GM eyes big campaign as Cadillac ATS takes on BMW

Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:06am EDT
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By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors' Cadillac brand on Wednesday launched one of its most crucial marketing campaigns since the automaker emerged from bankruptcy as it takes aim at BMW's 3-series in the heart of the U.S. luxury car market with its new ATS sedan.

GM has lacked a small luxury car in recent years -- a segment that accounts for 60 percent of the luxury market and one that also garners younger users.

As the smallest and least expensive Cadillac, the 2013 ATS is key to GM's hopes of making Cadillac more of a global luxury brand. It goes on sale in the U.S. market next month, following on from the launch of the large XTS sedan last month.

With a starting price of just under $34,000, the ATS is a direct challenge to BMW and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

"The task of ATS is very ambitious, going into the largest luxury segment against a brand like 3-Series that's dominated the segment," said Cadillac global marketing director James Vurpillat.

The marketing campaign begins with a 2-minute video on YouTube and will include 10 TV ads during the Olympic Games in London, starting with the opening ceremony on July 27.

The campaign dubbed "Cadillac ATS vs. the World" features the car being driven in exotic locales such the winding roads of Morocco's Atlas Mountains or through the remote hand-carved Guoliang Tunnel in China.

Cadillac officials declined to provide the marketing budget for the ATS launch, but said it was on par with the introduction of the CTS car two years ago when the brand spent more than $297 million on ads for the U.S. market according to Kantar Media.   Continued...

Cars pass under an overpass at the General Motors Car assembly plant in Oshawa, June 1, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch