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GM Exec: Electrification of Cadillac Brand's Last Chance

GM Exec: Electrification of Cadillac Brand's Last Chance

Earlier this week General Motors solidified previous comments its Cadillac luxury brand will take centerstage when it comes to electrification. At least one GM executive expanding on the plan further, going so far as to confirm this is Cadillac’s last chance at a turnaround.

“We don’t have any chances left with taking Cadillac to a really new place,” GM President Mark Reuss told Reuters during the Detroit Auto Show.

With that pressure in mind, Cadillac previewed its first battery-electric vehicle earlier this week. The unnamed product will be GM’s first production vehicle built atop an all-new purpose-built electric vehicle platform called “BEV3.”

The electric SUV is slated to be Cadillac’s first solid effort at competing with Tesla. Despite showing rendering of what this SUV could look like, any further details are being reserved until closer to the vehicles launch, which will be in 2021.

Calling electrification Cadillac’s last chance comes as little surprise from today’s General Motors. Under CEO Mary Barra the company has consistently demonstrated a willingness to shed unprofitable business units. The company nearly entirely exited the European market two years ago have failing to turn it consistently profitable. Earlier this year GM announced it was shedding six sedans from its U.S. lineup due to slow sales and lack of profit margin on them.

In 2014 then Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen announced a $12 billion overhaul of the Cadillac brand and moved the brand’s world headquarters to New York. de Nysschen left GM in 2018 and now Cadillac is moving back to metro Detroit.

Cadillac global sales were down about one percent in 2018, applying additional pressure on a brand that is spending significant capital.





 

About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. carnut
    This is just more proof that GM and Cadillac really have no clue.
    CobaltSSKing
    After reading all of the articles that have been released recently it looks like GM has focused on the heart of all EVs which is the battery packs. They have a realistic outlook on where the tech will be when they start launching. I don’t see them really focused on one manufacturer but on what customers value. I think we will see a wide design spectrum from conservative like MB and Audi EV SUVs to BYTON which has a driverless mindset.
    adk024
    Tone
    Focusing on EV isn't in itself a good or bad thing. But, it leaves the impression that GM will just shift from benchmarking iconic BMWs and start benchmarking Teslas. That makes them like an amazing cover band. No matter how good the music is, most people will pay more to see the original artist!


    More importantly, they will benchmark Tesla now, not where Tesla will be when their product comes out. That's why GM seems to fail at benchmarking all the time.
    Tone
    GM is actually great at engineering. Where it really suffers is product planning and management. That's the art of identifying an opportunity in the market and defining a product to hit that opening. Too often, GM's approach to this is to try and benchmark their way to a competitive product and they often have the engineering capacity to hit all kinds of benchmarks.

    But, people don't buy a bundling of features. The vehicle they buy needs to be great at the things they really, really care about. And, it needs to be competitive at everything else. Fulfill the things people care about in a unique way, and you can own markets.

    GM's approach always leaves them following market leaders with products that might be marginally better on a bunch of metrics, but don't really stand out on their own merits. One of the few cars in GM's portfolio that doesn't feel like it follows that approach is the Corvette, which has a pretty unique position in the market and it's own following.

    Focusing on EV isn't in itself a good or bad thing. But, it leaves the impression that GM will just shift from benchmarking iconic BMWs and start benchmarking Teslas. That makes them like an amazing cover band. No matter how good the music is, most people will pay more to see the original artist!
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