Cadillac has had a tough time competing in Europe, with the poor image of its Saab-based BLS probably still lingering in the minds of Europe’s luxury car buyers. Cadillac made a half-hearted return to the European market in 2010 by offering a handful of select models, but now it’s full steam ahead, with the American luxury brand promising a full lineup of models, new dealerships and a dedicated team of marketing staff.
Starting this year, Cadillac will offer its ATS, ATS Coupe, CTS, SRX and Escalade models, and there are plans in place to expand this further going forward. One strong possibility is the upcoming ‘LTS’ flagship sedan.
Cadillac’s dealers will also be the place for Europeans to buy and service the latest Chevrolet Corvette (Stingray and Z06) and Camaro models. You may recall that General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] is pulling its Chevy brand out of Europe but will continue to offer select performance models. Going forward, Opel will fill the mainstream role with Cadillac taking up the luxury reins.
Cadillac isn’t expecting to make major inroads in gaining market share from Europe’s established luxury brands anytime soon. The brand sees itself as a challenger, although it sees this as an opportunity to challenge the traditional approaches to marketing and selling luxury cars. One example of this approach is collaboration with Uber and its app-based taxi service.
Cadillac recently snagged former BMW marketing executive Uwe Ellinghaus to run its own marketing operations for the globe. So far he’s helped the brand become one of the fastest growing full-line premium brands. In the U.S. last year Cadillac’s sales grew 22 percent, which was more than double the growth rate of the overall industry. Outside the U.S., Cadillac grew by about 30 percent, with China leading the way in 2013 with a sales increase of 66 percent, year-over-year, to more than 50,000 units.
The good news for readers back in the U.S. is that the renewed focus on Europe may see more Cadillac models designed to accept diesel engines as the oil-burners will be necessary if Cadillac has any hope of gaining significant traction across the pond.