GM sees Cadillac near U.S. luxury car market top soon

BIRMINGHAM, Mich., Tue Aug 28, 2012 – General Motors Co.’s top executive for Cadillac said the brand should be challenging foreign automakers for the top spot in U.S. luxury auto sales within a couple of years.

Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac, told reporters on Tuesday that sales for the brand should be double what they were in 2010 “within a couple years.”

Cadillac’s U.S. sales in 2010 were about 147,000 vehicles.

U.S. sales of the luxury brand rose 3.7 percent in 2011 to about 153,000, or 63 percent of the sales of luxury leader Bayerische Motoren Werke, or BMW.

Through July this year, Cadillac U.S. sales were down 12.6 percent from a year earlier to 76,229, according to Autodata Corp.

GM expects to boost sales in large part due to the appeal of its soon-to-be-introduced ATS model, which is smaller that most previous Cadillac offerings. GM sees the ATS as a challenger to BMW’s 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-class cars.

The ATS is Cadillac’s first attempt at making a small luxury car since its much-maligned Cimarron in the 1980s.

The ATS is one of 10 all-new or significantly refreshed products that Cadillac will introduce in the next three years, Butler told reporters in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, Michigan, on Tuesday.

In 2011, German carmakers led the lucrative U.S. luxury market after Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus brand had been champion for 11 straight years.

BMW took the top spot last year at about 248,000 in sales, followed closely by Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand. Lexus was third.

Through July this year, Mercedes-Benz held the lead at 159,412 in U.S. sales, followed by BMW at 147,801 and Lexus at 126,367.

How the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center is engaging local workers while reducing labor waste

The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center continues to take shape, and it is already enhancing the region’s economy.

The 36-month, $465 million construction venture currently employs nearly 600 tradespeople on site, 20 percent of whom are Cleveland residents and 51 percent Cuyahoga County residents.

“We’re working for Cuyahoga County,” says Dave Johnson, director of PR for Cleveland MMCC. “This is a public project. Not only is it one of the largest construction projects in North America right now, but it’s certainly one of the largest public construction projects taking place in North America.”

The project has also engaged area small businesses in contract work, with a project high of 35 percent being completed by Cuyahoga County small business enterprises.

“In relation to our goal of 25 percent, we’ve been able to exceed that county goal throughout the project,” says Project Executive Marty Burgwinkle of Turner Construction Co.

In addition to using local tradespeople and businesses to boost the region, Turner strives to streamline operations to avoid wasted labor. The company utilizes Building Information Management (BIM), which generates and manages a digital model of the project for use in construction planning and management.

Executives from Turner gave Smart Business an exclusive video interview to discuss how BIM has been used throughout all stages of the construction of the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center:

Watch: “Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center: Building Information Management streamlines operations”

The entire construction project is 66 percent complete, and is on time and on budget to be completed by the original contractual date of Aug. 31, 2013, says Burgwinkle.

Permanent power was installed in the Convention Center in late May, with the entire facility on track to have permanent power by the end of the summer. July saw the topping out of the last structural steel beam for the Convention Center, as well as the last piece of precast for the Medical Mart.

To see the project’s progress for yourself, check out the Cleveland MMCC live webcam.

How to reach: The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center,

Turner Construction Co. – Cleveland,