Economy, Auto

Cadillac Begins European Sales With 2 Models

Cadillac Begins European Sales With 2 ModelsCadillac Begins European Sales With 2 Models

Cadillac is launching two new models and expanding its dealer network in Europe in a renewed sales push in the region against entrenched premium rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. But the General Motors luxury brand’s latest European sales target is modest compared with past goals that were never achieved. In 2006, GM predicted it would sell 20,000 Cadillacs in the region by 2010, up from 2,019 in 2005. Cadillac bet heavily on its BLS, a midsize sedan based on the Saab 9-3 but the BLS was a flop. Cadillac now aims to reach annual 5,000 sales in Europe by the end of the decade. The forecast includes GM’s Corvette and Camaro sports cars, which are sold in the same dealerships as Cadillacs. Last year, GM sold 1,131 Corvette and Camaro models and 579 Cadillacs in Europe.

Leading the brand’s product offensive will be the CT6 large sedan, the brand’s new flagship model, and the XT5 midsize SUV, a replacement for the SRX.

"We want organic growth," Barnabas Vincze, Cadillac's European manager for advanced planning and product marketing, said at an event here. Key to growth is expanding the brand’s dealer network, he said. "We sell in 12 European countries. Certain countries only have one dealer. That's not the right basis to do business."

Cadillac has struggled in Europe to compete with the big three German premium brands, BMW, Mercedes and Audi, which together take about 85% of the region’s premium market. Cadillac also will not build right-hand-drive versions to sell in the UK, Europe’s second-largest premium market after Germany. Currently, the brand’s three biggest European markets are Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.