Cadillac is hoping its European fortunes will be turned round in 2003 by a luxury two-seat roadster based on the Evoq concept car.
The recently released photograph shows a full-scale fiberglass model of the yet-to-be-named sports car. Although closely based on the 1999 Evoq, the production car features new styling and technological details, such as the automatic folding hard top developed by Car Top Systems of Germany.
The production sports car will be priced and equipped to compete with some of Europe's most desirable luxury roadsters/tourers, such as the Mercedes-Benz SL500, Jaguar XK8 and future Lexus coupe.
It will feature the 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 engine in its first rear-wheel-drive configuration, interior instrumentation fashioned by Italian jeweler Bvlgari, and Night Vision - a system that was used during Cadillac's recent participation at Le Mans.
Other elements of the Northstar system - such as MagneRide active suspension damping and the StabiliTrak yaw control system - will be standard. Yaw is the movement exerted during cornering - experienced as body roll.
Cadillac General Manager Michael J. O'Malley said: 'This expressive roadster will be developed to attract customers in all important luxury markets - including Europe.'
But Cadillac continues to have a tough time in Europe. In the first six months of this year, the brand sold 394 cars here, down from 614 in the corresponding period last year. June sales fell from 90 last year to 25 this year. Despite the lack of demand, advertising for the Cadillac Seville continues in the print media.
But there are plans to extend the range in Europe. In addition to the V-8 Seville, Cadillac plans a new Catera next year, a luxury sport-utility, plus the Evoq-inspired roadster.
'We are developing a future product portfolio that has taken European needs and benefits into consideration to a greater extent than ever before in the history of Cadillac,' said O'Malley.
Critics say the new products will help sales in Europe - but what Cadillac most needs is a small car to take on the BMW 3 series, and a diesel engine.
Reuters News Service contributed