Cadillac’s baby takes aim at A-class

Published: 23 October 2006

General Motors is considering a Cadillac supermini, based on the next generation Vauxhall Corsa platform.

‘We’re experimenting with a dramatic Cadillac off our global small car architecture,’ said a GM source. The inspiration is the Mercedes A-class, which suggests a compact but tall one-box design, to maximise interior space. The look faithfully adheres to Cadillac’s ‘art and science’ design ethos, soon to be updated with 2008’s next-generation CTS.

Power would come from four-cylinder engines, if the baby Caddy gets the green light. And it’s no flight of fancy. With superminis such as Toyota’s Yaris and the Honda Jazz now on sale Stateside to exploit growing demand for small cars, the baby Caddy could be sold in the US, Europe and beyond.

And the global small car platform is being engineered to meet US regulations, because the next Corsa will probably be sold in America as a Saturn, too. The small car architecture is under development in Korea. The front-drive platform will underpin a host of cars including the fourth-generation Corsa, although that car is at least six years away and GM has several Corsa Mk3 variants to launch before then.

The 2008/9 Chevrolet Kalos supermini is likely to be the first car off the components set. GM’s Daewoo outpost is leading global small car R&D. Daewoo replaces Fiat, which co-developed the Corsa Mk3 and Grande Punto platform with GM, before their alliance turned sour and was dissolved in early 2006. The new architecture will be extremely flexible, with hard points such as the windscreen angle and cowl position changeable to enable a wide variety of bodystyles.

‘With up to 1.5m units a year on this platform, we can afford this flexibility,’ said our source. The baby Caddy won’t be the only global small car surprise. ‘You will see innovative, lifestyle vehicles from Chevrolet, Cadillac and Saab. Nothing is off limits,’ said our insider, adding: ‘We could pull a small SUV off the platform. It would be the size of a Corsa, but with wheels as big as the Chevrolet Captiva SUV’s.’ This small SUV could be sold as a Saab, Opel/Vauxhall/Saturn, Chevrolet – or a Cadillac.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine