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Re: More Racing News

If they get lost in the Mulsanne Straight, they can use the On-Star sytem!

On Tue, 09 Mar 1999 13:15:33 -0500, Bob wrote:

> GENEVA -- Cadillac, the quintessential American luxury brand, is poised
> to do something decidedly un-luxurious: hit the racing circuit.
> General Motors Corp.'s premium division today will announce at the
> Geneva Motor Show that it is returning to the 24-hour LeMans endurance
> race in 2000 after a 50-year
> hiatus.
> Cadillac's entry in LeMans' prototype category will be an open-air
> sports car developed by Riley & Scott of Indianapolis and powered by a
> twin-turbocharged Northstar engine.
> "Racing is not expected from Cadillac," said John F. Smith, general
> manager of Cadillac. "We think we can draw attention to the technology
> of Cadillac vehicles -- and the
> long-term reliability and durability of our products."
> The move, under development since May 1997, is the latest gambit in a
> long-term strategy to position Cadillac as GM's global luxury brand.
> That means wooing finicky,
> performance-minded European luxury-car drivers reared on Mercedes-Benz,
> BMW and Audi -- all staples on the racing circuit.
> "Wow. Great," said Gregor von Opel, whose Cadillac dealerships in
> Frankfurt, Erfurt and Wuerzburg, Germany, sold 30 Cadillac Sevilles last
> year and 40 in the first two
> months of this year.
> "Cadillac is not too well-known. That's the only problem with the car
> here. This will be very good for the car's image. People here think it's
> not sporty. They think it's very
> American, very soft."
> The June 2000 run in LeMans by Cadillac's car, trimmed with a
> distinctive Cadillac grille and taillights, is intended to begin
> changing that enduring European perception. The visibility in race-crazy
> Europe also is designed to pave the way for four new Cadillac models
> being developed with European consumers in mind, including a replacement
> for the entry-level Catera.
> To telegraph Cadillac's global aspirations, the Hamtramck-built Seville
> sedan was unveiled at the 1997 Frankfurt International Motor Show. Last
> year, however, Cadillac's 87 dealers across Europe sold 1,318 cars -- up
> from just 480 in 1997 -- compared to more than 39,000 in the United
> States.
> "With the Seville we have only one product that comes in one flavor -- a
> Northstar engine with an automatic transmission," Smith said,
> acknowledging the slim choices Cadillac offers European consumers.
> "We're trying to plow the road for the new products by raising our
> profile at LeMans.
> "We think we will draw attention to the technology in Cadillac vehicles
> -- and people can see a statement about the long-term reliability and
> durability of our products."
> Cadillac's Evoq concept car, unveiled at January's North American
> International Auto Show in Detroit, clearly was aimed at European-minded
> luxury sport car buyers who long
> ago dropped flabby Cadillac from their shopping lists. The enthusiasm
> for the car was not lost on GM planners who plan to build the car,
> pending some key production decisions.
> When Cadillac last raced LeMans in 1950, Harry Truman was in the White
> House, Detroit was in all its post-war glory and West Germany had just
> become a republic. At LeMans, under the guidance of legendary racer
> Briggs Cunningham, Cadillac's specially-tuned DeVille finished 10th,
> with a Cadillac-powered, one-of-a-kind prototype right behind. (do any
> of you remember the "Le Monstre"? -MB)
> Instead of building on its comparative success at LeMans, however,
> Cadillac opted to concentrate on the growing luxury market in
> rich-and-happy America throughout the 1950s and '60s. Cadillacs got
> bigger and softer while GM got richer and more powerful.
> "We became very content with a rapidly growing domestic market," Smith
> said. "But the world has changed and we're changing with it."
> Cadillac planners estimate the worldwide luxury vehicle market totals 4
> million cars and trucks each year -- only 1 million of which are sold
> inside the United States and Canada, where new-car sales overall are
> growing slowly.
> That's why Cadillac is repositioning itself with a new rear-wheel-drive
> product line -- code-named Sigma -- that should begin appearing in
> showrooms by 2002. It's also why Ford Motor Co. is spending more than $6
> billion to buy Volvo Car Corp., the upscale Swedish automaker.

Jim Moore

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