Cadillac Catera

The Cadillac Catera manufacture by Cadillac automobile company. Read more to view more detail and video reviews. Please feel free to comments and give rating to help others


The Cadillac Catera was a mid-sized automobile that was largely a rebadged version of the Opel Omega MV6 made in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

It was marketed in North America and other markets worldwide as an entry-level Cadillac. Cadillac’s engineers made a number of luxury and safety modifications for the U.S. market, adding significantly to the MV6’s original curb weight, as well as softening the car’s suspension. Since the demise of Cadillac’s top-of-the-line Fleetwood in 1996, Cadillac wanted a third sedan. The Catera was brought to North America, and the Seville became a top-of-the-line sedan, moving the DeVille as Cadillac’s middle-class sedan. Also, it was the only Cadillac built outside of the United States to come to North America by that time (the earlier Cadillac Allanté roadster was partially assembled in Italy). The Catera also replaced the Fleetwood as its rear-wheel drive sedan.

The Catera debuted for the 1997 model year, and was subsequently updated with a new nose, tail, wheels, interior trim, mirrors, optional HID headlights, stiffer suspension settings, and side airbags for 2000. Power came from a 200 hp (150 kW) 54° L81 V6 to the rear wheels, unlike all other Cadillacs of its day. The car’s engine was made in England at GM’s Ellesmere Port facility, the GM 4L30-E automatic transmission, which was also used in the BMW 3 and 5 Series, as well as certain Isuzu products, was from GM’s plant in Strasbourg, France. A Sport model of the Catera was offered beginning in 1999 featuring larger wheels, a firmer suspension, rear spoiler and other mostly cosmetic differences.

The Catera was marketed to younger demographic than traditional Cadillac buyers with the “Caddy that zigs” tagline, and the car generally delivered on its promise of European-style handling. The launch advertisements featured supermodel Cindy Crawford, who was paid a reported $350,000 for ads including talking to an animated duck-like creature known as “Ziggy”, offered by Cadillac as follows — “Like Catera, he was hatched in Germany and has the sole mission of bringing fun to the luxury of Cadillac. He was one of six mythical, beakless, footless martins or “Merlettes” in the Cadillac Crest before we gave him big feet, a giant beak, and turned him around. He’s quite a departure from his five brothers who have been part of the Cadillac Crest since the days of the crusades when the crest was the proud symbol of Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac Family.”

The car was smaller and had less power than other Cadillacs of the time. Though the Catera generally received good reviews from the automotive press, sales did not meet GM’s expectations. The car was often seen as too small to appeal to the marque’s traditional luxury car buyers and failed to attract as many buyers away from European luxury brands as GM had initially predicted. Some compared the Catera’s short and disappointing production run to the disastrous Cimarron of the early 1980s, although the Catera was a far better car in the opinion of most journalists and owners. The “duck’s” disappearance from the company logo altogether in 1999 may have been a reaction to this failure, although they were also dropped to simplify the logo just before the company would launch its successful “Art & Science” design theme.

A phrase in some of the car’s advertising (lease a Catera) resulted in a character of CBS medical drama Chicago Hope being named for the car, Lisa Catera. Cadillac also became a sponsor of the show. Dr. Catera was played by Stacey Edwards, best known as a deaf woman in the movie In the Company of Men.