Cadillac revs up its ATS luxury sedan for a sales race with BMW
General Motors is steering its new 2013 Cadillac ATS directly into a traffic jam of car leasing competition in the American market of compact luxury sedans.
Expected in vehicle lease showrooms this summer, the spiffy sedan introduced itself to Super Bowl viewers this month with an ad that featured footage of track testing on Germany's famed Nurburgring. By showing its speed in the backyard of elite German automakers, Cadillac signalled its intent to pass upscale rivals such as the BMW 3 Series.
"The ad showcases what will make ATS a serious new challenger against the world's best compact luxury cars," said GM's global chief marketing officer, Joel Ewanick. "It's an opportunity to reach a big audience with the message that Cadillac is expanding into new territory."
In its effort to stake a claim as a top luxury brand, Cadillac has even assigned designers to perfect the new model’s sound profile. The new ATS will enhance the performance-tuned sound of its engine while muting extraneous noise both inside and out.
"Cadillac customers expect a level of refinement beyond what most cars have," said Kyle Stanforth, a noise and vibration engineer on the Cadillac performance team. "Yes, it's quiet, but it's more than that. They also love to hear that sound of refined power when they ask for it. So when you open it up, you not only feel the power, you hear it too."
However, as Cadillac pulls into the fast lane, it may find the road crowded with other sporty models that are eager to challenge BMW for luxury sedan sales, experts say. Additional contenders in the sector include the Acura ILX, Lincoln MKZ, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A- and B-class models, according to USA Today.
Manufacturers hope these modestly sized, entry or gateway models will attract a new generation of buyers as the American economy continues to rebound and shoppers find additional cash in their pockets. These new models may be smaller than traditional executive-class luxury cruisers, but their sleeker silhouettes and lighter weights can grant them faster acceleration and better gas mileage.
Another competition point is sticker price, and some automakers are hoping that customers see their low-end luxury models as economical alternatives to the standard brands. Entries in that slot include the Buick Verano and Lexus CT 200h.
Only time will tell how markets resolve this competition. In the meantime, BMW will continue to build cars for brisk American sales. New models include the $35,795 328 sedan and the $43,295 335i. Together, the 3 Series family accounted for a whopping 38 percent of BMW's U.S. sales last year.
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