Since its launch a couple of years ago, sales of the Cadillac BLS have been less than stellar, to say the least. The BLS is a Europe-only model based on the Saab 9-3 and built at Saab's factory in Sweden. At its launch it was only available in four-door sedan form with gasoline engines. Aside from the fact GM that did a less-than-optimal translation of the Cadillac design language, the absence of a diesel or Estate (European for station wagon) helped to doom the BLS. Cadillac has now remedied at least some of the flaws with a new wagon model and some new engines. The BLS is now available with GM's 180hp 1.9L turbodiesel as well as Saab's 200hp flex-fuel turbocharged four cylinder. GM expects the wagon to account for up to half of BLS sales in the UK.
[Source: General Motors]
First-ever Cadillac Wagon joins premium upgraded 2008 BLS model line-up
- New Wagon model joins premium upgraded 2008 BLS line-up
- New 180 ps high-power diesel and 200 ps petrol-bioethanol engines
- 2008 BLS model range on sale now, priced from £21,495
"Launching the first-ever Wagon in Cadillac's history gave us the opportunity to revise the 2008 BLS Saloon model line-up to enhance our presence in the premium UK market," commented Jonathan Nash, Director in Charge, Cadillac UK. "We looked again at what the current UK market and consumers would expect from a Cadillac and then added all the equipment to match those expectations – as standard. This enabled us to rationalise the specification levels from three down to just one. We wanted to make the BLS line-up simple for us to communicate and for customers to understand.
"We have given this single specification a new name 'Elegance' and it brings an unprecedented level of luxury specification to Cadillac's premium mid-size challenger for 2008, presenting UK buyers with a truly unbeatable package. BLS buyers still have plenty of opportunity to express their individuality and to ensure that the Cadillac they select matches their lifestyle. With two diesel engines and four petrol engines, and manual or automatic transmission on every version of Wagon and Saloon," adds Nash.
Every BLS, both Wagon and Saloon, now comes with premium equipment such as leather trim, powered and heated front seats, a BOSE Surround Sound 11-speaker audio system, DVD sat-nav, hands-free Bluetooth phone system, dual zone climate control, cruise control, park distance sensors and StabiliTrak electronic dynamic stability control.
"In line with our range simplification, we have banished the traditional 'price premiums'. Cadillac BLS buyers can enjoy diesel power for the same price as petrol and Wagon body style for the same price as the Saloon. We are convinced that the 2008 Cadillac BLS line-up, with its distinctive styling and relative exclusivity, will be a uniquely persuasive proposition to drivers and will enable us to grow the brand steadily from the bottom up, as part of the long-term journey for Cadillac in the UK," enthuses Nash.
For 2008, the Cadillac BLS comes with almost £4,000 worth of additional equipment as standard. Prices start at £21,495 (on-the-road) for the 175 ps petrol and 150 ps diesel models, in both Wagon and Saloon variants.
Cadillac expects the arrival of the strikingly styled Wagon to attract new customers to the brand and to account for 50% of BLS sales this year.
"Business sales will be an area of focus for Cadillac with the 2008 BLS. The two new engines – the 180 ps diesel and the 200 ps Flexpower petrol/bioethanol unit – give us an opportunity to highlight the upgraded models' attributes to the business market. These engines are highly competitive for C02 and offer BIK (Benefit In Kind) company car tax advantages.
"Industry response to the premium-upgraded 2008 BLS range has been extremely positive. CAP, the provider of benchmark used-car valuations, is predicting a boost for residual values because the BLS is so highly equipped as standard," concludes Nash.
Designed in Europe, for European consumers, the premium mid-size Cadillac BLS Wagon and Saloon are manufactured (in right-hand drive for the UK market) at the state-of-the-art GM plant in Trollhättan, Sweden.