Automakers continue to reconfigure their product portfolios to account for the rise of crossovers. Cadillac, like everyone else, understands the necessity of freeing up production in order to build the vehicles their customers crave. The ATS sedan now becomes the latest casualty of the crossover era.
Launched in 2012 for the 2013 model year, the ATS became the entry level Cadillac after the company raised the price of the CTS to a level more appropriate for its size. While the ATS is a good looking sedan with excellent driving dynamics, it competes with the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class, two vehicles that routinely define the segment and carry far more cachet than the Cadillac ever could, likely due to their longevity.
This screenshot from Good Car Bad Car tells you everything you need to know about the state of the ATS. As recently as March 2018, the Cadillac was selling far less than the 3 Series or the C-Class.
And who is the primary buyer of an ATS these days? Probably GM diehards or individuals who want a luxury sedan from an American automaker. Those customers also have other options as well: the Lincoln MKZ, which is bigger and sports a base price only 100 dollars more than the ATS. There’s also the elephant in the room: Tesla’s Model 3, which is starting to be produced in increasing numbers. It still has well over 300,000 pre-orders.
And if an ATS is the only vehicle for you, you have more options when you consider pre-owned models. I opted to search for 2016 and later model years variants because that is when GM outfitted the sedan with an 8 speed automatic transmission. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that you could pick up a lightly used ATS for about the same monthly payment it would take to lease a brand new one.
American automakers are quickly realizing that competing in rapidly declining segments with well established players isn’t worth it. Is the CTS also on borrowed time? Probably.
Cadillac’s current conundrum is the dearth of crossovers in its lineup. An XT4 is on the way, but that still leaves a considerable number of gaps in the lineup. Lansing Grand River Assembly is likely replacing ATS sedan production with a crossover.
Oddly enough, production of the ATS coupe will soldier on for now. Perhaps this sells in numbers that make it financially viable in the short term? Who knows. But don’t be surprised if this also gets cancelled. Perhaps a crossover coupe will replace it.