Mark Reuss is the newly appointed head of global product development at General Motors. Automobile Magazine’s Jamie Kitman sat down with the long-time executive to talk Cadillac, trucks, Europe and anything else GM related.
The interview kicks off with Kitman picking Reuss’ brain about what’s exciting him right now within GM. Reuss says, like many others, that the direction in which Cadillac is heading excites him the most.
“The future of Cadillac – I’m really excited about having influence on it firsthand,” Reuss said. “My daily driver is a CTS twin-turbo (V6.) Great car.”
A big part of Cadillac’s future will be its impending flagship model, which could be named LTS. While a large, halo sedan is in the works, Reuss discussed the need for a coupe version, like the Elmiraj.
“You’ve seen the Ciel, an open air, sort of big car. Then we did this big, dramatic coupe. (Cadillac Elmiraj) It’s hard to do market research on something like that. Because you know the market is not going to be really big. You really want to find out, do people like conceptually the proportion and the size and what it says styling wise.”
Another large part of Cadillac’s near future will be the success of the $75, 995 ELR hybrid. The ELRs price tag has been the subject of much criticism since it was first announced, but Reuss isn’t worried about it.
“I don’t care, I really don’t care. Because it’s a really uninformed point of view. The ELR’s about $1400 bucks less than a Tesla on a comparable equipment basis, it’s got two doors, it’s a beautiful car. It’s not limited by range and it’s got the $7500 tax credit, which takes it to $67-ish, and it’s got a good lease rate,” he said. “It’s a beautiful car. My wife wants one. That’s the kind of person we want to sell it to —we’ve got three kids but two of them are going. Someone fiftyish. You don’t need an SUV anymore.”
Reuss also commented on Ford’s new aluminium-bodied F-150 pickup and compared it to GM’s three-truck strategy.
“If I was in Ford’s shoes [aluminum] would be one way to solve an equation on a line that doesn’t get any better from a CAFE and grams of CO2 standpoint. That’s one way to solve it,” he said. “We’re doing this in a different way, creating models that are different in size and therefore we’ll get even more mass savings (than Ford). We’ll also have different powertrains than what they will have in their big truck. So this is quite a different formula but it’s also floating around the solution of CAFE and grams of C02 for the future.”
Reuss and Automobile also talk about station wagons for the North American market, bringing the Opel Adam to North America as a Buick, hydrogen fuel-cells and more. Check out the full interview right here.