Cadillac Admits The Obvious Problem With EV Names

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What can be done about it?

It’s make or break time at Cadillac. The American luxury brand, supposedly GM’s crown jewel, is once again rebuilding itself. After making a big deal about moving its headquarters to New York City a few years ago, it has now moved back to the Detroit area. Former Infiniti CEO Johan de Nysschen is also now former Cadillac president following his firing not long ago for his inability to revive the brand the way GM’s top management wanted. In his place is Steve Carlisle, a GM inside man.

Motor Trend recently spoke with Carlisle to talk about Cadillac’s all-electric future and what needs to be done in order to make those new EVs exciting. But first, one thing was made clear: no more hybrids are planned. It’ll either be straight up internal combustion or pure electric.

Lots of new product is expected to arrive beginning next year that will also see the debut of new nameplates. Cadillac’s new EVs will consist of electrified versions of existing models as well as all-new ones. But it’s the latter Carlisle admits will require excellent names. "Special cars should have special names,” he said. "Escalade is a good example; we would never considering calling the Escalade an XT11.” If you recall, it was de Nysschen who came up with Cadillac’s current nameplate model, with cars starting with CT and crossovers with XT. But could Cadillac opt for a famous past nameplate for a new EV?

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Carlisle admits historic monikers can be done, but the name would have to appropriately fit the new vehicle itself. "What kind of car would I put El Dorado on,” he asked. Not an EV, that’s for sure. In other words, Cadillac will have to come up with an entirely new naming strategy for its EVs. "That’s a whole new white space.” But one thing is for certain: whatever Cadillac comes up with cannot sound lame. Tossing a few random letters and a number together probably won’t cut it.

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