Cadillac to Launch New Flagship in Late 2015

by on Sep.19, 2014

The new flagship is expected to show the strong influence of the Cadillac Elmiraj concept coupe.

Cadillac will fill a long-open gap in its line-up when it launches production of an all-new flagship sedan late next year, the as-yet unnamed “high-technology” car set to be produced at General Motors’ “Poletown” plant in Detroit.

The new model, expected to go up against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Audi A8, is expected to introduce the new Super Drive system GM CEO Mary Barra announced earlier this month which will allow autonomous driving on highways. The broader goal is to reposition Cadillac as a serious contender in the premium luxury market it once dominated, especially as the brand expands its global roll-out.

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“The objective for this upcoming model is to lift the Cadillac range by entering the elite class of top-level luxury cars,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “Currently in development, this new rear wheel drive-oriented sedan uses completely new, custom-designed materials on a unique vehicle architecture.

Cadillac has been discussing and debating plans for a flagship model – both internally and in the public forum – for a number of years. It initially indicated that the current XTS model would become its flagship but quickly reversed course after the sedan’s launch. The front-drive XTS has not made a strong connection with buyers and Caddy executives have hinted it may not continue after its current lifecycle, at least not without major changes.

Though Cadillac has not offered many details about the new top-line model, it is expected to draw from some recent concept vehicles, notably the well-received Elmiraj show car introduced during the summer of 2014. That would mean maintaining the brand’s Art & Science design language, albeit with a more sophisticated and sculptural shape than earlier, angular models like the original Cadillac CTS.

The new model will be “positioned above today’s CTS and XTS,” the brand confirms, which would take it into one of the most challenging segments in the global automotive market. While sales of vehicles like the Mercedes S-Class are relatively modest, these premium luxury models set the tone, and serve as halos, for their brands.

The S-Class, newly redesigned for 2014, has dominated the market, in part due to the wealth of advanced technologies it uses. That ranges from the available rear “hot stone-like” massaging seats to the “Magic” suspension system that uses a camera to automatically adapt the vehicle’s ride to road conditions. The S-Class also features an array of safety features that allows near-autonomous highway driving.

Super Drive is expected to go a significant step further.  It will launch about the same time Cadillac will also add a new vehicle-to-vehicle communications system in its CTS model line, according to GM CEO Barra.

(Click Herefor more on Cadillac’s autonomous and connected car vehicle plans.)

As to other details about the new Cadillac flagship, the maker isn’t ready to talk. It is expected to unveil the new model at the Detroit Auto Show next January.

The new model will be one of an assortment of products Caddy is planning to add to its line-up over the next few years as it seeks to become more competitive with the likes of Lexus, Mercedes, BMW and Audi. Also on tap are a compact luxury crossover, as well as an entry-luxury vehicle that will slot under the current starter ATS coupe and sedan. A convertible is also reportedly under development.

Cadillac’s current line-up currently falls far short of the breadth of its European competition – and all three of the Germans have indicated plans for a further proliferation, Mercedes alone promising to bring 30 new vehicles to market by decade’s end, at a rate of about one per quarter.

De Nysschen is expected to champion a product blitz from Cadillac. He had been pushing a similar strategy during the several years he worked with Infiniti before joining the Detroit maker last month. The South African-born executive previously headed Audi’s U.S. operations.

(Infiniti names new boss to replace de Nysschen. Click Hereto learn more.)

But de Nysschen also is studying whether to move key Caddy planning, sales and marketing operations from Detroit to the New York City area. That decision, insiders have told TheDetroitBureau.com, could come shortly.

(Hong Kong tycoon places record Rolls-Royce order. Click Here for the story.)

Other operations, notably product development, would remain in Detroit – as would the production of the new flagship. The maker is confirming it will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, the sprawling factory known locally as the Poletown plant.

“In addition to new technology in the car itself, we are instituting innovative manufacturing techniques to assemble it with the precision deserving of a luxury make,” de Nysschen said in a release.

GM recently announced plans to invest $384 million into the plant – which also produces such vehicles as the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrids.

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5 Responses to “Cadillac to Launch New Flagship in Late 2015”

  1. alex says:

    THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE WELL BEFORE . I’M AFRAID IT MIGHT BE TOO LATE TO CONQUER THE LUXURY MARKET .

  2. Mike Hense says:

    IT’S ABOUT TIME… they started building Caddys again, and stopped trying to build failed imitations of BMWs and Mercedes… If we wanted a Mercedes we would buy a Mercedes… We want Fleetwoods… Eldorados… IF YOU MAKE EM, WE WILL BUY…

  3. gdb says:

    It sounds to me that Cadillac is finally coming back, for years they seem to focus on small and mid size sedans… When in actuality true Cadillac lovers prefer the larger luxury sedan. The Elminraj concept is a beautiful car, hope I’m able to afford one.
    Good luck to Cadillac on their new endeavors.

  4. nigel says:

    from your mouth to god’ ears mike Hense
    people want an European look and feel with an
    American price tag

  5. Fausto says:

    About time GM wake up and decided to built quality and good looking luxury cars,like in the 50s, 60s and 70s, those were cars.


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