|Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.|
DETROIT -- The 2013 Cadillac ATS sends a signal about General Motors' future product strategy.
Simply, GM now has a compact rear-wheel-drive platform that's available to other brands.
The ATS is Caddy's BMW 3-series fighter. The ATS' driving dynamics were groomed on the legendary Nurburgring race track in Germany, the same track BMW uses to fine-tune its models.
The Cadillac team isn't shy, and in conversations Sunday night at the ATS' unveiling, it was clear the brand's executives expect the ATS to make mincemeat out of "the ultimate driving machine." The ATS' world debut took place at Detroit's College for Creative Studies, 10 minutes from the Detroit auto show, which opened today.
My first impression of the ATS is thumbs up -- Cadillac's styling team has created an exciting design, a car that will draw new buyers to the brand. This is a car that must be seen in person to be appreciated -- the photos don't do justice to the ATS. The sedan debuts this summer, followed next year by other variants, one of which is a coupe.
I predict the ATS will be a sales hit, and in 2013 or 2014 will become Cadillac's top-selling model.
As for GM's rwd platform, expect at least one other brand to get a rwd model, maybe two. Simply, with its global engineering strategy, GM does not develop exclusive platforms for just one brand.
Wouldn't a compact two-seat sports car be a nice addition to the Cadillac line?