Cadillac will make its latest attempt to crack Europe’s high-volume junior executive saloon segment

Cadillac will make its latest attempt to crack Europe’s high-volume junior executive saloon segment in late 2012 with the launch of this new Cadillac ATS saloon to rival the BMW 3-series.

General Motors boss Dan Akerson says Cadillac has “ceded this segment of the market to our foreign competitors for far too long”, while GM Europe chief Nick Reilly told Autocar that the firm is “serious this time” about making Cadillac work in Europe and as a global brand.

See spy pictures of the Cadillac ATS

To that end, the Cadillac ATS, spied here in testing at the Nürburgring, will be offered with right-hand drive and come with a diesel engine option that’s essential for European buyers. “GM has learned from Cadillac’s past and is keen to make it a viable brand.” added Reilly.

The ATS will be based on a shortened and updated version of the current CTS’s platform and will be offered with both rear and all-wheel drive. Petrol engines are likely to include a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit and 3.0-litre and 3.6-litre V6s. A hardcore V8-powered ATS-V version is also likely.

Cadillac’s ‘Art and Science’ design language will be used for the new ATS, a design theme that is said by Reilly to be helping Cadillac appeal to younger buyers.

The ATS will be part of an expanded Cadillac line-up that will include a new CTS to rival the 5-series, and a new XTS that will be the same size as a 7-series. These will replace both the STS and DTS models. A luxurious flagship based on the recent Ciel concept is also planned, along with the ELR coupé, which uses Chevrolet Volt running gear.

Mark Tisshaw

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