GM’s efforts to boost the image of Cadillac in Europe has been thwarted by the poor performance of the FWD only BLS, especially up against segment leaders like the RWD BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. That’s why for its replacement Cadillac may switch to GM’s new RWD Alpha architecture.

CEO Rick Wagoner is keen to improve Cadillac’s image in Europe and the key to its success will be small models. Speaking with Automotive News, Wagoner explained that Cadillac “will need smaller vehicles if it’s serious about markets outside of the U.S. and Middle East.”

Officials have confirmed the new Alpha small car platform will be developed at the Lordstown plant in Ohia, with the first Cadillac based version hitting the U.S. market by the 2011 model year.

An inside source revealed that it would “be a luxury entrant to compete with the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes C-Class.” Wagoner wasn’t willing to confirm whether Alpha would be headed to Europe but given his previous comments it seems highly likely.