Cadillac Brand Undergoing Product Transformation

By: Noah Scott

The sweeping transformation is an important part of GM's blueprint to build Cadillac into a truly global luxury brand that can compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW in terms of size and price. Aside from using top-of-the-line auto parts such as and others, the automaker has set a concrete plan on how to further enhance the quality of the Cadillac.

The redesigned CTS sedan which is part of the new products will arrive this fall and will be presented as a 2008 model. It will be followed in 2009 by a new CTS coupe and wagon. These two products are aimed more for the European market but will be sold also in North America.

Basically the new CTS is the forerunner of Cadillac's "next-generation" look which is subtle and less angular than the Art & Science theme pioneered by the original CTS. The styling inspiration of the CTS is derived from the Cadillac Sixteen concept which debuted four years ago at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

As part of the company's move to a more global image, Cadillac also plans to continue its shift to rear-wheel drive. Such move includes the launching of two new high-end RWD sedans which are directed primarily for North America and a low-end RWD sedan that could replace the BLS compact in Europe.

By 2012, Cadillac will also offer a range of vehicles on four different RWD platforms beginning with a new compact architecture known as Alpha. An updated version of the Sigma platform highlights the '08 CTS, while the next generation DTS luxury sedan and a new V12 flagship sedan known as the XLS will be built on the upcoming Zeta platform. The replacement for the XLR roadster will share the new C7 platform with the next generation Chevrolet Corvette.

Additional part of Cadillac's plans is to add a new midrange crossover vehicle known internally as the BRX which is an off the premium version of the all-wheel drive Theta platform. This new platform is also referred to by suppliers in the code name TE.

The Cadillac's plan would have some casualties such as the SRX and the STS which will be replaced by new and updated models. The new Alpha platform is said to be the masterpiece of GM product czar Bob Lutz which will be used as the base for a broad range of midsize rear-wheel-drive models for several GM brands which will include Holden, Cadillac, Opel, Saab, Pontiac, Vauxhall, and Chevrolet.

According to GM suppliers the Alpha will make use of bits and pieces from the Kappa platform that will serve as the base for both the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. It can be remembered that General Motors has provided a sneak preview of the Alpha at the Holden Torana Showcar in Australia. The current design for the Alpha includes a flexible platform that can accommodate both rear and all-wheel-drive as well as GM's Ecotec four-cylinder engine family.

The top engine choice would possibly be a twin-cam 2.4 liter inline-4, with a supercharged version available for performance-oriented models. Also to be offered across the range is a six-speed manual and automatic transmission.

According to some reliable sources inside General Motors, Lutz would like to see the Alpha platform employed in place of the front-wheel-drive Epsilon II platform on a number of GM products and that would include the planned replacements for the Cadillac BLS and Pontiac G6. Likewise, Chevrolet may also get an Alpha-based successor to the Malibu sedan or a coupe companion named as the Chevelle. The range of Alpha models is expected to reach market by 2010 to 2011.

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