Out of all of General Motors’ dysfunctional behaviors, one really annoying one stands out above all the others: they create a car. It might not be good, but they will give it enough time that it starts becoming something really great…then they shoot themselves in the foot with both barrels by killing the model off just when things were going right. Don’t believe me? See also: Corvair, Fiero, Pontiac-Holden joint ventures, X-car platform, etc. Once they managed to figure out the issues with the car though real-world testing (at customer expense, of course) they would go back to the table, fix the broken parts, upgrade the car to a respectable quality, and then kill it off right when things are going good.
Cadillac’s CTS, a phoenix rising from the ashes of the unmitigated disaster that was the Catera, has been a good point. It stepped away from the Northstar-powered lead sled image that Cadillac had been cultivating since the early 1990s and proved that there was some merit to being different. Then, for whatever reason, they unleashed hell with the CTS-V and Cadillac suddenly had an image car out of one of the most unlikely four-door bodies, and it’s carried well, with the new generation appearing this year. Then you have the ATS and ATS-V, a sharp small car in both 2-door coupe and four-door sedan variations. The ATS-V comes out swinging with a 455-horsepower twin-turbo V6 and can rock 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. There’s a lot to like in Cadillac’s department, but there is one issue at hand, and that would be Johan de Nysschen, Caddy’s leader. He’s been on a one-man campaign to change Cadillac’s image, and dissenters have been sharply rebuked. He doesn’t care if you don’t like the CT-whatever naming strategy he’s imposed, he isn’t bothered if you are disappointed that the much-lauded CT6 sedan isn’t the stunner that the El Miraj concept was. He will have Cadillac his way and you will shut up and like it.
The next round of news from the Cadillac camp isn’t great. First things first: since the CT6 just made the current XTS obsolete, it goes. But when it does, so does Cadillac’s livery business…that means no more Caddy limousines, hearses or funeral coaches. Up next: the ATS and CTS themselves. As GM Inside News reported, de Nysschen had this to say about the two: “As we move into the future refining our sedan portfolio, there will be no direct successor to the CTS. There will be no direct successor to the ATS. There is no point to renaming those cars because in the future those cars will disappear.” Losing the livery business opens up a possible saving grace for Lincoln to shove in a moldable sedan or SUV, which will at least keep them on life support. Losing the CTS and ATS will be the bigger pill to swallow, however. Cadillac actually built up a motorsports run with the CTS program, and the ATS looks like an absolute riot to blast around with, but if the CT6 is any indication, we wouldn’t suggest holding your breath for any more V models for some time.