6 December 2004

General Motors has re-launched the Corvette and Cadillac brands in the UK by establishing a new company and opening a luxury showroom on London’s Park Lane. However, Bob Lutz (GM’s VP for product development and chairman of GM North America) told Autocar that only one of Cadillac’s three models will be available in right-hand drive from January, although ‘eventually all Caddys will be right-hand drive and have the option of diesel engines’. But the new Corvette C6 (previously sold as the Chevrolet Corvette) will be left-hand drive only.

Cadillac’s new-generation cars have been widely praised in the European press. The smallest model – the CTS saloon (right) – will be available in right-hand drive from the start of 2005. It should come with a choice of 180bhp 2.6-litre or 218bhp 3.2-litre V6 engines.

The bigger STS saloon and Cadillac’s seven-seat SRX 4x4 (with a 258bhp 3.6 V6 or a 325bhp 4.6 V8) will also be re-engineered for right-hand drive, but the Mercedes SL-rivalling XLR roadster will not. These cars will undercut equivalent BMWs and pricing is expected next year. ‘We want to be serious with Cadillac,’ Lutz said. ‘This is our best shot at a global luxury brand. Cadillac used to be unsaleable in Europe.’

He said that new-generation cars have been developed with European roads in mind. Cadillac’s engineers have already carried out extensive testing at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany.

Lutz also said the Corvette will not be sold as a Chevrolet to prevent confusion with the new Daewoo-derived Chevy line-up, and he raised the possibility of US-developed Chevrolet 4x4s such as the Equinox being sold in Europe under GM’s GMC brand (which sells utility vehicles), which he described as having ‘residual value in Europe’.

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