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Cadillac to move away from long-wheelbase cars for China

by Justin King

The company wants to engage younger buyers who want to drive themselves.

Cadillac is preparing to reposition its lineup for younger buyers in China, moving away from long-wheelbase vehicles geared for older businessmen.

General Motors' top luxury brand will opt for single unified designs that will be sold in all markets, including the US and China. Future models will bring a "right size" wheelbase, longer than Cadillac's current US-market cars but not quite as stretched as China-spec variants such as the ATS-L, chief executive Johan de Nysschen told Reuters.

Older businessmen have shown a preference for long-wheelbase vehicles, preferring to sit in the back while a chauffeur pilots the vehicle through heavy traffic. Younger buyers appear to be more enthusiastic to drive a car themselves.

The brand reports early success in targeting younger buyers, with Chinese owners averaging just 34 years old.

"In China, young buyers already dominate the luxury market," de Nysschen added. "It was far easier to begin to cultivate the desired positioning for the brand from the get-go."

The executive expects China to become Cadillac's top market in the coming years, eventually exceeding US sales. The company will be designing upcoming models with Chinese tastes in mind, potentially resulting in toned-down styling with a less angular look.

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