BMW’s 3-Series is always the benchmark, always the target, and always on a pedestal. So when GM announced Cadillac would once again “complete head-on” with BMW’s money-maker, the world yawned. Then an interesting thing happened, publications started fawning over the ATS, proclaiming the 3-Series has met its match. Could such a thing be true? Even our own Michael Karesh was smitten by the ATS at a launch event. To find out how the ATS matches up with its German rival, Cadillac tossed us the keys to a loaded ATS 3.6 AWD. Can Cadillac beat BMW at their own game? Let’s find out.
I should start by saying that I thoroughly enjoy the pure and unadulterated experience of TTAC. I also enjoy poking fun at you because you are a Mark VIII diehard, while I am a huge fan of the Gen-8 Riviera, which you have described as having an exterior full of “unrefined lumps and curves.” I suppose they’re both great personal luxury coupes–the Riv’s just a better one. (Tongue out!) (Read More…)
“Two questions.” Our European contributor, Mirko Reinhardt, wants to test my knowledge. “First question: Last month was a pretty big month for Cadillac in Germany, relatively speaking. How many Cadillacs did GM sell? And second question: Which model sold best?”
A red light camera company and officials in the city of Baytown, Texas are conspiring to nullify the results of an election. In November, 58 percent of voters approved a ballot measure prohibiting the use of red light cameras unless a police officer is present to witness any alleged offense. American Traffic Solutions (ATS) filed suit in February to overturn the result of this vote, and city officials on September 22 asked Harris County Judge Michael D. Miller to sign off on a settlement of this suit that was prepared by ATS.
Lawyers for motorists in Missouri are looking to capitalize on recent discoveries regarding deceptive marketing campaigns orchestrated by red light camera companies. On Wednesday, The Simon Law Firm filed a class action lawsuit against American Traffic Solutions (ATS) and the city of Hazelwood seeking refunds for thousands of photo enforcement tickets issued without the sanction of state law.
“In bringing this class action, plaintiffs seek to expose what they and other Missouri citizens believe is an unscrupulous business venture between an out-of-state for-profit corporation and a municipal government seeking to fill city coffers,” attorneys Ryan A. Keane and John E. Campbell wrote.
Photo enforcement vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) could find itself in trouble for lying before the Washington Supreme Court about its involvement in attempts to overturn a ballot initiative in Mukilteo last year. The Everett Herald newspaper obtained emails from former ATS Vice President Bill Kroske that show he attempted to collude with the city’s mayor to deny the public an opportunity to vote on banning red light cameras and speed cameras.
GM’s North American boss Mark Reuss released this, the first official teaser image of the 2013 Cadillac ATS, at the Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City this morning. Previously we’d had only an under-the-skin look at what appears to be the ATS along with the usual mule shots, but this teaser doesn’t cast a whole lot of light on the situation. I mean, frankly, it just looks… like a Cadillac. Between this shot and the dire rumors surrounding the ATS’s Alpha Platform development, I feel like I’m beginning to understand what GM CEO Dan Akerson meant when he said that this ATS and Caddy’s new “flagship” XTS
are not going to blow the doors off, but they will be very competitive.
Our sharp-eyed, GM-obsessed buddies over at GMInsidenews.com captured this image from a video that appears to have disappeared from the GM.com website, and they’re pretty sure it shows a skin-off look at the forthcoming Cadillac ATS. Based on the troubled (think: 4,000 lbs)Alpha platform that will also underpin the next-gen CTS and Camaro, the ATS is likely to launch with four-cylinder engines in naturally-aspirated and turbocharged forms, with a possible twin-turbo V6 rumored for the “V” version. Unless, of course, GM has made the questionable decision to engineer the platform to take a small-block V8 (which actually would not be much harder to package than a twin-turbo V6). Meanwhile, the big news recently on the ATS front has been GM CEO Dan Akerson’s opinion that the ATS and XTS
are not going to blow the doors off, but they will be very competitive.
We can’t see any front or rear subframes, so rumors of a complex and “sub-optimal” multilink front suspension must remain rumors for now. Otherwise, the body seems to have some strong potential looks-wise. Let’s just hope the entire package is able to deliver something better than what the rumors are suggesting, otherwise GM will have squandered yet another opportunity to crack the lucrative 3-Series market.
American Traffic Solutions (ATS) on Friday advanced toward its goal of reactivating the red light cameras to Houston, Texas. A majority of voters demanded in a November ballot vote that the cameras be taken down, but US District Court for the Southern District of Texas Judge Lynn N. Hughes believes the people had no right to vote.
The ruling was a major victory for the legal strategy of ATS General Counsel George Hittner, who worked with the Houston city attorney to create a lawsuit in which city officials, who want the cameras back, sued ATS, which also wants the cameras back. The case was not filed in state court, which would be the proper venue. Instead, Hittner had the case filed in the federal courthouse where his father happens to serve.
Photo enforcement vendor American Traffic Solutions last month filed a federal lawsuit against one of its own top employees. Michael J. Lenza worked for ATS as senior vice president for financial services from September 30, 2006 to May 13, 2011. Lenza’s job was to solicit business, but ATS now charges the former executive with secretly building a client base of his own on company time. (Read More…)
An executive from American Traffic Solutions, a purveyor of red light cameras, has been suspended after being exposed for posing as an area resident in 43 comments on red light camera-related stories at the Everett Herald. The Herald reported last Friday
Some readers have suggested “W Howard” has been posting comments as part of a marketing campaign run by American Traffic Solutions, Inc. The Scottsdale-based company contracts to provide enforcement camera services in Lynnwood and Seattle. It had inked a similar deal in Mukilteo last year, then [anti-camera activistTim] Eyman pushed for a public vote. Upshot: no cameras in Mukilteo, and a spreading movement around Washington that has growing numbers of people asking questions about enforcement camera technology.
Heraldnet.com requires that people who wish to post comments supply us with a live email address at the time they create their user account. “W Howard” gave an address at American Traffic Solutions. It is one used by Bill Kroske, vice president of business development at ATS. Somebody techie here ran down the internet protocol address that’s being used for “W Howard’s” posts. The electronic trail led straight back to Kroske’s company in Scottsdale.
Kroske pitched Mukilteo on the cameras. He recently was in Bellingham, suggesting a similar arrangement. He’s been the public face of American Traffic Solutions in arranging camera contracts in Washington.
ATS spokesman Charley Territo (whom TTAC readers may remember from his days as spokesman for the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers and TTAC guest editorialist) tells the Spokane Spokesman-Review (where, it turns out, Kroske had left nine pro-camera comments) that his co-worker had expressed his uncontrollable pro-camera passions “the wrong way” by not identifying himself and posing as a local resident. Ya think? [Hit the jump for a full statement from ATS President James Tuton].
Meanwhile, are there any TTAC commenters who have something they need to get off their chests?
The initiative effort to give voters a say in whether red light cameras and speed cameras are used has spread to a fifth city in Washington state. The group BanCams.com began circulating petitions in Redmond, kicking off an effort on Saturday to gather the 3845 signatures required to put the measure on the ballot. The referendum petition follows the language used in Bellingham, Longview, Monroe and Wenatchee where signatures have been gathered since January.
“The city of Redmond and for-profit companies contracted by the city of Redmond may not install or use automatic ticketing cameras to impose fines from camera surveillance unless such a system is approved by a majority vote of the city council and a majority vote of the people at an election,” Redmond Initiative Number One states.
A federal lawsuit seeks damages against a rental car company for allowing the photo enforcement firm American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to place charges on the credit cars of customers without their consent. North Carolina resident Dwight Simonson filed the case in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey earlier this year and hopes it will be certified as a class action. Simonson had rented a Hertz automobile in Orlando, Florida on June 23, 2009 and was outraged to find himself being billed $10.75 by ATS for a 75 cent toll. Since 2005, the New Jersey-based Hertz Corporation has worked with ATS through a program known as PlatePass through which renters can use toll roads with a built-in payment system. Frequent travelers have expressed outrage over the automatic billing for various forms of traffic fines they consider excessive. Simonson argues that the program is intended to defraud renters.
A team of experienced class action lawyers is taking on California’s red light camera industry, and photo enforcement companies are expressing unease. Last month, the law firm of Pearson Simon Warshaw and Penny, LLP filed suit in San Mateo County Superior Court arguing that tickets issued throughout the Golden State since January 1, 2004 should be refunded where the photo enforcement contracts violated a state law mandating flat-rate compensation to companies like Redflex Traffic Systems. Redflex referred to the case as a particular business risk in an August 25 filing with the Australian Securities Exchange.
American Traffic Solutions (ATS) and its subcontractors have spent $230,648 in an effort to deprive voters in Baytown and Houston, Texas of a chance to decide whether red light cameras should be used in their city. On November 2, residents will likely have the chance to adopt charter amendments banning the use of automated ticketing machines, although ATS lawyers are working overtime to attempt to have the courts overturn the citizen-led petition drive. Earlier this month a similar ATS-funded legal attack failed in Mukilteo, Washington, but the company last year had some success finding a judge in College Station willing to overrule the public.