The ATS Goes Long In Its Target Market

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
the ats goes long in its target market

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.

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16 of 90 comments
  • Ihatejalops Ihatejalops on Jan 26, 2014

    Cadillac still trying to copy instead of being different, such a shame. Wake me when they actually make a car that's what a Cadillac was always supposed to be. Don't worry GM, everyone will buy it. I think that all of us here couldn't get jobs at GM because I think the requirement for employment is abject incompetence with an MBA degree.

    • See 6 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 30, 2014

      @Ihatejalops With the low #s of SRX I see driving around, I wouldn't think they sold so many. WHERE are they selling them?

  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Jan 26, 2014

    The modern preference for room is Escalade. Today's chauffeured want HEIGHT & stretch. Good Lord to think a Versa has more rear room then a luxo-sedan? ATS is gloved towards folks with adolescents off to boarding school or empty nested. I spy Canada Goose jacket - brand image you never get value on.

  • Carguy Carguy on Jan 27, 2014

    I think most folks here seem to misunderstand the intent of the ATS. The ATS is an attempt to expand the brand beyond limos, old folks and people with a cigar aficionado subscriptions. It isn't a family hauler - it is aimed at those who like to drive - you know those people that keep wailing in the comment section that the E46 3 series was the best car ever. If you want a family hauler then Cadillac offers plenty of other model that will do that, namely the SRX, CTS, XTS or Escalade.

    • See 4 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 30, 2014

      @28-Cars-Later Just was about to say this. Single men and women have the CTS, and married old people have the XTS.

  • 3Deuce27 3Deuce27 on Jan 30, 2014

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