Trevor Finn, Pendragon chief executive, says he might incorporate the franchise into an existing dealership premises if an agreement can be reached. “There is certainly some scope for Cadillac in the UK,” he says. Commenting on the failed bid by the brand to forge a position in the UK in the late 1990s, Finn adds: “The models have changed and the market has changed.”
His dual-franchise plans for the brand might jar slightly with Cadillac, however, as it looks for flagship ‘Experience Centres’ in key metropolitan areas, featuring lounge areas and boutique shops, to open early in 2005. The previous attempt to bring Cadillac to the UK by marketing left-hand drive models through Vauxhall dealerships was not successful. This time, models will include the right-hand drive CTS saloon.
Professor Garel Rhys, director of the centre for automotive industry research at Cardiff Business School, believes the decision to try again is an admission by GM that Saab had failed to compete against BMW and Mercedes in the premium sector. “This time they have to build it up with products that are good enough to give Europe’s a run for their money. The latest offerings from Cadillac suggest that, at least, they are moving in the right direction,” Rhys says.