Cadillac will not relaunch in Europe until at least 2020, as it focuses on building its brand and volumes in the US and Asia, according to boss Johann de Nysschen.
Speaking at the Geneva motor show, de Nysschen, who joined Cadillac from Infiniti last year, and who had previously worked for Audi, said: "We must build a global premium brand - and that is only possible one step at a time.
"We have a reputation as a high-end brand underpinned by our 112-year history, but we are seen as US-centric and people aren't sure what Cadillac stands for. We must recognise our errors from the past. We have been on a meandering journey that even went as far as badge-engineered GM cars. We need to be candid about the mistakes.
"But the renaissance has already begun. Our company will be built around product, and my belief is that the perception of our products is about 10 years behind the reality. We need to work out how to address that, while at the same time filling product gaps, working on diesel and more."
As a result, de Nysschen has targeted expansion in China and Asia initially, growing volume with existing and new products ahead of a European and UK launch.
This will begin with the launch of CT6 later this year, as a rival to the Mercedes S-class, and stretch as far as a sub-ATS vehicle, rivalling the Audi A3 and Mercedes CLA, towards the end of the decade.
"To try and challenge the Germans in their own backyard without the right cars and powertrains is an exercise in futility," said de Nysschen. "We must also look at the dealership network, and see if there is something we can do that is different, taking cars to customers and transacting with them at home. The world is changing, and that presents opportunities to change the traditional model."
As well as the range-topping CT6 and sub-ATS compact executive car, de Nysschen has set the goal of extending Cadillac's SUV and crossover line up, with plans to launch both a new smaller SUV and a mid-size SUV that slots between the existing vehicles.
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