ROCHESTER, MI – Cadillac design chief Clay Dean does not see the newly unveiled Ciel concept car going into production, but says bits and pieces of the 4-door convertible will arrive in future products coming as soon as next year.
“There is a rationale for the car, but the goal was never to put it into production,” Dean tells WardsAuto during an event here showcasing the car for Detroit-area journalists.
first revealed it two weeks ago at the Pebble Beach, CA, Concours de’Elegance.
Instead, he says, the car allowed designers at GM’s luxury division to “play with some of the tools and resources that we have now.”
Look for features contained in the striking Ciel to make their way into coming products from the brand, such as the XTS large sedan and ATS entry-level sports sedan due next year.
The XTS arrived in the spring out of GM’s Oshawa, ON, Canada, assembly plant. The ATS appeared soon afterward from the auto maker’s Lansing, MI, Grand River assembly plant.
Dean does not specify which particular features might move from concept car to production, but offers the Ciel’s HVAC vents and twin-turbocharged V-6 engine as examples.
The Ciel’s HVAC vents are hidden, located discreetly in a seam between the binnacle of the instrument panel and the dash. Cadillac designers hid the vents on the notion that luxury buyers do not want to be burdened by a vehicle’s functions.
“You’ll see cues like that emerging quickly,” he says, admitting wind noise from such small openings is a challenge but calling the general concept “totally doable.”
The Ciel is powered by a 3.6L twin-turbo direct-injection V-6 engine. Dave Leone, chief engineer for Cadillac, expects the mill to find its way into production.
“Very possible. We have the know-how. It would work well in a lot of (vehicles),” Leone says, adding that strict new corporate average fuel economy rules are driving downsized and boosted engines to market.
The Ciel also suggests the return of a Cadillac convertible, Dean says.
The brand has not had the drop top it needs to compete against other luxury makers since the XLR went out of production with the ’09 model year.
“We do need one,” he says, stopping short of offering a timetable. “When we stopped the XLR, we exposed ourselves a bit.”
The rumor mill in Detroit speculates Cadillac will bring a convertible version of the CTS Coupe to production in the next couple of years. GM officials have refused to comment on its status.
Dean likes the idea of 4-door convertible like the Ciel because no other auto maker now offers one in that body style.
“Nobody does it,” he says, pointing to the successful Escalade luxury SUV as a blueprint for launching an entire segment of vehicle consumers “never knew they needed.” He includes the Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon on that list. “Do something no one else is doing.”