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Future of Cadillac Is Electric-Only Vehicles With Real Names—but not Jolt!

© Motor Trend Staff   Cadillac EV SUV teaser

From Motor Trend

GM’s luxury brand could be fully battery-powered by 2030

Most, if not all, Cadillacs sold globally will have real names—not alphanumeric names—and be electric vehicles by 2030.

The transition from vehicles powered by internal combustion engines to sedans and crossovers running on battery power will cover the gamut from small cars to Escalade-sized SUVs, says Cadillac President Steve Carlisle.

All electric vehicles will have real names, but GM will not add Jolt to its portfolio that has included the Chevy Volt and Bolt, Carlisle promises MotorTrend. We can expect some alliteration in the future names, but they will not all start with the same letter, which is another industry naming trend.

The Escalade name will be kept in some form, but a new full-size electric SUV expected in a couple years could have a different name, Carlisle says.

At a media briefing in Detroit, Carlisle says Cadillac is wrapping up the first phase of its 10-year rejuvenation plan which focused on expanding the portfolio to fill in gaps in its crossover lineup and introducing new sedans. The icing on the cake is the 2021 Escalade, the fifth generation of the large SUV, which will be shown for the first time at an event on February 4.


© Motor Trend Staff

Cadillac has spent $12 billion on phase one and enters the next decade with one of its strongest slates of vehicles, covering 94 percent of the market—up from about 64 percent. In other words, Cadillac now has a full roster and is ready to put some points on the board, Carlisle says.

On the utility side, there is the XT4, XT5, XT6, and Escalade. On the sedan side, the new CT5 started shipments to dealers this week and the smaller CT4 will follow next year. Both are 2020 models, but they will have a short model-year run. The refreshed CT6 remains in the lineup for now, with enough inventory to last another year. Production of the CT6 at the Hamtramck plant ceases in February.


© Motor Trend Staff

But Cadillac's ultimate future is one of pure electric vehicles, so vehicles with combustion engines will be phased out over time and replaced with electric counterparts.

"It is the end of the ICE age for Cadillac," says Carlisle. The brand will be in a position to be 100 percent electric by the end of 2030.

The first electric crossover will be available in China in 2021, and the North American version will go on sale by the end of 2022. GM showed a concept of that crossover in January. They will be fruits of GM's new electric vehicle architecture that will produce a battery-powered pickup truck in the fall of 2021 at GM's plant in Detroit-Hamtramck.

GM plans to debut 20 new electric vehicles globally by 2023. Cadillac takes the lead because the luxury brand can better absorb the higher cost of the technology, and there is more demand among luxury buyers.

Overall, can Cadillac get back to where it needs to be? "Absolutely I believe it can," GM CEO Mary Barra tells MotorTrend, pointing to the XT4 that entered a crowded small crossover segment and was a sales leader in the U.S. within a few months. She sees positive signs for the brand in the U.S. and globally.


© Motor Trend Staff

Carlisle says global sales through the third quarter are up 8.8 percent, and in China, the world's largest auto market, they are up almost 11 percent. Cadillac should end 2019 with another record global sales year, despite lost production due to a lengthy strike in the U.S.

Barra is pleased with Cadillac's reception in China where consumers have not lived Cadillac's history and don't share concerns that some Americans have from the brand's past. "It's a bright spot in China with how well it's doing in the luxury segment."

While China presents the greatest opportunity, Barra says GM will continue to build the brand in the U.S. in a disciplined fashion and dealers are excited about new product, with a new vehicle launching every six months.

Despite the popularity of crossovers, Barra sees the importance of cars and likes the positioning of the new CT4 and CT5 sedans. "We do think luxury cars are a bit different than the mainstream market in the United States. Clearly cars are important in other markets around the world." Even though crossover demand in China has hurt car sales, it is still a huge car market, especially in the luxury segments, she says. "It's important to have the right representation."

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