General Motors will initially launch its new Cadillac ATS saloon in Europe without a diesel engine.
Speaking at the ATS's reveal on the eve of the Detroit motor show, Cadillac's marketing chief Don Butler confirmed to Autocar a diesel ATS would be launched before the 3-series rival received a mid-life facelift "within four years", but added a European launch would not wait for the diesel to be readied.
Butler believes that the new turbocharged 270bhp four-cylinder engine that GM will launch in the ATS is a worthy alternative to diesel in the meantime. "I can see an ATS with that engine on the Autobahn being a very strong performer," he said.
Butler refused to confirm whether or not the diesel engine would be sourced from within GM or if it would be a new Cadillac-specific engine.
The ATS's all-new rear-drive platform has been conceived right from the outset with right-hand drive in mind, Butler confirmed.
"If we want to be taken seriously as a global luxury brand then we need to compete on all worldwide stages," said Butler. "Out volume will never be massively high in Europe, but we need to have a complete presence."
Cadillac's previous 3-series 'contender' was the Cadillac BTS, a reskinned Saab 9-3 that was never competitive. Butler said GM had learned from past failings.
"We have learned that if you want to succeed, you have to design everything to win. You can't just take something you already have and force feed it."