Dealerships

Report: 150 dealers to part ways with Cadillac over costly EV-readying upgrades

The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq recently debuted in prototype form. Exact information about the model is expected closer to its on-sale date.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Reporting by the Wall Street Journal indicates that that around 150 of Cadillac's 880 dealers will give up their right to sell the brand as part of a buyout rather than spend about $200,000 on General Motors-required upgrades to their establishments. The upgrades are designed to make the dealerships ready to service and support electric vehicles. The buyouts range from around $300,000 to upwards of $1 million for most dealers.

General Motors has been vocal about its electrified future. The company, which currently has the Chevrolet Bolt as an electric vehicle option for U.S. shoppers, intends to bring the all-electric GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and a host of other models to market in the coming years. Reservations for the Hummer EV are current being taken.

2022 GMC Hummer EVThe GMC Hummer EV is expected to be slow-rolled into dealerships over the next five years.Photo courtesy of GMC

While GM and other brands are foraging ahead with mass electrification and electric vehicle plans. the buying public continues to purchase traditionally powered vehicles ahead of hybrids and EVs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, plug-in electrified vehicle sales represented just 326,000 of the over 17 million vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2019 - just 2.2 percent. Tesla accounted for 192,250 of those 326,000. The 2019 sales numbers are a decline from 2018's sales.

Ford's annual Trend Report surveyed 13,003 adults from 14 countries and found out that over one-third of them have no interest in owning an electric vehicle. The 2020 Looking Further with Ford Trends Report revealed that automakers have a long way to go in convincing the buying public that electric vehicles what they should be buying, despite all of the hype surrounding them.

General Motors isn't alone in walking the tightrope of dealers versus product planners versus corporate profits. Many automakers, including Toyota, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz have mass vehicle electrification strategies. The Cadillac dealership battle has the honor of being among the more public dealership versus automaker battles, and it's happening in a time where the dealership model is evolving rapidly in the face of online vehicle buying and shopping changes due to COVID-19.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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New electric SUV

Cadillac kicks off Lyriq EV production

The new SUV is being built in Spring Hill, TN.

General Motors

General Motors is moving more intentionally than most in its goal to become an electric automaker. New GM EVs will start to arrive in rapid succession over the next few years, and even luxury brand Cadillac is getting in on the action. The Lyriq is Cadillac's electric SUV that features sharp styling, an upscale interior, and solid electric range. Today, Cadillac announced that production of the new SUV has begun.

Spring Hill LYRIQ Sizzle Reelyoutu.be

The SUV is being built at GM's Spring Hill, TN plant, where its Saturn brand operated for several years. The facility for a $2 billion overhaul to prepare for production, and the GM team finished the project ahead of schedule. The facility currently produces the Cadillac XT5 and XT6, along with the GMC Acadia. General Motors notes that the factory overhaul took place in the midst of vehicle production, and says that the team pulled off Lyriq prep while still working on the factory's three existing products.

Reservations for the electrified Caddy sold out almost immediately. The SUV is expected to have an electric driving range of more than 400 miles and it will ride on GM's new Ultium architecture, which underpins many of the auto giant's new electric vehicles. Pricing is expected to start around $60,000 when the Cadillac goes on sale this year as a 2023 model.

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