Cadillac has announced plans to build a smaller sedan at its Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Michigan. This is in addition to the STS sedan and CTS sedan, coupe, and wagon already produced there. It is believed the new sedan will carry the ATS name and be marketed below the current CTS, targeting the BMW 3 series. The ATS is expected to be built on the new Alpha platform, going on sale in the 2012 model year.
The new Alpha platform is expected to have the capability to accept a wide variety of engines in its basic rear wheel drive (RWD) configuration and also adapt itself to all wheel drive (AWD) for those vehicles featuring it. There is a strong possibility this new platform will be shared with the third generation Cadillac CTS and the sixth generation Chevrolet Camaro.
General Motors will spend $190 million to upgrade the Michigan plant to build these new vehicles. Including this investment, GM has invested more than $3 billion in U.S. plants, creating or preserving more than 7,000 jobs since their bankruptcy reorganization was completed 14 months ago. All of this reinvestment is leading up to an expected IPO for the new GM in mid-November.
GM is hoping for success they have not previously found in the small car market. For those of you who remember, the Cimarron of the late 1980s and the Catera of the late 1990s did not enjoy a stellar reputation. In recent years, General Motors has come a long way toward overcoming its past quality issues. Let’s hope the ATS will continue this trend of improving quality and allow Cadillac a foothold in the small luxury car market.