For all too many potential buyers the idea of a compact Cadillac brings to mind the last attempt by the U.S. maker to tackle the likes of the vaunted BMW 3-Series. Caddy’s dreadful Cimarron almost single-handedly brought the General Motors flagship brand to its knees, helping shatter its long-standing image as the “Standard of the World.”
It’s no surprise Cadillac officials spent nearly three decades dithering about whether to return to the compact market – a decision finally forced upon the brand by global sales trends. As TheDetroitBureau.com has reported, GM has given Caddy the go-ahead to produce an all-new flagship meant to tackle the likes of the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But the real sales growth is at the other end of the market – especially if Cadillac finally hopes to generate some real volume outside the U.S.
So, the 2013 Cadillac ATS could become one of the most important products in the Detroit luxury brand’s history – as critical to Caddy’s long-term success as the finned wonders the maker rolled out a half-century ago.
That said, simply entering the compact luxury market is no guarantee of success. The Caddy ATS will have to face off with not only the latest-generation BMW 3-Series but equally tough European alternatives such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 – never mind the new Acura ILX, the redesigned Lexus ES and the upcoming replacement for the Infiniti G.