Electric vehicles could help differentiate the American brand.
Cadillac has been on the back foot compared to its German rivals for no less than 30 years. But with mass-scale electrification on the horizon and a widespread reinterpretation of what a luxury vehicle is, Cadillac views this as an inflection point and the first real opportunity to level the playing field. Speaking to Automotive News last week, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said electrification will give Cadillac a chance to reposition itself relative to the venerable Teutonic trio.
He believes decades of powertrain dominance from Mercedes and BMW will count for very little once EV powertrains reset the score. “When it gets to electrification and a whole new set of considerations drive the buying decision, the fact that you made fantastic engines for three decades counts zip,” de Nysschen said. GM plans to introduce 20 new electric cars by 2023, many of which are expected to live under the Cadillac banner. Considering the high cost of powertrains, de Nysschen said it makes sense for Cadillac to usher in the powertrains as it can recoup the costs easier with more premium content.
He also affirmed Cadillac will become GM’s technology darling, debuting almost all of the automaker's major advances moving forward. But don’t fret, Cadillac isn’t about to abandon the internal combustion engine any time soon. The brand understands conventional powertrains still have considerable appeal, especially within luxury and enthusiast subsets. As such, it will likely offer both conventional and modern powertrains within individual model lines. Despite de Nysschen’s words, Cadillac is already a long way behind Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and BMW, companies that have all jumped head first into electrification with plans to introduce new models as early as year-end.