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Cadillac has big changes ahead for its lineup and manufacturing

12/13/2019 8:19 AM | Anonymous


Cadillac President Steve Carlisle outlines GM's plans for the luxury brand to be mostly, if not entirely, electric vehicles by 2030. (Photo: Jamie L. LaReau/Detroit Free Press)

SOURCE: Jamie L. LaReau/Detroit Free Press)

General Motors luxury brand Cadillac's entire lineup could be electric by 2030.

That means production of its internal combustion cars and SUVs could move from the plants where GM currently builds them.

All of this will happen in a slow transition with some overlap as internal combustion engines (ICE) are phased out and electric vehicles (EVs) are introduced,  Steve Carlisle, Cadillac president, said Thursday.

"None of us knows how long this transition will take. We will be there with internal combustion engines as well as electric" for a period, said Carlisle.  "But the majority, if not all, Cadillacs will be electric by 2030."

Carlisle dubbed it the "end of the ICE age for Cadillac."

New names, same cars

Cadillac's popular models, such as the Escalade, will likely continue, but the full-size SUV will be propelled by an electric engine.

"We have no intention of exiting that segment," Carlisle said of the Escalade.

But Cadillac's electric vehicles will get new names. Gone will be numbers like the current monikers, replaced by words.

Carlisle made the announcement at a media event in Detroit.

He said that there is still upside sales potential for internal-combustion engine vehicles.

Through the third quarter, Cadillac's total global sales are up 8.8%; in China total sales are up 10.9%. 

"We feel like we're headed to a second sales record this year globally," Carlisle said.

In the U.S., sales sputtered because of the 40-day nationwide UAW strike, which  disrupted production. The strike started Sept. 16.

U.S. year-to-date total sales are up just 2.4%. Still, Carlisle said the brand should finish the year with sales gains in the U.S., the first time in five years.

Technology leadership

The Escalade will finish the year leading the full-size SUV segment, said Carlisle.

Cadillac has sold 4,351 of the new XT6 SUVs, which launched in August. Carlisle expects to sell 10,000 by year-end.

Cadillac will reveal the next-generation Escalade in Los Angeles in February ahead of the Oscars. The new Escalade and all of Cadillac's future lineup, including the new CT5 and CT4 sedans, will have Super Cruise.

Super Cruise is Cadillac's hands-free driving technology. Currently, Cadillac only offers Super Cruise on the CT6 sedan.

But Cadillac is at its best when it is leading GM's brands in technology and innovation, said Carlisle. Most luxury customers are open to electric cars, Carlisle said. That's why GM said in January that Cadillac would be its electric vehicle brand.

 In January, Cadillac debuted the concept of an all-electric crossover that will be brought to market in 2022.

It's unclear where GM will build it, but it could likely be at Detroit-Hamtramck where GM said it would invest $3 billion to build a new all-electric pickup that will go on sale in the fall of 2021. That pickup has not yet been assigned a brand or name, Carlisle said.

"Our production footprint will migrate" as GM changes from internal combustion cars to electric, said Carlisle. He said GM will have discussions with the UAW on how factory work will change and which vehicles might move to other plants. But it is most likely that over the next decade some plants that build ICE vehicles will be retooled to build electric cars.

"We're going to enter the decade as an internal combustion brand," said Carlisle. "But we'll exit the decade as a battery-electric brand."



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