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Cadillac plans US$12b product blitz over 5 yrs: brand president

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General Motors Co's Cadillac brand plans a US$12 billion new model offensive over the next five years that will include eight vehicles, including five in segments where it does not currently compete, Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen said at the Detroit auto show on Monday.

[DETROIT] General Motors Co's Cadillac brand plans a US$12 billion new model offensive over the next five years that will include eight vehicles, including five in segments where it does not currently compete, Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen said at the Detroit auto show on Monday.

GM has labored for years to rebuild Cadillac into a global brand, but it has stumbled as it tried to re-establish its stature in the US market, where sales declined 6.5 per cent last year. Globally, Cadillac sales increased 5 per cent.

Among the more recent issues confronting de Nysschen and his team are too many unsold cars on US dealers' lots, and not nearly enough of the right products to blunt the assault by the German luxury automakers.

De Nysschen, a former Audi and Infiniti executive who joined GM last August, previously outlined the product blitz at the Paris auto show.

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On Monday, he said the plans included two smaller crossovers below the current SRX that would compete with the BMW X1 and X3, as well as a larger crossover that slots below the strong-selling Escalade. He also said Cadillac lacks a vehicle for the hot compact luxury sedan segment below its ATS car.

De Nysschen said any short-term pain in the US market would be balanced by explosive growth in China, the brand's second largest market, and that would give GM time to roll out the new vehicles needed to round out the portfolio.

De Nysschen said that while US sales fell last year, average transaction prices per vehicle topped US$47,000 for the first time. He expects 2015 US sales to remain largely the same as last year's 171,000 but average transaction prices to rise again.

He also said GM has agreed to shift the production mix at its assembly plant in Texas to build a few thousand more of the hot-selling Escalade this year compared with its original production plans. The plant also builds Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Suburban SUVs.

Cadillac's chief marketing officer Uwe Ellinghaus said in a separate interview that there were no current plans to bring Cadillac to Brazil or elsewhere in South America, something that has been discussed in the past, because of economic volatility in the region and the brand's lack of compact luxury offerings.

REUTERS

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