GM executive thinks Cadillac needs a really big car image

GM’s U.S. President Mark Reuss thinks something like the Elmiraj concept coupe that Cadillac showed in Los Angeles would help the brand.

Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North American operations says this kind of model should be the next one the premium automaker focuses on next, even though back in July General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said here will be a Cadillac bigger than the XTS full-size sedan as the next model on the roster.

Now Reuss came and said, “You make a statement with a coupe. You don’t make a statement with a sedan.” He’s the executive who decides such things, so his remarks should carry weight.

Cadillac could produce both a coupe and a sedan based on the big-car hardware it is developing. But the market for coupes typically is limited, so the four-door sedan would be the money-maker. The coupe, though profitable, would be a low-volume halo car that sets a strong image for the sedan and other Cadillacs. Whichever model comes first, it is planned as a rear-drive car and Akerson said it should be out within two years.

The big, rear-drive market seems to be the habitat of luxury models, so Cadillac could be hitting the right note. Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-class, BMW 7-series all are enjoying sales growth.

Elmiraj, shown previously at the Frankfurt show, at a classic car exhibition in tony Pebble Beach in August and shortly after in Ann Arbor, Mich., is a star of the Cadillac brand’s display here. It is pitched by Cadillac as the second part of a three-part story leading to the big Caddy.

First part was Ciel, a convertible shown in 2011, intended to signify fun. The name means “sky” in French. Elmiraj, a closed car with diver-oriented controls and a 500-horsepower V8, is supposed to emphasize driving satisfaction. The name is homage to the El Mirage dry lakebed in California where top-speed contests are held.

Via USA Today