The world really is chock full of surprises. No one foresaw the First World War and the 1929 Wall Street Crash. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. And if someone had asked “Are there any right-hand drive CTS Sport Wagons,” I think the English-speaking world’s collective answer would have been a resounding “NO.” Yet here we are.
I promise this is not some sort of Photoshopped trickery on my part – I’m absolutely incapable of anything of the kind. I saw this CTS a few days ago outside a restaurant here in Japan and thought “Wow, I haven’t seen this before.” I vaguely recalled reading William Stopford’s ode to the CTS Wagon and knew it was not a common sight, so I snapped away.
I didn’t really go to town on this car, because it’s not my usual CC fodder. I like ‘em from the 20th Century at a minimum – anything younger, I usually throw back. But there are exceptions. Seeing a rare Cadillac with an almost caricatural Japanese backdrop and flanked by kei cars was sort of irresistible. But then I started looking into the matter a bit more, and things got a bit more complex. According to William’s research, Cadillac made about 7000 CTS Wagons from 2010 to 2014, including 1200-odd CTS-V versions. That much is clear and seems set in stone. What is decidedly unclear is how many of these were right-hookers. I did some digging on the Internets, but there’s not a lot out there.
There are a lot of announcements of the “Cadillac’s about to go RHD” kind out there. Some date back to 2007, when this generation CTS was in gestation, so it’s likely that there were at least some plans to press ahead with RHD. But then GM went bust, plans went to the backburner and the whole issue became more and more muddled. Some “statements” from 2012 are proclaiming that RHD will be coming imminently; others from 2015 say “by 2020, it’ll happen”… No pictures, no evidence, no prototypes driven – it’s all automotive journo BS.
What about the real world (whatever that means on the web)? I looked into Cadillac forums and the picture was just as unsatisfactory. It seems the CTS did go RHD for a brief period (2009-2010) in the UK, but that it was a complete market failure. A chap who says he owns one claims 70 were sold. He doesn’t mention wagons. William’s other piece on the CTS mentions the aborted 2009 Australian launch and a similar amount of RHD sedans (the Sport Wagon wasn’t out yet) making it to Australia and New Zealand. Dead end.
So what the heck have I stumbled upon, dear friends and CCommenters? Is this a Japanese-market version? I looked at that too – there are a few American cars around in this country. But without fail, I’ve always seen GM vehicles with LHD – the odd Suburban, GMC van or Escalade, usually. The few on-line vendors of Cadillac CTSs based in Japan all offer LHD sedans, not RHD wagons.
Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place. Perhaps this is a one-off. Perhaps they made a trial run of a dozen cars and sold them in Japan instead of Australia or the UK. Who knows? If anybody can get to the bottom of this, I figure it’s the legendary CCommentariat. The floor is yours…
CC Capsule: 2009 Cadillac CTS – Turn The Boat Around, by William Stopford
Future CC: 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon – Born A Classic, by Brendan Saur