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Cadillac’s move to scrap the Ciel concept makes sense despite the cool car’s appeal

Cadillac Ciel Concept It appears that any hopes of cruising the coast in the hot Cadillac “Ciel” concept car that had people raving after the prototype appeared at Pebble Beach’s Concours d’Elegance in 2011 won’t be happening.

Inside sources at General Motors are saying that the automaker has decided not to move forward on previous plans to launch a production model of a top-ranging rear-wheel drive car in the likeness of the Ciel, according to an Automotive News report.

In fact, sources tell the industry news site that designers recently were taken off the program for the car and reassigned.

The Automotive News report indicates that GM executives have concluded that the exclusive Cadillac model, which would have been a low-volume car running in the $100,000 range, didn’t have enough brand appeal to justify the investment, according to the inside sources.

Hmm…we’re wondering who they actually polled for that survey? Not us at DT, obviously.

The Ciel – pronounced “C-L,” the French translation for sky – is a four-seat convertible, which was touted as a new expression of Cadillac’s “historical grandeur,” as well as a celebration of open-air motoring, when it was first unveiled at Pebble Beach.

Inspired by the idea of driving California’s Highway 1 in an open car, the Ciel is powered by a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter Direct Injection V-6 engine, paired with a hybrid system using lithium-ion battery technology.

It’s hard to imagine what’s not to like about that, but I definitely get Cadillac’s decision to axe it.

Despite the appeal of the Ciel (and there’s a lot of appeal), investing the resources needed to pull off a flashy $100,000-plus Cadillac right now isn’t a smart business move for the company.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Let’s not forget that it’s only been recently that Cadillac has regained its footing in the luxury segment and despite its recent success with models like the ATS and XTS, the brand is still working to establish a solid foundation.

A couple of hits in the luxury segment is hardly enough for Cadillac to start coasting on big ideas that extend well beyond the brand’s core demographic, after struggling through years of lackluster sales.  

Not building a Ciel-type luxury car is a matter of first things first and it’s not as if Cadillac isn’t working on adding a larger flagship model to its line-up, which it definitely needs.   

According to Automotive News, GM is currently developing a new rear –wheel drive platform dubbed “Omega” for a larger luxury sedan to go up against cars the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S class and BMW 7 series with an expected launch date for the 2016 or 2017 model year.

In addition, with what some already consider a risky move in launching the all-electric ELR coupe, Cadillac would do well to devote more attention on fine tuning the core DNA of Cadillac’s performance and technology elements before venturing into the hyper-world of luxury cars.

Lessons learned from the Cadillac XLR attest to the fact that despite a car’s appeal under the glitzy lights of some auto show, there’s just no guarantee it’ll catch on and sell regardless of how many likes it gets on Facebook.   

Marcus Amick
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Marcus Amick has been writing about the world of cars for more than ten years and has covered everything from new automobiles…
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