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Way back in 2005, General Motors decided it needed a small four-door sedan in order for Cadillac to compete in Europe. The end result? The Cadillac BLS. The car was little more than seriously restyled Saab 9-3 (itself an already aging model), and since most Europeans are neither blind nor ignorant, the car didn't fare well in a market loaded with goods from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It was scrapped after a mere four years of production.

As usual, there's a little more to the story than that. According to Ny Teknik, GM stuck Saab with the cost of reworking the 9-3 into a Cadillac to the tune of around $140 million after the model tanked. The site quotes Jan-Åke Jonsson, the managing director of Saab, as saying that being out from under GM control will have its advantages. Yeah, we can see how he might feel that way. Top tip, Tom!

[Source: Ny Teknik via Saabs United]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Such a cute Cimarron!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well the new ATS will show that Cadillac can build a good entry level car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      it kinda reminds me of the pontiac G8.. and a STS mixed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hm.. you'd think they would have learned from the Catera.. which was basically built on the same platform as the Cavalier :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        My bad, i WAS thinking about the cimmaron.. :/
        The Catera didn't do well either. To date i've seen *one* of them on the road :p
        • 4 Years Ago
        Catera was built on an Opel Omega platform, The Cimarron was on a Cavalier Platform.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If the Cavalier was the worst car you ever drove, you didn't drive many cars in the 80s. I had one and it was awful, but the Citation was noticeably worse and it wasn't alone.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Reppin' the ex-Cavalier ownership right here.

        Had a 2000... good engine.. horrible brakes.. subpar handling crap for interior.. major problems started at 60kmiles, fail!

        can't believe they built a Cadillac on that platform.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, the Catera was a rebadged version of the Opel Omega, which was actually a pretty decent car. It sure as hell was nicer than anything else Cadillac was producing at the time.

        The Cavalier was a FWD POS (worst car I've ever driven), the Omega was dynamically competent (if bland) executive sedan.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey man, I like my 1992 Cavalier. I bought it for 200 bucks and DD'd it for years, and with exaggeration, never had a single problem with it, (aside from the blown head gasket when I got it, which was a Saturday well spent). The interior is actually good(I don't mean acceptable, I mean damn good), and the seats are well bolstered(probably because I pulled them from a newer z28), the handling is decent, because it is a light car, and the steering is sharp and dead on. The gas mileage from the 2.2 4 banger is spectacular.

        Most importantly it is a 2 door (like a Corvette) so I get all the bitches.

        In Conclusion, don't insult Cavaliers until you have driven one. All of the dildos who rant about how bad they are, are just going by what they have heard, not what they know. It is one of the first good cars ever sold be General motors since 1970, and pretty much the last, until the 2000s.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a dumb story. Welcome to corporate accounting. Saab was owned by GM, blah blah blah. If the new Saab can't do anything but whine about GM USED to do when they owned Saab, they won't be around for very long.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't know why you got voted down when 1) what you said is entirely correct 2) LS (below...and not take anything away from LS) and others said the same thing and got voted up.
        Autoblog, where I go to enjoy new cars intros, fabulous photo shoots, a few test drive stories here and there, and to laugh in amazement at the editors/writers' (and some commenters) total lack of financial understanding (and the accompanying silly interpretation coming out of that!).
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's not really accurate. Saab was a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM, not a core brand like Chevrolet or Buick. Moreover, it only became such in 2000 (GM's original investment in 1989 gave it control of 50% of shares.

        And the BLS really was a horrible idea. GM saw excess plant capacity, directed Saab to spend $140 million developing a car, then decided they didn't expect to sell more than a couple thousand a year anyway, and so wouldn't make any money. WTF?

        GM's investment absolutely saved Saab in the early '90s, when the hands-off approach let Saab make good cars and turn a profit for the first time in years. But after GM bought up all the remaining shares, those Wagoner-era product decisions (9-2X, 9-7X, BLS, canceled 9-5 replacement) absolutely ran that company into the ground. They have good reason to be bitter.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They should have spent the money on seriously updating the 9-3. I own a 2004 9-3 TiD and it's a great car, except for the too cheaply made/looking interior. It also lacks a bit of refinement when it comes to the chassis and transmission department as well compared to the German competition, but it makes up in areas like ergonomics and a cheaper price point. Cadillac was never going to be a success in Europe, Europeans are too badge concious and the dealer network was really small. The only European people still remembering Cadillac were pensioners. Besides the BLS still looked like a Saab, not like a proper Cadillac.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I kinda agree with you, Cadillac is probably never going to make a come back in Europe. It's like you said, my grand-/father remembers when Cadillacs actually were desirable here [in Northern Europe].

        All of the current Cadillacs are far, far too "alien" in their design to be sold here. They're big and bulky looking, and that's not a good thing. Nothing like the smooth curves and lines from Audi and BMW, in my opinion.

        I remember looking at them [Cadillacs] while visiting the lone importer of "exotic" American cars in my town thinking they were different, tastefully presented, very expensive and not worth it.

        Not only were they awfully expensive compared with Audis, BMWs and Mercedes', but the second hand value for a car like that would be laughable. When I spend over 100k on a car, I want to be able to recoup at least something when I sell it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Such arrogant fools at GM. Such egregious executive management. It's no surprise the American automotive industry imploded last year.
      • 4 Years Ago
      more like BS!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Creative accounting by the group that could not count. Though both still have a looong way to go, hopefully GM and Saab are around for a while. Saab had some nice driving machines (if spotty quality) before GM. Saab could probably still get platforms from GM, but they need to have their stylists to be successful.

      And the BLS proves you have to put some thought into a product (which I hope GM learned well by now)
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM could not run themselves let alone Opel, Saab, Izuzu, Delphi or AC Delco or anything else... there must be a long list companies GM stuffed up.
      What is good for GM is good for America was crap,because GM could not work out what was any good for themselves.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GM ran Isuzu (Izuzu)? That's new. You missed Subaru and Suzuki then.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Instead of paying Saab for the BLS, why not give them rights to use the Gamma-II platform? I want to see that Saab 9-1.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Its more like Saab was having to pay the bill themselves for the redesign they had to do for the Caddy.

        They aren't getting money, they're getting a bill.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It "Forced Saab" because the Trollhattan plant had excess capacity
      and in order to reduce manufacturing costs, GM needed to have more
      output. Plus it was a win for the Swedes as it prevented plant
      shutdowns and layoffs.

      In short, the BLS was a cheap way to get a small Cadillac in the
      European market and keep a plant running at the same time.
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