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 EV The 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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Cadillac will be the first brand with Ultra Cruise

General Motors

Tesla has been in hot water for a while now for shenanigans pulled by owners abusing the automaker's advanced cruise control functions. While the company's Full Self Driving (FSD) tech isn't quite ready for primetime, other automakers are catching up – quickly. Today, General Motors announced Ultra Cruise, its advanced driver assistance tech that promises to allow hands-free driving in 95 percent of driving scenarios.

Ultra Cruise Ultra Cruise will build on Super Cruise functionality.General Motors

GM notes that its goal is to eventually roll the service out to all paved roads in the U.S. and Canada. When it launches, the service will work on over two million miles of roads, which could nearly double as the program expands.

Ultra Cruise will offer a host of automated driving features that build on Super Cruise:

  • Dynamic display system
  • Ability to react to permanent traffic control devices
  • Follow internal navigation routes
  • Maintain headway and follow speed limits
  • Support automatic, on-demand lane changes
  • Support left and right turns
  • Support close object avoidance
  • Support parking in residential driveways

The system uses LiDAR, radar, and cameras to build a 360-degree, three-dimensional picture of the world around it. An additional LiDAR unit is located behind the windshield. GM notes that a big part of the system is its Human Machine Interface (HMI), which communicates with the driver to alert them when they need to take control. Ultra Cruise-equipped vehicles will do this with a head-up display that helps drivers stay focused on the road, and will use the same driver monitoring cameras that are used in Super Cruise.

Ultra Cruise Ultra Cruise will enable hands-free driving in the majority of driving scenarios.General Motors

Ultra Cruise will first be available in Cadillac vehicles starting from 2023. There's no word on pricing or specific vehicle availability at this time.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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