NEW YORK – General Motors’ Cadillac division introduced its new Brougham at the New York International Auto Show yesterday. The Arlington-built car is a longer, more powerful luxury sedan than the 1992 model.
Cadillac says it will aim the car at both domestic and foreign markets. The Brougham has been a big seller in Japan and several Middle Eastern countries.
The new model is more aerodynamic than its predecessor. Analysts say it should help rebuild Cadillac’s customer base in the full-size vehicle market.
The Brougham has been suffering in the marketplace, losing sales in the past two years to cars such as the Lincoln Continental, built by Ford.
“With our new Brougham in 1993 we are sending a message to a solid core of Cadillac owners, loyal customers who have told us that, yes, that are interested in a contemporary, full-size,
rear-wheel-drive sedan,” said John Grettenberger, Cadillac’s general manager.
“We want this market. We’re going after this market. We’re determined to maintain our leadership as the No. 1 luxury car company in every market which we choose to compete in.”
The introduction of the 1993 Brougham – which will make its Texas debut at the Dallas Auto Show on April 22 – marks the third time in the past three years that GM has developed a new car for its Arlington assembly line.
“It’s going to be a great addition for us and do great things for us,” said Dave Perdue, president of UAW Local 276, which represents the plant’s 3,400 hourly workers.
“I think once the public sees the new car and its all-new design it will go over well. It’s a great car for us because it has a built-in customer base of people that want that type of large, luxury vehicle.”
The new Brougham will feature a 5.8-liter fuel-injected engine that delivers 185 horsepower and 300 pounds of torque. That compares to 170 horsepower and 255 pounds of torque in the 1992 model.
It will get 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. It will have a cruising range of 550 miles and 0-to-60 acceleration of 10.5 seconds.
Changes in the car’s interior include an even quieter ride, more room, an air bag, security system and rear heat and air-conditioning ducts.
Like the Chevrolet Caprice and Buick Roadmaster, the Brougham is born from the GM300 platform. GM first produced the redesigned Caprice from that platform in Arlington, then the Roadmaster and now the Brougham.
The Arlington plant has been shut down temporarily this month for retooling for production of the Brougham.
Analysts say that while it may slightly resemble the Caprice and Roadmaster, the Brougham’s overall exterior design and luxury interior appointments make it “all Cadillac.”
“I think they’ll do well with it,” said Jim Wangers, an analyst with Automotive Marketing Consultants in Warren, Mich.
“I think they have such an incredibly good backlog of loyal owners waiting to buy that car that they will return it to the sales volume level it had grown accustomed to year after year.”
Except for Lexus and Infiniti, the two Japanese luxury car lines, Cadillac has been the hottest producer in the luxury end of the domestic new-car market.
Sales for Cadillac’s new Seville model are up 255 percent and sales for its new Eldorado have jumped 52 percent.
Analysts predict that the Brougham’s sales could recover from about 25,000 last year to 40,000 for the 1993 model. But some GM executives say sales may exceed that level.
That would be good news for GM’s Arlington assembly plant. The Caprice has been selling poorly.
“It will take the place of a Brougham that badly needed remodeling,” said Mac Churchill, vice president of Frank Kent Cadillac in Fort Worth.
“It has had a great useful life, but this new model will have all the modern technology and has an aerodynamic design that fits the taste of the luxury car buyer.
“It will meet the desire of people that want a large car with lots of room for travel and around time driving.”
The Brougham became part of an issue earlier this year when GM said it would close either the Arlington plant or a facility near Ypsilanti, Mich., that also produces full-size rear-drive cars.
Sources at GM said that Cadillac officials were urging top GM executives to choose Arlington because the quality of the cars made here is higher than the vehicles made at the Willow Run plant near Ypsilanti.
Grettenberger told journalists at the Detroit International Auto Show in early January that the Brougham would be launched off the Arlington line regardless of which plant won the competition.
In February, GM announced that the Arlington plant would stay open and that Willow Run would be closed by spring 1993.
The new Brougham is expected to begin showing up in dealer showrooms this summer as the Arlington plant begins building them at a slow rate. Production should be up to speed by the time the 1993 model year begins in October.
Author: Michael D. Towle; Star-Telegram Writer
Copyright 1992, 1994 STAR-TELEGRAM INC.