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Cadillac's Working On a CLA competition


Staff Member
Interesting article http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-shows/detroit-auto-show/news/a27870/cadillac-smaller-rwd-sedan/

As Buick makes noise at the Detroit auto show with the rear-wheel-drive Avista concept, Cadillac quietly hinted it's developing another rear-wheel drive car of its own to compete with the Mercedes CLA-class.

"We are working on something below ATS," said Cadillac executive chief engineer Dave Leone during an interview. He wouldn't say much about that car, but noted helpfully that "one of our strengths in sedans is that we are known for being rear-wheel drive." The sedan would presumably use a version of the Alpha platform that already serves the ATS and CTS.

If Cadillac can build a rear-wheel-drive sedan for around $30,000, it'll have a unique selling proposition in a growing market. The Mercedes-Benz CLA, Audi S3, and Acura ILX (and GM's own Buick Verano) all ride on front-wheel-drive platforms. Of course, there's a good reason for that: it's easier and more profitable to dress up a small front-wheel drive car and raise the price than it is to scale down an expensive, rear-wheel-drive car.

Of course, size could end up being a challenge for this project. The Alpha platform is engineered for bigger vehicles, and even then, the ATS and Camaro both have rather cramped back-seat regions. Shrinking the platform to sub-ATS proportions could make packaging particularly tricky.

Cadillac has an advantage in that the Alpha platform has already been adapted for a cheaper car, the Camaro. If Chevy can figure out how to sell a RWD Camaro for $26,000, it stands to reason Cadillac could make the case for a $30,000 car off the same platform. We bet Cadillac is also painfully aware that the ghost of Cimarron would haunt any front-wheel-drive, compact Cadillac.