DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co's (GM.N) premium Cadillac brand will adopt a new naming scheme to better compete against overseas luxury rivals as the company's new leader Johan de Nysschen continues to overhaul the unit.
The first of those new products will be christened the Cadillac CT6, a flagship sedan due late next year and aimed at high-end models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, GM said on Wednesday.
To be built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant, the CT6 will debut as a 2016 model, slotted above Cadillac's XTS and CTS sedans. Expected to be priced above $50,000, the CT6 will be a new offering rather than a replacement for an existing model.
The rear-wheel-drive sedan will use a new vehicle architecture that is known internally as Omega. It will employ advanced driver-assistance technologies, such as GM's new Super Cruise system that will enable semi-automated control of steering, brakes and throttle in freeway driving.
GM said the CT6 name "indicates a coming shift to a simplified naming convention for future Cadillac models."
The letters CT are derived from the brand's best-selling CTS, and will be used on future car models along with a number "indicating the relative size and position of the cars in the hierarchy of Cadillac models," GM said.
The new naming scheme will be phased in gradually, according to Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac's chief marketing officer and the former director of brand management at German luxury carmaker BMW AG (BMWG.DE).
"We will only change a product’s name when the product itself is redesigned or an all-new model is created," as in the case of the CT6, Ellinghaus said.
Many of the world's top luxury brands use a similar alphanumeric naming scheme. BMW, for instance, uses the letter X to denote its crossover vehicles, in conjunction with a number to denote size - X1, X3 and X5, for example.
GM on Tuesday confirmed plans to set up Cadillac as a separate business unit with de Nysschen as president, while shifting the brand's headquarters from Detroit to New York.
Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by David Gregorio and Lisa Shumaker