Canada’s Steve Carlisle has plenty of priorities for Cadillac, the brand he has led for a year. But one of the biggest is to move the luxury line back to the “head of the pack” among General Motors brands, particularly where electrification is concerned.
However, he said at a recent conference that it will take three years for the brand’s first EV to join the line-up.
Carlisle succeeded Johan de Nysschen as global president of Cadillac in April 2018 after serving for three and a half years as president and managing director of General Motors of Canada. The native of Woodstock, Ont., made the comments to a group of Canadian journalists at a private event in Detroit, Mich., in association with the Cadillac CT5 launch in mid-April.
The Chevrolet brand has been the standard-bearer for GM’s electrification efforts in recent years with the plug-in hybrid Volt and the battery electric Bolt, while the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid that was based on the Volt’s powertrain but priced at approximately $30,000 more was cancelled in 2016, just three years into its production run of fewer than 3,000 units.
At the North American International Auto Show in January, Cadillac showed a crossover concept for its first battery electric vehicle, which is based on a future platform that will underpin all General Motors electric vehicles moving forward, but that Cadillac will be the first to employ it. The brand has confirmed a launch cadence of approximately one new vehicle every six months through 2021.
However, Carlisle said it will take three years for the brand’s first electric vehicle to be launched, suggesting, at earliest, an appearance for model year 2022.
In the meantime, Carlisle reiterated suggestions that the Escalade is nearing the end of its current product cycle – “hint, hint, there must be another one coming,” he said – and the brand has also confirmed that the XT4 compact sedan and a performance sedan are slated to make earlier appearances.
Carlisle explained the reasoning for the positioning shift for Cadillac as being based on the legacy notion that something that stands out in its field has long been referred to as the Cadillac of its kind.
“We’ve tried to out-German the Germans,” he said. “We can’t outdo what others have already done.
“Right now, we’re the underdog, and that gives us the opportunity to be the comeback kid.
“Maybe it’s time for Cadillac just to be Cadillac again and let it speak for itself, not be put into someone else’s box.”