Malcolm Wade, managing director of the UK office of Cadillac & Corvette Europe, believes events such as the Henley Royal Regatta will provide an appropriate setting to promote Cadillac’s prestige-segment offerings.
“Key for us is simply getting people into the cars, so our plan is to use hot-spot marketing – taking the car to the target customers and helping them understand what Cadillac has to offer,” says Wade.
The first right-hand drive versions of the CTS, Cadillac’s rival to the BMW 3-series, go on sale in the UK in the next few weeks, while the larger STS will be sold in left-hand drive form from this summer until right-hand drive models arrive in 2007.
Wade predicts very modest sales of about 500 CTS and 100 STS cars this year, as his priority is to establish a foothold in the market.
Next spring, dealers will get their first volume model, the BLS, which will be available as a turbodiesel. Cadillac’s designers are also working on a rival SUV to the BMW X3, to be launched by the end of the decade.
Gerard Jansen, the Netherlands-based chief operating officer of Cadillac & Corvette Europe, says the clear strategy is to make Cadillac a premium global brand.
“However it won’t be done in 24 months. We’re thinking maybe five to 10 years,” he says. Jansen’s target is to achieve Europe-wide sales of 20,000 units by 2010, and he sees the UK and Germany as his most important individual markets.
“We think there’s a space for us in the luxury car market. We call Cadillac the credible American alternative,” he says.
At present, its UK retail partner Pendragon has only one Cadillac Experience Centre – Park Lane in London. More are due to be completed by the end of the year, and by 2007, Pendragon plans to have a total of 18 in strategic cities around the UK.