Will Cadillac finally get a flagship?

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.
Mercedes-Benz has a flagship, the S-class sedan.

BMW has the 7 series. Audi, the A8; and Lexus, the LS sedan.

What is Cadillac's flagship? Zip. But that might change mid-decade.

GM reportedly has revived work on developing a flagship model for Cadillac, Motor Trend reports in its August issue. If approved, the car would likely be a large, low-volume model that would help define the brand.

Today, Cadillac is a hodgepodge of models with its most significant car its smallest, the CTS. One car magazine calls the CTS and CTS-V the best American car ever made. Its biggest and least significant car, the DTS sedan, will end production sometime next year. The STS sedan also is heading to the graveyard.

Cadillac's car line is on the verge of a renaissance. The all-wheel drive XTS sedan is expected late next year, developed on a premium version of GM's global mid-sized vehicle platform. The car's dimensions are similar to those of the Cadillac Seville of the 1990s.

The XTS Platinum concept debuted at the Detroit auto show earlier this year and displays the styling intended for the car. The press loved it.

A year or so later, the ATS will debut, a rear-drive model line that is smaller than the CTS and viewed as a 3-series fighter. A four-door sedan is expected first, followed by a coupe and possibly a convertible. That will be followed by the redesigned CTS, which will be smaller than today's CTS to separate it from the XTS.

As for a Cadillac flagship, there's no word on timing or whether the car would be front/awd or rwd if approved for production.

Former Vice Chairman Bob Lutz had talked about creating a flagship for Cadillac during his years at GM. The V-16 powered Cadillac Sixteen concept turned heads in 2003 when it debuted at the Detroit auto show. It still does today. But that design is now seven years old, so a fresh, new approach would be expected.

Some order is coming to the disorder in Cadillac's car line, and a jaw-dropping flagship is just what Cadillac needs to draw attention to the brand and what appears to be an exciting new car line.