2013 Cadillac ATS has received the go signal to enter production just six months after it was introduced at the Detroit auto show. Cadillac has started to build the first 2013 ATS that is meant for a customer. In fact, the first few cars made had rolled off the production line in Michigan at the Lansing Grand River plant this week.
The Cadillac CTS sedan, coupe, and Sport Wagon are also produced at this plant. To accommodate ATS production, the plant got an upgrade worth $190 million and 600 new jobs were created. Since the ATS debuted at the Detroit show, Cadillac had been steadily releasing information about the model. The new car has a starting price of $33,990, which is less expensive than a BMW 328i sedan.
Its base 2.5-liter inline-four engine has a fuel economy rating of 22/33 mpg, which is about mid-pack compared to the other four-cylinder models. The 2013 ATS is one of the lightest cars in its segment because it used high-strength steels, aluminum, and magnesium extensively. It features new safety technologies such as vibrating seats.
Cadillac is set to launch a string of 30- and 60-second TV commercials on Friday at the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. These clips are included in an online documentary named “Cadillac ATS vs. The World” where the sports sedan handles everything from a hand-dug tunnel in China to the popular Grand Prix circuit in Monaco. The 2013 Cadillac ATS will arrive in dealerships this August, with export models for international markets to be prepared by the end of 2012.
When Cadillac started the development for the ATS, its main objective was to make it one of the lightest vehicle in its class. However, it had to be done in a manner that would result in a refined driving experience. The task however was not as simple as optimizing the mass of the new model. Cadillac knew it had to follow four principles. The first was that the brand would need to follow strictly what was originally set.
Second is that the load management had to be measured all across the vehicle. Third is to make sure the parts are benchmarked in order to determine if lighter solutions could be implemented.
Finally, the fourth principle is that the mass of each of the components needed to be weighed against each stage of the development. The result is that the new ATS does have a low mass and this is due to using lightweight materials for the door trim panels, utilizing magnesium for the mount brackets of the engine, and having aluminum for the hood.
Aside from lowering the weight, it also showed the systematic method that Cadillac used in determining each gram that became part of the vehicle. However, the brand knew that some considerations needed to be made. Thus, when a weight was considered to not only be important but crucial to the driving experience, then it was retained.
A good example of this is the use of the cast iron differential. Despite weighing more compared to the lighter aluminum type, the engineers went ahead and used the cast iron version as it could enhance fuel economy better. ATS Chief Engineer David Masch said that by having a lower weight, this meant that the ATS could have a more controllable and agile feel to it.
However, the low weight also meant that both the performance and the efficiency of the vehicle’s powertrains could be optimized, he added. He continued by saying that the brand was careful though that the ATS would remain to have the refinement levels Cadillac is known for while managing the weight.