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Cadillac seeks new European dealers


By Rick Kranz
Automotive News / May 26, 2003


The Cadillac SRX sport wagon, above, will be exported to Europe. So will the XLR and STS.


DETROIT - General Motors is close to signing up as many as three companies to distribute Cadillacs in Europe.

The distributors will select new dealerships, which will be required to provide exclusive Cadillac showrooms. GM wants to sign the distributors within 60 days.

The distribution and dealership changes are fueled by franchise agreements in Europe that expire Sept. 30 and Cadillac's rear-wheel-drive product blitz. Also, a favorable swing in currency could help Cadillac sales.

Cadillac CTS distribution started in April with the current dealership network. Late this year or early next year, the two-passenger XLR sports car will be exported to Europe. That will be followed by the SRX sport wagon, and in 2005, the redesigned STS.

GM's North American Vehicles Organization sells vehicles directly to selected Opel dealerships in Europe. Last year, those dealerships sold fewer than 800 cars - all Seville STSs.

"A huge hit that we take in Europe is that you go to a dealership and you can't find the Cadillac products because they are stuck in the back of the showroom," says Jeff Kuhlman, Cadillac communications manager. "And, you might find that a steering wheel is gone because they had to pull it off and use it as a part on another car.

"The basic tenet of the plan is we're not a secondary brand at the back of the showroom. This is going to be a true luxury brand, sold in dealerships in a way that luxury customers expect."

The automaker is in talks with three distributors: Kroymans Corp. and the Louwman Group, both in the Netherlands, and Emil Frey of Switzerland.

Kroymans distributes Ferrari, Aston Martin, Saab and Kia in the Netherlands, and Ssang-

Yong in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Louwman distributes Toyota, Lexus and Suzuki in the Netherlands.

Frey is the Swiss distributor for Toyota and Lexus, along with Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, MG Rover, Subaru, Kia and Daihatsu. The company also distributes Hyundai in Germany and operates the largest Ford Motor Co. dealer group in Europe.

The distributors will select the dealerships, but each dealership will have to meet a long list of requirements developed by Cadillac. Cadillac did not reveal the number of dealerships.

Kuhlman says dealerships wanting a Cadillac franchise must meet advertising and marketing requirements.
 

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I have heard that cadillacs were a big hit over in europe.... I guess trying to get away from all the BMW, MBz, jaguar, etc..... BUt after having all that crap going on with the dealers, maybe they should just setup their own dealerships, rather than finding other car companies dealerships.....
 

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I do hope they do better than last time, 1999 - 2002 in the UK. They gave the dealerships to six Vauxhall (Opal in Europe) dealers who treated the Cadillac like any other car and paid bottom prices for trade in. Gave a bad service, really bad, after one service I only drove 100 yards to discover that there was no oil in the engine and paid £100 ($150 approx) per hour for the priv
ilege. Eventually GM withdrew the STS after selling about 300 over three years which means that I have a rare right hand drive STS. I purchase my spare parts from the USA as they are less than half the UK price and go to the dealer only for the 10,000 mile service, changing the oil myself.


The STS is a fine car and well suited to UK motorway driving, a bit wide for our country lanes so I just slow down, I love to see the expression of other road users trying to work out who makes the car.
 
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