LOS ANGELES -- Cadillac and Chevrolet, seeking credibility in import-loving California, chose the Los Angeles show to unveil important new vehicles.
Cadillac rolled out the CTS Coupe, and Chevrolet introduced the compact Cruze. Both brands have lost share and suffered bigger sales declines in California than in the rest of the nation.
Bryan Nesbitt, Cadillac's general manager, said the coupe will be a credible niche vehicle, similar to the Audi 5 and the Mercedes-Benz E-class coupes. "If the coupe is the way to bring them into Cadillac, that's what we will do," he said. "It's all imports. We must conquest."
He said Cadillac will invite prospects to events at which they can drive the CTS Coupe and key competitors.
The Cruze is taking aim at the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, said Margaret Brooks, marketing director for small cars at GM. "This is a great small-car market," she said.
She said the Cruze will have the roominess and amenities of a mid-sized car and deliver 40 mpg. Chevrolet dealers will get extensive training before the vehicle goes on sale the third quarter of next year.
In the first nine months of the year, Chevy sales fell 43 percent in California, compared with 32 percent nationwide. In the same period, Cadillac sales dropped 55 percent in California, compared to a 44 percent decline nationwide. Its market share was 0.7 percent, down from 1.0 percent.