Skip to main content

2013 Cadillac ATS will sell for $10 per pound

General Motors proves that the best material for the job keeps costs and weight down in the new 2013 Cadillac ATS.

Pricing and also the curb weight has been announced for the new 2013 Cadillac ATS. Both numbers are critical for Cadillac in order to compete with the car that the ATS is designed to go head to head with, the 2013 BMW 3-series . The price will be just under $34,000.00 and the curb weight will be just under 3400 pounds. Ten dollars per pound. These were the numbers that the automaker needed to hit. In the past, Cadillac and others have released cars that were either built nimble enough to compete with the BMW 328i, or had a similar price point, but never both at once.

2013 ATS Intelligent Weight Distribution
The way Cadillac achieved the price point and the weight target in the new 2013 ATS is interesting. More and more premium automakers are moving towards aluminum for most of the car with carbon fiber sprinkled on top so they can mention the material in advertising. Cadillac resisted that path and the car will be a better car for it. For example, the rear differential is one of the heaviest parts of any real-wheel drive car. Cadillac could have simply instructed their engineers to make that part from aluminum. The assumption being that would be a good place to save weight. But is it? In a press release Cadillac points out that they learned from their CTS-V super-sedan that the rear differential is a good place not to save weight because the part is near the rear, so it balances the weight of the engine up front. They don’t mention it, but one would also think that weight down low is also better than weight up high, so it would be better to spend the money on more expensive materials up higher on the car. The cast iron used has better heat expansion characteristics than aluminum and the parts can operate with closer tolerances, thereby saving fuel and reducing noise.

Cadillac Uses Steel
Another novel material used in the new Cadillac ATS is steel. Yes, steel has a reputation for being heavy and for being old fashioned, but that is not really true. In fact, years back during the cold war the US obtained a state of the art Russian made fighter flown by a defector. It wasn’t until it was actually analyzed that the US engineers realized it was made almost entirely from steel, and in many cases unique alloys. Even so, the plane was considered competitive with the titanium and aluminum planes of the day. Cadillac elected to use steel suspension components engineered to be light weight and strong by reducing the material used where possible (holes).

New Composites
New composite materials were also employed in the ATS including special acoustic glass that reduced noise compared to conventional auto glass and also saved weight. A similar approach was used by Cadillac in some of its steel panels. Rather than use a single piece it used two pieces of laminated steel with a sound absorbing material in between. David Masch, ATS chief engineer explains, “We designed and engineered ATS’s vehicle architecture to deliver quick, nimble and fun-to-drive dynamics. We distributed mass to key areas, much like an athlete builds muscle where he needs it most. This enabled ATS to achieve the performance characteristics that luxury sport sedan buyers demand.”

The 2013 Cadillac ATS delivers the performance and value expected in its class by keeping weight and cost down to ten dollars per pound.


Joe (not verified)    May 13, 2012 - 4:55PM

I guess the writer of this article was looking for a catchy statement to include in this article, but really... "$10 per pound"? That makes absolutely no sense, and adds nothing to this article. So if the car could be lighter, at no additional cost ($15 per pound) would that be bad? Or if they could reduce the cost without any changes in the car ($8 per pound), would that negatively impact sales? Or if they released a car with a 5000 lb curb weight that cost $50,000, would they still consider it mission accomplished?

"The 2013 CadillacATS delivers the performance and value expected in it's class by keeping weight and cost down to ten dollars per pound", says nothing meaningful.