The new ATS is just the cornerstone of Cadillac's strategy to become a serious player in the luxury segment and improve GM's overall profits.
So far, the Detroit Auto Show has been a success for Cadillac: at its main exhibit, the new ATS received a standing ovation from the media who have high expectations of the resurgent car maker. Throughout its development, the ATS was compared to many rivals, particularly BMW. Now that the new car has been unveiled, more questions were raised to Cadillac senior management about the company's future targets and how it is going to challenge BMW and its fellow Germans, as well as Japanese brands.
One aspect of it going global is to have a more substantial presence in more markets around the world and offer cars that can compete in the luxury segment. For that to happen, the ATS alone won't be enough; in fact it should be Cadillac's opening assault. One of the rumors doing the rounds at Detroit was that a new small Cadillac SUV should be challenging the BMW X3. That makes sense; the only problem is that such a vehicle isn't available today at Cadillac showrooms. So Cadillac will have to make one, a process that takes time and consumes lots of money.
"We're looking at options there," Kurt McNeil, Cadillac's vice president of sales was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.com. "I think it would go a little bit more head-to-head with the X3. The fact that Cadillac is becoming more of a global brand will certainly play a role in that decision." What makes BMW such a target are twofold: first, last year it became the biggest luxury brand by sales in the US (though it was the target even before this achievement). More symbolic though is their reputation as great driving machines (rather than status symbols as is the case with Mercedes Benz vehicles).
Lately BMW has revived its legendary slogan "the ultimate driving machine", under which it is going to launch fourteen new models in 2012, compared to Cadillac's one. So if Cadillac's target is challenging BMW it really has to start developing new and more sophisticated vehicles. And if it wants to wrest the slogan from BMW, than we are in for a fascinating duel between the might of old corporate America against the potency of modern Deutschland AG. Photos displayed are of the 2013 Cadillac ATS and BMW 3-Series.