By on April 2, 2013

The multi-billion dollar endeavor of developing a new car has effectively ended the one-off specialty car that many enthusiasts still clamor for and wronglyassert is feasible in this era. Supermodel-thin margins, a saturation of brands and vehicles and an ultra-competitive global marketplace have killed the previous formula for developing a production car, which was mostly a one-off solution to local road conditions and buyer tastes

The necessity of scale is a double-edged sword; if the bean counters deem a product too costly and it may proceed as a watered down version of the original concept. If a new architecture or platform is approved, then we are practically assured multiple variants spun off that platform.

As it turns out, GM nearly took the cheapskate approach to developing the Cadillac ATS. But at the 11th hour, the General decided to change course, and enthusiasts will be all the better for it.

Automotive News outlines how Cadillac’s 3-Series fighter very nearly became Cimarron 2.0, with plans underway to build it on the front-drive Delta platform.

“We were going to do a front-wheel-drive Cadillac compact off of Delta because it was going to be less expensive,” Doug Parks, GM’s vice president of global product programs, told me at the Detroit auto show in January. “There were people in the organization saying, ‘It’ll be OK. We can dial it in.’” So serious were the plans that Parks, who was based in Europe at the time, found himself driving 150 mph on a test track in Spain in a 2.0-liter turbo test mule built on the Delta platform.

“We actually made it pretty darn good,” Parks said. “But in reality, you can’t go beat BMW or Mercedes when you don’t have the right weight balance and everything else.”

GM’s decision to develop Alpha ensured that its performance vehicles have a new lease on life. The ATS will be the start of a range of cars, with the next-generation Camaro to follow. Two vehicles off of Alpha won’t be enough either, but what will follow the Camaro is anyone’s guess.

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90 Comments on “QOTD: How The Cadillac ATS Almost Became FWD...”


  • avatar
    ant

    seem to me that there is a market for a larger rear drive car coming from GM.

    cop cars, limousines, hersh cars, possibly taxi cabs, and um a car for black folks.

    I think there is a need.

    • 0 avatar

      While I agree with you that we “black folks” need big cars, my XJ-L is performing quite well.

    • 0 avatar

      I just don’t see Cadillac fielding an S-class/A8/7-series competitor. If they do, they’d better let me help them design it because if they use my body type to design it, it will be the biggest. baddest ride on the road.

      And they’d better not make it another “Cue interior”. They need to set a big body apart with better stuff.

      -Fully motorized seats with motorized headrests, waterfall cushions, heating, cooling and massage all around.

      -panoramic roof with electro-tinting

      -interior materials a step above what they have now in the XTS.

      -Twin Turbo V6 STANDARD with optional plug-in hybrid tech (or a plug-in electric version of the car to compete with Tesla Model S).

      I don’t dig criticism. Do it right the first time or not at all.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        “I don’t did criticism”?

        As for your points, I am sure the car above the XTS will have the twin turbo or something similar as standard. Look at the current range (with new CTS) and each car above starts with a higher engine. Base XTS engine is a step up for the CTS and the base CTS engine is a setup for the ATS.
        I would also expect interior quality to be better than the XTS, which is well regarded from a material quality perspective, since it is better than the ATS. I expect Cue to stay, they have made all three of their cars with Cue and they are fully invested in this now – just like Ford is with MFT.

        • 0 avatar

          MIKE

          I’m not saying they need to get rid of CUE, I’m saying they need a BETTER CUE than the XTS, CTS and ATS. For one thing: CUE isn’t as fast as it needs to be. People will notice that it lags more than their iPad. These are things people criticize auto makers for right off the bat. I say, they should make a bigger/better CUE. The S550 for example has a widescreen display with dual-view technology. That’s where Cadillac needs to be.

          I SWEAR, If Cadillac will copy the integration and system redundancy of infotainment/car features in the W221 S550 – and then take a look at Uconnect Touch 8.4n for fine tuning, they’d have a WINNER.

          Auto-parking and computerized steering (2013 MKZ) wouldn’t hurt either. They need to make an ultimate long range cruiser. Comfortable all around and easy to use for the old-farts that can actually afford it.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            I agree with you about making Cue faster and better. Your suggestions sound reasonable for a Ciel type range topper above the XTS. Given the new ATS, CT and XTS Cadillac seem to be heading in the right direction with each car being better than the last.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Rumor has it that some people on the lunatic fringe still cling to the notion – crazy as it is – that since a prime raison d’etre for any Cadillac was a luxuriously plush ride, lap time on the Nürburgring be damned, Cadillac has already irreparably damaged their core.

            Cadillac has surrendered what was once a potent defining trait (in a good way) on the altar of an already passe trend in order to try and pass Audi S4s on the types of roads and in traffic conditions that 99.9999999999993% of their customers will never experience.

            (Don’t even get me started on the topic of how the Cadillac ATS has less rear seat leg room than many compact cars).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @DW

            They didn’t just surrender their heritage, they took a dump on it. Lincoln is looking to be no different.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I agree, which depresses me.

            I could be crazy, but I see it as inherently logical for both Cadillac and Lincoln to be able to modernize their products while preserving the essential, good traits that defined their brand and brought them past success.

            As an example of this, the Mercedes S Class stands out. It is modern, with an extremely plush & quiet ride, plenty of power, ample interior room front and back, has a substantial presence on the road, and Daimler has even managed to improve its reliability as of late (even the fuel economy is decent given the weight and power of the S Class).

            Whether one loves, likes or even dislikes the newest iteration of the S Class, there’s little denying that it successfully preserves the defining historical characteristics that led to the success of Mercedes, in a modernized package.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Cadillac does design as well as anyone if they take their time and get it right, so I’m not worried there. But this is Cadillac’s first world-class flagship in a very long time. And generally when auto companies enter new markets and try and guess at things, they get it critically wrong…which basically defines the entire seventies and eighties of Detroit history. So I definitely agree that they should consult people like yourself that drive flagships from the competitors. Maybe then they can see exactly which priorities people in that market have. They also had better decide whether they’re going for the effortless limousine type car (as in the S-Class and LS) or something more sporting (Like the A8, 7-Series and XJ). And they certainly need to differentiate it from the ATS and CTS.

        And speaking of your Jaguar XJL…history dictates that you’d better trade that thing in before the warranty expires, or you’re going to be up to your eyeballs in expensive repairs, lol

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      “and um a car for black folks.”
      You lost me there..however ever it is a free country…to a point.

      • 0 avatar

        Nothing wrong with noting how different subcultures gravitate to certain kinds of cars. Wealthy Jews used to drive Cadillacs and Buicks, rarely Lincolns and certainly not a German car, but then in the 1950s and 1960s, the Holocaust was a bit fresher in people’s minds and German cars did not have the luxury cachet they do now. Henry Ford II’s genuine friendship to the Jewish community changed things a bit for Lincoln’s acceptance among Jews in the 1970s. Perhaps GM’s decline in quality had something to do with that too.

        When GM stopped selling the Impala SS, large black men who like fast cars started buying the Mercury Marauder – at least that’s how it looked to me in the Detroit area.

        • 0 avatar

          Bottom Line: Blacks gravitate to cars in BET’s music videos.

          I personally don’t watch music videos and I listen to Conservative Talk Radio. I ended up becoming a Black Redneck and now all I crave is MONSTER BLOCKS.

          Since I’m 6’6 and my girlfriend is 6’1 there aren’t a lot of choices for me to ride comfortably in. Therefore, it’s big bodies all around!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Perhaps a better choice of words next time?

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      As a Black(ish) folk that drives a 300C, I find your comment racist.

      Possibly accurate, but racist noetheless.

      • 0 avatar

        “prejudiced” maybe, but not “racist”.

        He has no power over anyone. He cannot stop me from cashing my checks, voting, practicing miscegenation or becoming President.

        • 0 avatar

          Okay, that’s a pet peeve of mine, the notion that only those with power can be racist. We all have the power to at the very least hurt another human being’s feelings by demeaning them and making them out to be less than human.

          The idea that racism isn’t racism unless the racist has the power to inflict some kind of material or legal harm on the victim puts the word “racist” in an Orwellian never never land where it can mean anything.

          A very wise man once taught me that racism means that the racist regards some identifiable group as inherently biologically inferior and that nothing members of that group can do will be able to change that status.

          It seems to me that there are two kinds of racism in this world. One is normal, the other is literally crazy because they believe demonstrable lies and everything they see they regard as evidence of their crackpot theories. It’s normal to have xenophobia, fear of what you don’t know. It’s normal to not want outgroup people to be having sex with your sister. That’s not, however, where folks like the KKK, Nazis, jihadis are. I might be able to convince a reasonable, sane, person who for whatever reason doesn’t want his sister to be dating someone of my ethnicity that I’m not really a bad guy. However, I can’t use reason on someone who believes crazy things.

          • 0 avatar

            Racism is a social construct because “race” itself is a social construct.

            I believe racism is institutionalized discrimination designed to keep specific groups from attaining social, financial or societal equality.

            Everyone has their own idea of what it is. Personally I don’t care.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Racism is a social construct because “race” itself is a social construct.

            +1 Shapes of eyes and noses, color of skin, etc. simply reveal the adaptations that our ancestors had to live in the parts of the planet they lived. Race is humanities obsessive need to classify taken to the logical extreme. (We need to classify so badly we classify ourselves.)

            BTW if any of you are bookish deep thinking human beings I suggest you read “Darwin’s Sacred Cause”. Great book if your curious about the world Darwin lived in and what the “experts” of his day thought about race.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Isn’t the new CTS also based on this platform?

  • avatar
    cargogh

    For Cadillac and the money it wants to deserve to charge, it is better to compete with a 3-series than a Focus ST.

  • avatar
    toplessFC3Sman

    Well, considering how well the Cadillac BLS (Saab 9-3, reskinned as a Cadillac for Europe) did, I have to say that they certainly seemed to make the right decision. Sure, the BLS was loosely based on the old Epsilon 1 platform, not the current Delta, but the size difference isn’t big between them. I’d be surprised if they sold more than 8000 or 9000 of them, total.

    • 0 avatar
      stroker49

      I drove a Cadillac BLS last week. Well, it was a rebadged Saab 9-3! And it didn´t do well, it didn’t sell many but costed money to “develop”. But I wonder why they tried to sell it here in Europe? Here in Europe nobody (except me and a few other freaks) wold touch an American car with a long pole. And people like me would not like to be caught with a fake Cadillac! So it was a car for nobody. Maybe in USA it would have sold some as an entry level Cadillac?

  • avatar

    There is nothing wrong with the ATS being a FWD (if it had been). FWD would have helped keep costs down and granted slightly higher MPG. Optional AWD would have made the car a perfect small luxury car. Many people want FWD because they live in cold climates and require a FWD/AWD platform since RWD is too troublesome.

    Problem is, GM wants to advertise the ATS as a superior driver to the BMW3. The other problem is, unless you buy the ATS with the sport suspension and performance options IT ISN’T. Comparing the base forms of the ATS and 3: the 3-series wins. Not to mention people who “want a BMW” ain’t going to Cadillac for any reason.

    The ATS is now competing with the CLA-class and 3-series. In my opinion, the CLA is the winner. The CLA is FWD but what none of the enthusiasts seem to understand is that many people buy a car just for the name and DON’T CARE how well it handles or how fast it is. Most of these cars will end up with cheap aftermarket rims on them which are gonna totally ruin their suspensions anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I agree with your point about FWD. It does Audi no harm with the A4. But Cadillac does want the good reviews that comes from having superior driving dynamics. It helped BMW to get where it is now, even if most of their buyers don`t car that it is “the ultimate driving machine”.
      I wouldn`t expect most to end up with cheap aftermarket rims, especially if they are lease cars. It may be that in some areas there is a higher prevalence for switching out rims. I never did with my 328i.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I would concur that most people who buy a German luxury car are buying for the brand, not the capabilities. To be honest, how many of car buyers out there will ever take their car even to 8 or 9/10th’s of what it can do. Very few.

      To support my theory, about two years ago when I was in the market for a new car, I shopped the 3 series, 1 series. Remarkably, BMW…. “the ultimate driving machine”, did not have a single example of a 3 series or 1 series with a manual transmission in the entire state of Michigan for me to test drive at the time. Or at least that is what the dealers inventory system said anyway. BMW is the “ultimate social climbing machine”, Merc and Audi are very much in the same boat. Not a knock on the cars, but on many of the owners.

      The ATS could not have been FWD. Cadillac, rightly is keeping the germans in their crosshairs. Anything less than a true 3 series fighter would have had the entire automotive media screaming that Cadillac is back to its old tricks, creating half baked vehicles shackled by the bean counters.

      Cadillac is in a position right now where it has to create truly competitive cars to the Germans, even at a loss, to build the brand. Its a long term investment that will pay off if done properly. The goal being to build a division that prints money first and happens to build cars…..like the german manufacturers. If you are a brand whore and dont mind paying the insane markups to maintain the german’s massive profit margins, then by all means. There are many better values to be had.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “I would concur that most people who buy a German luxury car are buying for the brand, not the capabilities.”

        I’d buy a Mercedes because of the ride quality. All it takes to hit 9-10ths is to hit some pot holes, expansion joints, section of badly patched road.

        Many people, most I would argue, buy a car for the ride more than the handling.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        thegamper: You are 100 percent correct in your assessment. Especially with the comment about keeping the RWD. Caddy has to stay the course to become a real player. Backpedaling will undo every bit of progress in a heartbeat.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      CLA-class is smaller. ATS will compete with the C-class, 3-series and A4/S4.

      • 0 avatar
        hans007

        except that its not smaller. the CLA is bigger than the C class .

        i think they are moving the C class even more up market, but that said, the germans at least audi and mercedes have figured out that most luxury car buyers are retards and don’t even know if their car is FWD or not (i.e. the A3 and CLA being based on transverse FWD economy platforms).

        i can see cadillac making an even cheaper FWD cadillac to compete in the future, the ATS is not cheap

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      I think the mania many people exhibit for RWD is misplaced. Certainly, my FWD A4 certanily drove very well in any (almost) legal situation, and road test comparos of the A4 & 3-series put their performance neck-and-neck.

      I do agree that overall driving performance is a critical factor, but that is made up of many things that have to work together, not any individual component. And that’s about making it work in real-world driving, not on a racetrack.

      bigtruckseriesreview@Youtube has it right that RWD is a big disadvantage in a cold climate.

      It always seemed to me that the people trying to go the fastest in snowy weather are driving muscle cars and 2WD pickups – the very vehicles that shouldn’t even be on the road in such conditions. Which may say something about the buyers of those vehicles in urban settings.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I found the (FWD-based) Volvo S60 AWD to be a nice balance of thrill and control in inclement weather. It also looks very handsome.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        With 48:52 weight distribution, winter tires, and superb modern traction/stability control my BMW is absolutely delightful in the snow. Rather superior to the Saab it replaced, in fact, on the same tires. Separating the steering tires from the driving tires is not a bad thing if you want to make time in the snow.

        My gripe with the ATS is they benchmarked a now 2-generation old BMW for a car that was just released. Which means it is SMALL for it’s current class, all of whom have grown substantially. And where is the rest of the range? The 3-series comes in coupe, convertible and station wagon versions as well as the dull sedan. Effectively, so does the C-class, though not all versions are sold in the US. I don’t DO sedans, so no sale to me no matter how good it is. In particular, they are not going to sell many in Europe with no wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Muttley Alfa Barker

      If you want a FWD car that handles superbly, look no further than any car based on the Chrysler LH platform. It is definitive proof that a car that has FWD can handle well.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “what will follow the Camaro is anyone’s guess”

    I keep my fingers firmly crossed :)

    Nope, I dunno what it will be. But I have the feeling that this platform is the beginning for a lot of exciting things RWD at GM.

    Off topic -> Derek, there’s a lot of noise on the web about potential negotiations between VW and Fiat over Alfa.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      They could do a large and small coupe. Also could change the Regal into a performance car with 4cyl only options. Or they could just resurrect OLDS for me and call it a day.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Nah, the Regal needs to stay a competent FWD performer. But Cadillac’s ATS won’t be a major contender in many markets until it spawns other body styles, so I think that a coupe, cabriolet and wagon are imminent…

  • avatar
    dude500

    I suppose that the FWD ATS became the Buick Regal Turbo/R

  • avatar
    Zackman

    What will follow the Camaro?

    Most likely a Buick. Maybe a real GS? But ONLY if we can see out of it! Ditto for the next Camaro.

    Hoping…hoping…

    In my heart, I dream of an Olds 442, as I still have wonderful visions in my head of a 1968 442 coupe.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Wow – reading the quotes from this global product VP, it’s incredible that these people who should know better get themselves so far into the corporate self-reinforcing bubble that they almost convince themselves they’re going to take on the 3-series with a FWD car.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      Like Audi has done with the A4?

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Audi is already a recognized brand with credibility in this market, and Audi does not design a car to be FWD and then add on AWD later – it’s designed for AWD from the get-go.

        Cadillac would have tossed any hard-earned reputation they have gotten since the introduction of the CTS and Art and Science in general if the ATS had been FWD.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          For most customers, FWD will provide better traction in rainy and snowy conditions. It also delivers better interior space.

          And most customers don’t know or care if the car they buy is FWD or RWD. In any driving situation they will ever experience, it doesn’t make any discernible difference.

          As we used to say when I was in the beer biz, customers buy the label, not the liquid. If they didn’t, US Budweiser would not exist. Because they do, Budweiser has over 40% of the US beer market.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Instead of trying to reverse years of well-deservied negative brand equity, why don’t they just create a new brand, or even a new company?

    It’s like Microsoft trying to sell phones with the Windows brand on it. When your brand sucks, you should just cut bait and start over.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      They did, it was called Saturn

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        Which never made them a profit.

        Takes GM, at least the old GM, a loooong time to react to anything.

      • 0 avatar
        E46M3_333

        Saturn was a low-end brand.

        GM has a high cost structure. The only way to make money with a high cost structure is with high end products.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          GM already has the highest transactional price of the non-luxury only brands (e.g. BMW, Mercedes, Audi – so that stat would include as an example Scion/Toyota/Lexus).

          TTaC use to publish the transaction data versus rebates versus dealer discounting charts pretty regularly.

          Many of the B&B were quick to point out that it is easy to say that brand X has the most cash on the hood, but when you looked at GM (stress LOOKED as in past tense, I haven’t seen data in months on this) you would discover, based on average transactional price (which was up around $34K for GM) the cash on the hood matched even cheapskate Toyota – about 9.8% vs. 9.6%.

          To your point of high cost structure, in the big picture – GM is already selling products at a “high” price point, when combined into an average transactional price. Yes, I get it, a Chevy Spark is $13K – but a CTS-V is $75K and even an Avalanche is over $40K even after the cash is on the hood.

  • avatar
    kjb911

    bring back Pontiac make it exclusively RWD, a new G5 Coupe, G6 Sedan, a solstice and firebird/TransAm sell it alongside either Chevy or Buick most of us gen y who are into cars dream of an affordable rwd vehicle hence the frs…I for one don’t want a Buick and would rather take a g6 or firebird over a camaro make the interiors slotted in between the premium buick and budget feel of Chevy and you have a winner if it is sport oriented….of course 90% will disagreeand say it’s foolish. one can dream

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have similar dreams.

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        my opinion GM were fools to get rid of the brand as they had one of the better cache and recognition I grew up in the 90s and a bonneville or grand prix seemed so much better than anything offered by Chevy or buick and Olds just something about the cheap but sport oriented interior and with the solstice, g8, and g6 they had a lot of respect from peers the commercials were edgy and cool heck you could say the torrent was their first good looking cuv

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          None of that helped them in the end.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Not starting a thing here, but from what I understand it was the administration’s task force who killed the brand, not RenCen.

            Pontiac would have survived just fine as two or three models and offer the Buick/GMC network different car or CUV options to compliment the near-luxury products Buick provides. The Verano/Regal thing would make so much more sense with one as a Pontiac offering different styling and trim.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Pontiac sold over 360,000 cars in the US in 2007. Saturn outsold Buick that year too. GM pats itself on the head for Buick’s incremental growth and reduced buyer age, but there’s a good chance that all they’ve achieved was hanging onto a fraction of their dead brands’ buyers. I suppose they know it and that’s why Cadillac’s emphasis is on downmarket cars like the ATS and XTS.

          • 0 avatar
            kjb911

            my parents recently divorced with my mother taking the G8 gxp as an asset since it was paid off, my father and I were more upset to see our prized Pontiac go than 27 years of marriage. the first thing she did was tradein the thing for afraction of the the value for a Buick encore which is ghastly in person to me. as for my father he has decided to look at ford since nothing at GM interest him..I wonder how many people dissented GM when the canceled Pontiac and saturn

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            “Pontiac sold over 360,000 cars in the US in 2007. Saturn outsold Buick that year too.”
            True, if you only count US sales. Buick’s Chinese sales were double the US numbers in those days, which is why GM didn’t dump it. Pontiac and Saturn had no future outside North America.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            Pontiac was close to 50% fleet at the end with very low transaction prices on their retail volume. Saturn’s were very cheap too.

            So, 200,000 ish retail sales at low $20k ATP for Pontiac.

            Buick is tracking towards 130,000 retail sales this year. With Enclave north of $40k, I would guess Buick ATP’s are in the mid $30k ATP range.

            Hardly a failure in keeping Buick over Pontiac/Saturn.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            ATS and XTS pretty much covers the price range of Acura. So how is that downmarket? We all know the volume models for luxury or premium brands (whatever you want to call them) is in the 3 and 5 series space (for the US)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “I wonder how many people dissented GM when the canceled Pontiac and saturn”

            RenCen certainly has some cool offerings in V-series Cadillacs, Turbo Verano, perhaps even the new Impala, but most of the products within reach of the average buyer are “meh” at best.

            Despite everything, one thing GM could offer you (for the most part) was better value for your money… and you later paid for it in more severe depreciation vs some Asian makes. If they’re offering the same crap as their competitors do (save a few toys or diff styling) for as much if not more, there is no point to buying their products.

            Why am I buying Lacrosse over Toyonda’s offerings? Resale on these hasn’t picked up from what Buick’s was prior to the bailout.

            2010 Lacrosse CX 3.0 V6: MSRP was $27,085 according to Yahoo autos. So figure with tax and incentives this is what was paid out-the-door for the sake of argument.

            Here are three random low mileage sales in the Northeast region of Mannheim’s auction network, and they go down from there.

            Price / Miles
            $15,200 / 30,405
            $15,700 / 44,540
            $14,700 / 45,430

            So the first one at $15,200 is roughly 56% of the MSRP. So on trade you’ll be getting $12-$13K tops and new-used retail they’ll sticker $17-$19K depending on condition.

            This figure is on par with Buick’s pre-bailout values at the 3 year mark, of course then the cars were completely different (old fogie cars people younger than 70 won’t be seen in, IIRC). So pay more, get less, and still get a similar resale, and this despite the Bernanke inflation creeping in. The more things change the more they stay the same.

            The only way this is going to work out for both Buick and its customers is for GM to do something about the lesser resale vs equivalent Toyonda. They aren’t selling oddball enthusiast cars which will do nutty stuff in the aftermarket, they are selling UAW built Camcords in a segment they lost decades ago.

            So what is the point of this rant?

            If you bought the roughly Pontiac equivalent to Lacrosse CX V6, the Base G8 V6 (28,19 MSRP), they are running:

            $18,500 / 29,348
            $19,500 / 34,314
            $17,200 / 29,697

            This despite being one model year older and being discontinued, they still command anywhere between a $1500 to $4800 premium over Camcordy Lacrosse, and will still have a high demand on the retail market. Yeah I get it its an “enthusiast” car vs Dad’s 60th birthday present, apples and oranges. But this is what Pontiac could have been, the brand to offer more unique products both in North America and worldwide. But no, we’d rather Daewoo up our lineup and occasionally offer a real car to our customers only available in the highest trim or a special edition model.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            @28-cars-later

            As much as I have mad love for all things VE platform, I think your comparison isn’t very fair. There were far less SV-6 Commodores, sorry, sorry, base G8 V-6 models built than LaCrosses in general. Also, the 3.0L V6 version is pretty darn undesirable. The GM 3.0 is a pretty sucky engine.

            The G8 has a great reputation, praised high and low (in general, the V6 version was always seen as just “OK”) and there is still plenty of demand.

            If you did the same comparison to say a 2008 W-Body Grand Prix – you’re going to find the cars are pretty worthless in comparison. The G8 is a bit unique in its ability to hold its value.

            $17.2K for a G8 period is a darn good price (on your list), even for a base model. I would suspect that this one is truly “base,” without even the 6.5″ color screen and climate control. Those are pretty darn rare – not many built. Considering if this is an ’08 model it would have stickered for say $28K, and probably bought for around $25.5K to $26K (if not cheaper) – the ability to hold value is pretty amazing.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            GM killing the G8 was an idiotic decision; I’m talking “Roger Smith” level stupid.

            No matter what fuel prices do, there will always be a hardcore, loyal subset of buyers in the U.S. (and many other places) willing to pay top dollar for that type of vehicle, which is good in stock configuration, and highly amenable to modification for the tuner crowd, as well.

            I rarely see anyone willing to part with a Mercury Marauder or G8 GT.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          I remember a Bob Lutz quote from quite a few years ago about Pontiac…he said that they had to expand the customer base beyond those people with barbed-wire tattoos around their biceps.

          Eventually, they had the Solstice, G8, which were interesting cars and purchased by a different demographic, but the trailer court beater brand identity established by the Grand Am, Grand Prix, etc. was just pervasive.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      +1 As a member of “Generation Y”, I’d be interested in a small RWD car as well. The BRZ/FR-S is a huge step in the right direction, but I don’t know if I could deal with the passenger/cargo capacity limitations. I guess I’m basically asking for a Mustang! As much as I like the current one, I’m excited to see what 2015 brings us.

  • avatar
    hachee

    It’s new cars may be flawed (but what cars aren’t?), but Cadillac, with the ATS and new CTS, is getting it pretty right. RWD was clearly the way to go, and anything else would have been a big mistake. It will still take time to work on the image, but at least the product keeps getting better and better.

    I haven’t driven a new ATS, but after reading the reviews, and having recently driven a few new BMW 328xi’s (and a 528xi) (loaners while my car was in for service and accident repairs), I really can’t imagine that it’s really behind the 3 Series, dynamically. The new 3, in base trim (not M-Sport or with sport package options) was really disappointing. Sure, it’s nice, it’s quick, it handles really well, but the magic feel is just about gone. No straight six, steering as light as a feather. You MUST press the “sport” button if you want a decent drive. With BMW really dumbing it down now, I think there’s a real opportunity for Cadillac or any other maker that wants to target enthusiasts who don’t necessarily want to pony up for $10,000 worth of sport package options.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    What else can come off the Alpha platform? I’d look at BMW’s line-up as an example (at least some of it): A small roadster and small and mid-size SUV’s – all Cadillacs. (BMW’s foray into hatchbacks is something of a challenge even for the hubris-wrapped Bavarians.) But two or three additional models would be relatively easy to do mechanically and stylistically. Can Cadillac pull it together from a brand marketing stand-point? That’s harder to say. But, it’s a way to spread development costs while keeping the Alpha platform relatively exclusive to Cadillac – something they must do to build the brand. In short, no Alpha Buicks and no Alpha Chevrolets, except Camaro.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    Since the Alpha platform underpins both the ATS and the CTS, and we know it’s going to be the next Camaro (maybe somewhere in between the two Caddys in length?), why can’t it also get a bit shorter for a real Caddy roadster?

    In truth, they’ll probably try to bring back another XLR based on the C7, which I wouldn’t cry foul about at all, considering Caddy’s refined evolution of the Art and Science look.

    Didn’t we hear some scuttlebutt about a new Buick GN?

  • avatar

    Derek neglected to point out that the debate over whether GM should develop the Alpha platform or do the ATS on Delta happened in… 2007, when GM was spiraling the drain and scrambling to cut future-product programs in any way possible.

    As I heard the story at the time, Lutz decreed that ATS would be RWD… but the price of that decision was that the whole program was put on hold due to GM’s dire cash crunch. The first ATS was *supposed* to have been a 2010 model…

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      If that’s true, then I have yet another reason to like “Maximum” Bob Lutz than the ones I already had!

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      The Zeta was always a Lutz-pushed stopgap to a good RWD, midsized platform. So I think the realization that they would need a new Camaro eventually is what pushed the decision rather than the ATS/CTS

  • avatar

    As good as the LS family is and as I expect the new LT engine to be, I still think it was a mistake, perhaps unavoidable due to the financial situation at the time, but still a mistake for GM to kill a brand unique Cadillac V8.

    Yes, I know that this isn’t 1965, when every GM division was a separate company making at least one brand unique V8, but it seems to me that if they intend to make a genuine S Class / A8 / LS4xx / 7 Series competitor, they’re going to need an engine that you can’t buy in a Chevrolet product.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ve often thought about this too, then I think of the Northstar. As good as those engines were when they held together, they were a royal PITA when they didn’t. Which was often until only the final 5 or 6 years of production after their reputation had been thoroughly sullied.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Can we stop with the fake vents where the fog lights should be? And why no fog lights? It looks like it was meant for fog lights, but the bean counters captured them. It makes it look like a base-stripper work truck with a delete panel.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      No, we can’t. The curmudgeons who insist on buying non-loaded versions must have visual reminders for as long as they own the vehicle that they were too cheap to shell out for the fully-equipped model they should have bought. Even better when this visual shaming is visible to their friends and neighbours.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Exactly, but this is a Cadillac, mind you. My near ‘base’, straight off the lot STX pickup came with a rubber floor, roll-up windows, CD player and of course, fog lights.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Hey I want Fogs but to get them on most cars I must purchase Nav, the 22 bigger wheels, and the newest heated truck that gets me, my fogs, in the end I rather be shamed.


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