Cadillac ATS Coupe, Subcompact Crossover May Be in Cadillac's Future

Cadillac ATS Coupe, Subcompact Crossover May Be in Cadillac's Future

Just the Facts:
  • Cadillac plans to beef up its portfolio in the next decade and may include an ATS coupe, a two-passenger sports car and a subcompact crossover.
  • The redesigned Cadillac Escalade's interior will be more luxurious.
  • A flagship sedan positioned above the Cadillac XTS is said to be nearing production.

DETROIT — Cadillac plans to expand its model line this decade and the beefed-up portfolio may include a Cadillac ATS coupe, a two-passenger sports car and a subcompact crossover, Edmunds learned at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.

"We know Cadillac is a growth engine for our company and to be the type of growth engine we want, we need a more robust line of vehicles," said Bob Ferguson, Cadillac's global vice president, in an interview.

Ferguson said GM is studying a range of proposals for Cadillac that includes a two-passenger sports car, an ATS coupe and a subcompact crossover. If approved, the sports car likely would be developed on a shortened version of the ATS rear-drive vehicle platform. News reports say a flagship sedan positioned above the XTS is nearing production.

As for a subcompact crossover, "market research shows there is a substantial demand for a product in that segment that would appeal to younger people in urban settings here and the markets we plan to complete in globally," Ferguson said.

"We are studying it hard and working hard to make a decision," he added.

Cadillac's model line consists of the ATS, CTS, SRX, XTS and the Escalade. A sixth model, the sporty ELR coupe, will go on sale in the first quarter of 2014. The ELR, which was introduced at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, shares the Chevrolet Volt's plug-in hybrid technology.

"We are doing a lot of business planning right now," Ferguson said. "What does the portfolio need to look like? Where are the opportunities beyond North America where we should concentrate? China is obvious."

However, unlike Buick, which also sells models that are exclusively designed and engineered for China, Cadillac will not develop a China-specific vehicle.

"It doesn't make sense to me," Ferguson said.

Clay Dean, GM's director of global advanced design, told Edmunds that Cadillac cannot afford to compete model-by-model with the German brands, so it needs to carefully pick those models that potentially have the highest sales volume globally. Dean is responsible for Cadillac's current design strategy.

In other Cadillac news, Ferguson said Cadillac is responding to criticism by Cadillac Escalade owners that the SUV's interior needs to be more luxurious. Some Escalade owners, specifically those who own a Chevrolet Silverado pickup or Tahoe SUV, have told Cadillac that the Escalade shares too many design elements with Chevrolet.

For example, the door panels in the $80,000-plus Escalade are identical to those on the $45,000 Chevrolet Tahoe. The instrument panel design also is similar. The redesigned 2014 Escalade is expected late this year.

"The new Escalade interior will share no components with other GM products," Ferguson said. "It will be fantastic. I am very excited about it."

Another criticism from Escalade owners cites that the third-row seat, a heavy two-piece design, must be removed to expand the cargo area's capacity. Other luxury makes have third-row seats that fold flat into the floor so there is no need to remove the seat.

Edmunds says: Cadillac will give the green light to a subcompact crossover and it will debut around the 2016 model year.

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