"I want to see this car go into production badly. Very badly," Ed Welburn, GM's Global Head of Design, told Autoblog. But the Cadillac design studio is busier than it's ever been before, and the company is working on prioritizing which cars deserve to get the billion-dollar price tag needed to research and develop a new model.
In the past decade or so, the concept car has become less of a fanciful idea used to show off ideas and more of a test car that shows the media, general public and company executives what a production car could look like, if the designers had their way. It's pretty easy to tell when the concept car is going to turn into a production car – top executives try to be tricky and say things like, "If we were to build this car, it would look a lot like the concept."
No matter what happens, Welburn says the car has made its mark on Cadillac
Welburn waffled more than usual on the Elmiraj. He kept talking about how busy the Cadillac design studio is, and priorities for the brand. And just how darn busy they all are. He's clearly rooting for the Elmiraj. During our interview, he had to turn away from the car, which was spinning around on a stand nearby, because there were fingerprints on the bumper that were catching his eye and bugging him. No matter what happens, he said the car has made its mark on Cadillac:
"Even if it does not go into production, it will have a significant impact on production cars," he said.
It makes sense that GM is hesitant to commit to the two-door Elmiraj, as the coupe market in the US is pretty small. Americans prefer their cars bigger, and value things like how easy it is to get into the back seat over sleeker, sexier car designs.
Cadillac is going to get a large premium car well above the XTS, but it won't be a coupe like the Elmiraj, at least not initially. CEO Dan Akerson this summer said the brand is getting a large sedan in the next two years. That sedan will take on the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes Benz S-Class, a rear- and all-wheel drive car loosely based on the Cadillac CTS, and its expected to share a lot of the Elmiraj's design DNA. Whether a two-door model joins the sedan is apparently still very much up for discussion.