AM Online

Cadillac and Corvette in for the long haul

Cadillac and Corvette have registered 150 vehicles since they re-entered the UK market in May, but only 32 have gone to customers.

The remainder of those vehicles are currently being used by Cadillac and Corvette dealers as demonstration vehicles. The company’s focus is now on ‘actively exposing the brands’. It says since June, 1.5 million people in the UK have seen Cadillac and Corvette models at 18 promotional events.

The two American brands attempted to enter the European market three years ago.

Malcolm Wade, Cadillac and Corvette UK managing director, said re-entering into the UK was a long-term venture and it could take 10 years to get the brands on the map in Europe. “It has taken Lexus 14 years and they have only just got round to introducing diesel models to their range," he added.

"Car buyers are the most promiscuous customers these days, they swap and change their allegiance to brands at will so once we have the new BLS range on offer next May and diesel engines available for other models we are confident of achieving conquest sales. Our cars offer affordable luxury and are a credible alternative to other luxury marques," said Wade.

Imports started in the UK through eight Stratstone-Pendragon dealerships. These include sites in Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Park Lane in London, Croydon, Reading and Cardiff. Leicester is soon to be added. Wade hopes to see the number of dealerships increase to 20 in the next two to three years.

Wade anticipates sales of up to 7,000 units a years by 2008 with 80% of sales being accounted for by the Cadillac BLS, yet to be introduced to the range. This model will be a BMW 3-Series sized saloon with 1.9-litre diesel and 2.0/2.8-litre petrol engine options. It will be built in Sweden specifically for the European market and the BLS will share the GM platform and much of the running gear used by GM’s Saab and Vectra models.

In addition to the Cadillac and Corvette brands the same operation will also officially introduce the Hummer 4x4 brand to the UK in January 2007 with South African built H3 models available in right hand drive form and with diesel engines.

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