Speaking at the Detroit auto show, Cadillac chief marketing officer Uwe Ellinghaus said that platform sharing needs to be a priority, but first rejected the suggestion that Holden could simply rebadge a Cadillac.
“No – full stop,” Ellinghaus responded. “We are not going back to badge engineering… Customers are not dumb, they are cosmopolitan, they travel the world and find the same car under the same brand name. Been there, done that, not going there again.”
Rather the German-born marketing chief – who defected BMW as he believed the company could continue without him where Cadillac would be more of a challenge – instead confirmed that “[future] platform and component sharing is the name of the game to reduce costs”.
“We think about this, and it really isn’t impacting on customer benefit where you do not see or feel something we are well advised to go down this route, but of course the immediately visible areas of the car like the interior, everybody must say unmistakably Cadillac as much as the exterior design says unimstakable Cadillac.”
Asked whether Holden had asked Cadillac to use its rear-wheel-drive platform, Ellinghaus replied “I do not know, I cannot comment”.
While there is no longer the chance of a rear-drive locally developed Holden Commodore, the aim inside General Motors to share platforms between brands does open the possibility for a US-built Chevrolet SS sedan successor that could double as an imported Commodore.
The next Holden Commodore was planned to be built locally on the medium-sized front-wheel-drive Epsilon platform. No longer hamstrung by the need to be a volume player to satisfy the operational viability of the South Australian manufacturing facility, however, the Commodore could become an imported semi-premium sports sedan built Stateside. With insider confirmation that Opel-based European models will return to the Holden line-up, including Astra set to replace Cruze, it would leave the Insignia to fill the void of the cheaper V6-engined Commodore.
GM head of global product development and former Holden managing director Mark Reuss made the decision to import the Chevrolet SS sedan to North America and used its image to establish a successful Nascar team. Come 2017, however, Chevrolet faces dropping the SS sedan – yet again – unless a replacement is readied. Reuss is a known fan of rear-drive performance cars.