By on March 2, 2020


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]

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12 Comments on “After Ditching Production, GM Readies Russian Cadillac Surge...”

  • avatar

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. Isn’t it ironic that one of the biggest symbols of American capitalism might be popular in Russia

    • 0 avatar

      “Isn’t it ironic that one of the biggest symbols of American capitalism might be popular in Russia”

      Not really. People with money love big and/or flashy cars over there. The American SUVs definitely play second fiddle to Land Cruiser 200s and German stuff, but Moscow especially has a fair amount of Escalades and Tahoes.

      • 0 avatar

        And it does mean MCI (Money coming in) for GM.

        Not enough Americans choose to buy these luxury barges to keep GM a going concern. Hell, not enough Americans choose to buy a GM product to make GM a self-sustaining automaker.

        Hence the 2009 bailouts, handouts and nationalization.

        Now 11 years later, bailout still not paid back, and forecast for GM? Dismal.

    • 0 avatar

      Russia is a big country and they need big cars. And they have a president who answers to climate freaks – ok, lets get rid of oil, what you’re going to do, chop down the forest for the firewood?

    • 0 avatar

      Gotta generate an internal market for Russian oil in case there is a US President in 2021 who won’t look the other way about Russia’s invasions of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Given that those cover 2 parties and Administrations (Obama for the first 2, Trump for the last one), I wouldn’t sweat it. You really see anyone in the field on either side calling the Russians on those outside of maybe some strong words about red lines or something? He has a free hand anywhere outsite of the NATO countries because nobody wants to fight a war over another country half the people in this one can’t pronounce. It ain’t gonna happen.

  • avatar

    But can I get a factory dash cam?

    • 0 avatar

      I did not have dash cam in 90s but every trip to Moscow I witnessed the gory results of horrible accidents on the road, like corpses, cars split in half or simply not recognizable, blood etc. It makes diving in congested CA roads where everyone is tailgating everyone else seem like a picnic.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @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.

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