American juggernaut GM has outlined plans for its biggest ever assault on the European prestige market, promising a full line-up of Cadillac models and ongoing expansion.
The news, revealed at this month’s Geneva Motor Show, follows an initial announcement early in 2012 that the company had begun preparing its range for European compliance.
That announcement also brought news that, with the UK market forming part of its European plans, a number of right-hand-drive models will be offered - opening the door again to a potential Australian launch.
But the General’s sights appear to have turned south once more, with the availability of right-hand-drive models, and the need for a premium presence in the Australian market, suggesting a local launch could at last be on the cards.
Earlier in the year, former Holden boss Mike Devereux (who has since moved to GM Shanghai) told press at the Detroit Auto Show that the company’s Australian arm is in ongoing talks with headquarters on the ‘if and when’ of a local debut.
Devereux highlighted the need for a full right-hand-drive portfolio, and a brand-new model range to properly compete with the latest offerings in the Australian prestige market.
Nissan luxury marque Infiniti felt the effect of an ageing line-up when it launched in 2012 with just three model lines - none of them new.
The carmaker has since debuted its all-new Q50 sedan in Australia however, and GM will undoubtedly be watching closely to see if the newest contender in the prestige market can take on the established players of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus and Jaguar.
An Australian launch for Cadillac is unlikely to occur in the immediate future however, with the company first focusing its expansion efforts on the European mainland and the UK.
For 2014, Cadillac’s European line-up will include the new ATS sedan and coupe - GM’s BMW 3 Series rival - along with the larger 5 Series-rivalling CTS, the SRX crossover and the gigantic Escalade SUV.
Speaking in Geneva this week, Cadillac Europe boss Thomas Sedran said the company will work to match the customer experience offered by the segment’s key players.
“We at Cadillac see ourselves as a true ‘challenger brand’ in Europe and we fully understand that we have a lot of work ahead of us to make ourselves relevant to the European premium customer,” Sedran said.
“Being a niche player, we have the opportunity to challenge the traditional approaches to marketing and selling premium vehicles.”
Cadillac sales grew 22 percent in the US market last year, while the company’s Chinese arm saw a huge increase of 66 percent to sell more than 50,000 cars.