Now General Motors is getting serious, announcing this past week that an all-new small luxury car – as yet unnamed, but referred to as the ATS – will compete against the best in the field.
You can narrow that field specifically to the 2011 BMW 3-Series (BMW’s best-selling car) and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This is welcome news, indeed. Nothing spurs innovation and product improvement like a healthy dose of competition.
Cadillac, which already is getting a good deal of attention with CTS-V Coupe seen here, stands to gain plenty.
The announcement from GM indicates the new Cadillac will be a rear-wheel drive (RWD) performance car – just like BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are RWD performance cars.
Automotive News quotes GM CEO Dan Akerson that “They call it C-Class because it is very average.” Those seem to be fighting words, but then, isn’t that what competition is all about – pitting contenders in the ring (marketplace) and allowing them to duke it out?
No photos have been released of the new Caddy small sedan, but GM says it will be developed on the new Alpha rear-drive vehicle platform. Automotive News quotes an industry source as saying that a range of vehicles are planned for the ATS platform. Besides the sedan, other models include a coupe, convertible and possibly a wagon.
GM made the announcement at its Lansing, Michigan, Grand River Assembly Plant – where the Cadillac CTS and STS, along with their V-series performance versions, are currently built. The plant will undergo a $190 million modification in preparation to build the all-new ATS. A second shift and 600 jobs will be added.
Lansing Grand River Assembly is GM’s second-newest assembly plant in the U.S. and earlier this year won the J.D. Power and Associates Bronze Plant Award for initial quality.
Although timing for the new Cadillac will be announced later by the automaker, industry sources hint at showroom arrival in 2012 or early 2013.
Just in time to really heat up the luxury small car market. Let’s see, Bimmer 3, ‘Benz C, and Caddy ATS. Hmm, maybe a slightly different moniker for the Caddy?