More than a year after teasing a select group of media with a look at a proposed small car, tentatively dubbed the ATS, Cadillac will this week announce plans to put the new model into production at a plant near Lansing, Michigan.
The sedan, smaller than the current Caddy CTS, will be aimed at the likes of the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and could be used as a replacement for the only marginally successful BLS Cadillac had hoped would give it an entry into the lucrative European luxury car market.
“We usually don’t comment on future products but we have said we will offer a new product positioned below the CTS,” said Cadillac spokesman Nick Twork.
And while it has not officially confirmed the reason for his visit to the Lansing plant, General Motors has announced that new CEO Dan Akerson will tour the facility, along with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, on Thursday.
Based on the same platform – and produced on the same assembly line as the current Cadillac CTS and STS models — the ATS will serve as a cornerstone of General Motors’ efforts to rebuild the once dominant Cadillac brand. The demand for small luxury and entry-luxury models has been rapidly growing, leading makers like BMW and Mercedes to push into downsized segments long ignored by luxury brands.
Such models as the BMW 1-Series and Audi A2 are proving especially popular in Europe, though there is growing demand even in the United States, where luxury has traditionally been measured by the foot and inch.