By on August 24, 2013

bwilson

The Red Pants Douchebag Marketing Garden Party debut of Cadillac’s Elmiraj concept was hugely exciting for everyone naive enough to think that Cadillac might be able to whip up a $100K rear-wheel-drive monster coupe with whatever funds they saved by plopping the XTS on top of the LaCrosse. I thought it looked great myself. As an American, I’m very proud of the fact that General Motors can fearlessly create a one-off prototype of the kind of highly improbable flagship that Mercedes has been nonchalantly building since the W126 SEC came out. Come to think of it, that W126 coupe came out just before Cadillac turned the Eldorado into a car that managed to be about as physically big as a current Sonata while appearing to be the same size as the current Accent. Goodbye Cadillac, hello Mercedes. Changing of the guard and all that.

Those of us who remain fans of the brand yet have some minor understanding of the auto business understand that the Elmiraj is about zero percent “El” and about one hundred percent mirage. Fair enough. But what about a new XLR that kind of looks like an Elmiraj? There’s a new Corvette, and the old, old (C5) Corvette spawned the XLR, so perhaps something could be done there?

Not so fast. Speaking to Fox News, Corvette chief engineer Tadge Jeuchter crushed the dreams of up to one hundred people, most of whom are the spouses of GM dealer principals, when he said that “This is a Corvette, it’s optimized for the Corvette market… there’s no intent to offer any other nameplate, aside from the Corvette.”

Sounds fairly definitive, doesn’t it? Still, this is GM, so there’s always hope that they’ll change their minds and develop the thing halfway through the model cycle of the C7 or something, right?

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46 Comments on “Knock, Knock? Who’s There? Not A Future Cadillac XLR...”


  • avatar
    1998S90

    So the Corvette guy speaks for Cadillac and GM?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Thanks for answering a question that no one (who doesn’t already own an XLR) asked. I always thought the XLR had an interesting look and was certainly cooler in my mind than the Alante but I think if I showed up to a car show at the National Corvette Museum in an XLR they’d stone me.

  • avatar

    The XLR failed because it was too small, too expensive and too impractical. It was everything for the American market that the Mustangs and SRT’s are not. And that’s why despite being massive gas guzzlers they continue to sell very well when compared to the Corvette. There is a market for small convertible sport coupe’s but most people would rather buy a German version when the price exceeds $80,000.

    I like the XTS because it is a big “American” car and finally it’s getting the power it needed from the get go with the Turboed V6. XTS has the best interior on the entire American market – including TESLA’s Model S.

    If Cadillac does build the Elmiraj and Ciel, then what they should do is treat both cars like Mercedes is treating the S-class/Cl-class:

    #1 Pull no punches, include every feature, and make it the best Cadillac ever made.

    Take a lesson from the S550, CL550.

    Give em RWD/ AWD(optional) and make the Elmiraj the couped equivalent of your big caddy.

    #2 Consider making it a SPACIOUS gasoline/diesel & electric vehicle plug-in HYBRID. After all – it’ll be dead silent, torquey and rich people need strokejobs to be able to feel as if they’re doing something to help the environment.

    In a car with a design as sophisticated as the Elmiraj/Ciel, just being a big engined gas guzzler would be anachronistic. HYBRIDIZE THAT BASTARD. The rich can afford it!

    That thing won’t be for main street! The fixed-income slobs can settle for the XTS and CTS!

    I’d have bought a Karma over a Model S simply because it had the gas backup. But it was TOO SMALL and too Gawdy. That said: I’m not a fan of Cadillac V as much as SRT cars because they AGE SO MUCH BETTER. The old Charger, 300 and Magnum will look good 10 years from now.

    Soften those edges and make the $100,000 S-class-Cadillac more contemporary. The XTS is a good start.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The XLR took everything that was great about the Corvette and positively ruined it. Beside that, it was dog-ugly. I never would have bought one.

      The XTS is great for what it is, but because of its plebeian underpinnings (Super Epsilon platform) and FWD proportions, it will never be considered a proper flagship. It occupies a middle-ground in the luxury market that is underrated. Now, does that make it any less of a car? Absolutely not. I think it’s the only car in its class (which includes the MKS, S80, RLX) that is truly interesting or that I would actually want to buy…

      What you’ve said about hybridizing the Elmiraj is hilarious because the Bentley Continental (which would dang-near be in the same class) has had its 6.0L W12 supplemented by an Audi-sourced 4.0L V8, and people are considering that “economical”.

      The old Charger and 300 (and discontinued Magnum) look tacky, not the least of which is because every third one has giant chrome rims and a Nickelodeon-style paint job. The current Charger and 300, however, will look lovely in ten years…and, unlike their competitors, will also still be in running condition.

      • 0 avatar

        Bentley Continental?

        Anyone buying a $300,000 car can pretty much afford gasoline – if not, the acquisition of entire oil wells.

        The vast majority of richers buying a Bentley or Rolls Royce are not racing their cars. They aren’t pushing them anywhere NEAR their maximum potential and a V12, W12 or anything above a blown-V8 is completely unnecessary. Rich old farts driving less than the speed limit. Young Money ops for supercars.

        A diesel-Electric hybrid would not only sell well in Europe, but Americans who have the money to afford the upfront premiums would love it.

        The old Charger and 300 are the better looking because they are pure. The new cars are too German-ized.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          A car’s looks are fairly subjective but I think the 1st-generation 300 looked horrific. Especially from the front. The grille in particular looked cheap & cheesy.

          http://cdnedge.vinsolutions.com/dealerimages/Dealer%204130%20Images/2012%20Chrysler%20300.JPG

          In my opinion the 2nd-generation 300 is a far better looking car and the best of the modern RWD Fiatsler 4-doors. It doesn’t have the strange crease on the driver’s door that the Charger has and the gun-slit windshield isn’t as pronounced.

          http://cdnedge.vinsolutions.com/dealerimages/Dealer%204130%20Images/2012%20Chrysler%20300.JPG

          Of course I rode around in a W126 Benz a lot when I was a kid, and I drive a BMW 3 series, so the refined Germanic looks of the 2nd generation 300 appeal to me. The first generation car looks like a Chinese copy of a Bentley. If “Riich” made a full-sized luxury sedan, that’d be it.

          http://www.cherry-avto.com/uploads/posts/2012-02/1330468103_riich.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      How did the XLR “fail”? They sold 15,000 of this rarified halo vehicle which was never intended to sell in Cobalt numbers. If ceasing production constitutes failure for you – well then sir, we’re all doomed to eventually fail.
      From my perspective they’re a remarkable design, lithe like a rapier, not at all reminiscent of the blunt, slab sided gangster style you like so much in the 300.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Agreed. The XLR was the best looking recent Caddy to my eyes. Not entirely practical, but a very cool car. I think a 4-seat convertible would be more viable, and so a real-world version of the Ciel would probably be a better idea, but either way, if you’re going to get attention for a Caddy halo-car, it kind of needs a lot of presence. Cadillac is not a quiet luxury brand, and the cars need to have that confidence.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    The Corvette “guy” speaks for GM, which is an integrated global company that markets brands. Product Development is one organization whether the upcoming Cadillac flagship, or the Chevy Spark. One company, one PD staff, one manufacturing system.

    El Miraj is just a hint of what is to come,it is not a mirage at all.

    btw Jack, wasn’t the XLR actually the first application of the C6 architecture?

  • avatar

    Oh please, Jack. It’s not much of a secret that Elmiraj is built on Omega, the platform that will underpin the upcoming big Cadillac sedan. The interior may be a flight of fancy, but don’t think for a minute that they couldn’t launch a car like that a year after the big sedan hits. Akerson has big goals for Cadillac, and they have the money to spend to make it happen — and they’re spending it. And then Ferguson came out last week and said that the dealers want a car like Elmiraj. Sure, after all that has happened, GM needs to show not tell, but between Ciel and this (and the ATS, and the new CTS), I think the showing has started.

    Meanwhile, the XLR was a joke, because its interior sucked just as badly as all of the other Cadillacs’ did 8-10 years ago, and because almost nobody wanted a Cadillac’d-up Vette anyway. I don’t know why it’s news that GM is unlikely to try again.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Akerson’s main goal is to get GM out of the “government Motors” moniker and retire with a pile of money. He’s not a car guy, so Cadillac will be in a holding pattern until he retires. He wanted to retire at 65 (this coming October) with no government-owned GM stock, but maybe the administration can talk Warren Buffett into buying out the rest of Treasury’s GM stock before the 2014 election season starts.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      OF COURSE the dealers want a car like Elmiraj.

      The dealers have been screaming for decent product since the last decent product disappeared in 1986. For twenty-seven years — longer than the lives of many readers — they’ve been subsisting on a product line that has been 90% garbage. They watched Lincoln rip their lungs out during the fat Panther and Mark VII/Mark VIII era. Then they watched Lexus eat whatever lunch they had left.

      The dealers have gotten precisely ONE product they’ve loved since 1986, and that’s the current SRX, which is close enough to a Lexus RX that they can blow it out the door on price. The last STS V6 was also a popular car and now they’ve killed it.

      Take away the hype and the free station wagons at color mags and the free trips to Europe for bloggers and the sad fact is this: Cadillac is the least competitive product in every segment they contest. Period. Point blank. You can make an argument for the SRX having legs over the MKX and the sales, I think, support that assertion but other than that Cadillac is the Ass-end Of The World.

      At $79,999 for an Elmiraj that looks substantially similar to the one they showed at Pebble, I’ll place a deposit. Until then, I’ll continue to support Cadillac with my best wishes and my tax dollars, nothing more.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Lincoln rip Cadillac’s lungs out? I had a hard time finding sales figures, but I don’t see a single year going back to 2002 (well before the Town Car was killed) where Lincoln outsold Cadillac. Generally Cadillac’s sales are about 50% higher, with the gap growing recently. So far in 2013 Cadillac has sold 99,331 cars compared to Lincoln’s 45,207.

        http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/cadillac-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

        http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/lincoln-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

        And Cadillac had the Fleetwood Brougham until 1996, until which time it was the much better option than the Town Car.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          Thanks for the links! I can’t imagine Jack would make the same mistake re. sales volume Lincoln vs Cadillac in an article but it’s easy to let one’s gut instinct run the show when commenting.
          If sales volume is the only metric by which one defines success or intrinsic worth then we’re in trouble. Plenty of great or even legendary cars failed to make a dent on the sales charts but later became quite sought after when enthusiasts realized their value, examples being the BMW z3 coupe, Ferrari Dino, Demuro’s current whip and so on. If sales success determine what’s “good” then I better throw away my Fleet Foxes and Charles Bradley albums and get some Miley Cyrus.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    About 90% of the XLRs I see are pink Mary Kay editions.

    Cadillac could build a flagship, but if it does it has to beat the Germans, not just copy them. That means V16.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Why a V16? GM has SOME chops with V8s that can more than hold their own with the Germans. It’s the suspension and steering that needs attention.

    • 0 avatar

      Cadillac isn’t ready to compete with the Germans and they never will be. As long as there are a large contingent of people in America (with money) who strongly hate American cars and are willing to break their backs to afford even a used German car, Cadillac and Lincoln will never be able to compete on the “luxury” level.

      The CTS-V is proof that even if you have a better track performer, many people will still break their backs for an M3.

      Cars are an extension of people’s personalities. They are a projection of a person’s ego on the road.

      It sounds something like this (yelling)

      MY CAR IS BETTER BECAUSE I HAD $100,000 AND YOU DON’T AND I SAID SO!!!

      Anything this flashy and this expensive needs to be something people dream about.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        The CTS-V may be a great performer on the track, but something about it just doesn’t look prestigous and expensive. $65k of car that looks like it costs $40k. To me the V6 ATS at $42k new, deeply discounted used, would be the one to watch for future bargains. Sharp looking and fun without the maintenance costs of a BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Bigtruck, spot on. Many people in their prime earning years wouldn’t think of buying a Caddy or a Lincoln. Get on as a rental car? Maybe, if there was no mini-van available. I drive an Escape, a friend drives an X3. She asked why I didn’t get the BMW. I just smiled and said “costing twice as much doesn’t mean twice a good” Whilst there are 3 series and C class aficionados on here; most of those cars are sold as accessories to match for the owners tie/shoes as appropriate. Interesting times we live in.

  • avatar
    bobhaynes88

    Viewing Cadillac from a great distance, the UK, Cadillac need to do what one of your writers recommended for Lincoln- build a great very high quality car, basing a Cadillac on Chevrolet or even Buick and doubling the price is not what makes a quality executive machine.
    A Cadillac needs to excel in several ways and have a high quality interior, it needs at least one unique drive train and a sense that certain aspects of the cars performance are the best in the world, comfort or silence maybe.
    I believe that from 1930 to 1953 Cadillac were probably the best cars in the world now they are not even in division one. G.M.need to understand that marketing smoke and mirrors will not work if they want to resuscitate Cadillac. They need to build a quality car and price it accordingly to start restoring their reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @bobhaynes88- Well put. Cadillac is the fastest growing luxury brand, I believe, because the GM Product Development team really did learn the lesson you preach. Bob Lutz takes, and imho deserves credit for this. Product excellence will be the rule.

      Jack, quit whining about the $3.48 or so the GM Bailout might cost you personally! You do not have any tax dollars supporting GM beyond that, nor does anyone else.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’m listening…listening…listening…

    Nope, no one is weeping over this news.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Concept cars are just that — a concept. But Cadillac’s SVP is suggesting that the car may get built:

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130819/OEM03/308199951/caddy-concept-may-be-more-than-an-exercise

    GM allegedly has dreams of turning Cadillac into a global brand. That would be the reason to build a car similar (not exactly like) this — the brand desperately needs a halo car and something that wealthy people overseas may consider buying.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I’m still wanting a proper American middle-tier luxury sedan. The Chrysler 300 is close to there, but I’m not crazy on the styling.

    I really like the sneak-peek at the new CTS. It looks proper, but I’m pretty weary of GM. My mother’s Trailblazer has been kind of meh; not terrible, but some quality problems. I never liked Fords, but our 12′ Mustang is slowly turning me that direction.

    I’d really like to see a proper return of Lincoln. It won’t happen, but I’d like to see it. I think the MKS got the styling kind of right…… and nothing else. Imagine if they stretched the hood just a bit, made it RWD, and had the Mustangs 5.0….. damn. But if they charge over $40k for the FWD cheap piece of shit variant, I’d hate to see what a proper drivetrain would cost.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Since Corvette appears to be the only division actually using their engineers, yes, Corvette speaks for Cadillac and GM.

  • avatar
    amca

    Unlikely as it might all seem, it’s fun to speculate. And gminsidenews’s resident Photoshopper has done some nice work in demonstrating what a C7 would like like with Elmiraj styling draped over it:

    http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f32/elmiraj-inspired-xlr-what-say-you-129121/

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The thing is that GM does not even need to be involved. Anyone that can put together high quality glass reinforced plastic body panels can rebody the Corvette. E.g.:

      http://www.karlkustomcorvettes.com/1963-Corvette-split-window.html

  • avatar
    snakebit

    Oldtime surfers back me up on this, but isn’t the dude in the XLR photo the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson? Next to a Cadillac? Ain’t no Little Deuce Coupe OR 409.

    • 0 avatar

      Hate to burst your bubble but the wreck in Dead Man’s Curve was not inspired by a Cobra or an XKE but rather by a wipeout that Brian Wilson had with a friend on the Honda 50 that Honda had given him for writing Go Little Honda.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        Ronnie,
        Did I miss a posting? My comment has nothing to do with the Jan and Dean song,’Dead Man’s Curve’. I was referring to two Beach Boys songs, both about bragging about the competence of each respective car, and neither having anything to do with an accident on Sunset Boulevard. If I didn’t miss a posting, please read the Wiki account about Jan and Dean, and the story about Mr. Berry’s accident.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    GM’s engineering know how to tune a suspension to transmit feel without harshness, how to build a car that feels substantial without wallowing like a round bottomed tub in the North Atlantic, and I’d like to think they could eventually spec an entire interior to actually fit together and stay that way. I do not believe they’ll ever actually develop a product for sale that uses that knowledge. There must still be too many people involved in the development of the designs and manufacturing processes who don’t think it matters. Concept cars don’t have to go through the grinder that kills all that’s good in GM.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    What’s with the costumes? I’m trying to decide whether she is a refugee from Woodstock or the Renaissance Faire, and as for his getup, what is that? Early Dude Ranch? None of that seems to go with the car in any way.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in the late 80’s early 90’s when the Allante, Reatta and Corvette were GM’s halo cars and the low-end sports-commuter Fiero was living up to its name by self-imolating on the road. I remember seeing an article in one of the car magazines saying that each GM division would have its own unique two-seater covering appropriate price ranges. It even had a picture of a prototype Olds 2-seater, since they were the only division that did not have one. In fact Olds never had a 2-seat coupe unless you include the Business coupe. It looked like a cross between a Trofeo, an Allante and a Reatta. Most likely it was based on the E-body which those cars were based on.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Yes, it is Brian Wilson. And I believe that’s Mrs. Wilson. Some context of what they’re doing in this picture would be nice.


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