LUGANO, Switzerland - The new Cadillac Seville will appear in European dealer showrooms beginning 2 March.
Prices will be announced during the run-up to the Geneva auto show that starts on 5 March. Prices will be 'fine-tuned, aggressive, and very, very surprising,' said Frederick Teach, Cadillac brand manager at GM Europe North American Vehicles.
The first marketing thrust will be at the Swiss market via the Geneva show, said Teach.
Switzerland, Germany and the UK will be the main markets for Cadillac's volume return to Europe. Of a $10 million first-year launch budget, $3 million will be spent in each of those markets for print advertising and dealer support.
Germany will be the key indicator.
'If we cannot be successful in Germany, the long term in Europe is questionable,' Teach said.
GM projects sales of 300-400 Sevilles this year in Germany.
Cadillac currently has 49 dealers in Germany, but Teach said that number will be reduced by about half.
Similar sales numbers are projected for Switzerland, which has seven dealers, and for the UK which has 10.
Other new markets will see as few as 45 sales each this year and probably no more than 75, Teach said. Spain and Italy have seven dealers and France has six, though in each country these will increase to around 10. The Netherlands and Belgium each have eight dealers, Austria has four, Luxembourg has one, and six are spread through Scandinavia.
Teach said Cadillac is only beginning its push into Europe.
'When we look down the road and see our second-generation Catera in 2003, maybe we'll need 50 or 100 more dealers in Europe,' Teach said.
Positioning of the Seville was based on extensive market research including the quizzing of 4,000 current potential customers from 12 European, American and Asian markets.
'We recognize that younger European customers approach our vehicles with greater openness and impartiality than others,' said Teach.
Teach said the car will be positioned midway between the BMW 5 series/Mercedes-Benz E-class and the 7 series/S-class.
'We think we may help the sector to expand,' Teach said. 'We hope we are going to be considered comparable with established marques rather than as an alternative to them.'