General Motors is expected to give the go-ahead to Cadillac's flagship Omega project before year-end, according to senior sources. GM's top management has been encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the luxury division's new Ciel concept vehicle (LEFT), which was unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey last month.
It's unclear whether a convertible or sedan version based on the big Omega platform would be first to market, but there is a clear consensus that Cadillac needs a super-premium model if it is to have a chance of regaining its position as "standard to the world," as its long-time advertising slogan declared.
Omega would be just one in a wide range of new offerings that would be added to the Cadillac lineup, insiders confirm, helping the once-dominant marque fill in the so-called "white space" between its current model mix. That will include not only a new plug-in hybrid, but very likely some more conventional hybrid-electric models, as well.
Cadillac planners are also looking at the possibility of adding a diesel, but whether they follow through will depend not only on potential demand in the U.S. but also whether Caddy sees the opportunity to build a long-sought presence in Europe. That's a big uncertainty right now. At least in the near-term, the marque is emphasizing China, now its second-largest market.
Adding a flagship like Ciel is critical to the brand's resurgence, insists Cadillac General Marketing Manager Don Butler, who will only say that GM is “studying its options.” But other sources say the response to the striking, vaguely retro convertible was so powerful that GM's top managers are now expected to give the go-ahead to the Omega project, which could land in showrooms by mid-decade.
The premium-luxury offering to follow would join an assortment of new models including the small ATS; the big XTS, which replaces the largely unloved STS and DTS models; and the ELR, a production version of the popular Converj concept (ABOVE RIGHT) – itself a high-line variant of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.
Even more products are under consideration as Caddy acknowledges the need to proliferate its lineup as successful rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have done in recent years.
“We do have this residual positive sentiment but the fact is that we're not relevant for many consumers,” said Butler, adding that a broader range of offerings could put Caddy back on the luxury map.