General Motors new CEO, Dan Akerson, has officially confirmed that the Cadillac division will soon expand its product lineup with the addition of an all-new small car intended to square off directly against the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Although offering few details about this all-new model -- which has unofficially been tabbed the "ATS" -- Akerson did say that it will be a rear-wheel-drive configuration and that GM has committed $190 million to upgrade its Lansing Grand River assembly plant to build the car. GM's second-newest U.S assembly facility, Lansing Grand River also is home to the Cadillac CTS and STS lines. The addition of this new compact luxury sedan is expected to create approximately 600 new job positions as well as necessitate the addition of a second work shift. While no timing for production startup was revealed at the announcement ceremony, a calendar-year 2012 intro appears probable for at least the first model. Cadillac is on an impressive roll at the moment, with year-to-date sales up by 44 percent over 2010.
Currently, there's widespread speculation as to the exact mechanical makeup of this new Cadillac, all of it quite promising. The most reliable indicates that the car will be spun from a new GM global "Alpha" platform that is also capable -- and likely -- to underpin both the next-gen Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Camaro models. While sedan and coupe body types are definite, a drop-top, a wagon and a high-powered V-type are also believed to be in the model mix, as is an all-wheel-drive option. Whether the ATS family will be powered by four and/or six cylinder engines in conventional/hybrid configurations (or both) is still unclear. Whatever the case, anticipate seeing the new baby Caddy arrive with plenty of trick technology and make fairly extensive use of lightweight materials to save weight and help raise its fuel economy stats.