News - Cadillac
Australia still part of Cadillac’s strategy
Coming soon: Cadillac is investing in new products before it tries to crack the Australian market.
Europe success first, then Cadillac will turn its attention to RHD markets
10 March 2017
CADILLAC remains committed to re-entering the Australian market but not before
General Motors shores up the premium brand’s business in China, the US and
Europe, pushing the timeframe for a launch Down Under out into the first half
of next decade – at the earliest.
GM has been planning to return Cadillac to the Australian market following an
aborted attempt in 2009, when the US auto giant filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy
and set about restructuring its operations during the global financial crisis.
Speaking to Australian journalists, including GoAuto, at the Geneva motor show
this week, Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen said the company’s
right-hand-drive strategy was “very closely interlinked” with its European
strategy, meaning a move into markets such as the UK and Australia would have
to wait until the brand had sufficient product and volume in Europe.
“We will only be able to expand our footprint in Europe when we are able to
bring the right products to this market,” Mr de Nysschen said. “That is our
major prioritisation now to create the two big volume hubs, for Cadillac
globally through the United States and China.
“Not discounting the importance of other markets, but we need to build up the
product portfolio. You can’t invest in all the vehicles unless you have the
volume, and the quickest place to unlock the volume is with the two biggest
General Motors will work on increasing Cadillac’s presence in Europe now that
it has sold Opel and Vauxhall to France’s PSA Group, and Mr de Nysschen said
the need to consider the UK would necessitate right-hand-drive product
“It is somewhat inconceivable to want to come to Europe and be more than a
boutique player without considering the United Kingdom,” he said.
“When you go into right-hand drive for the United Kingdom, that opens up
opportunities for right-hand-drive markets elsewhere in the world because you
want to generate economies of scale.”
He said that ensuring the brand had a robust product line-up was critical to
launching in a new market and to appease potential dealers.
“What we are doing with development of new products, we are developing them
with right-hand drive in mind so they are right-hand-drive-enabled,” he said.
“The idea is we wish to synchronise the rollout of right-hand-drive versions so
that if we do decide to enter a market, such as for example in Australia, we
would be able to give a dealer network a showroom as opposed to entering one
car at a time because that is not really a feasible way to establish a network.
“It means that we will have about a two-year window early in the next decade,
we will be able to synchronise the expansion of our portfolio in a relatively
short space of time to embrace more right-hand-drive engines.
“And therefore it is not on the immediate time horizon but very much part of
the future gameplan.”
When pressed on timing for a return to the Australian market, Mr de Nysschen
was unable to specify a year.
“We have no particular year in mind at the moment. We must recognise that there
is always a cost of entry into new markets and really our nearer-term focus is
on the investment into the new products, new technology and developing the
major volume markets,” he said.
“When we feel that we have got the financial wherewithal to go and attack a
sophisticated market like Australia, with a strong and sustainable and winning
strategy, then we will make that call. But it certainly is envisaged as part of
our future plan.”
Mr de Nysschen confirmed that Cadillac was in no way impacted by the recent
deal cut by GM to sell Opel and Vauxhall to PSA.
“Cadillac is not part of the transaction that has been specifically carved out.
We will continue with the rollout of the Cadillac strategy for Europe and
Russia as per the original plan,” he said.
“Quite some time ago already we established Cadillac of Europe as a fully owned
subsidiary distinct from the Opel business.
“To be clear, we did enjoy some logistical support services from Opel and
during this transition period they will continue to deliver those.
“In the longer term the rollout plan will certainly be to keep Cadillac
distinct and independent, being managed directly from New York and our European
headquarters in Zurich.”
Share with your friends
Motor industry news
GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.
All Cadillac models
Research cars by brand