It would be great as an EV.
Remember the Cadillac Ciel Concept? It was a stunning concept created by Cadillac back in 2011, envisioning a future flagship convertible model for the American luxury brand. Sadly, the Ciel never made it to production, but some Cadillac dealerships haven't forgotten it. Cadillac National Dealer Council Chairman David Butler told Automotive News, "We'd always like to have a convertible."
This is a pretty shocking statement considering convertible sales have plummeted in recent years due to SUVs and crossovers' rising popularity. In fact, more than 81% of Cadillac's sales in 2020 came from its SUV models, the XT4, XT5, XT6, and Escalade. Butler didn't elaborate on what type of convertible he'd like to see Cadillac build, but the company has not offered a drop-top model since the Corvette-based XLR left production in 2009.
Cadillac boasts a long and impressive history of convertible models such as the Eldorado Biarritz, Allante, and Dual-Cowl Sport Phaeton. While we don't know how successful a luxury convertible model would be for Cadillac, there has never been a better time to consider one, thanks to General Motors' upcoming Ultium Batteries. While the original Ciel Concept was envisioned as a hybrid vehicle with a twin-turbo V6, we think it could be revived as an all-electric model.
GM's Ultium platform is scalable, meaning it can be transformed into a variety of different vehicles. The architecture is already set to underpin the upcoming 2023 Cadillac Lyriq SUV, Celestiq flagship sedan, and even the GMC Hummer pickup truck. Perhaps a convertible model could be justified to GM bosses?
Not everyone is quite ready to embrace Cadillac's electric future, though. Cadillac recently offered a buyout option to showrooms that don't want to invest in becoming EV friendly. "The message is, 'Here is where Cadillac is going 10 years out. [If] you sell eight vehicles a month, and EVs are not even on the radar for your area, we'd be glad to have you come on board. But in the event you don't think you want to make the investment, here's a way that you can graciously exit the business,'" Butler explained.
For dealerships that don't see an immediate future in EVs, Cadillac will soon release two new high-performance Blackwing models with twin-turbo V6 and supercharged V8 engines.
If we had to guess, a convertible EV might be too ambitious for Cadillac right now. Perhaps if the Lyriq proves successful when it's released in 2022, Cadillac could follow it up with specialty models.