GERMANY/US: Cadillac will build more cars in Europe than originally planned
From mid-2007 Cadillac will build the estate wagon version of the BLS in Sweden, as well as the sedan version, reported Automobilwoche.
The estate will be launched at Geneva in March 2007, at the latest.
Production of the BLS at Saab's Trollhättan plant starts next month at a rate of around 10,000 units a year. The estate should add a further 'several thousand' units.
A third model, a Cadillac SUV crossover, is also being considered for the plant, which is looking to replace lost volume when the next generation Saab 9-3 and 9-5 are produced in Opel's Russelsheim factory.
Separately WardsAuto.com this week quoted GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster as saying Trollhattan would be kept in business, and there would be no workforce reduction - last year, 3,000 plant workers built more than 100,000 units of the Saab 9-3 and 9-5.
"We have the right number of people on board" at Trollhattan, Forster told WardsAuto.com. "We simply don't produce enough cars yet. We have the paint shop. Everything is in place. If we built 250,000 cars with the current headcount, we would be extremely productive."
By the end of the decade "we will be building 250,000 cars," Forster reportedly said, thanks to "some next Saab vehicles, without being too specific about which ones." Although he declined to name them, both the Saab 9-5 and 9-3 will move to Germany by 2008, the report noted.
WardsAuto.com cited Jean-Michel Prillieux, forecaster for French consultant Mavel SA as saying that GM planned to have four vehicles in Trollhattan by 2009 including the BLS (20,000 units), BRX crossover SUV, (30,000), Saab 9-4X (based on the BRX) (15,000) plus the Saab 9-1 or 9-2, a competitor for the Volvo C30, (50,000).
In addition, Prillieux told WardsAuto.com, Saab may bring the 9-3 convertible back to Trollhattan from Magna Steyr in Austria, which would add 20,000 units and bring total production to 135,000 units.