GMI Re-Envisions the Cadillac Lineup - Part I

If you don't already follow the folks over at GM Inside News, you should. In a world where GM product often gets a barely concealed sneer from critics and the press - these guys love the company and their products deeply. However this doesn't mean that they don't see plenty of room for improvement - witness their recent 'Revitalization in Action' series where they not only describe, but design their dream lineup for each of GM's brands. Up this time around is Cadillac - which is what gets our attention. This is the post we would make if only we had the ability to render our dreams of a future line of cars that we think would put the brand firmly on top. So, in the truest expression of the critique - we here at the will give our 2¢ on all their hard work without actually creating anything ourselves. ;-) Seriously - great work guys. Ideas for the brand: I love their idea of taking the brand's Art and Science design direction and using it to up-end the trim levels (with such romantic names as 1SA, 1SB, 1SC...etc.) They see Cadillac, rightfully so, as having a foot in two worlds. On one hand you have the softness and indulgence of luxury. Rich materials, soft finishes, a car you can spend time in and arrive feeling nothing but refreshed. On the other hand, there is Cadillac's new-found sporty side. Firm, direct, communicative, and exciting. Materials here are real metal and carbon fiber, driving dynamics and power above all other considerations. This is the world of the V-Series. Because of this duality, they see a need to split offerings into Art (Luxury) and Science (Sport). This is a simple and brilliant concept that would give some distance between Cadillac and other models and trims from GM. Certainly a luxury touch no matter which you choose. From our point of view, it would be something the brand would need to commit to fully. If technology and sport are the 'Science' and comfort and luxury are the 'Art' - you can't offer all the same features in both arenas. A decision has to be made up front as to exactly what each are and stick firmly to this point of view. The difference between a brand people love and one they simply like is purity of self-image. Try being everything to everyone and you become everyone's second choice. Now, let's look at each offering in their plan. Cadillac BTS/BTC - Compact, Alpha RWD, BMW 3-Series competitor This one is a bit odd, so let's get it out of they way. They put together their plan while the ATS was still a work in progress and unnamed. That is why this has the previously rumored name of the Alpha sedan/coupe. GMI stuck with it because they think Cadillac needs to be able to offer up a 1-Series/A-Class competitor eventually and they wanted to keep space in the naming convention to allow it in the future. So, since Cadillac didn't ask... this alpha-chassis sedan that we now know as the ATS, is in their dream lineup as the BTS - but, oh my god, do they make it even prettier than what GM brought to market...and this from someone who thinks an ATS will be his next car (preferably in coupe form). They also have the audacity to axe the 2.5l non-turbo 4 and replace the 3.6 with a turbo 3.0l V-6 for a 3-engine, all-turbo lineup. That's an entry-level offering that serves notice. Cadillac BRX - Compact Crossover, Alpha RWD, BMW X3 competitor Here we have the GMI RIA folks being practically clairvoyant. In a pair of recent interviews, Cadillac executives have strongly hinted at other products built off the ATS' Alpha platform. It is fairly obvious they are considering a move to a small crossover based on the rear-drive chassis to help drive costs down for the architecture. The fact that this is also a great idea for the brand's credibility is a serious plus with a great business case as well. Building a small crossover on Alpha also has the side benefit of getting them out of the front-drive based Theta architecture. Theta Premium made sense when they were able share the platform with Saab, but would not the next time around. Given Alpha's flexibility, this seems a no-brainer for SRX 3.0 - under any name they choose. On the power-train end of things, GMI chooses to have the same 2.0 T from the ATS...err...BTS as well as sticking to the current SRX's model of offering a 3.6 V-6. The question we have is if the real Alpha small crossover would hit as something smaller than current SRX (which makes a re-name make sense) or would it keep the SRX name. If the next crossover idea happens (see our next post in this series), then we'd be all for the former. That's all for today. There are plenty of other ideas to parse from GMI - much too many for one post. We'll review some of their other suggestions in the coming days. Source: