Published on January 11th, 2019 | by Steve Hanley0
GM Will Make Cadillac Its EV Standard Bearer
January 11th, 2019 by Steve Hanley
General Motors thinks it has figured out how to compete with Tesla — slap a Cadillac badge on every EV the company makes. Apparently the reason why there are so few electric cars from GM on the road is because they are all Chevrolets — except for the Cadillac ELR, a two door version of the Chevy Volt. GM sold dozens of those! Elon Musk and Tesla decided to start at the top of the market and work down. GM has decided to follow the same strategy, apparently, albeit almost a decade later than the Silicon Valley upstarts.
According to Reuters, GM will announce on January 11 that is has created a new chassis platform for electric vehicles it calls BEV3. The first vehicle to utilize the new architecture will be a Cadillac, the company says, and it will be a direct competitor to a Tesla, although which Tesla it doesn’t say. Since most companies can’t even give away sedans these days, it seems logical that the new Caddy will be an SUV to go up against the Model X but that is just a guess.
What isn’t a guess is that GM has its eyes firmly focused on the Chinese new car market. GM sales in China were up over 17% in 2018 even though overall sales in that country were down for the first time since 1992. GM clearly understands where its bread gets buttered these days. Considering China’s tariffs on imported cars, the General intends to build its cars for the Chinese market in country with its partner SAIC.
GM and SAIC are constructing an EV battery factory in China together. Is GM building an EV battery factory in the US? No, it is not. Enough said about where most of those electric cars from GM will be sold. In 2017, CEO Mary Barra told the press that General Motors expects to sell 1 million EVs a year by 2026, most of them in China.
The BEV3 platform will reportedly provide the underpinnings for 9 electric vehicles, ranging from a compact crossover vehicle to a large 7-passenger SUV. There has even been mention of a commercial electric truck somewhere on the horizon. But for now, GM is remaining tight lipped about its electric car model lineup. It declined to comment on that subject when queried by Reuters.
GM CEO Mary Barra told investors today the company had a strong sales year in China and the US last year and expects even better numbers this year, led by increasing light truck sales. In the industry, “light trucks” now include most SUVs as well as pickup trucks.
GM has a killer electric SUV all cued up and ready to roll in the FNR-X concept vehicle it introduced at the Shanghai auto show in 2017. Why is it not on sale already? In 2017, VP Mark Reuss boasted the company would introduce two new EVs in the next 18 months. The Chevy Bolt was one of them. Where is the other?
Like many of its peers, GM is long on promises but short on action. One thing is clear from its new round of promises. If Americans are ever going to drive electric cars from GM, they better be prepared to pay Cadillac prices for them.
GM has a long history of trying to shove low level products into the Cadillac lineup and sell them at big markups. The first was the Cimarron — a lowly Chevy Cavalier with really nice seats. Next came the Catera, a rebadged Opel sedan. The ill fated ELR was a knock off of the Chevy Volt. Will a Bolt in Caddy clothing be next? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.
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