"I recall the CD32 was a last-ditch quick-and-dirty attempt to get a product that would sell, and was a surprising success. It was just that C= were already pretty much dead, the banks were circling and they couldn't finance building enough of them"
Yes, I can confirm that this is the story I remember hearing as well- that the CD32 was an easy-to-develop cash cow (#) that was successful as far as it went, and that Commodore's failure was in spite of this. (##)
People seem to conflate the CDTV and CD32, but despite the ostensibly similar concept, the marketing and positioning were somewhat different. CDTV was a relatively expensive attempt at a multipurpose multimedia machine a la Philips CD-I (###) and I'm sure the marketing cost them a bit alone. It flopped- I'm guessing- because it was too expensive (£500, around £1000 in today's money) for something that had no compelling selling point. (e.g. The Hutchison encyclopedia offered little over the printed version beyond sparse audio clips, a few pics and basic searchability, and the games were often just shovelware of existing Amiga games with few CD enhancements).
The CD32 was a more obviously game-focused and lower-end (####) machine.
(#) Since it was essentially a stripped-down A1200 attached to a (presumably off-the-shelf mechanism) CD ROM, with only the Planar conversion chip being new.
(##) It was apparently never sold in the United States due to legal issues, though.
(###) The Philips CD-I ultimately flopped as well; it's my opinion that it only survived longer than the CDTV because Philips had much more money to spend on marketing and keeping it alive in the face of public indifference.
(####) Though it was higher specced- the CDTV was essentially based around an A500-level Amiga, whereas the CD32 was A1200-spec (which the CDTV probably should have been in the first place; the Amiga might have survived better if the A1200 had come out 18 months earlier).