Departing from a legacy built on the foundation of extravagantly large cars and the Escalade SUV, General Motors (GM) recently announced that their Cadillac brand will be the flagship for future electric vehicle (EV) offerings.
Announced just ahead of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac will pioneer an EV platform shared by other GM brands, the thought being that a uniform starting point will allow for quicker production times and simplify customizations and changes over time.
Although GM is keeping everything about these EVs on the down-low, including their name, the company has announced that the first all-electric Caddy will be a crossover SUV, aligning GM with competitors such as Jaguar, Audi, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, and, of course, Tesla, in the luxury category.
The choice of Cadillac as the front runner for electric vehicle offerings is interesting for a couple of reasons.
First, while its history does suggest cutting-edge performance and high-end luxury, the brand’s previous electric offerings have not been well-received. The ELR plug-in hybrid, which was was basically a repositioned Volt, was made between model years 2014-2016 and ran about $75,000. During that time, less than 3,000 of the vehicle were sold.
More recently, the company offered a plug-in hybrid version of the CT6 sedan. While it initially received strong customer reviews, a 10% drop in sales led it to become part of GM’s cost-cutting and vehicle restructuring strategy. Ironically, the last CT6s will roll off production lines this summer in order to reallocate resources toward the development of more electric vehicles.
GM is hoping to launch as many as 20 all-electric models by 2023, with Mercedes and BMW making similar guarantees. Although the cars won’t all be electric models, Cadillac will look to unveil a new vehicle — including a new Escalade — every six months through 2021.
And so we enter a new age of automotive technology: EVs and SUVs.