hummer and Saab. As with Hummer we can expect to see other Cadillac models find their way to Australia once the brand has established a foothold. That could mean a luxury crossover like the SRX or even the CTS-V performance sedan, powered by the same LS2 6.0-litre currently found under the bonnets of our home grown HSV range.
It remains to be seen just how the Cadillac brand will fair in Australia. Cadillacâ€™s glory days of big finned, hand-built cars that oozed style are long gone and we are left with the edgy and somewhat awkward styling of the CTS and the reality that Holden's VE range of luxury and performance sedans are more than likely dynamically superior and possibly even better built, not to mention cheaper.
Cadillac will be relying solely on the cache of the badge to sell cars in Australia and the big question is, will that be enough?