DETROIT — Cadillac is moving forward with the often-teased ATS, a model slated for a 2012 debut and aimed straight at the Infiniti G37, Mercedes C-Class and other German and Japanese competitors in the entry-premium segment.
Cadillac is in the midst of a renaissance. Again. Still. The 2008 CTS paved the way, the Converj is set to follow, and the XTS is set to put the stodgy old Seville and Deville to rest. But Caddy's also preparing to launch an attack on the entry-level end of the luxury market. And according to word on the street, it'll be a full-on assault.
When the "small" Cadillac model dubbed ATS debuts for 2012 – the smart money's on the Los Angeles Auto Show in December – it'll be spearheaded by a four-door sedan, targeting the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G37. But like the offerings from BMW and Infiniti, the sedan won't be the end of the story. According to an inside source speaking to Inside Line, the ATS will also breed a wagon, a coupe and a convertible.
Whether the convertible will use a folding metal roof or a conventional rag top remains to be decided, but whatever form it takes, one thing's for sure: General Motors remains very serious about Cadillac, and so should the competition.
"We're finalizing the four-door showcar of the ATS first," a well-placed source told Inside Line. "Then we'll follow quickly after with a wagon, a coupe and a convertible."
A debate regarding the convertible is whether to go with a folding hardtop or a sturdy weight- and space-saving ragtop in the style of the last Audi A4 and the new A5/S5. The source said Cadillac is currently "not too sure about the compromises of a folding hardtop."
Whether we see the ATS sedan prototype in October in Paris or December in Los Angeles remains unclear, but the source hinted at L.A. as the right spot for the biggest splash.
Inside Line says: The crisis and GM bankruptcy seemingly haven't made Cadillac falter in its plans. — Matt Davis, Correspondent