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Cadillac to raise profile through classy events

The entry of the Cadillac brand into the UK market is to be highlighted by promotions at a series of high profile events this year.

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.

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