NETHERLANDS: Cadillac Europe to announce UK market plans in a few months
Cadillac Europe has confirmed that it is currently investigating "possible scenarios for entering the UK market".
The Netherlands-based Cadillac Europe operation was established on October 1, 2003 to distribute General Motors' Cadillac products and the Chevrolet Corvette throughout Europe.
Initial developments centred on key markets in mainland Europe but Cadillac Europe management has also been carrying out research in the UK and expects to announce its plans for the market within the next few months, the firm said in a statement.
"Cadillac Europe is in discussion with various potential sales and distribution partners in the UK, although no decision has been made at this stage," the statement said.
"Products which could initially be available for the UK would be the right hand drive Cadillac CTS saloon (already produced in RHD for the Japanese market), plus three left-hand drive models: the XLR luxury roadster, the all-new SRX crossover model and the highly-acclaimed Corvette sports car. Other RHD models are not currently available."
Last week, John Howell, Cadillac's director of global brand development, told Reuters that the GM luxury brand would offer RHD as it tries to break into new markets.
Right-hand drive versions of Cadillac's cars are key for the luxury brand to crack the markets of Britain, Hong Kong, South Africa, Japan and Australia, he said in an interview with the news agency.
Reuters reported that Cadillac is close to finalising plans to set up a dealership group in Britain as a pivotal part of its plans to increase sales in Europe to 10,000 vehicles annually by the end of the decade, up from 791 in 2003.
"We can't really be successful in Europe without something there (in Britain). It's the second-largest market in the European community," Howell told Reuters. "We have to have right-hand drive there if we're going to be successful."
Separately, the website 4car.co.uk said that, unlike previous unsuccessful attempts to market the brand on this side of the Atlantic, Cadillacs will be sold in the UK not through Vauxhall dealers, but via one of the largest retail groups operating in the UK, about which an announcement is imminent.
The website said Cadillac Europe is looking to launch in the UK from the end of January 2005.