Is This the 2016 Cadillac Eldorado?

The Cadillac Elmiraj concept car, a big two-door luxury coupe powered by a twin-turbo V8, was unveiled by GM in Monterey, California last week. Photo credit: General Motors.

Will this big luxury coupe become the 2016 Cadillac Eldorado?

The short answer is probably "not exactly" – but it could be closer than you think.

It's a concept car called the Cadillac Elmiraj, and it was unveiled by General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) last week as part of an unfolding, multiyear plan to turn Cadillac into a serious global luxury contender.

But even though GM was pretty clear that the Elmiraj won't go into production as-is, it's worth a much closer look if you're interested in Cadillac – or in the future prospects for GM's stock.

These Cadillac concept cars aren't just flights of fancy
To understand how the Elmiraj fits into the Cadillac turnaround story, we need to go back a couple of years to another Cadillac concept car, the Ciel.

The Cadillac Ciel concept car was first shown in Monterey two years ago. The new Elmiraj carries many of the same styling themes. Photo credit: General Motors.

I called the Ciel a "shocking statement" at the time, and I still think it was – and is. Up to that point, GM CEO Dan Akerson and other senior GM executives had talked about their ambitious plans to remake Cadillac, but we hadn't seen anything that showed us where they were really aiming to take the brand.

And while the Ciel wasn't intended to become a production car, it showed that the plan was a good one. It was different from current production Cadillacs, but clearly evolved from them – and just as clearly, it was much more opulent and upscale. But it was still very much a Cadillac in a way that anyone familiar with today's cars -- or the Cadillacs of old -- would instantly recognize.

And now we have the Elmiraj, which is also instantly recognizable as a Cadillac -- and instantly recognizable as the Ciel's sibling. I think that's important. Here's why.

Why the Elmiraj might actually be a future Eldorado
Concept cars are often just flights of fancy, a chance to try an idea or let a promising designer stretch his or her wings. From the moment I saw it, I thought that the Ciel was a lot more than that, and I'm even more convinced now that I've seen the Elmiraj.

From behind, the Elmiraj is instantly recognizable as a Cadillac. Photo credit: General Motors.

First, they're clearly stylistic siblings. The grill shape has evolved, but the Elmiraj's overall lines and many of the details are very similar to the Ciel's. That suggests that this is, in fact, the direction the brand is headed in – a direction that might first see production with the upcoming big "flagship" Cadillac sedan, set to arrive in 2015.

That flagship is expected to be built on an all-new rear-wheel-drive platform called "Omega", a name that nicely bookends the "Alpha" platform that underpins the current Cadillac ATS and upcoming new CTS.

GM has dropped some heavy hints that the Elmiraj is built on a prototype version of that new platform, so it's not impossible that something like it could be built in a few years. In fact, Cadillac global chief Bob Ferguson told  Automotive News that something close to the Elmiraj could be put into production, and that Cadillac dealers really want a car like it.

So will they build something like it?
GM is in the midst of a massive project to turn Cadillac into a top-shelf global luxury-car brand. It's a crucial project that is being done for hard-headed business reasons: Successful global luxury brands like BMW (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF  ) and Volkswagen's  (NASDAQOTH: VLKAY  ) Audi generate massive profits, and Akerson wants GM in on that action. (This is also why Ford (NYSE: F  ) is in the process of pumping up its Lincoln brand.)

It's not hard to see why Cadillac dealers would be excited about a car like this. The old Eldorados – big, luxurious two-door Cadillacs – were steady sellers for a long time, and the Elmiraj is a beautifully updated take on that same idea. GM doesn't really offer a car like that now.

But the Elmiraj – and I don't think the name's similarity to the word "Eldorado" is a coincidence – suggests that they might be offering one soon.

The latest Cadillacs have been designed with more than just the U.S. in mind: GM is determined to make Cadillac a player in China's booming market for luxury cars.

In fact, there's good reason to believe that the most successful investors over the next few decades will be those with exposure to China's massive and growing population of domestic consumers. And there are few things that these consumers are likely to purchase with more enthusiasm than cars and trucks. In this brand-new free report, our analysts get out in front of this trend by identifying two automakers that are poised to surge along with China's middle class. If you want to be among the smart investors who get rich from this growing trend, then you'd be well advised to instantly download our free report on the topic by clicking here now.


Read/Post Comments (34) | Recommend This Article (16)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 7:48 PM, adschelin wrote:

    Looks like a Tesla

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:12 PM, bugmenot wrote:

    It looks like Detroit garbage.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:30 PM, hsmith4827 wrote:

    That looks like a sweet ride. not your granddads ride!

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:32 PM, normgarry wrote:

    I bet both models would sell very well if produced - TO RICH PEOPLE - but the problem is, they are so technologically advanced in design, that if they weren't built as EV's (competition for the Model S) with gas-backups, they'd seem overly obsolete.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:33 PM, greyhound44 wrote:

    Only a fool would ever buy a Cadillac!

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:47 PM, CRUZN2012 wrote:

    Both cars look AWESOME! Why not produce them just the way they are

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:47 PM, FordRules wrote:

    I like the idea of giving it a model NAME ("Eldorado" or whatever) instead of half of a license plate number like they do now. Mercedes already gives their cars the other half of that plate number.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:50 PM, 1966Catalina wrote:

    The car looks cool

    Every new model need not be Electric

    BUT why wait till 2016

    Lets see this for the 2015 models

    looks great

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:50 PM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    It doesn't look anything like a Tesla.

    @normgarry, most car buyers don't want electric cars. Tesla has sold what, 12 or 13 thousand cars so far this year? Cadillac has sold about 100,000 -- just in the US. Let's keep some perspective here.

    John Rosevear

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 9:11 PM, cynthiaart77 wrote:

    I own 7 Cadillac Deville's, one for everyday of the week, and as a proud Cadillac owner I'm glad to see thier on the right track on becoming the American Luxury Car like they used to be know for. The only thing they need to change on the Elmiraj's is the shape of the rear end. It needs to be a little longer and curved more.

    To all the haters don't be mad cuz you drive a mini van and not a Cadillac.

    "Cadillac is a way of life".

    That's something the people at Cadillac should remember when designing new models.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 9:11 PM, cadtub wrote:

    before Detroit was Motown it was known as Motor City the worldwide hub of automobile manufacturing much admired and copied thruout the world by the startups which we The USA consulted to and financed. It is exciting to see the U.S. auto industry returning to prominence once again. Oh and bugmenot you are a true patriot (NOT)

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 9:22 PM, AtomicAgePix wrote:

    Cadillac has been butt ugly since they started using the diamond shaped head lights and and square front ends that look like a Mac truck of old!

    When are they going to start making Cadillacs that LOOK like Cadillacs? Yes I'm saying bring back some tail fins, but also bring back some class. Right now they all look like a tank. Not matter how good they are technically, I wouldn't buy one with the way they look.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 9:29 PM, nagayax wrote:

    my husband own a Cadillac.its Eldorado 98..red chery color.and its pristine condition...he love his car so.. much.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 9:41 PM, mary1943 wrote:

    Drug dealers car

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 10:12 PM, legacys7 wrote:

    The person pointed out that this car looks like a Tesla, needs his/her eyes checked.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 10:46 PM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    Considering that Cadillac names their cars with initials, why would it be the new Eldorado?

    Otherwise, nice to see the highbrow comments here . . . . Tesla? Detroit Garbage? You guys should save your breath and let the rest of us discuss in peace.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 10:57 PM, kca124cain wrote:

    Got to have it.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 11:23 PM, n4s3hundred wrote:

    is that a "V" on the back of the elmiraj? i sure hope so :D

    garbage is the least anyone should say. The XTS and ATS run country miles around BMW and Mercedez..

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 1:22 AM, michaelcdriscoll wrote:

    If Cadillac were to build the Ciel I would be one of the first people on the waiting list and calling my stock broker to purchase some stock for me in GM.

    For a few decades Ive been driving BMW Porsche and Mercedes. I have been keeping a eye on Cadillac and they just need the right car to put them back in the running and pull me back to the US built cars, they are close but not quite there yet. Personally I think if they built a four door convertible or a retracting top four door they would fly out the showrooms But then who am I

    to so say, I'm just an american buying imports

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 1:27 AM, twintops wrote:

    Look, I've seen cars before and when I see one, I see one. I look at this one and recognize exactly what it is and that it is probably something we all know what it means, right? It's just crazy that some people will try and misunderstand whereas if they just stop what they're doing and focus then it all begins to make sense. Let's stop being crazy here people and just get it together already...

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 3:25 AM, Joebluecollar wrote:

    While I'm just as interested in Cadillac making a new Eldorado as a lot of other people, I don't think people buy Cadillac's for sportiness. More importantly to me its about the history of the brand, the good and the bad. I know its a luxury brand and I personally love them over Mercedes and others (never owned either of one I'm in my early 20s) not because "there better than everyone else" but because that's what I saw passing through my neighborhood. The old ones aren't built for speed but for comfort, while the new one are built for speed. For now my IROC-Z will hold me down for now. As for this design its okay I do like the style very similar to the 1967-68 design of the rear and the vertical front lights remind me of pictures I saw of the late 1960s Cadillac fleetwoods . that probably where there getting this vertical light design. To everyone else out there choose your own flavor.

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 6:17 AM, Skylinerman57 wrote:

    A Cadillac has always been in my family since 1961. I learned to drive in a 1965 Fleetwood. I currently own a classic 1990 Brougham hearse converted by the Superior Coachworks Company. It is a moving car show all by itself! I've personally owned over twenty Cadillac's in my lifetime. I'm not a Cadillac expert by any means- just a devoted customer. This new Cadillac concept looks magnificent just the way it is! The ONLY thing that I cannot get past is the chosen name, Elmiraj? Why not El Mirage? Or the good old fashioned recognizable badge "El Dorado"! An American legend luxury car with what to me sounds like an Arabic name does NOT fly with me. Who are we catering to here with a name like this? OR, am I the only one that sees this?? Or are the Arabs the only people that will be able to afford such a carriage if it is produced?

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 7:01 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    @n4s3hundred: It's a VSport badge, the new level of trim just below V Series. This car has a 4.5 liter twin turbo V8 making 500 hp. The 4.5 isn't a current GM production engine, but it's mechanically related to the 3.6 V6 that appears (with and without turbos) in other Cadillacs, so maybe it will be?

    I will have more speculation on the engine front in an article this weekend. I suspect there is more than a new DOHC V8 in the cards for Cadillac.

    Thanks for reading.

    John Rosevear

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 7:04 AM, popgrand wrote:

    Hi everyone I'm new here, and I would like to say, this, I like all cars, especially cars that depict the American artistic heritage in design, What I dislike is the idea that other countries make better things than Americans, what are we doing giving up on our Americans who do research and developement in every field of endeavor, we put a lot of trust in [China] for a many many things because of what ever whim we had and look at the crap we have all over the country, so I say let's cheer the American industrial might, as it moves forward to achieve the high standards we Americans acquire, anything will last a long time if it is taken care of, even cars no matter who made it.

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 7:06 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    @Skylinerman57: The name is both a nod to "Eldorado" (which was always one word, not two) and a play on "El Mirage Dry Lake", the dry lake in the Mojave desert in California where hot rodders have been doing speed runs for decades. It's a very American car-history name. It's not some ridiculous secret sharia plot, I promise. (And besides, if GM were aiming a Cadillac at rich people overseas, they'd be Chinese, not Arabs.)

    John Rosevear

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 7:16 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    @popgrand, welcome. We cover a lot of things here at The Motley Fool, but we do spend a lot of time looking at both GM and Ford from an in-depth business perspective, for folks who are interested in the companies as investments as well as car enthusiasts. Both are on the rise globally, and we have been covering that rise from lots of different angles. They're great stories.

    I'm a full-time auto-industry analyst, I live and breathe this stuff. For what it's worth, I drive a Cadillac CTS-V myself, and I own both GM and Ford stock.

    Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll become a regular visitor.

    John Rosevear

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 7:56 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    @AtomicAgePix: They're not going to revive the '59s, but both the Ciel and the Elmiraj do in fact have tail fins. They're small and subtle, but they're there -- look closely at the top of the taillights. I'm convinced that's a part of the upcoming future Cadillac look, and speaking just for myself I think that's completely excellent.

    Thanks for reading.

    John Rosevear

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 11:09 AM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    Deffenetly a head turner !

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 1:28 PM, dividendgrowth wrote:

    They should bring back the shark fins of the 60s, but place the latest technology under the hood.

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 3:29 PM, jeepshepard wrote:

    Typical GM car......looks great and completely unreliable.

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 8:30 PM, Thatwasbullsheet wrote:

    This is what is wrong with the brave new GM... ponder... ponder... ponder. Through the '50's and '60's this car would have been built and in production already. Once the study groups and bean counters get a hold of this design, and they finish tweaking it to suit everyone, it will look nothing like this, and be just another GM chip off the Aztek block.

  • Report this Comment On August 23, 2013, at 11:08 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    @Thatwasbullsheet: This isn't pondering, believe me. GM doesn't do flights of fancy anymore. This is a sneak preview of a very big move. Give 'em another year or two.

    John Rosevear

  • Report this Comment On August 23, 2013, at 11:45 AM, WPON1963 wrote:

    Electric cars are overweight and not any more environmetally friedly than the modern fuel efficeint gas engine car. Battery production and disposal, how is that helping the environment? All electric cars cost much more and longevity is yet to be determined. I own 2 hybrids and the reason bought them was not because am a tree hugger. Wanted to try the new technology and was in awe of their mpg at not too bad of a premium for initial price. Now, my kids drive the hybrids to save them on fuel cost. I drive a Civic, since it is fun, inexpensive to purchase and gets almost as good mpg on the highway as a comparable hybrid. Electrics have their place, but they are very far from being mainstream.

  • Report this Comment On August 23, 2013, at 12:58 PM, LegalizeMe wrote:

    Wow, those pictures almost make me want to buy a Cadillac.

    Almost...

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