• Jun 15, 2006
Despite lowering expectations for its Euro-only BLS sedan all the way down to around 7,000 to 10,000 units annually, it appears Cadillac was still a bit too optimistic with the car's chances for success in the old country. The FWD sedan that's based on the Saab 9-3 and built alongside the Swede in the company's Trollhatan factory has sold a little over 400 units after being on sale since April, with the month of May being its first full sales month. Trollhatan has slowed its production of the car down to 30 units a week. When the BLS launched the factory was producing that many cars per day. At this pace GM/Saab is on track to produce only 1,560 cars a year, a number well off any of GM's original targets. Despite the slow start, the BLS is still the best selling Cadillac in Europe so far this year. The BLS has also been fairly well received by the European automotive press and dealers are reporting many requests for test drives, so don't count out Cadillac's chances for success in Europe just yet.

Thanks to Ulf for the tip and translating the original source from Swedish.

[Source: Ekonomi & Politik]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I saw that Top Gear episode too. I thought they were crazy, but indeed, they were right. A cadillac based on a Saab? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

      What next, a Volvo with some trim added/changed rebadged as a Maybach?
      • 8 Years Ago
      17 Paul:

      BMW - Munich
      DCX - Stuttgart
      VW - Berlin
      Saab - Trollhattan
      Volvo - Gothenburg
      etc.

      Does that help clear things up for you? That's what I mean by "spread out". They're not in the same city. They don't have "automotive twilight zone" disease, like Detroit does.

      People in Detroit actually think things like "the Pontiac Gran Prix is a good car." They're so entrenched in their ignorance they're unaware of what's going on in the real world. For a long time, their solution was to actually convince people like you that they were making good products. They do this through marketing, and hired guns (such as Motor Trend).

      Sadly for them, people in Europe tend to be a little more picky. They know a thing or two about cars. They read their owner's manuals, for instance. When GM says, "this new HHR is a really cool car", they say, "are you high?"

      Having lived and worked in Detroit, I can tell you that the disease is really, really bad.

      Meanwhile, Toyota sits quietly on the sidelines and makes huge mountains of cash....
      • 8 Years Ago
      The BLS would probably do well in the U.S. where Cadillac has regained much of it's prestige value.

      The danger is that making a Cadillac that's too cheap would demean the brand--the CTS is about as low as Cadillac should go in price here.

      No surprise that Europeans aren't taken by a re-skinned Saab--better just to buy the Saab which is a brand they know.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yet another platform-sharing/marketing failure by GM. I feel bad for Saab being owned by incompetent GM.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I would love to have on of those in the US, i think the 9-3 looks terrible (and is underpowered, stick a 3800 in one of these things)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Agreed #14 that episode where they made fun of it on the way to their attempt at a radio show was hilarious!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Breaking into the European market is tough, but I'll bet Cadillac would beat the pants off the Proton in the near-quality market.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The US is the world's government. When you're the world's government, and engage in something that portions of the world don't support (war in Iraq), those portions of the world get mad. I think many Europeans are mad at the US right now. As such, I think a Cadillac is the last thing they want to buy.

      That said, I get a kick out of #6's comment. Maybe we could put magnetos on it. What about a wooden unitbody? Would that help?

      The cure for GM, as it has been for 10 or 15 years, is to stop catering to people like #6, to stop catering to people in Detroit (because they live in the automotive twilight zone), and to start catering to people outside of Detroit.

      Ever notice how there is no "Detroit" in Europe? The car companies of Europe are spread all over the place. That gives them diversity, which Detroit desperately needs.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Too bad GM sold Subaru to Toyota last year. GM could have repackaged the BLS as an AWD vehicle of similar size based on the Imprezza platform. And w/o killing CTS sales in the US, the Imprezza-sized BLS could've had a cult-like following of a small entry-level luxury car that could hang with a BMW 325xi/328xi on the twisties and still be acceptable at the 'ole country club.
      • 8 Years Ago
      For some reason, I think the BLS is something that would sell well in the U.S. and help round up the lower end of Cadillacs line-up. It would bring in near-luxury folks that couldn't begin to afford an Escalade.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "15. While I doubted GM could ever produce a serious competitor to the 3 series, can you really car a bust when it's only been on sale for 2 months?"

      Okay, I have driven a 3-series BMW and actually my partner and I leased one in 2003 for a very short while. While the car has neat little lights here and there and good handling, I in no way think it's "all that". It's like a very,very loaded better handing VW Jetta, really.

      Also when I purchased my Mazda 3 new in 2004 the brochure for it stated that the Mazda 3 out corners a BMW 318, I found that pretty cool.

      Don't over dramatize this either, the BMW 3 series we will alwyas think of as a very, very nice car. But it fell apart (windows fell out,had a stalling problem).

      The funny thing is in theory, if you look at ALL reliability reviews the USA cars are better (by quite a bit) versus ANYTHING EURO.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I really think that GM should have brought over the BLS from day one. Their main reason was that it would be priced similar to the larger CTS, and therefore has the cars compete with each other.

      But look what Lexus is doing. They have both the IS and ES models which are similarly priced, but are made for two different individuals. One is a small RWD vehicle, while the other larger FWD. Each catering to different people.

      The BLS is a small FWD car, while the CTS is a larger RWD. And although I haven’t sat in the BLS, my expectations are that the interior trim is much better than the current CTS.

      GM… if you are reading this… please utilize the BLS capacity and import the BLS into America.
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