[Cross-posted] Cadillac will head Down Under, according to General Motors–Holden’s boss Chris Gubbey.
It makes sense: the brand is well known despite not having retailed here postwar, thanks to American media, President Bush and The Matrix Reloaded. GM has been making right-hand-drive Caddys for some time for the Japanese and the British. And with Saab as the only premium GM brand here (if you do not count Hummer) and Holden now retailing Daewoos in most passenger car classes below the Commodore, the American company does lack something in the snob sector.
Saab is not really for snobs, anyway: they are for people who want a safe, Swedish car on old Opel Vectra platforms. Cadillac will have some cachet, even if American cars tend to have far worse interiors than their European counterparts. In other words, snobbery is all well and good, but even snobs will want good value. Otherwise, I can think of a very nice Audi A4 or A6 that they can consider.
I have not driven the new CTS, the ?rst model to go on sale here. Maybe the Lutz in?uence means that it has got the interior right, to match the striking exterior (I have loved Cadillac’s design themes this century). We know the car has been extensively tested to make it Euro-friendly. But they said all this the last time and the interior was still godawful.
Personally, I would be more excited about the Opel Vectra C-based Cadillac BLS, which will at least give BMW 3-series owners an alternative. The Audi A4 is getting older, and now would be a good time to strike. By 2008, Audi’s A4 will grow a lot, and the BLS will look decidedly outclassed. Like the Jaguar X-type.
However, I still think the Cadillac announcement is positive for GM in these parts. If the quality is right, then even better. If not, then GM should brace itself for another rejection. American cars have traditionally not done well here—Chrysler Neon and Ford Taurus, anyone?—and with such an investment, no brand can shield a product if the quality is not right. Just keep the Escalade at home, OK?