LOS ANGELES -- Lofty global sales ambitions are nothing new at Cadillac -- and they always fall short. But executives at General Motors' luxury brand are feeling confident these days.
By the end of the decade, Cadillac's sales outside the United States could top its domestic volume, says Dan Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing.
GM has pursued big gains in Cadillac exports for two decades, with limited success. Still, GM's growing presence in China finally is making Cadillac's overseas numbers add up.
It expects to sell 50,000 vehicles outside the United States this year, up from 30,000 last year. In the United States, Cadillac is on track for about 150,000 sales this year. Could GM someday sell more overseas than here?
"It is very, very conceivable, primarily due to China," Butler said at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
China is Cadillac's biggest market outside the United States. More than half of the 50,000 overseas sales this year will be in China.
"China is going to become the largest luxury market in the world by 2020," said Butler. "Forty percent of luxury goods, including automobiles, consumed worldwide will be consumed in China." Cadillac sells in 37 countries.
Cadillac exports the CTS, Escalade and SRX to countries outside the United States, and will add the ATS and XTS sedans in 2012. The SLS sedan, a stretched STS, is sold only in China.
"When Dan [Akerson] talks about Cadillac being global," Butler says, "it is really about accelerating our momentum and having a concentrated focus on, no kidding, becoming a global brand."