DETROIT -- General Motors global product chief Mark Reuss said that a large luxury sedan being developed for Cadillac will "define its brand" and is a prerequisite to competing against rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus.
"If we're a serious luxury carmaker, it's really important to us," Reuss said at an event here Tuesday.
"This is a car that Cadillac needs, that will define its brand in terms of innovation and excellence," Reuss told reporters. "That's the mission."
Cadillac’s chief engineer, Dave Leone, told Bloomberg last week that the rear-wheel drive sedan would arrive sometime in late 2015. It was the first time a GM official has publicly given a timeframe for the long-rumored sedan, codenamed LTS for now.
Reuss declined to discuss specifics but said Cadillac's entry in the large luxury sedan segment "has got to be a symbol of excellence."
Engineering mules of the sedan have been spotted recently being put through the paces at GM's proving ground in Milford, Mich. It's expected to ride on a new rwd platform and compete against the Mercedes-Benz S class, BMW 7 series and Audi A8.
Reuss downplayed Cadillac's sluggish U.S. sales, which have fallen 2 percent this year through July, vs. 6 percent for the luxury market and 5 percent for all light vehicles.