DETROIT – A top General Motors executive confirms the automaker is developing a new flagship sedan to compete with high-end offerings from the German luxury brands.

Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president-global product development, purchasing and supply chain, says the car is extremely critical to the future of Cadillac, both in North America and abroad.

“If we’re a serious luxury car maker, it’s really important to us,” he tells WardsAuto during a community outreach event here. “What we do there has got to be a symbol of excellence. This is a car that Cadillac needs that will define its brand in terms of innovation and excellence, and that’s the mission.”

Reuss says the new car, reportedly to be called the LTS, will slot above the XTS, which in terms of size sits atop the Cadillac lineup. The fullsize sedan will be based on an all-new platform and won’t replace an existing model.

Timing for the launch has not been confirmed, although Reuss says it’s possible it will make its debut next year, likely at either the New York auto show or the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California. The car’s design will be based on the Elmiraj concept.  

On the other end of the Cadillac lineup spectrum, Reuss says the automaker is examining an entry-level model to slot below the ATS, but says such a move must be planned carefully.

“We have to be careful with where we go with Cadillac in terms of the brand and entries we put into that brand,” he says. “I think we really have to look at this differently than other, more established luxury marques that have had a full lineup for a longer period of time than Cadillac.’

Reuss believes continuing investment in the Cadillac marque will eventually lead to a sustainable lineup that will draw more customers.

Cadillac sales last year rose 21.8% vs. like-2012 to 182,543 units, but through July deliveries have slid 2.0% to 97,358, according to WardsAuto data. Key models have struggled, including the recently introduced ATS, down 20.8% year-to-date.

The SRX CUV, one of Cadillac’s top sellers, remains strong, with deliveries through July up 15.6% vs. year-ago. An all-new SRX is due in 2016 as a ’17 model, but Reuss says he expects the current product to continue its sales momentum.

Meanwhile, reports the rollout of the all-new ’15 Cadillac Escalade SUV has been hampered by lengthy quality checks that are delaying delivery to customers are exaggerated, he says.

“We’re making sure the vehicle has the quality that I demand and the customers demand,” he says. “We’re taking our time because of quality.”