By now we ought to be seeing the replacement for the Cadillac Cien but there was nothing to replace.
The Cien broke cover in 2002 as a showcar penned by Simon Cox. It’s fourteen years later and Cadillac are still trying to find their feet. The Cien concept car might have been a help in getting some credibility to stick to Cadillac’s tarnished brand. Looking at the photos of the car’s exterior, there’s not much about the car that strikes ones as unfeasible. Perhaps it doesn’t conform to the strict details of pedestrian safety. The finish has the hallmarks of something one could manufacture. Lamps are normally a giveaway and these look believable. Maybe the absence of mirrors is a telling trope, a standard of the concept car business. The interior is rather good-looking and lacks any obvious placeholders. Many concept cars fall down here: as the years go by one sees more clearly signs of hastily filled-in details and materials that have been worked by hand. Not the drum-tight Cien. In fact, one would not be surprised to see exactly that cars interior today, perhaps with a more prominent central screen.
Not much else raises suspicions that Cadillac’s real business involved kite-flying. What did Cox say? “I wouldn’t have done this car… if there wasn’t a chance it would be built.” He must be a rather disappointed chap who along with Gerry “I’m Gerry McGovern” McGovern must have the greatest number of plausible designs left on the cutting room floor. Both worked for large American firms which must mean something.
Making the Cien concept more plausible, it had a working V12 engine. GM clearly for a moment anyway, thought this one might be a goer. The falling stock market took the blame for the Cien staying a flight of fancy. More realistically a hundred thousand dollar supercar didn’t fit all that well in a range made up of some remarkably mediocre cars (in 2005 they were selling sludge like the CTS, STS, Deville and Escalde).
A supercar customer was not likely to be well treated at the typical Cadillac store as at Ferrari or even Porsche. The Cadillac people were used to customers paying a lot less than the Cien was going to cost. Or would Cadillac have created a boutique Gold Circle for Cien clients?