More stories related to Geneva Motor Show General Motors Corp.’s commitment to establishing Cadillac as a global luxury marque grows with the auto maker confirming plans to debut next month at the 75th Geneva Motor Show the BLS compact sedan, which will go on sale in Europe next year.

The smallest offering currently in Cadillac’s lineup is the midsize CTS sedan, which generally is considered too large by most European consumers.(See related story: Europe-Only Cadillac Geneva Bound)

With a vehicle length of 184.3 ins. (468 cm), the BLS is nearly 4 ins. (10.2 cm) longer than the Chevrolet Cobalt compact car and about 6 ins. (15.2 cm) shorter than the CTS.

The Cadillac BLS goes on sale in early 2006.

“Premium is not a question of vehicle size but purely of excellence," says Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman-Product Development. “And in this aspect, the Cadillac BLS will definitely be a top player in its league.”

BLS will go on sale in spring 2006; right-hand-drive versions will be available. A lack of RHD models has hampered Cadillac’s growth globally.

Based on GM’s front-wheel-drive Epsilon platform and due to be built at GM’s Trollhattan, Sweden, assembly plant, annual volumes of fewer than 10,000 units are expected. Sales will be limited to Europe.

BLS is equipped with an army of engines: a turbodiesel and three gasoline engines. The 1.9L 4-cyl. unit with common-rail direct-injection technology will feature a diesel particulate filter that will comply with Euro 4 emission standards, GM says. The range of gasoline engines – all of which are turbocharged – includes two 2L 4-cyl. and one 2.8L 6-cyl. units. The engines can be combined with manual or automatic transmissions. Horsepower figures were not disclosed.

Exterior styling is positively Cadillac: vertically positioned headlamps, an egg-crate grille and sharply defined contours.

“The most striking feature is the emphasis of the vertical lines on the front and rear,” says GM designer Chip Thole. “The characteristic V-form of the chrome-plated grille is picked up again by the trunk lid.”

The cockpit features a 3-spoke steering wheel and a center-console analog clock. Vents are dressed with brushed aluminum and the circular instrument gauges have white numerals and red needles on black backgrounds.

The infotainment system consists of Bose audio units, DVD-based navigation with touchscreen operation and Bluetooth-capable telephone systems.

– with Kevin Kelly

bcorbett@primediabusiness.com