As we reported yesterday, GM is announcing that Cadillac will act as its ‘lead electric vehicle brand’.
The news was confirmed by the company today and here are my thoughts on the situation:
After the news leaked yesterday, the automaker has now confirmed it in a statement as part of its annual earnings report:
“Cadillac will be GM’s lead electric vehicle brand and will introduce the first model from the company’s all new battery electric vehicle architecture, GM’s foundation for an advanced family of profitable EVs.
The flexible platform will provide a broad array of body styles and will be offered in front-wheel, rear wheel and all-wheel configurations.
Its most critical components — including the battery cells — are being designed for maximum usability across all programs. The battery system will also be adjustable, based on vehicle and customer requirements.”
First off, I like the idea behind it. I just think they need to go a few steps further.
I have been saying for a while that it can be an issue for established automakers to sell electric vehicles under their own brand.
The all-electric vehicles, which are often more expensive, get compared to the rest of the lineup without properly accounting for gas and maintenance savings or direct incentives.
Furthermore, dealerships are often not incentivized to sell EVs because they need to sell what’s on their lots and that’s mostly gas-powered cars.
Also, they make most of their profit on maintenance services and EVs require less maintenance in the long-term.
For those reasons, I think it’s better to start fresh with a different brand focused on EVs.
Now I would have preferred a brand new brand – pun intended. Cadillac is an existing well-established brand and to be fair, GM didn’t say that they are going all-electric with the brand but only that it will be their ‘lead electric vehicle brand’.
I think that’s a step in the right direction and that they will eventually go all-electric. Yes, even with the Escalade.
Like Tesla, it’s easier to start with the premium segment and go down market from there using the technology developed for those more expensive vehicles.
While GM could still use its dealer network, it could have separated Cadillac-only people trained to sell electric vehicles. These salespeople could be incentivized to only, or mainly, sell EVs.
I think that’s the way to go and I think that’s what Volvo is also doing with its Polestar brand.
I also like a few other things in the statement. The fact that GM is now focusing on its own EV components. In the past, they have relied heavily on suppliers for the EVs, but now they are even talking about “battery cells.”
It’s also interesting that they don’t just talk EVs, but they specifically mention “profitable EVs”, which leads me to believe that they are planning full-scale EV programs instead of relatively low volume vehicles like the Bolt EV.
While GM has often disappointed me in the past, I am cautiously hopeful that things could change for the better. They will have to if they want to survive the EV revolution.
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