Peter M. De Lorenzo at autoextremist.com is never one to pull his punches when talking to power in the auto industry.
In a world where journalists are all to happy to talk up the latest shiny offering from anywhere in return for junkets to far-off lands, he calls things like he sees them and is often more right than most people care to admit.
In this installment, he goes on about what it will really take for the Cadillac ATS to unseat the king of the sport sedan segment, BMW’s 3-series.
We agree that it is a long and uphill climb to be considered in the same breath as BMW.
What is often overlooked is that there is more to this business of selling cars than just making the best product and advertising well and pricing it competitively. Ultimately, success comes not only from that but from doing it consistently year after year after year.
The grumps might say that BMW buyers are simply after a badge – but that overlooks something significant. What does that badge represent to those customers?
BMW of today isn’t exactly the same company it was a decade or two ago but it has consistently offered true sporting sedans for so long that their name and their old tag line ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ are etched into the psyche of the customer.
Until an only slightly engaged consumer of luxury sports sedans can tell you with no deep thought what a Cadillac -is- then it will continue to be an up-hill battle to unseat the 3-series.
Cadillac is certainly capable of this – but only if leadership at GM is willing to take their lumps and continue to offer ATS-grade hardware and execution for generation after generation. Then, after the 3rd or 4th consecutive ATS generation that is better than the 3-series will the story truly start to change.
The question is if GM has 15-20 years worth of patience to become the new benchmark in sports sedans.