By on January 9, 2012

Note: Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth. Click here for a complete gallery of photos from the Cadillac ATS reveal.

At an invitation only event held at Detroit’s College For Creative Studies, last night Cadillac revealed its new BMW 3 fighter, the ATS. The location was appropriate since CCS is located in a former General Motors’ building, actually the first location of Harley Earl’s “Art & Colour” department, the progenitor of what is now called GM Design. In fact there’s a lounge where Earl’s corner office used to be right around the bend from the hall where the reveal was, and the hall itself was formerly used by GM styling for in-house displays. Twenty of the 170 CCS graduates at GM Design worked on the ATS project and Cadillac is a major benefactor of the school. The choice of the location was anything but a coincidence. Cadillac is undoubtedly using styling to set the ATS apart from its luxury C segment competitors.

At least from the front, the ATS makes a visual statement that’s more dramatic than anything that BMW, Mercedes or Audi offers in that segment. When you see the ATS’ ‘face’ you’ll know immediately that it’s a Cadillac but also that it’s a new Cadillac. Choosing to not take a page from the same German sausage in different sizes cook book, the ATS is also distinctive from the CTS and other current Caddies. The grille is a bit narrower top to bottom than in the CTS, the hood is raised from the fender line giving it a power bulge look, and the headlights extend back into the fender well over the wheel well. Those lamps are have a contour that’s slightly raised from the fender. I asked if that was to create some kind of aerodynamic flow past the rear view mirrors but was told that it was strictly a styling decision. At the back it’s more Art & Science, with a nice looking contrasting color lower valence/diffuser that integrates two chrome exhaust tips. Following the trend of “four door coupes”, sedans with rooflines like that of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the ATS has a  fastback profile, with the short deck lid continuing the line of the back window, culminating in a little ducktail spoiler cum CHMSL brake light. While the flanks are a bit generic, in profile the ATS does have an nice, aggressive stance. Cars in this class are “self rewards”, there’s an aspect of wanting to stand out from the crowd. Cadillac says that their market research shows that the more cars that BMW sells in that class, the more common they become, the less aspirational the 3 becomes to those who want to show that they’ve arrived. So the ATS was designed to stand out in a crowded country club parking lot. You may be less likely to see it at your local senior center. If my 22 year old daughter’s reaction is any gauge, the ATS will not be seen as an old folks’ car. She said it was “sexy” and that she thought people her age would like it. That brought wide smiles to the faces of the people wearing Cadillac pins.

Taking on the relatively staid Germans with dramatic styling is one thing. Detroit has always been known for styling. Taking on the Germans’ reputation for performance is a much more difficult task, and make no mistake, it is the Germans that they are taking on. The words Infiniti and Lexus were never mentioned, though BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi certainly were, as was the word “Nurburgring”, where the ATS’ suspension was tuned. Subsequently much of the press conference’s emphasis was on performance, stressing how a manual transmission will be available with all three engines, perhaps an allusion to rumors (since denied) that BMW would not be offering a stick shift on the next M5. The three engines are a 2.5 liter normally aspirated four, a new 2.0 L turbo motor that has the highest specific output in its class, and Cadillac’s 3.6 L V6. The V6 is tuned for 320 HP in this application, and they were sure to point out that figure is higher than that offered in the segment’s benchmark, the BMW 3. GM marketing and communications folks made it clear that we can anticipate ATS variants along the same line as the CTS nameplate has been expanded. I don’t know about a ATS wagon, but I think it’s safe to anticipate high performance V versions and probably some kind of two-door coupe.

The autojournos were crowding into the three sample ATSes on the stage, so I didn’t get a close look at the interior, but it does have one trick feature that I noticed, the nav screen flips up to reveal a secure storage area. The three cars represented three different levels of interior trim out of the five that will be offered. As with recent Cadillacs, there is a surfeit of detail stitching on the upholstery and interior trim. The metallic black car was kitted with rather flashy red and dark grey upholstery along with real carbon fiber panels. The top trim line represented had a dove grey interior with very impressive looking zebrano wood panels on the doors.

In his remarks Mark Reuss said that the design brief for the car was to make it nimble, quick and fun. Towards that end, he said that they worked hard to reduce weight, paying attention to grams, not just kilograms.  The paddle shifters, for example, are made of magnesium. The result is that the ATS, at just under 3,400 lbs, weighs less than the BMW 3. Yes, I know that the General has had a weight problem, with its cars sometimes weighing hundreds of pounds more than competitors, but in this case Florine Mark  would be proud of them, they’ve watched the ATS’ weight. That weight is said to be distributed equally over the front and back wheels, 50/50. It’s a rear wheel drive platform, though it’s also available in AWD. Another thing that Reuss said should give hope to those that think that the bankruptcy has changed the culture at GM. Reuss said that he hates the word “competitive”, that their intention was not just to make a competitive product but rather a class leader. We’ll know if that’s just marketing talk or not in a few months when the ATS goes on sale in the US this summer and in other markets, particularly Europe later on.

Nobody would give me projected production figures for the ATS, which will be built in Lansing, Michigan. I was told, repeatedly, though, that they expect the ATS to be Cadillac’s volume leader. The ATS is being priced deliberately to create space between it any future variants and the CTS line. Hopefully for Cadillac the ATS won’t cannibalize too many sales from the CTS. If that’s the case and the ATS does indeed turn out to be the brand’s volume leader, that means total sales for the Cadillac brand could increase dramatically. On paper and in person the ATS looks like a winner. How it will perform on the road and in the showroom, though, is a different question. Reuss is correct. Competitive sets the bar too low. BMW dominates that segment perhaps like no other car company dominates an automotive market segment. If Cadillac is going to do something about that, it has to be compelling, not just competitive.

GM CEO Dan Akerson, VP of Design Ed Welburn & GM President Mark Reuss

 

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71 Comments on “NAIAS Preview: Cadillac ATS Reveal...”


  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Aside from the Escalade, the average age of Cadillac buyers must be around 60. Because of its affordability, my guess is the average ATS buyer will be around 40 to 45′ish.

    It will be a tough market to break into, both BMW and Audi have a very competent lead.

  • avatar
    mike978

    It will be hard to break BMW’s dominance but weighing less, having more hp (in turbo form), having 50/50 weight distribution and RWD gives it a fighting chance. Test drives will tell. At least it seems they have got as far in one generation than Audi, Mercedes, Lexus etc have in multiple generations.

    • 0 avatar
      jhott997

      won’t beat BMW dynamics.
      Won’t beat Audi on convenience or utility.
      Won’t beat Mercedes on brand desire.
      Won’t beat Lexus on perceived value.
      Like the CTS: “almost but not quite”
      Sorry. Just another “me too” car from GM with no compelling reason to buy. The comparo tests will be fun though.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        You may be right, test drives and reviews will let us know. But then no-body beats BMW on dynamics. As for Audi – is the A4 really the leader in convenience and utility? I notice Infiniti and Acura were not even mentioned. I think Cadillac will be happy if they can be considered in the same breath as the Germans – something Acura and Lincoln certainly cannot be.

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        I believe that Audi has basically supplanted Volvo in the market for “safety, utility, convenience”.
        Yes, Audi sells the odd RS model and S model but generally their products are “safe”.

      • 0 avatar
        Wagen

        The only thing Acura competes against in this space is the Lexus ES. Everything else mentioned is RWD or longitudinal AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        340-4

        Won’t beat the second or third owner like a rented mule with repair costs!

        I’d take this new Cadillac over any German car for long term ownership and reliability hands down.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I’m not so sure about BMW and dynamics anymore. The others aren’t really that far behind anymore. And while the CTS may have been worse than the 3, it was in many way better than the 5, with a size somewhere in between the two.

        Of course, the fundamental differences between all these entries really amount to a whole lot of nothing. The real treat for drivers, will be if Toyota decides to go full hog on doing the next Lexus IS on the GT86 platform, with a COG lower than a Cayman. Fat chance any of the German/American awd version dependent fatsos will be able to follow that one. But then again, fat chance Toyota betting the 3 fighter farm on a boxer engined RWD only car, I guess….

      • 0 avatar

        Why even bother with a test? Your mind is already made up.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I like the side profile, as it’s consistent with Cadillac’s edgy art & science meme, which I have appreciated as a distinguishing styling trend in a sea of automotive sameness ( or ‘blobness’), but I am not digging the exaggerated headlamps or the J-Lo ass (or maybe Star Jones ass is more like it).

      I also must hand it to the designers for managing to get what appears to be a smaller rear window into this than what now exists on the SRX. Really, GM?

      The interior seems nice enough based on the photographs – Edit – I now see that those are real carbon fiber panels…

      With respect to the CTS, the big question is whether this car actually has rear seat with an ample of amount rear seat legroom assuming anyone taller than Dr. Ruth is occupying the front seats, which is a major problem in the CTS 4 door.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I would assume space wise it is similar to the new 3 series. So not massive amounts of rear space. I thought the CTS at the next redesign was to move bigger, to make room for the ATS.

        As for materials, I thought in reading reviews/first impressions that the term “real materials” was used. So maybe it will be real wood and aluminium.

  • avatar
    jhott997

    Yawn.
    Another “me too” car from GM. This time it is a Cadillac.
    Yes, it has interesting styling. But seriously, what compelling reason is there for me to go to the Caddy dealer, check the car out and risk investing $35k?

    Oh: “perhaps an allusion to rumors (since denied) that BMW would not be offering a stick shift on the next M5″
    Was GM actually suggesting this or is this your imagination? What does the M5 have ANYTHING to do with this ATS? The reality is that BMW actually puts manual transmissions in their cars. Unlike other brands that come to mind……

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Like what? Cadillac put manuals in their cars and the V series is more impressive than the performance brand from Acura (oh wait there isn`t one) or Lexus.
      You are entitled to your opinion, even if it was already set before this car was even released. Lets see how the market rather than us perceive the car. Time will tell.

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        First, did I say Cadillac did not put manuals in their cars?

        Second, I have no opinion on this ATS other than a pre-pre-production car…
        My opinion of the car is based on the fact that ALL of GM’s products are “me-too” products. My opinion is based on that fact that nothing has changed inside GM.
        Yes, we shall see but I am VERY confident that this car will be a mediocre car in all respects with nothing earth shattering or even mildly interesting beyond the talking points of:
        1: “WOW! Cadillac makes another competitively mediorce car”
        2: “WOW! Check out the detail stitching on those seats!”
        3: “WOW! The car was tuned on the Nurburgring!”
        Hopefully the talking points will help the reviewers overlook the buzzy engines, the crappy 6L45 auto transmission and the chassis that in fact started life as a FWD architecture…

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        “ALL of GM’s products are “me-too” products.”

        While a number of GM products certainly fit your description, I can think of a couple of GM products that are unique with the Corvette being at the top of the list. And then there’s the question of styling where, love it or hate it, the Art & Science look is definitely not “me-too” in any way. This all comes together in the CTS-V wagon which has no direct competition anywhere that I can see.

        If you don’t like GM, that’s certainly your right and is even understandable. However, your argument simply doesn’t hold up to even a cursory examination.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @jhott, the Alpha platform was RWD from the beginning — it borrowed from Kappa, but that, too was RWD.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      You’re right: it will be very hard for Cadillac to break through the me-me-me mentality of most BMW, Audi and MB owners. You know the type: couldn’t tell you the difference between a push rod and a tie rod end, but they blow $80k on a (dark grey, naturally) Beemer to impress the valet.
      But for those who actually realize that there is no place to legally go .90 Gs on a corner (ticket!) or where you’ll get to use the 0-60 in 5.4 seconds (ticket, again), then perhaps some sanity can return to auto design and focus on comfort and efficiency, rather than making room for one’s imaginary penis to be able to fit through the door.
      The article is bang-on: BMW, Audi and Lexus have become the boring suburban noveau-riche cars du jour.
      Whilst walking our dog through Rosedale a couple years back (Rosedale is arguably the wealthiest neighborhood in Canada), we found ourselves surrounded in a sea of dark grey, black or silver Lexi and BMWs. My partner, who knows less about cars than the average person, even remarked on the sameness of the choices.
      I felt like we were in a Stepford Wives sequel shoot.
      BTW, jhott, BMW called, your check is late this month due to the holidays.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      May I ask what you would want from Cadillac to NOT be a “me too” car?

      Do you want an odd # of wheels? The steering whell in the back seat? No glass, but instead use Hi-Def monitors?

    • 0 avatar
      smokingclutch

      I don’t know why anyone replies to this troll. He changes his handle every so often but it is so obvious it is him.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    A couple of points before one provides a “thumb up” or “thumb down” on the CTS.

    1. Right now, it appears that subdued restraint is in fashion. It also appears that this fashion will be with us for a while. There’s nothing about this car that appears “subdued.”

    2. Large numbers of 3-series and C-Class buyers aren’t buyers at all. They lease. The reason BMW and Mercedes-Benz can offer competitive leases on Cs & 3s is because of resale. An off-lease C or 3 looks close enough to a new one that it can almost pass for a “new” car on the CPO lot.

    Cadillacs have never been known for their resale. So for this car to work as a competitor, at least in sales volumes, GM is going to have to support the residuals pretty firmly.

    Good luck GM. You’re going to need it.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Good point about resale, this will be an issue for a few years even if the car is a critical and market success, since it takes time to build up good residuals.
      I agree with you last sentence.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        Part of the interest in leasing a new 3 series BMW is once out of warranty, their maintenance costs tend to be rather high.

        Also, Cadillac is this game to get a piece of the pie, not dominate it.

    • 0 avatar
      jhott997

      Like all GM cost estimates the “business case” for the car is based on excessive and over-optimistic volume estimates. So it will be interesting to see how GM subsidizes the volume: aggressive lease deals with high residuals or heavy cash rebates for purchase?

    • 0 avatar
      smokingclutch

      Not actually true. Until the 1970s, Cadillacs had excellent resale. They didn’t make an entry level car as they advertised their used cars as their entry level selection.

      This all changed when Cadillac got new management in the early 70s that pushed for volume and the hard sell. The wealthy didn’t want to be seen in cars that their employees could now afford.

      IMO, “value luxury” is not always a path to success. Many wealthier folks want a car to be expensive, so the masses won’t be seen in one.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Cadillac did make an entry-level car of sorts in the 1960s and early 1970s. It was called the Calais, and was basically a decontented De Ville.

        Nobody really wanted it – Cadillac buyers wanted their cars loaded, not stripped to sell at a certain price.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I agree, there was a time when the Cadillac was a movie star’s ride, the automobile of choice from executives to presidents. Then it all changed when every Tom, Dick, and Harry could have one… not to mention the debacles of the 80s. Here’s an idea GM, stop chasing volume with this brand and get back to Cadillac’s roots… build some stylish models priced to the sky. Remember the Ciel? That’s the first real Cadillac I have seen in a decade, build it in limited (even handmade?) production and price it at $100K. I read somewhere Rolls Royce was doing record sales in the recession at something like 3000 units per year… and demand was still up because they couldn’t keep the supply up. People like feeling special, create something exclusive and watch the loot roll in.

  • avatar
    Tova88

    I’m 23 (just barely), not 22 anymore. And it IS a sexy vehicle. As I said last night, “This ain’t your grandpa’s Cadillac.”

    Who knows if an American-made car will be able to make a dent, though? I think people have a hard time viewing our domestics as actual contenders.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Ronnie and Tova88, my 24-year old daughter has rendered her judgment. “It’s cool. You should get one. And let me drive it.”

      I just might. I’ll take mine in black with a V6 and I’ll stir my own gears, thanks.

  • avatar
    Wagen

    Can we get a photo of the rear legroom (or lack thereof)?

  • avatar
    jhott997

    How about a photo of the trunk? Or what slot there is in place of a trunk.

  • avatar
    jhott997

    Is it me or does the third picture look like a blinged up Cruze?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Probably just you! Given your opinions on this without driving. You keep saying me-to competitive product and I understand you want knock-out products but how many knock-out products have we had in the recent past? The new A4, new 3 series, new Camry, new Civic, new Malibu – personally none of those I would consider knock-outs. It is good to set a high bar but you cannot criticize Cadillac for not meeting it, if nobody else is either.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Holy multiple posts, Batman! Could this be another bored Toyota salesperson sitting in the office?

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I’ve never seen a bored Toyota salesperson. The Toyota dealer is always a hive of activity. At the Chevy dealer, on the other hand…

        One of the advantages Toyota has had at the retail level is that they’ve had enough business for each dealership that they can get and keep good salespeople and avoid an annoying hard sell.

        I did stop in to a local Chevy dealer the other day and, for a change, I was favorably impressed with the treatment. The salesman was dressed nicely, spoke with good grammar, fairly knowledgeable about the car I was interested in (the Volt) and was more interested in finding out what I wanted than in pushing me around. The air of desperation they had a couple of years ago is gone. The showroom was attractive and clean with a couple of models in attractive colors inside.

        It was still very quiet there, I was the only customer in the showroom, a thing I have never experienced at a Toyota dealer, but the atmosphere was greatly improved.

        It’s possible jhott997 is a bored GM owner with a good data plan, just passing the time while waiting for the tow truck to show up.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I’ve been critical of GM in the past, too, but I’m beginning to believe that jhott997 is the equivalent of another poster who lived to bash Ford. The company couldn’t do anything right.

        Same idea, different target…

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I’m just curious about the price range from the bottom to the top.

    • 0 avatar
      mcarr

      I’m wondering this as well. What’s the out the door price on the 2.5/manual version, assuming there is one. Also, will the 2.5′s output be cranked up in Cadillac guise?

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Mmm.–No. I am still keeping my C-er…but thanks for asking.

  • avatar
    th009

    A good story, Ronnie — solid analysis, and less hyperbole then some other recent TTAC stories. It will be interesting to see what the ATS can do for Cadillac in practice.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I think this will be a great product and I hope it succeeds. Granted, we shouldn’t support the “home team” just because, but if they offer a competitive attractive product, why buy a product from another country when we have products worth buying made here.

    As for the “me too!” comments, well I’m sure you don’t have problem with Samsung products, and they seem to bite off Apple every chance they get.

    If the ATS-V is what I want in a car to replace my G37, and I’m sure it will be, then I’m buying one, new, and I’ll be the first to post here and tell you all about it.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Using the performance of the CTS-V as a guide the ATS-V should be a beast.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Interesting that you’d mention Samsung and Apple. I came from a long line of Zenith fans: my father having a ’69 Zenith Chromacolor II that lasted well into the late 1980s. My first new TV being an ’84 Zenith with the Space Phone (or whatever it was called) telephone feature – crap, but worked well on the sales floor.
      My last two TVs have been Hitachis because (get ready for this) Zenith went bankrupt in ’99 then was was bought out by LG in ’01 – the last of the American manufacturers.
      So, I think your remarks about the Samsung are very appropriate to the discussion of a new Cadillac. GM met Zenith’s fate 3 years ago and was only spared because 2 Presidents, from opposite parties realized that the Arsenal of Democracy had better be spared, or it won’t be LCD screens and monitors the Pentagon will have to beg Asia for in the future.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        It isn’t 1941 anymore. Military hardware is very specialized, and requires specialized factories, materials and production processes.

        If another major war breaks out, we won’t be switching production lines from Silverados to tanks, or Malibus to missiles or even ammunition. It simply doesn’t work that way in 2012. You can’t simply switch from producing vehicles to military hardware. That is one reason why we have several major companies devoted either exclusively or largely to producing defense equipment.

        GM isn’t the bedrock of the “Arsenal of Democracy,” and hasn’t been for the past 40 years. GM’s demise would have had as much impact on our ability to produce military hardware as it would have on our ability to produce chocolate bars.

      • 0 avatar

        geeber, though much of what you say is true, the aerospace and defense industries in many ways rely on the same supply chain as the auto industry.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    I’m concerned about the base engine. It reeks of ‘old’ GM. The car looks great and I’m optimistic about how it drives. A base turbo 4 and V6 make sense. They should not be putting a standard GM 4cyl in this unless it’s going to make a minimum of 200hp. Even then it’d have more credibility w/out it entirely.

  • avatar
    kenzter

    I’ve read elsewhere that the base 4cyl will have 200hp, which compares well to the C250. That will serve the “I’ve arrived” crowd just fine. I’ll be test driving the turbo and 3.6 versions ASAP, as I think this car is HOT. And I’m “only” 38.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Intriguing. However, as usual, GM’s a little late to the party.

    This just seems akin to a 21st century Cimmaron to me.

    Would be interesting to see the residual values in the next few years though; if they’re anything like my Malibu, could probably get a CPO pretty cheap.

    Looks like it would make a decent winter beater if equipped with Blizzaks/MT.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      If Cadillac’s late to the party WTF is Acura?? We’re they even invited or we’re they jumped in transit and now lay bloodied at the bottom of a ditch?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      LOL!

      How is this anywhere close to the Cimarron or the Catera which were basically rebadge jobs (the Catera being the better one).

      The ATS is based on a new dedicated RWD platform and beats the new 3 Series in weight.

      Let us know when Acura stops making things off of an Accord or Accord-derived platform.

    • 0 avatar

      This just seems akin to a 21st century Cimmaron to me.

      How so? The Cimmaron was obviously badge engineered, there was no hiding its pedigree. The ATS looks distinctive.

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        I wrote that as a generational reference. Yes, the ATS is obviously distinctive, and is aimed at people, well, like me. Much like the Code 130R (figures, after I give up on the ol’ General, they bring up a production ready ‘cheap’ RWD coupe i’d actually buy!) most people my age don’t know WTF a Cimmaron is unless they have seen one in a junkyard or Google’d it.

        Who knows, if GM hits the ATS out of the park, maybe i’ll get a rebate thru a dividend in my tax return in the next few years.

        With that said, General, make it in a coupe and i’ll (maybe, and BIG MAYBE) consider one. Used. In a manual. Unless a new Nova (COUPE, RED with MANUAL AND AN I6) is cheaper.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    I’m interested in the ATS. After a string of five 3 series, I’ve come to the conclusion that BMW has lost focus… they’re going all mass-market and making the compromises necessary for that. While this still leaves them in the enviable position of the more- fun-to-drive-but-with-more-repairs Honda Accord, I’m wearying of them.

    A Caddy would be a fun conversation starter in my crowd, but, frankly I’m scared to death of the 3rd year quality. It would take a hell of a lease deal to get me to into one. I couldn’t consider buying one new ’cause it’s a given that I’d take a bath.

    This is the problem I see for Caddy. The buyers for the ATS that they are chasing are fairly well informed but not actually rich. Really rich people can just take one of the other cars when one is in the shop and loss at resale isn’t significant factor. We middle class kids can’t afford those problems.

    How does Caddy overcome this situation? Make the cars too easy to get and they lose any cache : they become just another GM car dumped on the market. Too expensive and no one will take the risk.

  • avatar
    carguy

    After 4 consecutive BMW 3ers I would definitely consider the ATS if it delivered on its promise. Cadillac may not have the brand cache that BMW has but I couldn’t care less – as long it delivers the driving experience. Resale value would be the only question as I’m sure the reliability will match or beat BMW (or Audi and Mercedes for that matter).

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Resale only holds when sales are going UP. Toyota and Honda have run out of steam. How much longer can the Germans keep convincing people that their cars are worth the extra money and maintenance? That is THE question. As long as they can keep convincing folks of that, their resale will hold.
      Cadillac and Lincoln used to sell on resale, too. Which is why the wealthy would trade in every year or two: they got nearly what they paid for their vehicle (of course, double digit inflation didn’t hurt, either!).

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Toyota and Honda have run out of steam.

        No, those two were hit the hardest by the earthquake and tsunami.

        Resale values are affected by a variety of factors, including sales to fleets, manufacturer incentives and repair history. Resale does not just hold up when sales increase…especially if the manufacturer cuts production to match a decline in sales. The domestics, particularly GM and Chrysler, didn’t want to do that.

        Based on my conversations with independent mechanics, along with my personal experience, the death of Honda and Toyota have been greatly exaggerated. So far, there is only one domestic vehicle among those owned by families and friends that has come close to the maintenance record of my 2003 Accord at 167,000 miles (my wife’s 2005 Focus, which has 139,000 miles on the odometer). Every other domestic car has needed several rather expensive repairs by that point.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @geeber: The tsunami and the earthquake were a shot to the solar plexus of Japan in general, the mainstream models that are sold in North America are produced here, too. There was some downtime with some parts in short supply here in North America, but those plants have gotten back up to speed, rather quickly, too.

        What seems like a reality disconnect to me, is the fact that if the cars were in such short supply, there would have been a premium for them. However, during the fall when supplies were supposed to be very short, the big 2 Japanese producers were still putting cash on the hood to move cars.

        That doesn’t seem consistent with scarcity, or at least as I remember it. In the early 80′s Japanese cars were limited because of the Voluntary Import Restrictions, there was a waiting list to get anything from a Japanese car maker. It was quite common and the talk of the water cooler back in the day.

        Not that I was shopping in the fall, but I never heard anyone mention anything about not being able to get the car they were after.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        geozinger,

        The market is still more depressed today than it was in the mid-1980s. New vehicle sales began recovering by late 1982, and sales were strong by 1984. As of now, while sales have risen from their low point, they have not rebounded to prior levels.

        The voluntary import quotas negotiated by President Reagan had a much different effect than the recent tsunami. Under the quota system, sales of vehicles were capped by a government directive, so why not get as much revenue per sale as possible? The manufacturers knew that they could have sold more cars if they wanted to, but if the government is limiting the number of vehicles a manufacturer can sell, it makes sense to maximize the revenue from each sale.

        With the recent tsunami, sales were not held back by government directive. Competition is stronger today from both Detroit and South Korea – that much is certainly true. No manufacturer, including Honda and Toyota, can sit back and say, “We’re just going to get more money per car until supply returns to normal.”

        That is not the same thing as saying that Honda and Toyota have “run out of steam.” It’s a realization that the competition is now much stiffer, and the management of Honda and Toyota know this. But they are hardly down and out…or even where GM was in 1975 or 1985.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Honda having a Civic redesign crisis almost two years after a launch and Toyota having to recall cars back to 1999 do not bode well for either company. High mileage isn’t as impressive nowadays, heck I have 160K on my Saturn SL2, still running strong… no expensive repairs (yet ;o)

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    If that’s what I think it is, the trunk release button is still randomly laid into the door where no one can find it, same numbskull idea as the CTS.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Not a groundbreaking design (I think Cadillac is saving that for the next gen CTS), but it is clean and rather pleasing.

    The best part is that it loses the overly blocky/wedge-like front of the CTS, giving it an overall, more sleek look.

    Won’t challenge the 3 Series in sales, by I can see the ATS surpass the A4 and nip at the heels of the C Class.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I like this too, the look is amazing… if the performance is good too, especially in a V version, I would definitely consider one.

    And you are right, it probably won’t have quite the dynamics of a BMW. But you won’t look like yet another me-too douchebag driving one, and long term reliability (or at least affordability in reparing it), should be better than recent BMWs.

    Plus, at least they are trying. I won’t buy a new BMW because of what BMW has become. And most likely this car will deliver on a lower price.

  • avatar
    Seán Moloney

    Hmm. Didn’t GM try to take on BMW, Audi and Mercedes before? What brand did they use for that? Oh what was it called? Oh thats right it was Saab, see how that fiasco turned out? A complete crash and burn. There is nothing “general” about BMW, Audi and Mercedes, they are exceptional. Cadillac is not only flat out boring, ugly and completely “general” it also has this horrible tag as an American car. American’s might buy the car, but the rest of the world will just laugh. GM can’t do premium, they’ve proved this time and time again. I mean for goodness sake, GM can’t even turn Opel into a viable alternative to VW and VW isn’t even a premium brand. Oh well, I guess old habits do die hard.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I commented in the other thread that it just didn’t look right. It looks better here, but seeing more “real life” photos, unfortunately I still do not think it is aggressive enough. This is the sporty, entry level car, and the CTS looks meaner, lower.

    It isn’t a deal breaker, none of the competition is particularly aggressive either, but in my opinion this is one of the things I really like about the newer Cadillacs…..you KNOW it is a Cadillac. It is different because a Cadillac driver is likely not content to drive a somewhat bland German car everyone else is driving.

    I admit, I have loved the BMW’s for years. I absolutely adore the current car every time I’m behind the wheel. I’m impressed with my GTI….then I take a 3 on the same roads and its amazing how it makes the GTI feel as if i’m manhandling it to not even keep the same pace I can in the 3. It is magical. It fools you into thinking you’re the best driver on the planet. Yes, it is kinda boring in side, nice but plain. Seating area is OK. Etc. But the feel behind the wheel is the winning formula.

    Though having driving a new 7, the new 5 quite a bit, reading some reviews, I have to agree I worry with a previous post BMW is slowly drifting. Lighter steering. Worse steering feel. A little cushier. A little softer in reactions. They are still great cars, but the magic I felt when I first drove an E39 540i in the late 90s and still sticks in my head to this day, I just haven’t gotten on the last few cars. Seeing what they are becoming, electronics, various settings, techno doo dads….I can take some of that, but when the cars drive worse because of it, then there is a problem.

    Anyway, I could go on….my point here is that I’ve felt the BMW flame flickering in me a bit too. I have wanted a BMW for well over 10 years but my financial side never allowed me to say yes. I want a 1 (oh man I had hoped it would be 5k less) I am to the point where I can nearly afford such a car, yet, that feeling of driving straight to the BMW dealer I can feel wavering. Do I want an Audi? No. A Mercedes? Heck no. A Japanese car? No. So, I can be talked into looking. A car like this could get me. If it had just looked truly aggressive without being over the top (again, like the CTS) I would be really intrigued.

    So now what?

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    As many have said here, BMW is starting to lose its way. This I think creates opportunities for Cadillac IF Cadillac can deliver.

    One nice thing about this is that GM has Buick for chasing volume luxury/near luxury sales.

    This allows Cadillac to be edgier and a bit more of a niche product. If done right, like the CTS this could eventually lead to a very good thing for GM. We’ll just have to see how this plays out.

    For now, this is definitely a step in the right direction. I like it, I hope it just has room for my shoulders.


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