By on August 17, 2009

From the “how had that not happened yet” file [via AutoTelegraaf] comes word that Cadillac has finally euthanized its latter-day Cimarron, the Europe-only BLS. The Saab 9-3/Opel Vectra brand engineering victim sold just 7,365 units since its 2005 introduction. Was it worth it? “Think of the profit,” was the watchword for BLS backers. “Think of the brand,” is the obvious retort. Especially because Cadillac’s only real appeal in Europe is a variety of willful iconoclasm akin to . . . driving a Saab in the United States. And look what happened with GM’s similar effort there.

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26 Comments on “Cadillac BLS Dead. Finally....”

  • avatar

    Another loser from Lutz the Putz flops. I would say close 60% of the vehicles he has been responsible for have been cancelled at GM. Lets not forget about the entire Saturn lineup that is also going to the trash heap.

  • avatar

    Small correction: it is actually 9-3 based not 9-5 based

    BLS interior
    9-3 interior

  • avatar

    The BLS was a 9-3 badge job, not 9-5. Cover the nose and the silhouette of the 9-3 SportCombi becomes extremely obvious. What a stupid idea, GM’s got to know that kind of garbage isn’t going to work in Europe like it does here. At least in the U.S. there are people that will still buy that crap because “it’s a Caddy”. Across the pond, not so much.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    You are all so correct. Text amended.

  • avatar

    i actually think the BLS looked OK, possibly better than the 9-3 much like the Saab 9-2X looked better than the Impreza it was based on

  • avatar

    I understand the best selling version was the
    Hybrid direct injected touring model. The:
    BLSH iT

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    V6, I agree. If Cadillac has to go cheap makeover, at least it was a pretty decent car to makeover.

    7000+ in four years? Wow. That really sucks.

  • avatar

    BLS = Bob Lutz Special?

    I think “S” should stand for his perspective on global warming – a crock of you-know-what.

  • avatar

    Iconoclasm? That fits Cadillac all the way. Saab is quirky. Lets keep it simple.

  • avatar

    I always thought BLS stood for bullshit. And it’s an interesting case, because it epitomizes everything with GM gone wrong. That, and the Saab 9-2X and 9-7X. Interesting that Saab was involved in all three? GM just doesn’t have a clue.

    The thought that anyone would mistake a GMT 360 for Nordic Quirky, is profoundly duped. And likewisely mistaken in the thought that what the european sophisticates really sought after when it came to american iron, was a Saab in a fancy dress. Lose-lose, on both accounts.

    Besides the american companies european branches, what sells in Europe when it comes to american cars, are cars that fill a niche or a vanity nobody else can offer. Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler Voyager when it comes to níches. Dodge Viper, Hummer H3, Chrysler 300 and Ford Mustang when it comes to vanities…

    Having the BLS fight the premiums on their turf was the right thought, but the wrong answer. Europeans just aren’t that stupid. BLS is actually an insult to intelligence…

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    The one or two I managed to see so far (all estates, like in the pic above), look like factory made miniature hearses – I guess the combination of headlamps and roofline have something to do with it.

  • avatar

    Does this mean that can finally stop trying to flog the dead nag that is the Sebring ?

  • avatar

    Wait a sec….7,365 units in 4 years for a mass production vehicle? I know it’s GM we’re talking about, but how does that happen? I mean, how could the BLS have not been canceled two years ago and the G8 gets euthanized, not rebranded?


  • avatar

    I love Cadillac’s proclivity for naming things without thinking. BLS looks like “bullshit” to me too. Almost as good as the Eldorado Touring Coupe from the early nineties. I still chuckle when I see one of these go by with “etcetera” in big chrome letters on the back.

  • avatar

    I actually like the BLS. the car looked much better, especially on the inside, as a caddy rather than as a SAAB. I don’t know how much they would have cost in europe, but I think the real problem is like the 9-3SS, it is a generation or two behind all the competition. Powertrain is also small but that is less of an issue with EU sales.

    Yes, I get it that this might not be the best way to market caddy is europe, but I had nothing against the car itself.

  • avatar

    “I know it’s GM we’re talking about, but how does that happen?”

    Wonders of the modern world. The BLS has the exact body hardpoints as the Saab 9-3, they are made on the same factory-line. Just the outer sheet-metal that’s different.

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    From the same crew that spawned the 9-7.

    I believe that GM management was (is) so out of touch that they think that Cadillac still has some cachet.

    Memo to GM: in the U.S. the brand is so devalued that it’s an aspirational brand only for retired blue collar workers, pimps and rappers.

    It is not an aspirational brand for professionals or the “rich.” Quite the opposite, for those folks don’t want to be seen driving a car that is an aspirational brand for the “lower class.”

    I can only imagine that Cadillac’s image is even worse in Europe.

  • avatar

    “I can only imagine that Cadillac’s image is even worse in Europe.”

    What is quite telling, is how GM so categorically misunderstands their customers, their market and their demographics. Cadillacs image is that of big and brawly land yachts. I don’t have any numbers, but I would believe that the Escalade sells in more numbers in Europe than the CTS. As stated earlier, there’s lots of Mustangs and Hummers around. American bling-bling will always sell.

    The point is, GM has completely misunderstood the market value of Cadillac, if they believe that the BLS is what europeans want in a Caddy. Exactly the same mistake Ford did with the Jaguar X-Type. You just can’t clad your run-of-the-mill mid-size sedan in new clothes and slap a fancy badge on it, and believe that the europeans will form a line, that’s just not how things are done.

  • avatar

    The point is, GM has completely misunderstood the market value of Cadillac, if they believe that the BLS is what europeans want in a Caddy.

    What is happening is that GM seriously overestimates it’s own brilliance and underestimates it’s myopia. To a GM executive, Cadillac is the ne plus ultra of the automotive world, so why wouldn’t they sell in Europe? After all, it’s a global brand**.

    Then, some whizz-kid (eg, like Ray Young or Fritz Henderson) who’s drunk the Kool-Aid notes that GM has extra factory capacity, and whaboom, here cometh the Saabillac. I bet they thought they’d make millions.

    ** “…because we said it was, and our marketing department yes-men would never tell us otherwise.” Such is the problem of the corporate echo chamber.

  • avatar

    “I can only imagine that Cadillac’s image is even worse in Europe.”

    The image of American cars is that they are driven by pimps (with bad taste). Problem with being a pimp car is that there are to few pimps to make it profitable so the BLS was there to change the image.

    For a luxury mark like Jaguar or Cadillac you need reliable cars. For this you need a dealer network dense enough to make quick repairs possible. This leads to the need for a carmaker to sell a number of cars to make the dealer network profitable and this again leads to the need of Luxury car makers to sell mid size sedan in Europe

    Sportcars like Ferrari etc. don’t need to be reliable because they never are the daily car.

  • avatar

    Just 3 miles from where I live (in Sunny Edinburgh in case you wondered) is a European Cadillac dealer. They also try and punt out Escalades (about one a year from the turnover I see), Corvettes and and mainly Jaguars (“come and buy now, 3 years free servicing…”).

    When Cadillac tried to sell the STS here we were tempted – we went to the local Vauxhall (aka GM at the time) dealer and tried a car. It was nice, Mrs A (who would be the daily driver at the time) loved it. The thirst killed it for us – a 300hp V8 is nice when petrol costs $1 a gallon, not at $8, so we spent £26k with Volvo on a V70 Diesel (with an Audi engine) and regretted every minute as the dealer bled us dry with servicing and work not needed. A case of car good, dealer shite.

    We went to look at the BLS when it was launched. It was OK – but to be honest the local Ford dealer’s top of the range Mondeo looked and drove better, as did (Ironically) the local Vauxhall dealer’s Vectra. Mrs A was not interested at all. All of the competition had moved ahead a few generations – the 2007 Mondeo was superb compared to the BLS.

    The next time we went there – about a year later – they had BLS’s at under 6 months of age at less than £10K – remember this was a £20K+ car when new with options selected. They had no takers and were tempted by our trade in offer of £2k under their price. They killed the deal with very low trade in prices – basically the sales guys didn’t want to know. They offered us a lot more on a Jaguar X-type estate 2.2 Diesel estate. One secretly opined that I would be better off buying a used 3 year old Ford compared to a Caddy – far less problems and far less to worry about.

    As for image, most Europeans would see the Cadillac full size cars or SUVs as “Gangsta” mobiles. The BLS just disappeared without trace. When most buyers are trying to find out how to afford the decent 3-Seies or C-Class on their budgets (before accepting the 318d or c200d) why bother with some nonsense weird looking thing from America (via Sweden) which lost so much money. It got merged in with the “luxury” cars of Korea which are expensive new, loaded with every toy invented and very very very cheap secondhand.

    It also never appeared on the company car lists (still significant no matter what you may think) of most buyers too so was ignored.

    In short it never stood and chance.

    It would have been cheaper for GM to buy Mercedes.

    No, hang on, wait…

  • avatar

    “BLS” doesn’t come off as badly as Toyota’s “TRD” [turd], GMC’s “SLT” [slut], Ford’s “ZTS” [zits], Caddy’s other winner “DTS” [ditz].

    When will all of them stop this crap ? The alpha and alpha numeric naming has become a silly tiresome cliche.

  • avatar

    I bet you could bolt a SAAB front end right on that baby and it would blend right in. Just change the emblems all around and instant 9-5

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    As a macho comment on their engineering prowess, the American three have on a routine basis picked a model and tried to sell it in Europe. The effect is always the same, it doesn’t sell there because it doesn’t sell that well here. (ex Saab) Now the Germans first build a car that sells well in Europe then they export it to the World. It is not some cobbled together model just for export.

  • avatar

    Not a “Gangsta” mobiles. That is what wanabe rapers drive. Made man mobiles are what they are.

  • avatar
    el gordo

    I wonder how many subscribers have actually driven a BLS???? I have driven a 1.9 diesel wagon for 12 months and I find it an excellent car. Cruises effortlessly at 100mph gets up to 130mph at just over 3000 rev so still a bit to go!! Just done a 2500 mile trip around europe and it returned 46 mpg (uk gallons) It is comfortable enough to sit in all day and has a high level of finish and gizmo’s all in all a great car my last car was a volvo s80 and the BLS compares well with and is superior in some areas

    I you ain’t tried it don’t knock it!!!

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