GM is back in Australia with electric cars – here’s what to expect, with SUVs, crossovers and sedans to take on Tesla, BYD, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and other electric car makers – Automotive News
General Motors (GM) is back with a bang in Australia, and there’s more to come.
Following the success of remanufacturing the full-size Chevrolet Silverado double-cab pickup in Melbourne under the General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) umbrella to compete with the popular Ram 1500 and upcoming Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra replacements, it was confirmed this month that the electric Cadillac Lyriq ( EV) SUV is a completely different game from the American parent company that owns the Holden brand.
It opens the door for a full range of Cadillac EV-related models to come to Australia, including the flagship Celestic fastback sedan, as well as a slew of future SUVs and crossovers.
It’s all possible for Australia thanks to Lyriq’s BEV3 EV architecture – dubbed Ultium – which has been specifically designed and developed with right-hand drive (RHD) applications in mind.
Furthermore, with every other current GM model currently in production out of the factory being left-hand drive only – with the exception of the Chevrolet Corvette – the Ultium architecture could see affordable electric vehicles arriving in Australia in the future from Buick and Chevrolet.
It will be a far cry from the number of remanufactured trucks, as well as the Corvette, which has represented GM in Australia since the Americans discontinued Holden in 2020.
“The Lyriq will be the first (GM) RHD EV to reach our market… and the Cadillac portfolio is led by the Lyriq,” said GM Australia and New Zealand (GMANZ) managing director Jess Bala.
“And it’s not just the Lyriq. There will be more Cadillacs in the future. We’re building a brand and a business, and obviously it takes more than just one entry… but we’re not confirming anything – other than the Lyriq – today.”
The next likely candidate is the Optiq – an all-electric answer to the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Genesis GV70 Electrified, Lexus RZ, Mercedes EQC and Polestar 3.
With its subcompact size, expected price and expected positioning, this will likely be Cadillac’s most important model once launched, as it will be thrust into the midst of the booming midsize luxury SUV market.
The latest Los Angeles Auto Show reveal has been made, and details are now sparse.
But the company announced that the Optiq is tasked with “expanding (Cadillac’s) global electric vehicle portfolio,” adding that although it “…will serve as an entry point to Cadillac’s electric portfolio in North America,” the newcomer’s “spirited driving dynamics.” “Designed to appeal to luxury customers globally.”
Like the Lyriq, the Optiq should eventually offer single-motor/2WD and dual-motor/4WD configurations, thanks to its Ultium base.
The same could also be true for the still-discreet, full-size, three-row Vistiq — or what Cadillac calls the Kia EV9-sized all-wheel-drive electric SUV. The same size as the seven-seat gasoline-powered XT6 model released in 2019 and offered elsewhere in Cadillac’s portfolio, more details are expected to be revealed sometime next year.
A three-axle EV SUV scenario seems to make the most sense as GM’s long-lived luxury brand slowly and methodically moves into Australia.
But don’t rule out the Celestiq, a large four-door flagship that will step up technologically and engineering where GM’s most forward-thinking currently exists. We’re talking about an alternative to the Mercedes-Benz EQS, as the brand tries to reassert itself as the “global standard”, to use a distinctive advertising slogan.
Stepping down from Cadillac, the Chevrolet Blazer EV and its slightly smaller counterpart, the Chevrolet Equinox EV, are roughly in line with the Lyriq and Optiq, but of course they will be more affordable and accessible, so they may also find their way to Australia.
According to GM’s President of Strategic Markets, Alliances and Distributors and General Manager, Ernesto Ortiz, the flexibility and versatility of GM’s new EV architecture means vehicles of any shape and size are a possibility in the future.
“Ultium…is one of our competitive advantages,” he said. “Ultium will empower our entire portfolio, from crossovers, SUVs, full-size pickup trucks as well as luxury vehicles that we will bring to market.”
So, what does Cadillac’s introduction and other potential future EVs mean for GMSV?
Bala believes the two practices have broad enough appeal to coexist and thrive on their own terms.
“We confirmed the (GMC) Yukon Denali last week, and that will be done through our GMSV business with our dealers,” she said. “It really depends on the customer experience, needs and wants.
“GMSV was created to be an inclusive brand, where we focus on capability and performance – which is why the Yukon fits in there, alongside the Silverado and Corvette – and Cadillac as a brand needs to stand on its own. It will obviously be a complementary business within the overall GMANZ business entity, but we see That customers are completely different.
Finally, GM isn’t exactly new to selling electric cars in Australia.
In 2012, Holden released the Volt, an American-made five-door hatchback based on the Opel Astra small car platform, using a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to charge only the battery to power an electric motor connected to the engine. front wheels.
Futuristic and thematically very similar to Nissan’s e-Power system that achieves essentially the same results in today’s X-Trail and Qashqai e-Power hybrids, the Volt failed to find buyers and was discontinued by 2014.
The Volt was clearly ahead of its time, but it demonstrated GM’s desire to lead the way in electric vehicles in Australia.