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.”
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.
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.