GM President Bullish on Big Cadillac Coupe

Even if it didn’t do anything else at Pebble Beach last summer, people would have still remembered its presence because of one thing: the Elmiraj concept.

Speculation rose instantly about whether or not the car, which bears much of the same style as the convertible CIEL concept shown previously, would turn out to be more than a design study. Cadillac brass played coy, but many of the pieces seemed to be in place. GM has confirmed that it plans to build a sedan above the XTS sedan that it refuses to brand as a flagship. The brand might have tipped its hand briefly during a conversation between USA Today and GM president Mark Reuss.

“That’s the car Cadillac needs,” he said. “You make a statement with a coupe. You don’t make a statement with a sedan.”

The Elmiraj uses a 4.5-liter twin-turbo V8 to make 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque delivered to the rear wheels and showcases an evolution on the open-top CIEL. Thick applications of real wood to the cabin and its imposing proportions left a hope burning that the brand might be planning a flagship lookalike for production.

But an astronomically expensive halo car is only one of the gaps in Cadillac’s current portfolio and one that doesn’t stand to boost sales volumes or profits. The company also lacks a compact crossover to sit below its top-selling SRX. Such a model would probably bring needed volume gains and could help lift the brand closer to its long-lost status as a top-level luxury automaker.

Then again, Cadillac proved this year that it isn’t afraid to tread in high-price, low volume territory for the sake of its image. The ELR starts at $75,000 and is essentially a well-dressed version of the Chevrolet Volt for more than double the price. It accelerates to 60 mph a little faster, comes with fancier trimmings and sacrifices two doors for vanity, but the brand believes those things will win attention from people who shop for cars like the Tesla Model S, Mercedes E-Class or BMW 6 Series.

The Escalade and ELR – both models that command huge premiums – about the reach the market, and the all-new CTS stickering thousands higher than its previous generation, it might be important for Cadillac to offer a less expensive model first.

GALLERY: Cadillac Elmiraj Concept Live Photos


[Source: USA Today]

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