Detroit 2013: Out of the Woods With Mark Reuss

Post-dark period new models are coming

DETROIT — Cadillac’s new ATS, which won the North American Car of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show Monday morning, was developed during “a really hard time for the company,” says General Motors North American President Mark Reuss. That makes its success even sweeter, he says, though Reuss is happy to say that the next tranche of new models, after the C7 Corvette and Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra pickup trucks that premier here, were developed when the company started to become profitable again.

The 2014 Chevy Impala comes after. The 2013 Chevy Malibu, which comes in for an earlier than originally scheduled refresh, was stuck in development during those dark days.

Another Impala-like example is the new CTS, based on the ATS’s new Alpha platform and scheduled to be Cadillac’s second big new introduction (after the ELR) later this year. While GM continues to operate under enormous cost pressures as it tries to build stock value and rid itself of 26 percent government ownership, Reuss insists that the corporation is giving his engineers, designers and product planners enough resources to make Cadillac a world-class luxury brand that can compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.

“The money we made, and continue to make, we’ve invested in a lot of product,” he said.

Reuss also hinted at GM’s chances of expanding its North American diesel lineup beyond the heavy duty trucks, and the Chevy Cruze diesel scheduled for sale this year. “I think there’s a good place in GM with diesel,” he said. Consumers will have to get past consumer doubts over GM diesels before the company can expand the lineup here. The Cruze diesel is GM’s first move toward erasing those doubts.

Reuss was not too concerned about GM’s slipping market share, to 17.9 percent at the end of ’12. GM must execute all the launches it has “with the highest quality” and better market share will follow.

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