Seeing the import brands gaining ground in the near-luxury category, Cadillac made a countering move in 1997 with a repackaged rear-drive Opel known as the Catera. In making the transition to Cadillac, engineers added weight to the European-built sedan in the form of features and sound deadening, damping the performance of the modest V-6. Wrapped in dull sheetmetal, the Catera struggled along, never quite fulfilling the brand's hope to stake an American flag in the growing segment. A new strategy was used for the Catera's replacement model. The CTS was built Stateside off an all-new rear-drive platform named Sigma, which would underpin other Cadillac models to follow.
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