GM electric vehicle strategy last chance for Cadillac's success: executive
January 14, 2019 Nick Carey, Joseph White
DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co’s strategy to make its luxury Cadillac
marque its lead electric vehicle brand is the automaker’s final opportunity
to turn the unit around and make it a success, a top executive said on
“We don’t have any chances left with taking Cadillac to a really new place,”
newly appointed GM President Mark Reuss told Reuters on the sidelines of the
Detroit auto show. “This is pretty much it.”
“So we really have to hit the ball here,” he added. “It’s my job to make
sure we do.”
In a move first reported by Reuters, GM said on Friday that a Cadillac would
be the first vehicle built on the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s “BEV3” platform to
challenge electric carmaker Tesla Inc.
Tesla’s market capitalization is higher than GM’s, even though Tesla has
never posted a full-year profit.
Reuss did not elaborate on what would happen if the multi-year effort to
make the Cadillac brand more profitable failed.
But GM has demonstrated repeatedly over the last two years a willingness to
exit unprofitable markets and kill weak car lines in North America. In
November it put five North American factories, including four in the United
States, on notice for closure and cut almost 15,000 jobs.
GM has struggled for years to make Cadillac more competitive. Last spring
the automaker replaced veteran auto executive Johan de Nysschen as head of
the Cadillac brand. Appointed in 2014, he outlined bold plans to reshape
Cadillac’s lineup with a $12 billion product program.
He moved Cadillac’s headquarters to New York in 2015, saying the brand’s
executives should be closer to the urban customers who had for years shunned
In a belated bid to catch up with rapidly shifting U.S. consumer
preferences, Cadillac said in 2017 it would shrink its lineup of sedans and
add sport utility vehicles and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Cadillac U.S. sales fell more than 1 percent in 2018.
Late Sunday GM unveiled its new 2020 Cadillac XT6 SUV that goes on sale
later this year and will be built in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
GM said in 2017 it planned by 2021 to introduce a new dedicated flexible
electric vehicle architecture and an advanced battery system to support the
development of at least 20 new models in the United States and China. Much
of Cadillac’s future growth is expected to come from China, the world’s
largest car market.
Slideshow (6 Images)
Reuss said “one of the first” fully electric Cadillac models using the new
platform would be on the market around 2022.
He said it was too early to tell how long it would take for Cadillac’s
entire lineup to become electric, but he anticipated a combination of
electrified and combustion engine models “for quite a few years” to come.
“All I’m focused on is what we’re doing right now…” Reuss said, “and getting
momentum back in Cadillac.”
Additional reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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