By Andrew Ganz
Wednesday, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 10:20 am
 
Hot on the heels of the introduction of its new Cadillac ATS compact sedan, General Motors' luxury division is reportedly considering expanding its crossover portfolio to include an entry-level model.

"We're looking at options there," Cadillac sales vice president Kurt McNeil told Bloomberg on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"I think we would like to go a little bit more head-to-head with like the X3."

BMW's redesigned-for-2011 X3 has proven to be a sales hit in North America, its primary market. The second-generation X3 was engineered specifically with North American consumers in mind, which is the opposite of what Cadillac would have to do in order to profitably expand its portfolio.

"The fact that Cadillac is becoming more of a global brand will certainly play a role in that decision," McNeil said of the automaker's consideration of a smaller crossover than its current midsize five-seat SRX.

GM would need to be able to successfully market a smaller crossover in Europe and Asia in order to justify its existence since its home market simply lacks the volume in that segment. The larger SRX competes in the midsize segment, where it is sized, powered and packaged more like the larger Lexus RX.

But Cadillac has a good starting point for an X3 rival with its new rear-drive ATS platform, an all new vehicle architecture that might lend itself well to a sport-oriented crossover.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz both use compact sedan platforms to underpin their X3 and GLK-Class models, respectively, so the new Cadillac platform seems like a natural fit.

References
1.'GM's Cadillac considers...' view