GM Holden chairman and managing director, Mark Reuss, announced this afternoon that the premium brand Cadillac will not be coming to Australia.
Mr Reuss said it was a “very painful decision” for him to have to announce the decision but he believed it was the right one given the current economic climate.
While not drawing a complete line under the proposal to launch the GM Premium Brand in Australia he said it would be indefinitely delayed.
He emphasised that the decision purely related to the Australian and New Zealand market and did not impact on other right-hand-drive markets where Cadillac was sold.
“With the downturn of the Australian automotive market and the broader global financial situation, we have made a common-sense, commercially responsible decision to not introduce a new brand into the exceptionally challenging Australian market at this time. GM Holden was faced with making a significant investment to launch a new, niche brand into a tough market.” Reuss said
Mr Reuss said it was a tough call, especially as he had previously had a lot of involvement in the development of the current Cadillac products, but he believed Gm Holden had one chance to launch the brand in Australia and it had to get it right.
He said that given the economic climate in Australia and worldwide it was not the right time to be launching a luxury niche brand here.
“Given that I have taken the decision to elect to not launch Cadillac in Australia,” he said.
Mr Reuss said GM Holden’s primary concern at the moment had to be on the issue of re-inventing Holden as a local brand and this was the primary focus of his team.
He said that he had spoken to the 14 Australia-wide and three New Zealand dealers who had taken up the Cadillac brand and all had agreed with his decision.
He also said that by taking the decision at this time there would be little or no financial cost involved.
He said GM Holden had incurred some cost in preparing the Cadillac CTS for compliance with the Australian Design Rules but he did not know what that exact cost was.
He said GM Holden currently had 89 cars in Australia in preparation for the brand launch, which was planned for mid-February and the company would look at how these could be placed with other right-hand-drive markets.
He said there would be no job losses or impact from the decision.
Asked by CarAdvice what impact this would have on the other GM Premium Channel brands currently sold in Australia, namely Hummer and Saab, he said both were under strategic review by the company’s parent in Detroit but that they would be fully supported locally in the immediate future.
Asked when the decision had been first considered and had it come as a result of direction from Detroit, Mr Reuss said it had been under review for about two weeks and that the decision had been entirely his.
“I was obviously supported in this decision 100 per cent by Detroit,” he said.
Reiterating that the Cadillac brand was still on the agenda for GM Holden he said the market in Australia was being constantly reviewed and he believed there was a place in Australia for Cadillac.
He said there was every reason to believe that as the economic situation improved later this year and into 2010 that the future launch of Cadillac as a brand in Australia would be re-considered.