2015 Geneva Motor Show: Cadillac to Oz in 2019

American luxury brand Cadillac will almost certainly be launched in Australia within four years

Cadillac CTS-V
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American luxury brand Cadillac will almost certainly be launched in Australia within four years

CADILLAC chief Johan de Nysschen has all but confirmed the American luxury brand will be back in Australia by 2019, almost a decade after it was intended to launch here.

Speaking at the 2015 Geneva motor show, de Nysschen said it was “very likely” a range of right-hand-drive Cadillacs would be developed for markets such as Australia as part of a global expansion to tackle BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and other luxury brands.

When asked if it was a foregone conclusion that Cadillac would be sold in Australia soon, he said: “I would say so, yes.”

The strong words are the latest from senior Cadillac and GM executives that Australia would likely be adding Cadillac to its expanding line-up of luxury models.

“We will be finalising our portfolio planning on right-hand-drive strategy by the end of this year,” de Nysschen said.

This would include a range of models, expected to include the next-generation ATS-V and at least one SUV.

Cadillac is in the throes of expanding its model line-up and building its high-performance V sub-brand, currently limited to the CTS-V and ATS-V.

“As we look at our product portfolio going forward, it’s quite clear to us V is very much for us.

“(It) is the ultimate performance version. The cars you select that can live up to that really high standard are relatively narrow.

“It doesn’t mean there will be a V series in each category (but) we can certainly expect to see an expansion of the line-up of the future.

“I’d really want to work with the team so we establish V as a sub-brand for Cadillac, which means you do need to spread it across a wide range of derivatives than where we are today.”

But de Nysschen ruled out chasing the German manufacturers on doing niche body styles that expand the brand appeal but are costly to develop and produce.

“I don’t think we want to get to the point where we are so desperately chasing every micro-niche in the quest for more volume that we end up diverting resources to give one customer the choice of two or three cars.

“For me, the next 10-year journey is about really setting back Cadillac at the very top of the triangle in terms of aspirational brand appeal. We have to do so with a broader product portfolio than we have today … dramatic expansion … but not derivatives of derivatives.”

De Nysscen said much of the investment and expansion would involve developing new powertrains that better competed with the best out of Europe, as well as electric or partial electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

One thing weighing on the minds of Cadillac and General Motors executives will no doubt be the failed 2009 attempt to relaunch the brand in Australia.

Cars had already landed in the country when Holden was forced to shelve the idea as parent company GM filed for bankruptcy in the United States.

 

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Toby Hagon
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