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Does Cadillac need a Mini-fighter?


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Filed under: Concept Cars, Europe, Hatchback, Cadillac, Rumormill

Cadillac ULC Concept
Cadillac ULC - Click above for high-res image gallery

According to Autocar, Cadillac may have a burning desire to lock horns with Mini. The site quotes designer Niki Smart as saying that the time is right for The Wreath and Crest to build a model akin to the company's Urban Luxury Concept that we saw at this month's LA Auto Show. His reasoning? The company needs metal that's more appealing to European buyers than what's available in the current lineup. That means a heavier focus on small, hatchback designs that still retain the premium Cadillac aesthetic. Smart seems to think that translates into a Mini Cooper fighter.

With its scissor doors and 78 mpg hybrid drivetrain, the Urban Luxury Concept isn't any closer to production than the now-iconic Sixteen Concept of years past. Even so, Smart told Autocar that GM's Advanced Design Studio has looked into ways to make the vehicle production ready, funky doors and all. While we aren't exactly wild about the design of the ULC, the thought of a flingable Cadillac with a V on its hatch is certainly a notion worth mulling.




Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

[source: Autocar]

Does Cadillac need a Mini-fighter? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Nov 2010 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cadillac needs more than they have now to appeal to the Euro market. Their needs and wants in the volume areas are different than Americans.

They will have to have some kind of small car in Europe as they other Major Luxury makes are already looking to so this type of car. It will also remains to be seen as if the ATC will be a car they want there or if a Alpha can be made into a car they want there.

I think Cadillac already know where they are going on this one and are just slowly letting us know.

Luxury is not all about V12's and 3 tons anymore over there.

If Cadillac can enter this market early they can for once be the market benchmark vs the one chasing it.

Edited by hyperv6
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If Cadillac can enter this market early they can for once be the market benchmark vs the one chasing it.

Well, the Germans are already established in the A-premium segment w/ BMW's Mini, Audi's A1 and M-B's A-class... and Aston Martin has a (laughable) entry coming as an uber-premium model...

Mini is the only one in the US market so far, though.

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I think there room for this more in Europe or China than in the US. But if they didn't water it down too much I think it would sell here as well. Especially if they kept the doors.

I can't think of it as a Mini-fighter though. If they do it right it would be in a class by itself.

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Like BMW, Mini has a premium aura tied to it in North America. They certainly aren't priced like 'economy' cars, at least in Canada.

Minis are definitely premium and sporty models, compared to mass market A- and B- segment mainstream models like the Spark, Aveo, Ka, Fiesta, Yaris, Mazda2, etc...the Fiat 500 seems like it would be in the same niche (at least in NA) as the Mini, while the Audi A1 and Merc A-class are a bit more upscale, where maybe a Cadillac entry would be..

Canada gets the Merc B-class currently, don't know if they are getting the A1 or A-class in the future..

The problem in the US for micropremium models is that subcompacts have traditionally been viewed here as cheap and nasty economy cars. But the success of the Mini has shown a premium niche can gain traction..

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Nope, Cadillac does not need a mini competitor. Not that big a segment, and not a segment that fits Cadillac. Plus that ULC is ugly. Cadillac needs to stop with the throw darts at the auto market segment board and work on ATS and CTS.

It's not a big segment now, but with the new CAFE regs coming online, and when gas prices in the US inevitably rise, the demand for micropremiums will rise...I think in the future, there will be a bigger micropremium market than for 3 ton luxotrucks like the Escalade. GM is looking forward.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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To me, Mini trades on its past, and it is a good past, as a tiny, fun car. To somehow try to put Cadillac up against Mini is completely wrong. Cadillac should be rarefied luxury... aspirational, substantial, regal, capable, with great road presence. The ULC is NONE OF THOSE THINGS. It is an abomination, an affront to the proud Cadillac brand. Truly a step backward into the dark days of malaise that produced some of the worst cars to wear the wreath and crest. GM has been erasing bad memories with the brand lately... only to come up with this ridiculous phone booth? Someone should be shot.

Should Rolls-Royce produce a Mini competitor? Can you imagine the RR grille on a damned golf cart? I challenge any of you to say "yes" with a straight face.

Edited by ocnblu
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Nope, Cadillac does not need a mini competitor. Not that big a segment, and not a segment that fits Cadillac. Plus that ULC is ugly. Cadillac needs to stop with the throw darts at the auto market segment board and work on ATS and CTS.

Not that big of a segment? In Canada, small cars constitute major sales, and we're not that different to your country at all in terms of geography, jobs, and urbanization. America's time will come, mark my words; once gas prices hike up to the levels that we pay, you're going to see a sharp incline in sales of small cars.

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Leaving the larger debate alone for the moment, I'd just like to point out that the ULC has exactly nothing in common with the Mini.

What the hell would make anyone think that the two cars were competitors?

The entire notion is absurd, the two cars would never be cross-shopped.

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I don't know how the Mini is priced in Europe, but if its priced like the B or A Class than yes. It's a hot market in Europe that Cadillac could capitalize on if done right. It may not sell well over in the US where most buyers either go for the CTS or are members of AARP, but over there it could be a hit. Better for Cadillac to start at the bottom and work its way up I think than build a 90k flagship and try to sell it.

Why would Cadillac want to sell this or anything in Europe or China? The same reason they do here: so GM can make money.

It just has to have the right style, the right luxury appointments, and the right driving dynamics and powertrains.

There's no reason this couldn't coexist with an ATS, CTS, and flagship anyway.

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I don't see Mini as a luxury brand. It is premium small car, but it caters to a certain type of buyer, it's a niche product. The ULC is even a size class smaller than the Audi A3 and Volvo C30, and those are sales duds. I think with how GM is set up, Chevy should be handling the small cars. GM doesn't need a luxury version of a Spark or Aveo for $24,000, they have to focus on main segments. Cadillac needs to worry about small and mid-size sedans, they don't need a sub-compact like the Smart For2 with leather and bling on it.

CAFE isn't an argument for this a micro car either. Chevy is there for CAFE cars. The other option a diesel ATS that gets 40 mpg, or make an electric CTS. I'm all for "green" cars, but if it is a Cadillac it has to be special, taking away all performance to get an extra 4-5 mpg out of it is what Toyota does. If it's a Cadillac, it should perform and be green

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