• Apr 2, 2006
The Cadillac BLS represents many innovations for GM’s luxury brand. It’s not only the first Cadillac designed and built in Europe, but it will also be the first Cadillac available with a diesel engine. Based on the Saab 9-3, Cadillac expects the FWD BLS to make up around 70-percent of its European sales, according to the Detroit News. That may sound like a lot, though Cadillac has just lowered its target volume for sales in Europe from a previously mentioned 20,000 units by 2010 to a more attainable amount – 10,000 units. That volume includes Cadillac’s other models that will be on sale in Europe – the CTS, STS, SRX, XLR and Escalade.

Cadillac is perhaps taking note of the inherent difficulty of breaking into the European luxury market, which is dominated by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Lexus has learned this lesson the hard way, selling a mere 29,000 units in Europe last year after having been on sale there for 17 years. Cadillac’s hoping there are a few thousand Europeans bored enough with the Teutonic styling and billet craftsmanship of the German brands that they’re willing to try something new. The BLS, which goes on sale in April, is that something new.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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  • 24 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Seems like a first step in killing Saab which is nearly dead anyway.

      Good way to retain what is a decent vehicle by saving Saab hardware while dumping a redundant GM brand.

      Better to promote the Cadillac brand overseas than to dump money into moribund Saab.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, talk about bland looking. Cadillac already has a distinct and stylish look with the CTS and STS. Did that look test badly in Europe? I personally think a mini-CTS with a hatchback trim would look great.

      Another half-hearted attempt by GM.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm curious about the "billet craftsmanship" statement. Last I looked BMW, MB, and Audi were hardly taking home prizes for reliability in the US or in Europe. (Then of course that isn't GM's forte either.)
      • 8 Years Ago
      It does look like a Japanese car. The automobile industry needs a major revolution - not in style, but in technology. Untill they change, we will just get more and more rebranded junk that sells for cheaper and cheaper and fails more and more.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Alex and Talis - You're missing some important distinctions here. For one thing, while the Highlander and RX 330 share platforms, they're also two of the best vehicles in their respective segments. The 9-3 is not, and therefore, isn't fit to be the basis for a Cadillac (at least, not one that aspires to beat the Germans). The FWD layout alone is a major handicap.

      Also, while the BLS's basic architecture is also shared with the Malibu and G6, not just the 9-3, it has far more in common with the Saab. Check some photos, and you'll see that the interior trim is shockingly similar--the steering wheel, shifter, and instrument panel are essentially identical. Also, the BLS's 2.0-liter Four and 2.8-liter turbo V6 engines are shared only with the Saab--neither the Chevy nor the Pontiac offer them, presumably because they were supposed to lend the 9-3 a unique Saab character. Suspension tuning probably (hopefully) shares more with the 9-3, too.

      I'm not a GM-basher by any means, but it's hard to see the point of the BLS when Cadillac's own CTS feels far more poised and substantial than the 9-3. I'm sure they have something in mind... but most likely, it'll only make Caddy's image murkier in the European market.
      • 8 Years Ago
      20 is exactly correct, that was said when this was a rumor, ~1.5 years ago. unless GM gave it a too-little-for-the-domestic market 2.0 NA, it'd be 2K less than a larger CTS.

      This is by all means better than the average european car (a megane, clio, etc)...but I'll spend the 10% more and get an A4...solidly.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow... So GM is trying to reinvent Cadillac, and having mixed luck shaking the obese trash-barge on wheels with gaudy chrome slathered liberally about, by making some pretty respectable cars... CTS, STS, etc.

      What do they do when they are just beginning to build a somewhat credible image, and at least show some vision? They water down the name by making a badgineered Saab?

      Furthermore, the article states that they plan on selling these babies for 5-10% below the cost of comparable 3-series BMWs. Is that the grand plan? Playing Hyundai to BMW's Toyota?

      TO MEDIOCRITY, AND BEYOND!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      When you can take a Saab, slap on different sheetmetal, and call it a Cadillac, it sorta tells you that Saabs aren't as unique as they used to be.

      Same thing goes for Cadillac. Since a Saab is hardly cutting edge, you cannot aspire to be "standard of the world" by rebadging one. Kudos for making the car look like a Cadillac, but that's about it.

      Even more than in the U.S., if Cadillac wants to make people in Europe take notice of the brand they've got to introduce a car that blows everything else out of the water. Unfortunately, in this age of 244-horsepower Accords and 269-horsepower Camrys blowing everyone else out of the water is increasingly hard to do.

      Infiniti with the G35 probably caught the last window of opportunity. The same car wouldn't make nearly as much an impression if introduced today. Probably need 325 horsepower to do the same 260 horsepower did for Infiniti way back in 2003 MY.

      I'd still like to drive the BLS. But since it's not available here I guess I'll just have to drive a 9-3 Aero and pretend that the sheetmetal is more angular.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think it's an agressive number for an General Motors manufacturer to project data 4 years ahead since they might well be on the road to bankruptcy. I also see this vehicle as a way for american car companies to show off a more Europian flavor and maybe think of this as the fail safe single brand.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I thought you could get Cadillacs with a 350 Olds diesel in the eighties? A quick Google search shows a lot of Eldorados with 5.7 diesels.
      • 8 Years Ago
      No GM hating here. Just pointing out that you cannot relaunch a brand with a product that is at best average. A new entry needs something special to make people take notice. The BLS does not appear to bring anything special to the table.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, an american luxury brand tries to sell a swedish build FWD automobile that looks just like the Toyota Avensis and competes with Audi, Mercedes and BMW as well as ill fated Jaguar and Lexus. And that's supposed to be THAT SOMETHING NEW?

      What they should do is concentrate on the CTS in Europe.
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