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Cadillac Spearheading European Offensive with ATS, Escalade

Despite struggling to gain traction there for more than two decades, Cadillac has not given up its hope on making inroads into the home turf of most of the world's premiere luxury brands. The first two models to kick off Cadillac's renewed European offensive are the smallest and largest respective models in the brand's current lineup, the ATS Coupe and Escalade SUV, Auto Express reports.

The ATS is a logical choice, since it is close in size to the BMW 3/4 Series, a popular model in Europe. However, the Escalade is somewhat of a head-scratcher. It is larger than its closest competitor in the market, the Land Rover Range Rover, which is considered very large by European standards. The ATS coupe will be offered in right-hand drive soon for the U.K. But the Escalade will be initially offered only in left-hand-drive form. But the longer-term plans for the Escalade on the Continent include both right-hand drive and a diesel powertrain, according to Jim Vurpillat, Cadillac's director of emerging markets. In terms of the specific timeframe, Vurpillat said "about three years."

A diesel powertrain option for GM's full-size SUVs has been rumored for at least a year, and the leading contender may be a revival of the 4.5-liter Duramax V-8 that came very close to production before falling victim to the company's 2009 bankruptcy. But General Motors engineers and executives have said the bulk of the engineering work on the engine is completed, leaving only compliance with future emissions standards and final validation to bring the engine to market. Since unit sales of the Escalade in Europe would be miniscule, Vurpillat's inference of an imminent diesel option makes us think it could be offered on both sides of the Atlantic. Would you like to see an Escalade diesel?