Cadillac Betting on New Entry Level Model, Redesigned STS

Joshua Duval

The success of the 2008 Cadillac CTS redesign has been enormous for GM's luxury brand, but its survival in the future will depend upon an all-new entry level Caddy, and a redesigned flagship STS.

Speaking with The Detroit Bureau, a GM executive has revealed that the Detroit automaker has been forced to rethink its luxury car strategy because of the disappearing acts of Hummer, Saab, Saturn and (most of) Pontiac - and the beneficiary will be, of course, Cadillac.

Without "as many mouths to feed," as Premium Channel marketing chief Steve Shannon puts it, GM can focus more of its precious resources on revitalizing Cadillac. Though the transformation began with the success of the Escalade, it has only recently been cemented with the debut of the redesigned 2008 Cadillac CTS.

The most important of GM's upcoming models will be an all-new sub-CTS entry, a small car that will "reach the market probably in 24 to 30 months," Shannon says. The baby Caddy has to ride on a flexible platform, as GM is looking to get the biggest bang for its buck: it is considering sedan, wagon, 3-door hatchback and convertible variants for the new car.

The soon-to-be smallest Cadillac will replace the BLS (pictured), a European model that has been largely shunned in that market. Although the BLS is based on the Saab 9-3 platform, Shannon says the replacement model will be "a proper Cadillac with a dedicated architecture and content." He said several different powertrains would be offered - including a diesel for Europe that could eventually make it to the U.S. - but was mum on details beyond that.

The other model currently being readied is a redesigned STS. The former Cadillac flagship has been largely invisible in the large luxury car market, and has been completely overshadowed by the recent success of its younger CTS sibling. Shannon admits that the current STS is too small, and was never very distinguished from the only slightly smaller CTS.

"Spaciousness, in that segment, is critical," says Shannon, saying that size will definitely be a factor in STS redesign. Differentiating the STS from the CTS in terms of design, content and price will also be a focus. Shannon wouldn't offer a timeline for the emergence of a new STS.

Source: The Detroit Bureau

Maybe the Euros' car buyers saw the "BS" bookending the "L"uxury in Caddy's BLS model. Better luck in the future since the Cadillac knife-edge design element doesn't seem to add up as much to Euros' idea of a performance/luxury sedan look -- but I think it's better than looking so much like the other luxury brands from Germany. At least Jaguar is looking up, and different, with its approach towards appealing to the U.S., Europe and other markets with its latest offerings.

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