Cadillac unfurls most powerful car in its history


Detroit (AFP) - Cadillac came out all guns blazing at the Detroit auto show Tuesday, unleashing the most powerful car in its storied 112-year history in an aggressive bid to return to preeminence.

Once synonymous with American power and prestige, Cadillac has seen its share in the luxury market gradually eaten up by its rivals, particularly German competitors in the form of BMW and Mercedes.

But it made a powerful statement in officially presenting its CTS-V, a sporty beast of a sedan packing what it called "awesome" 640 horsepower and capable of top speeds of 200 miles (320 kilometers) per hour.

Admitting that Cadillac, owned by General Motors, had fallen behind -- it has faced "some adversity... for sure," said its chief Johan de Nysschen -- the iconic brand is determined to fight its way back to the fore.

Cadillac was launching "a product offensive" that would take on its rivals across several segments of the market and require more than $12 billion investment, declared de Nysschen.

"This is not just rhetoric," he told hundreds of journalists at the North American International Auto Show, one of the world's most prestigious.

"It's a comprehensive plan that starts with great products... we are here to disrupt and shatter the status quo."

He added: "This 112-year-old brand is reinventing itself."

Cadillac has plenty of catching up to do if it wants to reclaim its glory days.

Sales were down 6.3 percent last year in North America, in a luxury market that is highly competitive and notoriously cut-throat.

But de Nysschen was understandably eager to accentuate the positive, saying Cadillac was "on fire" in China, rocketing 47 percent to 74,000 units last year.

"We will take on the established market leaders in segments where they are strongest," he added.

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