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Cadillac Planning to Tap the European Car Market

The growing demand for Cadillacs is "further elevating our standing as a major luxury automaker," said company president Johan de Nysschen as he revealed the company had sold 33,092 cars in October and 289,705 vehicles in the year to date.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:November 8, 2017, 1:19 PM IST
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Cadillac Planning to Tap the European Car Market
The Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover. (Image: Cadillac)
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After years of playing second fiddle to the likes of Lexus, BMW and Mercedes in luxury car circles, but following 17 consecutive months of sales growth, the once formidable car brand is firmly back on track in the US and China and is getting ready for its biggest challenge yet -- cracking the European market.

The growing demand for Cadillacs is "further elevating our standing as a major luxury automaker," said company president Johan de Nysschen as he revealed the company had sold 33,092 cars in October and 289,705 vehicles in the year to date. "We are building a strong foundation for Cadillac's long-term success and will continue to increase our momentum with the introduction of the XT4 crossover in 2018," he continued.

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Over the past year, the US has been overtaken by China as the company's biggest market, accounting for 44% of all sales compared with 41% in its homeland.

And now that it has reasserted itself in its domestic market and with well-heeled Chinese drivers, it's turning its attention to the toughest market of all -- Europe.

But while its luxury sedans may now be a match for anything from BMW with an ‘M' badge or any AMG-infused Mercedes, challenges still lie ahead.

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"While we are undoubtedly playing on an even level in terms of performance, technology, refinement, safety and comfort features we still consider ourselves to be a challenger brand with a much smaller model portfolio compared to the more established, predominantly German premium brands," explained the company's head of European public relations, René Kreis.

Therefore, the firm is banking on the exploding demand for SUVs as its way into the market.

This offensive will start with the XT5 and will be followed early next year with the premium compact XT4 crossover, which the company says will attract a younger, aspirational demographic.

"Starting with the launch of XT4, a new Cadillac will be brought to market every six months, a total of five carlines in the space of two years," said de Nysschen.

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But rather than simply flood the European market with crossovers and off-road vehicles, Cadillac has set up a dedicated base in Zurich, staffed by experts who are looking at the best ways to achieve organic growth in Europe, be it through service levels, powertrain options or even how the brand is packaged and presented to the public.

And the first step in attempting to achieve a full brand metamorphosis will be the official launch of Book by Cadillac in Munich. Since its pilot launch in New York, the company has been overwhelmed with the response. It's a service that gives users access to any Cadillac, whenever they want, for as long as they want for a monthly subscription fee.

The service has been running as a very select pilot scheme (i.e., via invitation only) in Munich for three months as a way of understanding European drivers' needs and ensuring that the service mirrors them -- for example, Europeans will also be able to borrow Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette models -- and once all of the data and feedback has been analyzed the service will launch officially at the beginning of 2018.

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