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…
Future Curbside Classics: 2010-14 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon – Agree or Disagree, Is This The Most Beautiful Station Wagon Ever?, by William Stopford
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
I do love being cited twice in the same article!
This one is a new one to me, Tatra. And it’s not the only RHD Caddy to surprise me as of late. Just this year, I found out they made a RHD version of the facelifted 2008 Cadillac STS and sold it in South Africa (and I think the UK?) I’m not sure why they bothered as, even though I love the STS, the ’08 CTS made it largely irrelevant. But that gives me hope I could eventually get my hands on one down here in Australia…
A CTS Sport Wagon, though, would be even cooler.
You know what’d be coolest? If GM just freaking brought Cadillac here already. Yeah yeah, I know, saturated market, Infiniti just bailed, Cadillac brand image, blah blah blah. Don’t care, want a new CT5.
I’m presuming GM sold the RHD 2008 STS in Japan as well, as we have a few here which are ex Japan. Here’s one that’s on Trade me at the moment:
Was there a right hand drive CTS sedan? If there was then the conversion would have been fairly straightforward whether factory or not factory.
There’s a CTS wagon (V6-AWD) driven by one of the secretaries at central office. She’s an older lady, her kids are grown, and she alternates it with a Honda Odyssey that has a few years on it as well. When I go over there for meetings I’ll park my TourX next to it when I can just for the visual double take of it.
Yes there was a CTS sedan with RHD — like I wrote in the piece, about 70 were sold in the UK and roughly the same numbers went to Australia and New Zealand in 2008-09, before they introduced the Wagon. So few of these were made that it’s unlikely they would have bothered making a RHD model at the factory — and for what market? The few CTSs I managed to find online that are for sale in Japan are all LHD, so it looks like the RHD ones never made it here.
If this was converted by the owner after the car was imported, then it’s a pretty flawless job. Even the wipers were switched to RHD configuration. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it would really take some doing. And if this was all done in Japan, more than a fistful of yen.
All the Australian market CTS cars went to New Zealand the launch was cancelled but they sold quite well here one of my workmates has one a shipment bound for the UK also ended up in NZ, they were all flogged off at about half the projected launch price sort of in the upper Holden price range around $48k.
I was only commenting because IF one had a RHD sedan that had been hit severely in the rear AND access to a LHD wagon… Well you could make a RHD wagon through some time, sweat, parts swapping, and ingenuity.
It was just a little idle speculation.
The owner has to be a serious individualist to drive that car there! I like the way every other vehicle visible is a kei car (or whatever one would call very compact, tall vehicles).
I am a fan of the CTS wagons. I almost convinced my wife that we should get one, but she insisted on a third row, so that got shot down. Whatever sins GM is guilty of, they are absolved at least in part by acts of virtue like this.
What a fascinating find.
Not knowing Japanese is a tough hurdle when researching this oddity, but I came across the website http://www.goo-net-exchange.com which seems to be a Japanese equivalent of Autotrader, and is helpfully in English. To my astonishment, there are a dozen CTS Sport Wagons listed on the site… all appear to be current listings. Oddly, most are right-hand drive, though some of them are left-drivers.
Here’s one, which appears to be a GM dealership in Saitama:
There are a surprising number of non-wagon CTS’s listed on that website as well, so it looks like Cadillac enjoys a certain amount of prestige in Japan… more exclusive than a Lexus, I guess!
You found the paydirt, it seems.
Great sleuthing, Eric-san!
So there are a few RHD Cadillac wagons out there. Wonder whether they came out of the factory that way.
That was fun to look up used cars in Japan, and now I’ve found another website in which I can lose myself for hours.
And I do see the CTS’s appeal… I think it’s a mighty good-looking wagon.
Looks like an uglier version of the Lexis IS300 Sportscross.
There have been some real headscratchers of RHD American cars over the years. The Chrysler Vision (export model of the Eagle Vision) was offered in Japan, I think with RHD, and they must’ve sold, gosh, six of them. The ’96-design Ford Taurus was offered in Australia with RHD as the Taurus Ghia; most Australians chuckled politely (or not) and bought the vastly superior local Falcon instead. A RHD Chevrolet Cadavalier was offered in Japan as a Toyota (and a few of ’em are still around, for whatever deluded masochist wants to pay $6K for one).
Things that make y’go “lolwut?!”.
A lot of those Cavaliers found their way to NZ where they remain at the bottom of the used car market seriously they are hard to give away even in good condition
So, a CTS-R?
I wonder if any Cadillacs make it to Japan via China?
We have factory RHD CTS wagons in New Zealand. We got the sedan new (see William Stopford’s article), but the wagons that are here have all arrived ex-Japan. Just check out Trade Me (https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors) and you’ll find CTS wagons. You’ll also find RHD 2008 STSs, as well as RHD SRXs. Other than the NZ-new sedans, the others are all ex-Japan with metric instrumentation etc.
Not finding those CTS wagons on there. Sedans yes, but no wagon…
There were three when I commented that are still on Trade Me Tatra87 – though two are listed as sedans which messes with the search filters. Pics below. The red one is a 2010 3.0 Premium with 102,000km for NZ$19,789. The black one in the middle is a 2013 3.0 Premium with 98,000km for NZ$21,200. The other black one is a 2010 3.0 Premium with 92,000km for NZ$18,300. All are good value for their age and what they are. I like them!
Here’s a factory RHD 2008 SRX that’s for sale here. Ex-Japan, first registered there in November 2008.
I have seen Cadillac Broughams with RHD, The dash design, I think made it not to difficult to convert.