It could be third time lucky for Cadillac in Australia. General Motors is once again considering bringing its luxury brand Down Under.
Cadillac was due to be sold in Australia at the end of 2008 – for the first time since 1969 – but those plans were scrapped in the grip of the Global Financial Crisis, even though cars had been shipped and dealers had been appointed.
“Our team is talking to the global Cadillac group about if and when it would make sense to properly, 100 per cent, both feet in, launch that brand [in Australia],” the boss of Holden Mike Devereux told reporters at the Detroit motor show. “But we would not do that until the conditions were absolutely rock-solidly perfect. You would have to have a full right-hand drive portfolio of the line-up.”
Holden is waiting until there is a full line-up of Cadillacs available in right-hand-drive – unlike last time when it planned to launch with just one mid-size sedan and expand with other models later.
“I think for us to launch Cadillac, if we were to do that in Australia, you have to have every single key volume entry have the exact spec that we know Australians would want and need, and we are looking at the viability of that as we speak,” Devereux said.
“We wouldn’t do it if it absolutely didn’t have every single thing that you would need out of the blocks to be able to have a robust approach to a dealer network and have the right portfolio. And that is what GM’s intention is with Cadillac globally.”
However, we’ve heard this before from Cadillac. In 2008, the then boss of Holden Chris Gubbey said: “Cadillac is undergoing a brand renaissance and global expansion driven by dramatic design and technical innovation.”
Cadillac’s latest model, the ATS, a rival to the BMW 3 Series, has won accolades in North America and, unlike the Chevrolet Corvette, has been engineered for right-hand-drive.
Mark Reuss, the former boss of Holden who now runs General Motors in North America, told reporters in Detroit overnight: “Right now we do not have the portfolio to compete on a volume basis [with the European luxury-car brands] … and nor do we have the credibility. So we have to make products over a long period of time that match them and beat them on their own grounds.”
The reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling