Caddy says, stay tuned.
Automakers love to talk about what they want to talk about and usually clam up the moment the subject strays – especially when it comes to future projects that aren’t ready for the spotlight. So it went following the preview of the new Cadillac ATS, the maker’s first small car since the gratefully forgotten Cimarron of the ’80s.
But considering the maker’s nascent renaissance, it wasn’t hard to get Caddy folks to start spilling more than beans. First, expect to see the new ATS eventually offered with more than just a sedan body style. A wagon that could open the doors in Europe is highly likely, though a coupe and a V-Series muscle car version are also in development.
But that’s just the start. Last summer, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Cadillac unveiled the off-the-edge Ciel concept and it appears another concept version is getting close to a public reveal. It is a clear sign that Caddy has committed to entering the super-premium luxury segment above the new XTS sedan that it won’t even roll into dealerships for a few more months. Beyond that? Don’t be surprised to see the SRX crossover get some company in the showroom.
Strange bedfellows? Make that office mates.
Even as thousands of journalists and industry executives descended upon the Motor City, the Nissan-Renault Alliance announced another new joint venture with Germany’s Daimler AG. The partners will produce a new line of 4-cylinder engines in Decherd, Tenn., for use in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and an unnamed Infiniti model. Naturally, with the relationship between the three makers steadily expanding, the subject turned to the possibility of a full-out merger.
Not on your life, responded Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, following the unveiling of the maker’s new SL roadster. “We share the office and not the bed, and that works perfectly well.”
We’re number one, maybe.
Something automakers never seem to agree on is whether to acknowledge their goals of crushing the competition, especially when they have the chance to top the sales charts. BMW and Mercedes-Benz openly coveted the luxury sales crown – the Bavarian maker nabbing it by a whisker at the end of 2011.
Plenty of analysts believe Ford now has the chance to overtake its Japanese rivals in the massive midsize market segment since the early days of the Taurus, a quarter century ago. But don’t ask Ford execs if they hope to see the new Fusion rout rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. “Consumers will choose,” insisted Ford CEO Alan Mulally. “We’re not chasing artificial sales or share numbers,” echoed Chairman Bill Ford.
But Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn doesn’t mind a show of naked ambition. In a session with reporters he confirmed a new Altima sedan will also target the midsize sedan later this year, adding that, “Hopefully, Altima will fulfill our dream of positioning the car to sometime become number one.”
Putting the kibosh on the Kubang.
Let’s acknowledge that coming up with a new name for the latest sedan or crossover isn’t easy, considering all the competition – and the way copyright laws work. But sometimes you just have to admit what you’ve come up with really doesn’t work. Like the Maserati Kubang.
The name has been floating around in the Italian maker’s lexicon since a 2003 concept car was shown and last autumn resurfaced on the Maserati sport utility concept vehicle that will be based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform.
But Sergio Marchionne, who serves double-duty as CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, stressed, “Kubang won’t be its final name. Nobody likes it, including me.”
Turns out it was a name picked by Luca di Montezemolo, the long-time Ferrari chief who clung to it like a bulldog with a piece of raw steak. Marchionne said he agreed to re-use the name on the new SUV concept “just to prove he (Montezemelo) was wrong.”