Cadillac is back on the cards for Australia, likely to arrive in the mid-term future as a premium-performance rear-wheel-drive replacement for a locally built Holden large car.
Cadillac chief marketing officer Uwe Ellinghaus confirmed at the Detroit auto show today that a business case is currently being studied to reintroduce the brand to Australia following its still-birth in 2008 – when dealers were appointed and cars had arrived, but the decision to import the American luxury marque was reversed in the final hours.
“From a marketing point of view, I lied if I wouldn’t have said that I would love to bring Cadillac to Australia,” Ellinghaus began. “I know the love for the brand, the appreciation is there, so I think it’s easy territory for us but the business case must stack up.
“We are still in the process of getting the business case together. I don’t want you to get the impression this is anything that is close to being announced. Regarding the specific schedule, I do not want to comment.
“It is my aspiration to build a global brand out of Cadillac, that is what I was hired for, and in this regard I am optimistic that we will see Cadillac in many more countries than we are currently in.”
Enthusiasm for the return of the Cadillac brand to Australia for the first time since 1969 was shared by Australian-born Cadillac chief of design Andrew Smith, who launched the VF Commodore as Holden head of design before being promoted six months ago.
“There’s absolutely a chance that it could return to Australia,” Smith commented. “The plan for us is to be a global luxury player, and I see Australia as part of the globe.
“I would love to see the brand in Australia, and I think that coming from outside of America the strength of Cadillac for me is that it’s the American luxury brand.
“If you think outside the automotive realm, American brands are strong and premium, and are globally sought after, and I think that it’s a great chance for us to take Cadillac around the globe and not reinvent, but reinform people as to what Cadillac can be.”
Smith acknowledged that Cadillac could form the perfect replacement for enthusiasts of rear-wheel-drive V8 Holdens following the demise of the VF Commodore in 2017.
The Cadillac ATS (pictured middle) is a compact BMW 3 Series-sized sedan engineered for right-hand drive and available with both 2.0-litre turbo and 3.6-litre V6 engines, with a V8 ATS ‘V-Series’ model all but confirmed. Locally the car could sell from just $50K – barely more than a current Holden Calais V – although the new-generation Cadillac CTS (pictured top and bottom) that more closely reflects the dimensions of the outgoing Commodore would be priced substantially higher than the Holden.
While it has been completely ruled out that Holden could potentially rebadge a Cadillac to replace the Commodore in 2017, the door is being left open for Australia to utilise a Cadillac platform.