Blog: Cadillac & Corvette in Europe press conference
Dave Leggett | 22 November 2004
The Cadillac and Corvette press conference that I went to earlier at the Dorchester had a good turnout of auto trade journalists and freelance writers. Plenty of people to catch up with in between hearing a formal presentation that was led by Bob Lutz and getting the chance to chat with Cadillac General Manager Jim Taylor. Lutz was actually quite difficult to get near to but Jim Taylor told me most of what I needed to know. The whole project, breaking into Europe in a meaningful way, still seems like a very big challenge to me, but one thing that may help Cadillac is aggressive pricing. Like-for-like, expect Cadillac cars marketed in Europe to be priced 10-15% below the competition. Jim said that has been at the heart of Cadillac's resurgence in the US, where the CTS saloon was priced significantly under the BMW 3 Series.
And, in case you're wondering, there's no one big idea or single initiative to effect a change in European consumers' perception of the Cadillac brand and what it stands for. In part, that's because Europe is a complex and heterogeneous place, with a variety of nations and markets. Rather, the plan is to rely on viral stuff and do a multitude of things, with event sponsorship, for example, being something that you will come across (if you follow sports like polo).
But will it work (those Cadillac preconceptions run deep)? Can Cadillac become a truly global luxury brand? I sense that BMW and Mercedes-Benz will watch the efforts with interest but won't exactly be quaking in their boots, at least in Europe. The products may be better than people expect and they may be aggressively priced, but the badge will still put people off for a few more years yet. But I suspect that the badge won't bother the Chinese.
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