NAIAS 2014: Cadillac ATS Coupe Is Alpha's Final Frontier

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
naias 2014 cadillac ats coupe is alpha s final frontier

The coupe market is declining in the mainstream market, but in the small luxury car segment, a two-door variant is considered a necessity to compete. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Infiniti all have two-door variants of their small sedans, as a way to add volume and give buyers a sportier option. For 2015, Cadillac’s entry wears the ATS nameplate and drops the 2.5L base engine.

Looking a bit more restrained than the outgoing CTS Coupe, the ATS will offer the 2.0T 4-cylinder (with a 6-speed manual option) and the 3.6L V6. Cadillac’s new logo also makes a prominent debut on the coupe’s front end, and the car looks a bit like a scaled down Elmiraj, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Take a good look at the car’s overall shape and you can imagine what the Camaro might look like. As the Chrysler 200 proves, it’s difficult to escape a platform’s “hard points”, but in this case, the Camaro should be tastefully proportioned and hopefully, a bit more compact than the current car.

From a dollars and cents perspective, things get a bit more confusing. Our sources tell us that GM’s rear-drive Alpha platform will be used for this car, the CTS and the Camaro – and that’s it. It’s hard to see how GM will have enough volume to get a good ROI on Alpha. Apparently, GM’s hopes rest on both the Camaro and global sales of the CTS and ATS to achieve these targets.

So far, sales of the ATS have not been promising. The ATS lags behind the big German competitors, its leasing strategy is not going as well as they’d hoped and incentive spending has been far higher than the competition. Global sales of the CTS and ATS also seem t0 be a non-starter, once China is taken out of the equation. European sales of Cadillac are basically inconsequential, and without a strong brand or a diesel option for their cars, they are doomed to linger in obscurity. Even if they look this good.

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  • RHD RHD on Jan 15, 2014

    ATS really stands for what it actually resembles most: Accord Touring Sedan. With a Cadillac crest on the grille.

  • Msquare Msquare on Jan 15, 2014

    It's no coincidence that all these coupes, the Benz, the A5 and the ATS are influenced by the 3 series. BMW defined the segment that traces its roots to the original E9 coupe. As someone who owned an E36 coupe and currently drives an E46, I like it. It definitely borrows a bit from the E92 coupe, but again, that's not a bad thing. It has a definite segment in which it can go toe to toe with the established leaders. And if anyone has a beef about the turbo four, remember the BMW and Audi both feature them standard as well. All Caddy needs now is a suitable ATS-V.

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