Cadillac came close to launching in Australia in 2009, but the global economic downturn pulled the plug on a local launch. Nearly 10 years later, Cadillac appears to be back on the table for Oz.
Car Advice reported Wednesday that Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president and president of global product and Cadillac, said the U.S. automaker is “certainly capable” of launching the luxury brand locally. He spoke of his time as Holden managing director in 2008 and 2009 when Cadillac was readying a launch but recalled, “we had to make some really tough decisions on a cash basis.”
He added GM only has one chance to launch a luxury brand in Australia, and in 2009, GM couldn’t fully commit to Cadillac. Since then, things have changed.
Newly minted Holden managing director Dave Buttner told media at the same press briefing that he’s not “taking anything off of the table,” and that includes a Cadillac launch.
“We need to understand what resonates with Australian consumers, what’s relevant in terms of the relationship to what we want to be as a Holden brand, and ensure we have those correct products in place,” Buttner said.
The luxury brand’s potential launch in Oz could shed some light on why Holden is barred from choosing any Cadillac cars for its portfolio. GM vice president of global design, Michael Simcoe, told GM Authority last year that Holden can choose from any GM cars globally to import for local sale—except Cadillac.
Former Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen previously spoke of an Australian launch as well. The strategy, and it’s unclear if it still remains, was to achieve volume in North America and China before taking the brand to Europe and the right-hand-drive market in the United Kingdom.
“When you go into right-hand drive for the UK, that opens opportunity for RHD markets elsewhere in the world, because you obviously want to generate the economies of scale,” de Nysschen said in March 2017.
The former Cadillac boss added that he wanted to see a launch include a full portfolio of cars “as opposed to entering one car at a time as that’s not a feasible way to establish a network.”