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Cadillac relaunches in Europe with new models for 2011

Published: 20 October 2010

Cadillac is relaunching in the UK after a disastrous year in which its European importer went bust locking its entire stock in the hands of the liquidators. Now Cadillac is back – and it’s promising a wider range of more relevant cars than before.

However, the appeal in the UK will be stymied by the admission that only two models – the CTS saloon and estate – will be engineered for right-hand drive. Every other Cadillac sold here – the CTS Coupe, the SRX crossover and the Escalade – will be a left-hooker.

Another blow to European buyers is the news that diesel engines ‘will not’ feature in the immediate future. If the American market suddenly latches on to diesel, they will come. If not, they won’t. And as Europe only ever accounted for 2500 Cadillac sales, that won’t change just for continental buyers.

Petrol, left-hand drive sales… Cadillac sounds even more fringey than Infiniti!

Quite. But there are two reasons why Cadillac remains an interesting proposition: one is the distinctive product it offers and the other is the new business plan.

The models listed above are as far removed from the executive norm as it’s possible to get –and include some excellent models such as the CTS range. They’re likely to find a niche audience of people bored with the German/British/Japanese stranglehold on the luxury sector.

Cadillac says it has a new streamlined business plan which will make it profitable ‘at less than 2500 sales a year,’ according to European managing director Wolfgang Schubert. Dutch importer Kroymans went bust in the recession, taking the entire stock for Europe into storage for five months. Now the back catalogue has been sold, it’s time for the new models to arrive.

So where can I buy a Cadillac?

GM Europe has assumed responsibility for all European sales itself. A small team of 40 in Switzerland will run the entire European network. However, there is only one UK dealership in Manchester, and Schubert admitted it was a priority to launch a second British outlet as well as a series of smaller satellites.

Cadillac is planning to broaden its range, with a new 7-series rival, likely to be based around the XTS concept car, and a new smaller 3-series type vehicle.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet