Thursday, January 03, 2008

With No Star To Guide Them

GM has just announced the cancellation of its plans for an advanced DOHC V8. The premium engine was the presumed replacement for the Northstar V8, which ceases production in 2010. Rumors and speculation abound, but the consensus seems to be that Cadillac will soon find itself without a V8. Two years ago that idea would have been preposterous, but the success of the direct injection 3.6 liter V6, along with the looming demands of CAFE legislation suggest that this might be just what the General ordered.
The current 3.6 liter engine produces 304 hp, which places it above the Deville's Northstar, and just 16 hp shy if the STS's V8 powerplant. Sales have shown that this is sufficient to attract STS buyers, and is clearly on par with engines in midsized offerings from BMW and Mercedes. But one must wonder what has happened to GM's plans for offering a large luxury sedan to compete with the S Class Mercedes and Seven Series BMWs. Just a few short years ago, GM officials were dropping hints about a 7/8 scale version of the V16 concept car, powered by a DOHC V12. With Cadillac's recent success in the market it seems that now is the time to carry out that plan and re-establish Cadillac as one of the world's premier luxury marques. Yet it seems that GM is heading in the opposite direction. Have they lost their way, or is this all part of clever plan? We'll see.