NEW YORK -- Cadillac executives made clear that the CT6 large sedan unveiled last week at the auto show here isn't a big-boy, ultraluxury entry meant to compete head-on with the powerhouse Mercedes-Benz S class.
That led to a natural question on the sidelines of Cadillac's bustling show stand: Is that range-topping car coming? And if so, when?
The short answer: Yes, but not anytime soon.
Cadillac marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus told Automotive News that he believes there is room for a bigger, top-end sedan, "but the volume is niche and the business case must work," he said.
"I think the brand is not ready for an even bigger car yet," Ellinghaus said.
His boss, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, said there will be more CT6 models in the coming years -- including one with a V-8 twin-turbo engine -- before anything bigger comes along.
When CT6 production begins in December, the top engine choice will be a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6.
De Nysschen and GM product chief Mark Reuss also have referenced a plug-in hybrid version of the CT6 in the works.
And in 2017, the CT6 is expected to be the first car to get GM's semiautonomous driving system, Super Cruise, which allows hands-free driving under certain conditions.
"From where we launch this car, we are going to expand it upward. There's still headroom," de Nysschen said in an interview. "We've got to give that play an opportunity to take effect" before slotting any car above the CT6 in Cadillac's lineup.
De Nysschen reiterated his vision for a bigger, flagship sedan at the top of the range, but probably not until 2020 or later. De Nysschen envisions a car with a bespoke, handcrafted feel.
"It will not be a Rolls-Royce competitor. We know the order of things," de Nysschen said. "But it will be a car that will be conceived around a high degree of individualization, that will be offered with a very high degree of hand assembly."
A range-topping flagship car that Cadillac had been developing was scrapped in the spring of 2013, sources told Automotive News at the time. That was before de Nysschen's arrival, in August of last year.