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Cadillac ATS: A New Small Family of its Own

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2009 Cadillac Converj Concept

2009 Cadillac Converj Concept

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A new Cadillac small car family will join the GM brand's lineup sometime after 2012, according to executives on hand at a media briefing today in Detroit.

TheCarConnection saw an early mockup of the two-door Cadillac ATS, as it's dubbed in concept form. That three-letter name hasn't been made final, Cadillac sources say--but the car's mission to be a new entry-level, BMW 3-Series fighter is etched in stone.

It's too early to tell much about the Cadillac ATS, since GM gave few details. In concept form, the two-door ATS seemed the size of a Honda Accord coupe, wearing lines clearly derived from the upcoming 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe and the 2009 Cadillac Converj concept. Deeply straked headlamps trail down the front fenders, and the body wears lots of subtle surfacing--a further development away from the sharp-edged "Art & Science" theme that helped relaunch Cadillac in the early part of the decade.

GM says the new ATS model range will be based on a longitudinal engine placement and a rear-drive design; all-wheel drive will be available on various versions of the new small-car architecture, dubbed "Alpha" within GM. The ATS will be a family of new vehicles, Cadillac confirms, which likely means coupe, sedan and wagon versions.

However, with other priorities at GM, like a reinvention of Buick, the production of the 230-mpg 2011 Chevrolet Volt hybrid and new versions of the Chevrolet Malibu and Chevy Camaro convertible at hand, the newest Cadillacs aren't set for release until sometime after the 2011 calendar year.

The ATS range will be joined by a large 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan, and the next generation of Cadillac CTS vehicles, which likely won't emerge until 2014 or later. Cadillac chief designed Clay Dean confirms that the next CTS, in fact, is a clean-sheet design, "all-new from the ground up."

Still unclear: when the Cadillac Converj concept, and its Volt-like hybrid powertrain, will emerge in showrooms. GM gave up nothing on the Converj, but it's clear visual kin to the ATS concept shown today.

There's more to come from Cadillac; stay with TheCarConnection's new car news and reviews for more on the changes at GM.

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