One of the big challenges the industry faces right now is affordability. When times are good, there are plenty of people who can pay the average price for a car. Many are willing to pay more. A few can pay a lot more. But, when the economy is soft and car sales slow down, manufacturers can’t plan on a bunch of people buying a $130,000 Escalade or a $105,000 pickup truck. So, they’re finding that they need to step partially back from such expensive vehicles and focus more on the affordable end of the market.
One thing I didn’t expect to see a few days ago was that GM was going to do this in the Cadillac division. Why? Because GM doesn’t send affordable vehicles to Caddy dealers. If you don’t have Cadillac bucks, you go to the Chevy dealer, right? But, a recent announcement from the company shows us that even Cadillac is needing to focus on getting prices down a bit.
The division is going to do this with the upcoming Cadillac OPTIQ (pictured in the featured image). According to the very meager press release/teaser, the OPTIQ will be the entry-level offering in GM’s luxury division, and will be taking up a price-point below the LYRIQ.
Details are very thin right now, though. Pricing? We’ll find out next year. Battery sizes and range? Next year. Motor and drive wheel options? You guessed it: next year. The only thing we know is that it’s going to be a “luxury compact SUV.”
But, the lack of details doesn’t stop us from making some educated guesses about them.
First off, it seems pretty clear that it’s going to be a five-seat vehicle. It’s just not long enough to accommodate a third row. This means it’s likely to be comparable to the Chevrolet Equinox EV or the Chevrolet Blazer EV. While there’s no engineering reason for GM to not make every vehicle a different variant of the Ultium platform, it makes more sense to have different variants of similar vehicles share as much as possible for cost savings, even if the vehicles look pretty different on the surface.
Let’s look at a press photo of the Equinox EV from the same angle as the OPTIQ:
The front end looks like it could have fit on the body of the budget Equinox, but the back end of the OPTIQ is a lot smaller and narrower. The doors of the Equinox also seem to go a lot closer to the back of the vehicle. But, what about the Blazer EV?
Now, we’re starting to see some more similarities. The position of the B and C pillars, the front end, and the back end all look a lot more similar to the OPTIQ. So, this seems like a much more likely candidate for the vehicle to share factory space and/or supply chains with.
Here’s a blended photo for a more close comparison:
The photos I could find were at slightly different angles (7/8 vs 3/4), but it’s pretty obvious that they line up quite well. The size of the front, the slope of the roof, and pretty much everything else seems to be a good fit. So, if I had to bet money on it, I’d say that the OPTIQ is going to be a Cadillac variant of the Blazer.
Of course, the OPTIQ will have more bells and whistles, Cadillac’s front end, and some other things that make it nicer than the Chevy. But, at the end of the day, the rest of the battery and drivetrain options will be largely the same, but with the possibility that the OPTIQ will offer more power in the top trim than the top Blazer trim.
It will definitely cost a few grand more, but that’s obvious.
All images by GM.
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