DETROIT — General Motors appears ready to sell a small rear-wheel-drive Cadillac in Europe. The vehicle would be based on GM's new Alpha architecture.
GM has been frustrated in its efforts to boost Cadillac's sales in Europe, particularly after its small, front-drive BLS sedan sold poorly. But CEO Rick Wagoner says GM will continue to push Cadillac in Europe and a strong, small vehicle is key to the effort.
"We've been consistent on saying that we wish to grow the Cadillac portfolio, and it makes a lot of sense — particularly if we're going to be serious about Cadillac outside markets like the U.S. and Middle East — that we're going to need smaller Cadillacs," Wagoner said in an interview with Automotive News.
Recently, GM told the UAW it will develop a new architecture called Alpha at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The Alpha program is intended for Cadillac and likely would debut in the 2011 model year. It will be a small luxury entrant to compete with the BMW 3 series and the Mercedes C class, GM insiders say.
Wagoner declined to say specifically how small Alpha vehicles will be and whether any Alpha products will go to Europe. He declined to say what the future holds for the BLS, which is not intended for the United States.
Cadillac sold 1,981 units in Europe for the first eight months of 2007; that was down 4.6 percent from the same period one year-ago.