British designer behind the the GM's stunning ULC concept says "the time is ripe" for it to be made

British designer Niki Smart provided the creative impetus behind the Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept, whose raked windscreen and scissor doors impressed recent Los Angeles show-goers.

Speaking exclusively to Autocar, Smart said the ULC is Caddy’s Mini. “The time is ripe for Cadillac to make this car,” he said. “We need a bigger spread of models, particularly for Europe. The Mini’s success is proof of people’s open-mindedness.”

See pics of the exciting Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept

Smart is best known as the co-creator of the Ariel Atom, which he part-designed in 1998. Now a designer at GM’s advanced studio in LA, he said many of the ULC’s unique features could be productionised. “The doors make a graceful way of getting in the back and we have found a way of engineering them for production.”

Smart concedes that the ULC is a challenging design for a brand best known for traditional saloons with big bonnets.

Read more on the Cadillac ULC concept

However, that opens creative opportunities. “There is no iconic history of small cars at Cadillac, so I’m happy not to have had to return to a previous design,” he said.

The 78mpg ULC features a hybrid powertrain with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine.

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Comments
11

30 November 2010

[quote Autocar]The Mini’s success is proof of people’s open-mindedness.”
[/quote]

True - and I love this thing as obviously do many others. Problem is I can't see how it could be built in this form. That screen is just too radical (and expensive looking).

30 November 2010

Only the other week there was an article saying Cadillac was relaunching itself in Europe for the 4th time since they started selling here. Mini is a well loved brand and has been since the 60s so it sells on nostalgia and being retro but Cadillac doesn't have that card up its sleeve. Cadillac can't even sell the cars it already makes and offers in Europe in vast numbers so I wonder if anyone is going to bother with them if they decide to produce the ULC as a production car. I think an Audi A3 sized model might be more appropriate.

30 November 2010

They have the Corsa chassis to base it on but also need an 'Astra' sized car to really have any impact in Europe oh and it needs to have a derv option!!!

30 November 2010

[quote Autocar] Smart said the ULC is Caddy’s Mini. “The time is ripe for Cadillac to make this car,” he said. “We need a bigger spread of models, particularly for Europe. The Mini’s success is proof of people’s open-mindedness.”

[/quote]

Having seen some of the cars that Cadillac have produced over the years, their Mini rival will, I presume, make Aston Martin's Cygnet seem quietly understated.

30 November 2010

[quote Autocar] the Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept, whose raked windscreen and scissor doors impressed recent Los Angeles show-goers.

[/quote]

Impressed or shocked ? I really don't know where Cadillac should go from here , but competing with the MINI doesn't look to Me like a suitable direction. They really really need a 'halo' car.

30 November 2010

[quote Uncle Mellow] I really don't know where Cadillac should go from here , but competing with the MINI doesn't look to Me like a suitable direction. They really really need a 'halo' car.

[/quote]

I would suggest a suitable direction would West, back across the pond, until they can actually produce something of relevance to the European market, with an interior that is slightly higher grade than the Lego quality they currently offer.

30 November 2010

You cannot say that the BMW Mini success proves that there would be a market for a mini Caddy. The original Mini had been on sale for 40+ years and so BMW could have been reasonably sure that there would have been a market for it. There will not be many people worldwide who would associate Cadillac with this sector, and such a radical car as this may scare too many people.

30 November 2010

What Cadillac needs is to realise that they are not, and not in a week of Sundays will be, a global brand. Period. No shame in sticking with what you're good at, anyway...

30 November 2010

GM would be wiser to spend their money on a RHD Camaro.

30 November 2010

Whilst I don't usually like small cars, I think this is quite nice.I would much rather one of these than say a Toyota IQ with is Chinese Interior.

However, I can't help but think that this is exactly what Aston Martin should have done. The Aston Martin Baby Swan looks stupid. Why couldnt they have made somthing edgy and cool like this rather than some messed up looking Toyota reskin.

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