Detroit (AFP) -Cadillac laid down an aggressive new claim to the US luxury market Tuesday, unveiling a powerful sedan it boasted could not be topped for speed or comfort by Mercedes Benz or BMW.
But it was far from clear whether it would be enough to help Cadillac and Lincoln, Detroit’s two classic luxury brands, to topple the dominance of the Germans and Toyota’s Lexus in the lucrative top segment of the US car market.
Cadillac’s challenge, revealed at the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit, came in the shape of the new CTS-V, a 640 horsepower, 200 miles per hour (320kph) monster beneath an elegant sedan exterior.
As he looked straight across at the Mercedes Benz stand at the show, Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac president, boasted that it was faster than anything his Teutonic rivals could offer.
“This 112-year-old brand is reinventing itself,” he announced.
“This is not just rhetoric,” he told hundreds of journalists at the Detroit show.
“It’s a comprehensive plan that starts with great products … We are here to disrupt and shatter the status quo.”
Decades ago Cadillac and Lincoln dominated the US market, marks of American glamour on display from the White House to Beverly Hills.
But that cachet has long been lost, and both are fighting an uphill battle to recover it. Benz, BMW, Audi and Lexus have established themselves since the 1990s as bywords for a combination of luxury and performance.
The numbers show the challenge. Last year, Mercedes sold 356,000 cars in the United States, for a 2.2 per cent share of the total US auto market, according to Autodata.