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Automotive Intelligence News

News of  August 22, 2000
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Cadillac Announces Production Of Luxury Roadster
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Cadillac Roadster

Photo: GM

Pebble Beach, Calif., U.S.A. - General Motors announced its plans to produce a low-volume, two-seat Cadillac luxury roadster for the 2003 model year on a dedicated assembly line at the Corporation's assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The Cadillac luxury roadster is the third production program announced this year by GM that was developed from a GM Design Center concept vehicle. It is yet one moreexample of how GM intends to lead in product innovation and technology by moving quickly to market with high impact designs. The rear-wheel-drive roadster is inspired by the acclaimed Evoq concept car, which debuted in January, 1999. 

The new Cadillac flagship will be developed on the next generation of GM's performance car architecture, which is specifically designed for convertible applications. The vehicle architecture features advanced steel hydroforming, an aluminum cockpit structure and cored composite floors, making it exceptionally stiff, crashworthy and lightweight. 

"The Evoq concept dramatically demonstrated the promise of Cadillac's 'art and science' vision. The production version delivers on that promise," said Michael J. O'Malley, Cadillac general manager. "As we expand Cadillac's global portfolio, this expressive roadster will be developed to attract customers in all important luxury markets including North America, Europe, Japan and the Middle East."  

O'Malley made the announcement from the lawn in front of the 18th green at the fabled Pebble Beach Golf Club, site of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, known as one of the world's most prestigious events celebrating automotive style and pedigree. 

The vehicle line executive (VLE) for the Cadillac luxury roadster is David Hill, who will head the vehicle development team. As the lead engineer on the latest generation of the Corvette, Hill brings extensive vehicle development experience, including 27 years with Cadillac. 

"The new luxury roadster will be a Cadillac through and through, blending the very best elements of dynamic styling, advanced technology and robust performance via the Northstar System," Hill said. 

Chief engineer for the luxury roadster is David Leone, another Cadillac veteran. Tom Peters, one of the most passionate and versatile talents in GM Design, is responsible for the interior and exterior design development.  

Marketing veteran Jay Spenchian will head the Cadillac team as the luxury roadster's brand manager. Spenchian also has responsibility for Cadillac's much-anticipated entry luxury sedan that is expected to bow in the near future. 

While strongly influenced by the Evoq concept, the production version picks up many technology and styling enhancements not featured in the concept. Chief among these is a one-button fully automatic folding hard-top developed by Car Top Systems GmbH of Germany, which has designed roof architectures for some of the most celebrated convertibles in the industry. The interior will also feature instrumentation fashioned by Bulgari, the renowned Italian jeweler. 

The luxury roadster will feature several exclusive Cadillac technologies, including the vaunted 4.6-liter Northstar V8 in its first production rear-wheel-drive configuration, mated to an electronic five-speed automatic transmission with manual mode in a trans-axle configuration.  

Other elements of the Northstar System, such as MagneRide active suspension damping and the StabiliTrak yaw control system will be standard on the vehicle as well as Michelin's revolutionary run-flat PAX tire system. Night Vision, a Cadillac technological first, will also be available. 

While it's still premature to announce pricing, Spenchian said the price is expected to be competitive with other upscale, low volume roadsters in the luxury segment such as the Mercedes SL 500, the Jaguar XK8 and the forthcoming Lexus SC 430.  

(August 18, 2000)

 

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