• Nov 30, 2010
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]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes, a contemporary American luxury car maker could use a high-quality frugal car. Quality and luxury have nothing to do with size. Cadillac should be represented in the urban/mini car market. NOT the cheap car market mind you, the SMALL car market.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why should Caddies only be big barges?

      The luxobarge sedan market is becoming obsolete. And it's too easily copied by others who simply stretch a car and add leather.

      Caddy can, and should compete with the best, and if they can make something sophisticated and properly, distinctively Caddy-like in other segments, then they should do so. Cadillac can have revolutionary product, like the CTS-V was, and how the ULC would be. The only requirement is excellence. If Caddy can design with excellence, then they should forge ahead. After all, Caddy isn't GM's only product line: Chevy, GMC and Buick exist and can cover the more mundane products.

      The CTS-V has shown that a smaller car can wear the badge. And the ULC is the same size as a modern Mini, and looks like nothing else on the road, save another Caddy. Product for product, this is far better than the re-grilled "Aston Martin" Cygnet. I think that Caddy, can, and should compete with Mini. If the ULC can be engineered and tuned to compete with the Mini Cooper S / JCW, then it should go into production.

      Of course, being a proper "halo" brand, Caddy should have a V12-powered super-sedan at the top, along with a mid-engined sports coupe - things that no other GM division has, simply to demonstrate GM's technical expertise and prowess. As long as Caddy doesn't lose money, it will all be money well spent.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. I think this looks great, and I wish I could see these on the road now. But before Caddy jumps into this market segment, I think they need to work on a good 3-series competitor, with this following.

        I also agree that Caddy needs a credible full-size luxury car ala 7-series, S-class and A8. However, I don't agree that it needs a V12. GM doesn't need to spend the R&D dollars developing a dedicated niche engine. Instead, the top of the line engine can be the LSA from the CTS-V. A naturally aspirated version for the mid level, and the 3.6L V6 from the base CTS for base-spec.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh, no doubt, Caddy also needs 3-ish and 7-ish cars. I'm just thinking, 5-10 years from now, Caddy would have a full line:

        R8-ish V-8 sports car
        Mini ULC / ULC-V
        3-er ATS / ATS-V
        5-er CTS / CTS-V
        7-er V-8 Seville / STS
        9-er V-12 Fleetwood Brougham
        SUV Escalades
        CUV SRX

        As for developing a V-12, IMO, Caddy should, and would need one for a super-premium uber sedan. A V-12 has tremendous inherent smoothness and can be designed and tuned for amazing torque - qualities that are needed for ultimate luxury. As a pure halo car, it's job is to raise the profile, while not losing (much) money in the process. It's the kind of thing that you build because you can build it, and people will buy it. Quite simply, I'm suggesting a baby Rolls / Maybach at the top, with an exclusive V-12 engine under the hood. Caddy would sell tiny numbers of these things, going back to the heart of the SOTW tagline.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Short term answer? No

      Long term answer? Yes.

      Why? We don't know what fuel prices are going to be 15 - 20 years from now. There will be a limited customer base for a small caddy now, but that might change if gas is 10 bucks a gallon. Cadillac needs to be light on there feet in order to meet changing market demands.

      Just my 2 cents of course...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would pick Buick to compete directly with Mini.
      Both are upscale, but not luxury.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Buick could make a Mini, but the problem is differentiation - how do you make a Buick Mini stand out from the rest, while still retaining the Buick identity?

        The Aston Martin Cygnet is a good example of failing badly at this sort of thing. It looks like a bad joke, like a Suzuki with a HUMMER grille. I suspect a Buick Mini would have similar results.

        The Caddy ULC is much truer to the Caddy Art&Science themes, rather than looking generic Mini with just a new grille slapped on.
      • 4 Years Ago
      NO. Wrong size... too small for an initial move into "smaller" cars... While Ford/Lincoln is making 10+ "top hats" of the new Global C (Focus) Platform with (2) planned for Lincoln - sedan and cuv... that's where the majority of vehicles are being sold... "C" size... and Ford is expecting 2 Million global C sales by just 2012...
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do they need one? Probably, to offset the thirsty SUVs and v8s in the lineup. Unless they were to make the Volt-based Caddy.

      They really need the full ATS lineup first, and hopefully NAIAS will show some or all of these.

      That concept would need to be toned down tho.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Boxer: You think this car looks like a Buick or Chevy?

        It looks like a Caddy to me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        CAFE = Corporate Average Fuel Economy
        It's fleet average per MANUFACTURER. Otherwise we'd probably have a lot more small trucks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Which is exactly why fleet averages per brand is STUPID.

        It is stupid in the first place, anyway.

        But after that is put aside... it fosters the theory that every brand needs to be everything to everyone, and offer every product.

        That creates brand infighting between brands of the same parent company.

        Government motors (now a subsidiary of US and Chinese governments, officially, in addition to UAW ownership...)

        ... has several brands. Fewer now than before, but still several. Why should Cadillac be building cars that should be lower end Buicks, or even Chevys?

        Cadillac is not supposed to compete with Buick and Chevy... they are supposed to be complimentary pieces in the same overall corporate puzzle.

        But brand-specific fleet averages do that, rather than corporation-wide fleet averages, or better yet... DEREGULATION, and letting producers build what customers want, and market for safety, or efficiency, or luxury, or performance, or whatever people want to buy, instead of forcing producers through disincentives, to build regardless of consumer demands, and forcing consumers into a "take whatever we're offered" position.
      • 4 Years Ago
      does Cadillac need a mini fighter ??? uhhhh, they wont get far with this wedge shape door stopper.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I really don't get where you're coming from.

        Caddy isn't cloning a Mini. and they shouldn't, They're making something similar in size, which is distinctively Caddy.

        I don't see where you're getting "economy" out of the design - if anything, it's a "futuristic" mono-box, rather than a common twin econo-box shape. The Cygnet screams econobox far more than this,
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks, that's helpful. I think they need to call it a "Mini-fighter", because otherwise, it's really, really hard to tell how big (small) the car is from the pictures.

        Perhaps if they said "Mini-sized car", you (and a fair number of the other critics) would be happier.

        And as I've noted, the Mini costs as little as $20k to as much as $40k. If the Mini-sized Caddy plays toward the top half of that price range, I don't see an issue. Just by content with a leather interior and mild hybrid BAS, it'll be pushing $30k.

        The rest of your objection is a style one, and more of a reaction to Art & Science in general, so there wouldn't be any way for Caddy to satisfy you. But then, that's the entire point of Art & Science - to be clearly different from the herd. As time goes on, and more Caddies are plying the streets, I think A&S will grow on more people.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Caddy will need one sooner than later. CAFE requirements only go up, and I think we've hit the upper limit of how big cars will be. Cars will get smaller overall as time goes by, and Caddy getting ahead of the curve would be a smart move. As it is, with Mini going to a 3rd generation, and the small Audi now hitting the market, if Caddy doesn't act soon, they'll miss their chance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @John H

        It is unfortunate in this case they are not "cloning a Mini", or it would look light-years better than this futuristic wedge imho.

        Basically where I am coming from , is the title of this article that would have one believe this Caddy was to be a direct competitor to the Mini Cooper. After reading the article, it becomes apparent that is not the case.

        I think calling it an upscale CRV, Prius, or Volt would have been a more accurate description than a "Mini-fighter.

        To answer your question about the economy car design, the hood that slopes with the windshield screams Toyota Prius, or Honda Insight to me.

        Sorry, I probably wouldn't be so critical of the design if they did not call it a "Mini fighter".
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hate to be frank, but seeing as this will end up on wikileaks anyway I'll go ahead. Europeans won't buy a Cadillac because of the car, but because of it's association with America. As a brand, in western Europe at least, America is a burden. Doesn't matter how good the car is, how fit for the market it is, The United States is a terrible association because driving a Cadillac in Europe is akin to telling everyone that you'd wear a Stetson to the office if you could, you thought George W Bush was the most intelligent person who ever lived and that enforcing your foreign policy on everyone is in no way a bad thing. The problem is the image of America (though everytime I've been in Switzerland, American cars do work quite well for some reason). They should ignore Europe and sell it down her in Australia, where we don't hate you guys as much, and that like you, nobody drives manuals anymore and a diesel engine is still unusual. Here, a country where people put Chevy badges on their Holden Commodores (not just on the engine bay) Cadillac would do fine. Please bring over Infiniti as well, I really like the M37 for some reason

      Regards (with no jest I promise), Australian/britisher base model Fiesta Manual driver
      • 4 Years Ago
      Caddy doesn't need another attempt at a small car. The Cimarron still annoys the bejesus out of me. They need to continue focusing on how to make a proper sports sedan first. The latest CTS is good but could still be better. Put away the toys Caddy. Nice idea but no.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's pretty sad that you are still so annoyed by a car from a quarter century ago.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Someone reading TTAC this morning?
      • 4 Years Ago
      so caddy finally gets some applauds for rolling with the 5 series and e class. and THIS is the next move....well there goes that momentum. look at the premium brands then look how well their own small cars sell 1 series A3 mb doesnt even have one and then explain how this help cadillac as a brand. im sure its a great car, but when your trying to step up to the competition you have to give people an option to step away from rival brands. thus offering a 7 series A8 Sclass and LS fighter would be better move from a sales point
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