It’s not secret that General Motors is depending on China to ensure a rosy future for its Cadillac brand. However, the imported ATS, complete with pinched-off rear seating and thirsty turbocharged engine, isn’t cutting the mustard. No surprise, then, that GM will be building the ATS locally in the future, with one very important change.
Carnewschina reports that the Cadillac ATS will be built in China with a choice of the 200-horsepower 2.5L four-banger or the 3.6 DI V6. More importantly, to suit the, ahem, unique tastes of the Chinese market, the wheelbase will be stretched four inches, making it an ATS-L.
At this point, it’s tempting to write something along the lines of “Oh, those wacky Chinese and their obsession with rear-seat comfort and K-turn-nightmare wheelbases.” But think about it for a moment. The traditional brand image of Cadillac includes spaciousness, doesn’t it? Yet every single Cadillac built since the demise of the RWD Fleetwood has been cramped in the back to some extent. The original CTS and edged-up STS were disasters in that regard; your humble author used to daily-drive an ’06 STS AWD and when I adjusted the front seat to my preference it would touch the rear lower cushion. Even the famed DTS wasn’t exactly S-Class-competitive in back, thanks to its shared platform. The ATS is pretty much a four-door 2+2, like a Mazda RX-8. Where’s the appeal in that? Why aren’t all Cadillacs spacious and comfortable in back?
For now, it looks like, as with the previous STS-L and the Buick “Park Avenue” G8, the General is saving its best ideas for its favorite market.