I had a strong sense of déjà vu at the Geneva motor show, talking Cadillac with incumbent European boss Thomas Sedran. General Motors has signed off a 10-year plan – injecting a sizeable sum of cash in the process – into making a real fist of success for its luxury arm in Europe.
A string of executives told me how serious the firm were about taking the model to Europe, with right-hand drive and diesel engines to come.
Well, in 2014, the same statements are being made again. Diesel is coming, but still with no final confirmation of engines and dates. Right-hand drive is possible, but still not confirmed.
The project has the faint whiff of Infiniti’s European launch at the end of the last decade about it, selling cars to a European audience with US-friendly looks and big, powerful petrol engines only.
Infiniti, which launched in Europe at the end of the last decade with similar US-friendly looking models and big, thirsty petrol engines only as with Cadillac, doesn’t expect to break even in Europe until the end of this decade.
I draw the comparison as that break-even point will come only after Infiniti has launched a thoroughly European model with the European designed, engineered and built Q30 hatchback in 2015. There are no such plans at Cadillac, or at least none which Sedran commented on.
A comparison with Lexus could also be drawn, the firm still struggling to make an impact after more than two decades and specific Euro-focused models like the CT.
Sedran admitted that smaller models and more crossovers were possible for Cadillac but were up to five years away, and even then they wouldn’t share platforms with Opels, which would in part seem logical if they could make the products sufficiently different. There’s also no chance of purely European models for the brand, meaning Cadillac’s love-it or hate-it styling will continue
You wonder whether GM has the patience to see through Sedran’s plan for Cadillac, after it recently pulled the plug on Chevrolet in Europe after only a few years trying, and repeated reorganisations and plans for what to do with Opel.
I hope so, since it’s still an illustrious badge, and such a brand could certainly hold appeal to a European customer, but I’m struggling to see how this is going to work with the current line-up and hints being dropped about future model and powertrain plans.