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Cadillac will develop entry-level sedan, de Nysschen says
Mike Colias
Automotive News
January 12, 2015

DETROIT -- Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said sales of the ATS compact sedan have been hurt by the Mercedes CLA and other lower-priced recent entries, and he plans to respond with an entry-level sedan of his own.

The ATS "is being compared to the new entrants that have come on in this exploding market segment populated by CLA and the Audi A3 sedan," de Nysschen said on the sidelines of the auto show here. "Suddenly, you have access to a Mercedes-Benz at $30,000, whereas the ATS is starting several thousand dollars higher."

De Nysschen said Cadillac is developing an entry level sedan slotted below the ATS to fend off those rivals, calling it a "big priority."

Unlike the front-wheel-drive layout of the CLA -- which is less expensive to develop and typically allows for more interior space -- Cadillac plans to build its future entry-level sedan on the same rwd platform that underpins the ATS, codenamed Alpha.

"The cost and packaging advantages of front-wheel drive are appealing. But Cadillac is the challenger brand," de Nysschen said. "We want to build our reputation as a purveyor of high-performance drivers' cars … so it's better that we do it off a rear-wheel drive architecture."
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Unlike the front-wheel-drive layout of the CLA -- which is less expensive to develop and typically allows for more interior space -- Cadillac plans to build its future entry-level sedan on the same rwd platform that underpins the ATS, codenamed Alpha.

"The cost and packaging advantages of front-wheel drive are appealing. But Cadillac is the challenger brand," de Nysschen said. "We want to build our reputation as a purveyor of high-performance drivers' cars … so it's better that we do it off a rear-wheel drive architecture."
Amen to that.

He's right that the packaging advantages with offering a FWD-based product are huge. Not to mention that, in offering such a product, it's likely to share parts with other GM products and can get to market much more quickly. But in doing so, it wouldn't "stand out" among the other entrants in GM's stable --- or in this market segment for that matter.

Good for him for sticking to his guns. I didn't know that Alpha could technically be shrunk enough to offer such a product, but look forward to seeing the final product.
 

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Though it would seem that initially the sub-ATS would be exclusive to Cadillac, could this lead to a Code 130r type of vehicle? Sounds like GM may have figured out how to build a lower cost Alpha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I thought the ATS was entry level.
At one time perhaps, but not anymore. It wasn't that long ago that the 3-Series, C-Class, and A4 (not to mention the IS, G35, etc), were considered "entry-level". The market has moved on and now all the "big boys" have pushed into lower rungs of the market with offerings like the A3, CLA, and 1-Series. This was partially due to growing government mandates and fuel-economy concerns, consumers' "changing tastes", and the "failure" of some luxury brands in moving "down-range" under different brands (i.e. BMW's fiasco with the former Rover Group; Mercedes' disaster of a marriage with Chrysler, etc).

What's more, if you look at what they sell in markets around the world, some of these manufacturers have at some point gone "lower". Benz has the A-Class and B-Class (upon which the CLA is based) in Europe; Audi had the A2 for years and now has the A1; and BMW is going to rechristen the current RWD 1-Series as the 2-Series, then offer a slate of FWD products as the "new 1-Series".

Point is, the reach of luxury marques is growing. Even if such A- or B-segment products aren't offered in America (i.e. A1/A-Class-sized offerings), Caddy's success around the world in markets like Europe and Asia will undoubtedly hinge on offering them at some point down the line.
Though it would seem that initially the sub-ATS would be exclusive to Cadillac, could this lead to a Code 130r type of vehicle? Sounds like GM may have figured out how to build a lower cost Alpha.
Very well may be. If GM hopes to eventually offer Chevrolet-badged rival to products like the Scion FR-S and Subie BRZ, this could be the way to do it.

However, I'm intrigued to see what other products could be spun from such a platform. Could the platform support some kind of Z4 rival or maybe a sub-SRX crossover?
 

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I didn't know that Alpha could technically be shrunk enough to offer such a product, but look forward to seeing the final product.
I would imagine it's likely that ATS will become the ATS-L from china along with a slightly smaller alpha for the sub-ATS to better stretch the dimensions further. But who knows how much flexibility is baked into it..
 

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I would imagine it's likely that ATS will become the ATS-L from china along with a slightly smaller alpha for the sub-ATS to better stretch the dimensions further. But who knows how much flexibility is baked into it..
If that's true --- and your solution seems very plausible --- would that eventually create some kind of sizing-overlap with the CTS?
 
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I thought the ATS was entry level.
It *is* entry level. The problem is, the market shifted and Cadillac was too slow to respond. And Cadillac should have seen it coming because the Audi A3 had been in the US market for YEARS.

My argument is that this is the first move I do not agree with from de Nysschen. Cadillac has no business moving DOWN a tier at this stage, as that would adversely affect the ATS. And Cadillac hasn't even proven that they can sell the ATS in the first place. It might actually better for Cadillac to sell a decontented ATS, similar to how BMW sells the 320i.

That being said, if Cadillac is intent on turning this "sub-ATS" into something similar to the original BMW 1-series -- same platform, just a whole lot smaller, with a specific purpose -- then Cadillac isn't turning this into a "sub-ATS." It's creating a new type of car with a different purpose, i.e. *not* an entry level car but a car that is very sporty, agile, that just happens to be less expensive.

I would be OK with that type of scenario, as it would be a "supporting character" in Cadillac's attempt to redefine itself as a sport performance luxury brand.
 

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For consideration, when I see 'entry level', I'm thinking lowest cost. Spark is an 'entry level Chevrolet.'

Should a sub-ATS Cadillac be called 'entry level'? Perhaps "luxury sub-compact", "luxury city car" or whatever it might end up being.

Personally I think nothing Cadillac should be 'entry level.' Whoever chooses to purchase a sub-ATS should do so because they want a premium small car with premium materials and a premium driving experience. If one is aiming save money, Buick, Opel / Vauxhall and Chevrolet have a number of fine offerings to consider.
 

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But as I said in the other thread, At what price point is Luxury and what does that low price point do to the perceptions of the Luxury brand? Especially one like Cadillac who's trying to be taken seriously in the Luxury market?

Luxury is typified by a higher price and relative exclusivity. Luxury also requires a brand and image of substantial prestige to the buyer.

The reason the Germans have redefined the entry level is because they can, and they have their flagships and halo cars to counterbalance that effect. Cadillac does not. Even presuming the CT6 is on the market but the time sub-ATS comes out, it will not reach high enough to provide any true luxury counterbalance.
CT6 presumably will price at $75-110,000. A8 and 7 price in the $75-165,000 range. S prices in the $92-225,000 range. And for ****s and giggles, the XJ prices in the $75-185,000 range.
 

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He still hasn't actually said the words: it WILL be RWD.
Really? Sounds like he did to me..

"The cost and packaging advantages of front-wheel drive are appealing. But Cadillac is the challenger brand," de Nysschen said. "We want to build our reputation as a purveyor of high-performance drivers' cars … so it's better that we do it off a rear-wheel drive architecture."
 

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It might actually better for Cadillac to sell a decontented ATS, similar to how BMW sells the 320i.
I'm not sure how well GM knows how to de-content anything properly without sacrificing what makes it what it is. You can't really pull all that much from an ATS in terms of materials on the interior as even cloth seats would require unique parts, and then you can't put a cheaper engine in there. So I agree, going "cheaper" isn't in the cards, espicially as it's been said Cadillac is going upmarket. If you want "cheaper", go to a Buick. I'm not saying I perfectly agree with Cadillac - I just want them to say something and then freaking stick to it. GM waffles more on brand direction than presidential candidates after the party primary elections.
i.e. *not* an entry level car but a car that is very sporty, agile, that just happens to be less expensive.
Think the 1-series. The F20 1-series is 170.2" long. That's the perfect size.
Agreed. And if you want it to really be competitive, it's going to need a Hatch/Wagon variant even in the American market.

But the hard part is going to make something smaller physically without sacrificing content or interior materials quality - something GM struggles with already. The 1 series doesn't feel cheaper than the 3 series, it just feels like less - which is actually really hard to do.
 
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