Cadillac Going Smaller With Sub-ATS Compact Offering
Sales of compact luxury cars are booming in the U.S. and Cadillac has no intention of being left behind. To that end, they’re working on a compact car that will be smaller, and cheaper, than the Cadillac ATS. The challenge is not just to build the car, but to set it apart from its competitors. Cadillac thinks the answer may be rear-wheel drive. While the Germans are moving toward front-wheel drive, in an interview with Car and Driver, Cadillac marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus said, “What is the reason to buy a Cadillac in that segment in a couple of years’ time when all the German competitors will have front-wheel drive? It is that we are maybe—if we are lucky—the only ones left with rear-wheel drive.” PHOTOS: See More of the 2014 Cadillac ATS
The reason for offering rear-wheel drive has little to do with driving dynamics, instead having more to do with the physical dimensions of the car. The long hood and short overhangs that are possible with a rear-wheel drive car are something that people find appealing, even if they don’t know that it has anything to do with the drivetrain.
PHOTOS: See More of the 2015 Cadillac ATS Crimson Sport
That look becomes harder and harder to pull off as the size of a car shrinks, so for a smaller Cadillac to enter the mix, the ATS may have to grow. Ellinghaus indicated that the next ATS would grow longer, giving more legroom and making it possible for a smaller Cadillac to take the stage.
Given the 2015 launches of the ATS-V, CTS-V, LTS, and SRX, we’re not likely to see this new smaller car anytime soon. Come 2017, however, a baby Cadillac could be on the way.
PHOTOS: See More of the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe