Big GM diesel for Cadillac
07 March 2007
Author: Rupert Saunders
An all-new high performance diesel engine will spearhead attempts by Cadillac to make up ground in the European business car market.
The 2.9-litre V6 engine, being developed by General Motors Powertrain in Turin in conjunction with VM Motori, will also appear in other GM product such as the upcoming replacement for the Vauxhall Vectra and the next generation Saab 9-5.
Cadillac bosses admit they failed to realise the importance of diesel engines in Europe and have concentrated product development too strongly on their domestic market. They pledged that all new Cadillacs, with the exception of the US-only Escalade, will be available with diesel.
Last year, just 3000 Cadillacs were sold across Europe with only 400 registered in the UK. Talks continue about business sales in the UK being brought under the control of the GM fleet and leasing department so the brand can be offered alongside Saab, Vauxhall and Chevrolet, but GM execs insist no decision has been taken.
A Cadillac spokesman said the GM team would bring "an expertise which would allow Cadillac to compete in the corporate sector".
Currently, Cadillac Europe has an exclusive distribution deal with Pendragon (the UK's largest dealer group), which would seek compensation for the loss of fleet business. Pendragon has opened 12 Cadillac dealerships and, according to its latest financial results, lost £3.5m on the business launch.
The new diesel, which is scheduled to develop 250PS and 550Nm of torque, will be compliant with forthcoming Euro5 emissions standards and will first appear in the new CTS in 2009. It would then go into the new SRX, due later the same year.
Only the BLS saloon has diesel engines at the moment. In the next week, GM will announce details of the BLS estate, which is expected to offer a high-performance diesel in addition to the 150PS 1.9-litre CDTi.