1999 Catera New Car Test Drive
Cadillac is out to conquer the world. Four years short of its centennial, General Motors' wreath-and-crest division says it is looking to become 'the world's premier luxury car manufacturer.'
That's a tall order. To achieve so lofty a goal, Cadillac faces head-to-head competition with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti and a host of others, all with solid credentials. It is not enough to offer quality; Cadillac was already competitive on that level. Being worldwide No. 1 also requires being visible around the world, a challenge Cadillac is meeting with the establishment of more than 700 dealerships outside the United States.
Top quality and a plethora of dealers aren't enough. Another key element is variety. Customers expect to find luxury appointments in full- and midsize sedans, sport-utility vehicles and performance cars. That's where the Catera comes in. It gives Cadillac a presence in the import-oriented entry-luxury segment, just as the new Escalade puts Cadillac into the SUV field.
Adapted from the popular European Opel Omega MV6 and built alongside it in Russelsheim, Germany, the Catera has the attributes expected by a demanding group of customers, as do its primary opponents, the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infiniti I30 and Lexus ES 300.