Cadillac will launch its new Catera, an entry-luxury car aimed at baby boomers, in October.
The division is also adopting some nifty electronics, dropping the Fleetwood, restyling the DeVille line, and adding a new model, the DeVille d'Elegance, for the 1997 model year.
A refashioned Opel Omega, the Catera is designed to compete with such boomer favorites as the BMW 328i, Lexus ES 300 and Mercedes-Benz C280.
Cadillac, which appeals mainly to affluent empty-nesters, is using the Catera to catch up with boomer tastes and sales techniques. The Catera is also an important part of Cadillac's long-term effort to appeal to luxury-car buyers in overseas markets.
'International is clearly the direction we're headed,' said General Manager John Grettenberger. 'We've listened to customers around the globe to design our next-generation Seville,' scheduled for the 1998 model year.
Cadillac is hoping to polish its image for safety and convenience with OnStar, an optional bundle of services made possible by global positioning satellites and cellular telephones. OnStar customers can call service representatives to unlock their car doors, provide directions - even order flowers.
Exclusive to Cadillac this year, OnStar will be available on all models except the Catera. Other General Motors divisions will offer the service in the future.
Also on the electronic front, Cadillac is adding what it calls stability enhancement to three models: the Seville Touring Sedan, Eldorado Touring Coupe and DeVille Concours.
Stability enhancement uses a yaw sensor to detect if a car is fishtailing. An onboard computer automatically applies brakes to the proper wheels to bring the car under control.
Here's a model-by-model summary of the division's lineup.
Catera: The rear-wheel-drive car is a lightly refashioned version of the Opel Omega, Adam Opel AG's top-line model. The mid-sized car has a 200-horsepower V-6 and a standard four-speed automatic transmission, traction con- trol and 16-inch alloy wheels. True to its European heritage, it has a tight ride and handling.
The car's styling is fairly conservative, with some chrome highlights to express Cadillac heritage. It will be built in Rus-selsheim, Germany.
Cadillac is counting on the Catera to bring a younger, hipper breed of customers into its showrooms. It is busy training dealers how to communicate with these import-minded buyers.
The base price is $30,635 including a $640 destination charge.
Seville: Cadillac stiffened the body structure to reduce noise and vibration. Stability enhancement, which reduces fishtailing, was added to the STS.
Eldorado: The body structure is stiffer.
DeVille: Cadillac recast the line, turning the Concours into a five-seater and adding a new version, the d'Elegance, to appeal to traditional buyers pining for the discontinued Fleetwood.
All DeVilles have new interiors and exteriors. The front fenders, fascia and hood were all restyled. The rear wheel well was opened up and the rear wheels were pulled out 10 mm per side. The rear fascia hides the muffler and suspension for a cleaner look. Side airbags were added inside. The cars also have a new instrument panel and dual climate controls.
The new d'Elegance is aimed at buyers 60 year and older. It has such luxury features as Zebrano wood trim, rear vanity mirrors, a premium audio system, chrome wheels and gold ornamentation.
The addition of a center console transforms the Concours into a five-passenger car.
Cadillac also redesigned the front bucket seats.