Last December, Cadillac’s smallest four-door staged a disappearing act on a VIN decoder document sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from General Motors for 2019 model year vehicles. While the ATS coupe lived on in all of its variations, the sedan seemingly ceased to exist. Naturally, GM was loathe to discuss it.
As Cadillac adjusts to an abrupt change in leadership, there’s additional evidence that the brand’s entry-level sedan won’t make it to the 2019 model year.
As TTAC contributor and online sleuth Bozi Tatarevic discovered Tuesday, clicking open GM’s fleet order guide fails to turn up an ATS sedan on the list of 2019 vehicles. The ATS Coupe and ATS-V Coupe remain, as do the CTS and CTS-V sedans and their larger stablemates.
GM didn’t respond to an inquiry from TTAC by publication time, but even if the ATS sedan does leave this earth with the 2018 model year, the model itself won’t be around for long. Last year, former Cadillac President Johan de Nyyschen said three Caddy sedans would die in 2019. The discontinuation of the ATS, CTS, and aging XTS would pave the way for two new sedans, he said, with the XT6 remaining as the brand’s traditional flagship.
“We have to rebalance our sedan portfolio,” de Nysschen told Reuters in July 2017.
It looks like Cadillac’s trimming the herd before sending the rest to the slaughterhouse. Come 2020, Cadillac plans to lure sedan buyers in the $35,000-$45,000 price range with the midsize CT5, with an unnamed model tentatively positioned below it. It’s unknown whether newly minted president Stephen Carlisle has any plans to tinker with the product pipeline left behind by de Nysschen.
The ATS ran into trouble soon after its 2012 introduction. Steep incentives offered in the hopes of stemming falling sales led to low residual values that hurt the brand. Meanwhile, Cadillac sought to boost interest (and exclusivity) by axing the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder and adding a hot ATS-V variant. That model’s twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter, which returns for 2019 in the coupe, makes 464 horsepower and 444 lb-ft of torque.
Sales last quarter showed a slight improvement over Q1 2017. While sales fell to justÂ 13,100 units in the U.S. last year, the model’s fourth consecutive yearly drop since its 2013 peak (when Americans bought over 38,000 ATS vehicles), the first three months of 2018 brought an 18.4 percent year-to-date sales gain.
April’s sales tally remains a mystery, thanks to GM’s move to quarterly reporting.
[Images: General Motors]