By on May 9, 2018

Image: General Motors

Yesterday, we brought you the latest evidence that Cadillac’s ATS sedan will disappear from the market a year before its coupe sibling bites the dust. While a message sent to General Motors initially proved fruitless, dawn brings confirmation that Cadillac’s smallest offering will ditch the four-door format at the end of the current model year.

Don’t worry, entry-level Caddy buyers, there will be a replacement.

Donny Nordlicht, product communications specialist at Cadillac, says the sedan’s discontinuation is needed to get the ball rolling on retooling efforts at GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly plant.

“This year will bring forth significant changes to our product portfolio, most notably with the introduction of the all-new XT4 SUV as well as concluding the successful lifecycle of the ATS Sedan in North America,” Nordlicht wrote in an email. “The ATS Coupe, which is on a later lifecycle, will continue into 2019.”

Image: General Motors

Nordlicht said GM is “managing” the production rate and inventory levels of the sedan to ensure its availability through the end of the year. While the ATS sedan’s sales fell precipitously since 2013 — its first full year of U.S. sales — the first quarter of 2018 saw volume grow 18.4 percent compared to the same period a year before.

For 2019, the ATS and ATS-V coupes carry on the model nameplate until a successor arrives. Under the plan hatched by former Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, the ATS, CTS, and XTS will disappear after 2019, replaced by two strategically positioned sedans. de Nysschen envisioned the smaller of the two serving as a BMW 3 Series fighter.

“Production of the ATS Sedan is ending due to extensive plant upgrades, expansion and re-tooling to prepare for the next generation of Cadillac sedans,” said Nordlicht. “Cadillac’s future sedan portfolio will consist of three sedans, positioned in different segments and clearly differentiated by size and price. The CT6 will continue as the brand’s prestige sedan and will play also the lead role as a new technology platform for Cadillac, as evidenced by the debut of Super Cruise semi-autonomous technology in the 2018 CT6.”

As the smallest Art & Science sedan shuffles off this mortal coil, it’s likely we’ll see future sedans adopt styling cues from the Escala concept. That name could even appear on a future Cadillac vehicle, if a previous report proves true.

[Images: General Motors]

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62 Comments on “Confirmed: Cadillac ATS Sedan Won’t Return for 2019...”

  • avatar

    “concluding the successful lifecycle of the ATS Sedan in North America”

    LOL. Now that is funny. Successful by what metric?

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      In the fine informative tradition of Baghdad Bob, we now have Detroit Donny.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis


      6 years on the Market
      ~150,000 sold in North America
      Good part of R&D costs getting picked up by the Chinese version(ATS-L)
      Resale values comprable to the Germans
      Won most comparison tests
      Buried Cadillacs poor small car legacy

      • 0 avatar


        Of the 150k ATS sedans sold in the US, how many were fleet purchases? In other words, how many were sold at fire sale prices to rental car companies as opposed to the more profitable retail level?

        The ATS sedan is/was a 4 door 2 seater with a leather lined parcel shelf in back. That’s why it didn’t move more and that’s why it’s being axed. And it’s not priced competitively.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis


          I was going to buy an Escalade, but I very rarely have anyone in my backseat. When I do its usually my 25 year old son, and he doesn’t complain because he gets to drive the car. Plus its much easier to navigate Chicago streets in an ATS.

          Plus I get to blow away idiots driving BMW 328is all the time.

          • 0 avatar

            Escalade sucks aside from the motor (assuming 6.2).

            Horrible ride, cheap GM parts-bin parts (mainly from China, Mexico, Thailand, etc), terrible problem with harmonic vibration throughout chassis at certain speeds (way to go Guangzhou Motors), and ridiculously inefficient interior space.

            If you want same issues you can get them for 50%-70% of the price in a Tahoe or Suburban.

            “Cadillac. The Standard of 2nd and 3rd Tier Automotive Machine Shops in China’s Automotive Zone.”

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            @DeadWeight a.k.a Kia fanboy

            Most people by them just for the “Ridiculously Inefficient Interior Space”
            “Harmonic vibration at certain speeds” Isn’t that just the title of a Stormy Daniels movie?

            The Average buyer is tossing down $83K for an Escalade. It is the best selling vehicle at that price. That many people are not going to be spending that kind of cash on a vehicle that sucks.

          • 0 avatar

            Peter, you,re hopelessly clueless and an obvious Guangzhou Motor sales-lizard of some sort.

            I’ve never touted KIAs or Hyundai (though they are far better made, more reliable vehicles – due to better executive leadership, not with blame falling on line workers) than typical (nearly any) Guangzhou Motors rolling dumpster fires.

            Guangzhou Motors has 3 competitive vehicles in their sickly, overpriced, unreliable, scrap lineup, being 1) the normally aspirated 7th gen Corvette, 2) The Silverado/Sierra (even with major Red Star China and other high % of foreign, 2nd world-made components in them), and 3) The Tahoe/Suburban.

            That’s it. That’s entirety of the competitive worth that Guangzhou Motors fields as a “global” automaker.

            GM is a cut-rate automaker run by total imbeciles and totally inept morons occupying the Silver Silos, existing today completely and only due to a forced American taxpayer bailout.

            Every other current vehicle they make is either garbage and/or massively overpriced (usually both), with horrific resale value and atrocious reliability and durability.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis


          Since the average 3 year old ATS has held its value better than the average 3 year old BMW 3 series. My guess is very few went to rental fleets.

          BTW- judging from the comment you left yesterday. That 10 year old of yours sounds like a spoiled brat.

          • 0 avatar

            LMAO. Loses on facts alone, calls out a 10 year old. This is the kind of hard hitting comments we can expect boys!

          • 0 avatar

            That’s part of the reason why JdN and Ren Cen didn’t see “eye to eye.”

            JdN cut back on fleet sales and kept a tight reigns on lease deals and incentives.

            There’s a reason why things have sudden;y changed w/ $$ on hood for the Escalade and even for the XT5.

      • 0 avatar

        In that same time period BMW sold ~500,000 3 series (not including the 4 series that competes with the ATS coupe- which is another ~170,000 sales) in the US, Mercedes ~420,000 C classes, and Audi 195,000 A4s (+~86,000 A5s) and we are suppose to think the ATS has been some huge success?

  • avatar

    Maybe if the interior wasn’t so low-rent it would be a nice starting block for someone new to the brand, but that gauge cluster in particular is unforgivable. The thing front-and-center to the owner and driver that they look at the most on the car.

    • 0 avatar

      Name another small car that has soft touch on the whole inside door or felt lined map pockets starting at $29K?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s depressing that we’ve been making these suggestions for the last 6 years. Even before the ATS came to be, I knew it would be a flop.

      • 0 avatar

        What’s even more depressing is that GM heard our cries, and did nothing to fix the car instead. Any decent car company would have fixed it after all the complaints. Even Mazda, which can’t sell the 6 to save its life, has upgraded the car twice to fix the two biggest complaints, noise (added insulation) and power (turbo).

      • 0 avatar

        For posterity (the following post was a full 18 months after experiencing, hating and predicting the spectacular fail that is the ATS – keep that in mind; I predicted the utter failure in 2013, or 5 years ago):

        April 30th, 2015 at 11:11 am
        {GM Planning Session Regarding Design & Engineering of Future ATS – Code Name 3-series-slaya’- Circa 2010.}

        Design/Engineering staff members have been seated. Meeting commenced.

        Team Member 1 – “Whew. We’re alive still. Okay, as you are aware, this has to conquest sales from the liked of BMW’s 3 series, so with that in mind, let us focus on what we can change in design phase, now, to ensure it succeeds in that role. Suggestions?”

        Team Member 7 – “It’s motor is too large. Let’s go with a base 4, and an optional 6, just like the 3.”

        Team Member 4 – “He’s right. Gotta be a 4 banger.”

        Team Member 9 – “Really? Can we at least make it FI? Mike?”

        Team Member 1 – “Yeah. We need to do that if we’re going 4 cylinder…”

        Team Member 7 – “Fine. I’m just staying on message…”

        Team Member 1 – “What about back seat. This has come up.”

        Team Member 4 – “The 3 is tight back there. I could barely fit a child safety seat in rear of the passenger seat, and my wife is only 5’3″.”

        Team Member 3 – “Yep. We need a super tight rear seat. This is taking on the best of the Germans after all. Rear seat room should be like, totally an afterthought.”

        Team Member 1 – “So, rear seat passengers really need to suffer for the handling and 3-ness of it all?”

        Team Member 5 – “Yeah! We’re not playin’ around. Make it really, really cramped!”

        Team Member 3 – “Exactly. Shows we’re very serious about performance, damn1t!.”

        Team Member 1 – “Okay.” {Jots down notes for design changes}

        Team Member 1 – “Now, trunk.”

        Team Member 4 – “Smaller than 3. For weight/performance’s sake.”

        Team Member 3 – “Agreed.”

        Team Member 5 – “Yep.”

        Team Member 1 – “Smaller? Okay.” {Jots down notes for design changes}

        Team Member 1 – “Cue. Changes?”


        Team Member 1 – {Muttering and jots down notes} “Keep…Cue…same.”

        Team Member 1 – “Suspension?”

        Team Members 3, 4, 5 and 9 in unison – “Really harsh!”

        Team Member 1 – {Muttering and writing} “Harsher.. than…3.”

        Team Member 1 – “Okay. Gauges are an issue as depicted. Bean counters say too costly. Parts bin it?”

        Team Member 3 – “Parts bin it! Tight rear! Punishing ride! 4 banger! Tiny trunk! Even more so than 3 Series! Priorities!”

        Team Member 1 – “Agreed?”

        Chorus of “Agreed!”

        Team Member 1 – “Okay. Big one. Price? Suggestions? I’ll open with it’s as good as a 3 Series, am I right?”

        Team Member 5 – “As good as? As good as?”

        Team Member 3 – “Back seat, better! Ride, better! Trunk, better! It even has a 4 cylinder base motor, like the 3!!!”

        Team Member 7 – “Gotta be priced like a 3.”

        Team Members 3 & 5 in unison – “Damn straight!”

        Team Member 1 – {Jots notes} That’s it for now, but we’ll be on continuation as we work with accounting, who will probably gut a lot of what we do anyways.”

        {Laughter erupts.}

        Team Member 1 – “Thanks, guys. Let’s adjourn until next month or whenever.”

    • 0 avatar

      I’m currently in the position of looking for a replacement for my ATS coupe since the lease is ending, and it really is hard to find a replacement with all the features i want for the same price.

      For one, i actually like the gauge cluster. People complain about it, but it has a lot of customizability and delivers more information than cars on a similar price point.

      For another, i like the giant touchscreen. It’s intuitive and ergonomically perfect for me.

      • 0 avatar

        Buy it out if you like it.

        • 0 avatar

          He could get a MUCH LOWER price and newer ATS by waiting a few months.

          This thing is going to go into toxic shock depreciation freefall mode as few vehicles do as a % of new sticker vs actual sales price (new or used).

          • 0 avatar

            Actually I don’t think it will be as pronounced as before.

            MY17 Cadillac ATS Coupe V6 RWD Luxury

            2/27/18 $32,000 6,231 4.4 6G/A Blue
            11/30/17 $31,300 4,387 4.1 6 G/A Blue

            MY17 Cadillac ATS Coupe V6 AWD Luxury Prem

            5/1/18 $25,500 11,672 -6G/A Silver Regular Northeast NY Metro Skyline
            4/29/18 $35,000 760 4.6 6G/A Black Lease Midwest Arena Illinois
            12/21/17 $30,600 10,587 4.66 G/A Purple- -Midwest Detroit
            11/10/17 $30,500 1,579 4.86 G/A Black- -Northeast Pennsylvania
            9/20/17 $35,500 14,411 4.56 G/A Blue- -Midwest Milwaukee
            8/9/17$ 35,000 4,462 4.5 6G/A Blue- -Midwest Milwaukee

  • avatar

    Let’s hope they get the pricing right this time.

  • avatar

    Stupid car with half baked engineering. How the LT1 never made it into this car will be a question that mystifies automotive historians for centuries on.

  • avatar

    That’s true Norm. I don’t understand all the GM bashing on here, I get that GM has made some mistakes, but they are building reliable quality cars that’s competitive.

    I was actually able to sit inside a lightly used 18 ATS at my local Chevy dealer and I was shockingly impressed by the ATS interior. The door panels do feel nice and thickly padded. But was it a real Cadillac in my eyes?? Hell no!! Cadillac shouldn’t be building small cars period, it’s just not who they are and buyers will probably never take a small high performance Caddy seriously anyways. So it’s a good thing that it’s going away.

    On the flip side, I sat in a 14 Benz E-Class and was extremely disappointed in how crappy the interior looked and felt for such an expensive car, lots of cheap plastic for a Benz. The ATS was far better in looks and in quality of fit and materials.

  • avatar

    There may be a lot of good features for the ATS, however, IMHO, there are fatal flaws. The back seats are useless, the display is depressingly cheap and the base engine is low rent. A luxury car should make you feel good when you drive it. A cramped interior, cheap features in your face and a lackluster engine don’t cut it. No matter how great the chassis might be, how wonderful the V engines might be, if the trim you’re able to afford is economy car lever, why would you ever pop for the bigger payment?

  • avatar

    Great car to drive…but as everyone else has said, lots of distressingly bad decisions made on the interior.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps TTAC should start a deathwatch for US sedans…

    • 0 avatar

      You can drive the ATS up until the moment the Chinese-spec motor blows due to defective piston –

      I could link a thousand threads to the Guangzhou Motors hand grenade 2.0T motor.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I need to get back into an ATS because I am at a loss as to what it offers that would be superior to the Regal.
    I test drove an ATS in about 2014 and it was nice except for the infuriating touch controls.
    My GS has knobs and buttons for everything which is great, except for the seat warmer and temperature controls. Trying to change the temperature is an embarrassingly futile stabbing of the “screen” and it’s easily the worst part of the car.
    Please, everyone, stop with the touch controls! It would be a deal breaker for me if I were to be considering an ATS over something with regular controls.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven one of these, its an absolute hoot to drive. Feels like a 4 door Miata, yes the chassis/steering/handling is that damn good. Also I like the look of it.

    The thing is, and why I didn’t buy one, is the interior sucks. Not only is it tight(back seat especially), but the materials suck, the design sucks, the gauge cluster sucks, the buttons suck, the CUE infotainment system REALLY sucks. I could live with the interior if it had a conventional standard GM screen and buttons like you find on an Impala, Buick or Chevy truck. But no, Cadillac has to be different and offer something worse for an inflated price.

    • 0 avatar

      Am I the only one who actually likes Cadillac’s infotainment? I like the touchscreen, and having all that space for storage behind haptic feedback panel is amazing.

      The only downside is the volume controls, but as the driver i control that exclusively from the steering wheel anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve only used CUE on a day rental in an XTS and didn’t think it was terrible. Sure, it’s no Uconnect, but it wasn’t as maddening like the press made it out to be. Maybe I’m somewhat used to not having a physical volume knob, like on our 16 Accord, but you get over that quickly with the steering wheel control.

        I don’t “like” CUE, but it gets a “meh” from me. Better than the Acura/Lexus systems.

      • 0 avatar

        I had the most recent system in a car for two days recently. Approached with open mind.
        The Bluetooth is probably the best I’ve used in any brand. They got the telephony part right.
        The sound of the Bose system is decent, and I’m not a Bose guy generally.
        The Satnav was pretty smart for an in dash.
        This one had CarPlay so there was that, but you could live without it, I’d not buy or not buy on that or god forbid, rent it. (at least they aren’t pulling that one)
        I enjoyed being able to go between aux in and bluetooth, and hearing a significant difference..
        The actual electronics pack is good for an OE.

        The haptic is a good idea on a test bench. It’s probably cheaper than knobs. It isn’t good in a moving vehicle.

        Likewise, the small icons at the bottom of the screen. You have to hit the touchscreen in a half inch box, easy at home but not moving. Any in car where you actively have to look is a fail. While driving you can hit the volume bar by accident…wait for box to drop off screen…and try again. what road ?

        BMW was loathed for i Drive, but the concept of touch the big knob and it feeds back differently in different functions was brilliant. Even later, with buttons, it still is mostly a no look system.

        Humans haven’t changed. on/off, volume, tune. Heat, AC and fan. Mix hot/cold air. How complicated can they make this ?

        Saw an issue on-line with the CUE screens cracking in a spider web starting from the corners. My FIL had one die and was replaced under warranty in the XTS, but 1300 (?) otherwise supposedly.

  • avatar

    At least Cadillac will always be better than Lincoln. I see Lincolns future as nothing more than a hand full of uninspiring SUVs.

    Cadillac still produces the best performing American sedans. There is a reason they have won several North American car of the year awards in the last decade.

  • avatar

    I really need to go back and find my comments for last year, because it seems as if they are being followed to some point. ATS as a sedan was never a good idea, my guess is bean counters felt they would get more volume from the sedan on initial launch. This doesn’t take into account the then existing Sigma was more than adequate until the Alpha CTS sedan was ready.

    “Don’t worry, entry-level Caddy buyers, there will be a replacement.”

    Yes, there will be a Daewoo for #metoo. Roger Smith is back, baby!

    • 0 avatar

      The idea was fine, but the execution was uneven.

      The timing, though, was ghastly. Cadillac had zero cred in this segment when they introduced it, and the market for this type of car imploded shortly thereafter.

      Shame, because the car’s no-s**t terrific to drive – every bit as good as a 3-series.

      • 0 avatar

        The MY13/14 was not ready for prime time, it had build quality issues, the infamous dash, the 2.0 I believe was breaking pistons in the first few thousands miles (2.0 or 2.5 can’t recall which). There was a reason the incentives were so generous, and the iteration of the platform in 13/14 was too small to be a sedan, period. I realize it was modeled after the E46, but the E46 was designed for Europeans to go short to medium distances with passengers, not taller/fatter Americans. The ATS was simply too small and too stiff for America’s proud lunar landscape. I argue had it been introduced as a coupe, the whole game may have been different.


        Buyers who wanted a coupe or the manual/turbo whatever would still have bought, but casual buyers (or those new to the brand) would have defaulted into the then Sigma CTS, a more mature product and overall better value. I recall doing some figures on this august site in 2016 which demonstrated about 20% of MY13/14 ATS units which traded at Manheim were labeled manual transmission (something like 12 of 50 units I sampled). I seem to recall most being 2.0T, and maybe three being 2.5/manual. So, Cadillac did actually achieve a twenty percent sale rate of manuals which is somewhat impressive given the state of Cadillac and manuals in the USDM, however did a disservice to the other 80% who for the most part did not buy the car for the same reasons. How many young conquest lease customers did they lose because of this embarrassing thing? I’d wager a healthy percentage of ATS sales in this general period were: existing Cadillac customers, GM connected buyers and families, and fleet. Selling just the coupe remedies some of this for the reasons I cite, but it loses out on tremendous volume for Alpha which would not have been replaced until the Camaro adopted the platform. Pontiac would have sold volume, probably for about the same ATPs of the heavily discounted ATS sedans, but of course not to be (although ATS after all was at least half Pontiac when it launched). GM again trades volume for low to negative profits, gaining and then losing conquest customers, and between this and ELR at the time, tarnishes the brand significantly [further].

        They seem to have realized this particular mistake and they will shift the base model into something from Daewoo like Encore, probably a hatch of some kind. Initially this will be successful but depending on the product I think they will be repeating the ATS sedan issue. If you read other comments of the Ecowhatever Ford introduced, its just not good. Very cheap, no power, not very good real world fuel economy, assembled outside of North America (India in this case), and priced far too high. Ford is betting they have an Encore because the initial Buick Encore had all of the same problems sans assembly in SK vs India, and the proles ate it up because they are idiots (in Ford’s case, it may end up a switch car for Escape). If Cadillac does the same, it will most definitely fail after what looks like an initial success. The Cadillac Cimmaron hatch mantra needs to be: content; content; content.

  • avatar

    I want “Concluded His Successful Lifecycle” on my tombstone someday.

  • avatar

    Although the ATS definitely had its flaws, I do think it accomplished the following:

    – Great exterior looks that have aged well. Proved Art & Science was refined to the point where it didn’t age horribly, like the first-gen CTS did. Many “non-car” people I know have said the ATS looks good.

    – Driving dynamics. This car proved that Cadillac could run with – and maybe beat – the Germans in driving experience. This is a very big deal from a brand positioning perspective. Even though most drivers don’t care, and even though trends have moved away from sport-compacts to crossovers, it was important for Caddy / GM to PROVE they had it in them to match the class leaders.

    Imagine if the ATS was FWD like an Acura TSX? Or had horrible steering like the electric steering in the Q50? The ATS gave Cadillac true sports sedan credibility. Just proving they could do it was important. Now that they have proven it, they can move on to other things, and (hopefully) apply this driving dynamic expertise to newer models.

    I personally think the Acura ILX is worlds more embarrassing and brand-damaging than the ATS was to Cadillac — the ILX is a true modern Cimarron vs. the ATS.

    • 0 avatar

      All of that stuff you listed was accomplished better by the 2G CTS.

      • 0 avatar

        2G CTS RWD w/Performance Suspension, which has the CTS V steering box….

        Or, as my wife puts it here in the somewhat competitive areas around NYC, “No one ever expects to get shut down by a middle aged woman in a Cadillac” Ok, so she’s a Skippy school alum, but still…..

        I’ve had a lot of runs with the usual suspects. A certain percentage can run away from me but beyond that, the FE3 package shows that someone at GM gets it. The six isn’t sexy but punches to sixty in six consistently.

    • 0 avatar

      The obvious follow up question is, what is the value of sport sedan credibility in 2018? Or even 2012, when the ATS was announced? The answer is nothing.

      YTD the bad steering Q50 has outsold all the Alpha Caddies combined in the US, handily, and the TLX has as well by a whisker (~100 units). As I called 6 years ago Americans do not give a crap about ‘Ring tuning and Brembo brakes™… especially if those come with cheap, cramped interiors, bad pricing, weak brands and generic looks.

      Caddy’s fortunes would have been completely different with an expansion of the Escalade sub brand and an Epsilon based concept car looking PHEV.

      Just to drive the point home, the ancient Chrysler 300 outsells all of Cadillac’s sedans (XTS included) combined. If Americans want a German car they will buy one. American cars have to be American.

  • avatar

    I really like the look of newer Caddys. I’ve wanted to drive one to see for myself the good reviews of their handling. But every time I do, I look at my 18-yr-old Lexus and think, “will that Caddy be as reliable as this?” The answer is always no. I hate being so knee-jerk about it, but that’s the hole GM has dug.

  • avatar

    ““This year will bring forth significant changes to our product portfolio, most notably with the introduction of the all-new XT4 SUV as well as concluding the successful lifecycle of the ATS Sedan in North America,” Nordlicht wrote in an email”

    He clearly was going through Baghdad Johann’s notes.

    I bet that ELR concluded a successful lifecycle too.

  • avatar

    Guess it’s a matter of semantics, but the one could say that the ATS is simply continuing under the CT5 nameplate (both the ATS, CTS, as well as the XTS nameplates were going away anyway to align w/ Cadillac’s new naming scheme).

    While there were other issues w/ the ATS, it would have sold better here if came in the ATS-L LWB form that the China market gets.

    But despite its age, it still get rave reviews for its handling/driving dynamics due to its excellent chassis – which, unfortunately, due to its tight packaging constraints, was ultimately its downfall.

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