EUROPEAN expansion is key to Cadillac’s ambitions to supply a range of vehicles to Australia in about 2021, the US luxury brand says.
As part of the iconic American luxury brand’s move into mainland Europe, Cadillac has nominated the UK market as central to its desire to bring the brand back to Australia.
Speaking at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen nominated the UK as one of the core focuses for a planned European invasion.
“Right-hand drive is a key requirement to be a high-profile brand in Europe and you simply cannot do that if you don’t enter the UK market,” he said. “Once you’ve entered the UK market, well obviously you’ve just unlocked the first big hurdle to entry into some of the right-hand-drive markets; Japan, Australia, South Africa.”
Before that, though, Cadillac is working on building its global sales volume to fund the significant investment into Europe.
“We will only be able to expand our footprint in Europe when we are able to bring the right products to this market,” said de Nysschen.
“That is our major prioritisation right now … to create the two big volume hubs for Cadillac globally through the US and China. We need to build up the product portfolio.
“We can’t invest in all the vehicles unless we have the volume, the quickest place to unlock the volume is with the two big markets.”
As well as upcoming models including the CT2, CT3 and CT6, Cadillac is looking at a range of SUVs, including the XT5, upcoming XT4 and mooted XT7.
Coincidentally they are being styled under the guidance of an Australian, Andrew Smith, who is in charge of Cadillac.
De Nysschen also said new powertrains that were more appealing to European buyers would be crucial to those plans.
“If you consider the demands of all the things that we face right now, we have to invest in our conventional product portfolio ... we have to invest in the powertrains that are suitable for those. Then we have to invest on top of that into market entries.”
He named hybrid as an area of growth to provide the CO2 and fuel benefits needed in Europe.
Bu de Nysschen warned there was no rush to enter markets where the product was not right.
“We have to be very measured in the timing of when we also decide to embrace ideas such as a stronger entry into the European markets and right-hand-drive markets. You simply cannot do everything at the same time.”
Cadillac had planned to enter the Australian market as the 2008 global financial crisis was taking hold and General Motors was evaluating all parts of the business with the view to cutting costs.
Those plans were shelved at the 11th hour, forcing Cadillac to abandon its Australian assault.