Cadillac May Be Returning to Australia
With Holden due to close down its car factories in Australia within the next four years, many Australians have been wondering what will take its place in the market. After recent comments at the Detroit motor show, there is now speculation that Cadillac could be the next big thing Down Under. The American luxury car brand hasn't been sold in Australia since 1969.
Cadillac was set to launch in Australia in 2009 but the Global Financial Crisis saw General Motors withdraw its plans at the very last minute. A Cadillac dealer network had already been appointed at the time of the annoucement to can the launch and 60 CTS sedans had been imported ready for sale by Cadillac/GM.
The difference this time is that General Motors would wait until Cadillac produces a full line-up of models available in right-hand drive, rather than launch a single model to begin with. This would include Cadillac's range of SUVs, to compete with popular luxury models like Land Rover currently being sold in Australia.
The ATS is Cadillac's latest model, which is a rival to BMW's 3 Series and has received rave reviews in North America. This model has already been engineered for right-handed driving, but the full range would need to be updated in order to meet Australian needs and expectations. According to Holden boss Mike Devereux, conditions must be right before launching Cadillac and they would need "to have a full right-hand portfolio of the line-up."
Cadillac's marketing boss, Uwe Ellinghaus, made remarks about the brand's future in Australia at the Detroit motor show. He told News Corp Australia that "we want to turn Cadillac into a global brand" which includes Australia as part of the full expansion plans.
It's suspected that as the Holden Commodore disappears from the Australian market in 2018, Cadillac may be ready by then to fill the void with its own premium models. Ellinghaus confirmed that there are plans in the works for right-hand drive cars, but there is no definitive plan yet as to which models will be available first.
Due to the failure to launch in 2008, Cadillac is playing it safe this time by waiting until the brand is truly ready with a full model line-up. In 2008, the first shipment of cars had already arrived and there were dealers that had been appointed, before the brand abruptly withdrew its plans.
In the past year, the Australian dealer network has also been shaken up by the withdrawal of General Motors' Opel brand after less than a year on the market. Dealers would need to feel confident that Cadillac was here to stay this time, with the full range of line-up options that Australian consumers want.
The current Cadillac line-up includes the ATS sedan, which will also be available soon as a wagon and convertible. This could be a direct challenge to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is currently a popular Australian vehicle. Cadillac's SUV range could also be a big seller in the Australian market, which is partial to luxury SUVs.
Although at this time nothing is certain, the discussion at the Detroit Motor Show indicates that Cadillac is eyeing a move into the Australian market. This would be good news for consumers who covet this premium brand, which has been such a classic in the USA.