After Ditching Production, GM Readies Russian Cadillac Surge

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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after ditching production gm readies russian cadillac surge

General Motors has no interest in continuing a production presence in the Motherland, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t see the Russian market as ripe for new product.

As sales fall in the tricky market, the automaker believes the new Cadillac Escalade, joined by a trio of crossovers, is just the thing to reclaim lost ground.

GM’s Russian presence dwindled over the past decade, starting with the decision to shutter a St. Petersburg assembly plant building low-end Chevrolets in 2015. Late last year came news that Renault-owned Russian manufacturer AvtoVAZ would purchase GM’s 50-percent stake in the two companies’ joint venture. GM-AvtoVAZ produces the Chevrolet Niva — a small SUV with Russian DNA.

Imported models will now make up the entirety of the automaker’s offerings.

As reported by (via Wards Auto), GM hopes to stimulate sales with the introduction of the new Escalade in 2021. The full-size SUV, revealed last month, will enter the market after the XT4, XT5, and XT6 expected this spring. Sedans are not part of Cadillac’s Russian strategy.

Nor is the Chevrolet Corvette part of GM’s. That model sold poorly, so it’s out, though the Camaro remains, along with the Traverse crossover and newly-large-for-2021 Tahoe.

Data from Wards Intelligence shows GM’s barely-there presence resulted in just 975 sales last year — the automaker’s worst showing in at least 13 years. Once it lands, GM believes the newly refined Escalade will make up the bulk of its sales.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
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4 of 12 comments
  • JGlanton JGlanton on Mar 02, 2020

    I've stood in the spot where that photo was taken, just last month. My car was hella dusty by then, though :-)

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 02, 2020

    Russia is not Japan. It is not that to sell imported cars in Russia since Russian cars are mostly junk. What excuse GM now has that it is not able to penetrate Russian market? I remember in 1990s American cars in Russia had a prestige and swagger. Russians, including me, were always fascinated with American cars, with their size and luxury amenities (I am talking mostly about 50s - 70s and 90s). Most prestigious Russian cars were copied after Packard, Cadillac and Lincoln.

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Mar 03, 2020

    Well, look at it this way. Making right hand drive cars for the Aussies, Kiwis, Thais and Indians is hard work. Too hard for GM to even contemplate up there in Mary Barra cloud-land. So they abandoned that market last week. The fact the current rubbish for sale wasn't competitive to begin with and didn't sell can then be conveniently overlooked. And forgotten. OTOH flogging left hand drive Escalades made in the US from US and globally-sourced components to the millions of supposed Russki oligarchs should be a doddle by comparison. And the various official security forces will love them too in the more downmarket versions. Perhaps Russian TV shows feature heroes in SWAT gear destroying evil, but emptying out of Nissan Versas. Now they too can leap out of black Tahoes at the wrong address looking super-tough.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 03, 2020

    @highdesertcat--In the eyes of GM they paid the Government loan back by paying the Government back with stock in the New GM and of course the stock was sold back at less than the debt owed. GM doesn't need to worry about paying loans back if we the taxpayers bail them out. My concern is that next time it might not just be GM it could be Ford as well. I believe it is just a matter of time that GM will either be owned by the Chinese or sold or closed down in pieces. GM has been leaving markets and cutting operations globally and eventually they will have nothing left to cut. Maybe the old saying that as GM goes so goes the country still might be true but not in a positive way.