Cadillac today introduced what it describes as an 'urban luxury concept' - aka a posh supermini to rival the Mini. The small Cadillac was one of the surprises at the 2010 Los Angeles auto show and our reporters on the ground are calling it one of the hits of the show.
Clay Dean, director of GM North America, said the Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept stood comparison with Europe's finest city cars. At just under 4 metres long and 1.7 metres wide, he has a point. The Caddy supermini is slap bang in the middle of Mini territory.
It's powered by a tiny 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, but boosted by an electric rear axle. Like the PSA system, it's enough to make it 4wd.
Is the Cadillac supermini a designer's doodle, or a pre-production Tinseltown special?
Cadillac has been watching non-US rivals' success in the US small car market, and wants a slice of the pie. Strip away the usual concept car adornments and the Urban Luxury Concept doesn't look light years away from becoming production reality.
Don't go expecting a Caddy supermini to sport Lambo-style scissor doors, however. We can't see any reason why the umbrella in the door, presumably plagiarised from Rolls-Royce, couldn't survive.
It was designed by a 37-year-old British designer, Niki Smart. They've translated the Art & Science design motif well to such a small package.
Will Europe see a small Cadillac any time soon?
Whilst this could be viewed as just the type of car that Europeans would lap up, Cadillac has yet to make any significant in-roads in the EU. In its best year to date, it's sold no more than 2500 cars in Europe.
Cadillac has just relaunched in Europe; if a small car were to be launched in America, it would undoubtedly enhance its European offering.
What differentiates the Cadillac supermini from, say, a Mini?
Firstly, just look at it! Looking like the lovechild of a (squashed) Tata Nano and a Cadillac CTS, there is nothing that looks like it.
The one-box design seemingly gives 'big car' space and inside, in concept trim at least, it seems more opulent than most small cars we've seen.
We can't think of many better ways for Cadillac to catch up with the zeitgeist and grow its appeal to a downsizing public.