Skip to main content

With 3 New Gas CUVs on Sale and No BEV Until 2022, Cadillac Proclaims Itself King of Electric with an Announcement That Really Anoints Tesla as Lead Luxury Brand

ANALYSIS AND OPINION: GM President Mark Reuss’ recent announcement of putting Cadillac as the lead brand against Tesla helped everything else but Cadillac. Cadillac just put their third gas CUV into their portfolio right after this announcement! A real all electric car company doesn’t do that! To be taken seriously by anyone you have to be reliable and believable, and that means having honesty, and to be honest, starting with yourself, you have to believe in yourself. Who’s fooling who?
Posted: January 20, 2019 - 8:19PM
Author: Al Castro

Being Held Back While Trying to Move Forward:

I’ll give General Motors credit first and gratitude before I rip it apart. GM is the nexus for the “old guard” of the auto industry, and in spite of their role in that institution, they have been one of the few who at least had something of a pair of balls to at least try to experiment with battery electric vehicles. They went much further than companies like Toyota went with their program, and Toyota as a result is still stuck in 1998 clinging to their hybrids to their own detriment.

I sincerely believe that GM learned its lesson from EV-1, and while it certainly wasn’t going to apologize for anything it may be perceived it did wrong, it wanted to learn from the experience and move forward. They made amends the best way they could with what has all happened since.

The Monkey Wrench That Holds Back the Problems While it Holds Back the Solutions

But you can obviously tell from Chevy Bolt’s sluggish sales, and the lack of enthusiasm for the electric vehicles the old guard rather not make, that there are still pockets of resistance inside of GM, and inside the industry. They just don’t want to sell electric cars. I know as a fact that the entire dealer network across the entire country wants nothing to do with them at all, period. They are crying like little children about it to the manufacturers, but the makers have run out of options to stave the revolution back, this is truly about market and consumer demand. The makers did all that they could to first stop then slow it down by expanding hybrid and PHEV options, but that didn’t work in the end, consumers saw right through that. A hybrid was useful back in 2008, not 2018, and to hell I’m going to pay almost the same price for a hybrid to get a battery electric when my eMPG is ten times more? I don’t think so.

This is one of the reasons so far electric cars aren’t selling as well as they should be here in the states, as they’re doing much better and selling in greater volumes in places like Europe. There are still people who are still going out of their way to stop this in any way they can, even at this late stage where it is becoming too late for the largest of the makers to switch back supply chains to gasoline vehicle production.

So here I go Cadillac bashing. Once again. But they deserve this, and frankly, they are insulting their customers, and they ruin their brand by compromising their reliability and integrity, no differently as if their product broke down on the side of the road, that in many ways, they have.

The Solution that Refuses to Step in to Intervene:

For having a parent company like General Motors where money is no object, and for them it really isn’t, way past the level of absurdity of excess, there is no excuse anymore why Cadillac Motor Company Division of Detroit, Michigan, doesn’t have a US non-compliant battery installed all-electric vehicle in its lineup. No excuse. It could be just one car, just like the way Tesla started waaaaaaayyyy back a loooooong time ago with Model S, that GM had all this time to wrap their heads around that. That’s all it took then and now: just have one car. That was 2008. It could even be limited production like ELR was for all I care. One car!

What the hell is Cadillac’s problem now, with three electric platforms, 20 cars by 2023, cars already in production that in spite, this is becoming like another long drawn out mission to Mars! They make these announcements about taking on Tesla with no BEV and three new gas cars in their portfolio; they announced within hours of the Tesla one! Why is it that the largest and most powerful car company on earth can’t make one production electric car for its luxury division customers, in year 11 of the Electric Car Revolution? Yes, one whole decade past into from the beginning. And still no Cadillac all electric car. An embarrassing shame.

Solutions Solutions Everywhere yet Not a Problem to Solve!

And it is for whatever the reasons are, that Cadillac isn’t serious about making and selling electric cars, you can still feel the culture to know they still don’t want to, they aren’t even being serious about being a luxury brand, that if it truly wanted to be a trend setting trail blazing bring-it-first-to-the-market-before-anyone-else leadership brand and make a difference in the world, they would need to have the same unquenching hunger, burning desire, relentless passion, and biting ambition as Tesla does to make all electric cars to make a change on the planet. If all these startups are somewhere coming into or already within in the production phase with their first vehicle, if Cadillac was one of them you’d know they have a vehicle ready by now. It’s almost embarrassing for them as among the largest and oldest car company on earth that they don’t. Don’t they even see that what they are doing is nothing else but embarrassing themselves?

Cadillac and GM just don’t get it. This is why Cadillac is and always will be, nothing more than just another operating arm of the GM car making machine, now mostly in China, in this case the supposed luxury one, that installs the crest instead of the bow tie when it’s the other’s turn for badging:

  • GM and Cadillac have been going through some massive changes and growing pains lately.
  • Realizing that either: they can no longer make them, they’re now too expensive to make, their technology is obsolete or not worth updating, or they just weren’t selling or not as much for expectations, GM has recently cancelled a slew of gas and hybrid cars from its portfolio, some of them Cadillacs.
  • GM is retooling global factories and switching supply chains to make almost exclusively battery electric cars.
  • Doing this gave GM a new business model with a completely different set of operating expenses from which they suddenly realized they had bend the axis of spending to keep the plane of existence stable. This lead to the massive cancellations and layoffs of 14,000 workers as it resets and regroups production operations.
  • So the GM President makes this really weird, unnecessary, and ironically obvious announcement that Cadillac will take the lead to compete against Tesla. But they don’t have a vehicle to use at all, and not until three years from now. Huh? I guess as a newly minted GM President this was his way of endorsing Cadillac.
  • What other GM brand can do that against Tesla? Please don’t say Buick because that’s really a Chinese brand now, they even make most of the Buicks there now, we just get the surpluses and they either go leasing or to Hertz.
  • The problem is the optics that the announcement collided with yet another GM announcement of Cadillac’s unveiling of their third gasoline CUV it just put into production.
  • There were too many GM announcements within week. Less is more.
  • Cadillac proclaims itself an all electric car company to compete with Tesla, with not one electric car to sell, and the next one in three years. You sure that’s not a new Tesla on a waitlist?
  • Just because you proclaim yourself to be an all electric car company even though you don’t really want to be one, doesn’t necessarily mean that you automatically become one although you try hard not to make one, the sell one. There’s that problem Cadillac forgot about: having the obligation of making an electric car and having it for sale so you actually have to make even more of them. A bummer huh?
  • CEO Mary Barra says, yes in yet another separate GM announcement, that Cadillac will take the lead not only in electrification but also with autonomy.
  • GM apparently still plans to introduce 20 electric vehicles by 2023.
  • Years ago it said it would have the first Cadillac electric one by 2021.
  • CEO Mary Barra said China will be making electrics by 2020, so what’s wrong with Cadillac having one of those NOW?
  • Before the impending XTS and CT6 cancellations Cadillac said its next BEV would come in 2023, an even larger than CT6 but an all electric saloon.
  • This electric saloon might be the “next performance sedan” referred in a recent, yes you got it, yet another recent GM announcement, which said the car’s production was scheduled to come “soon.”
  • Then comes this BEV CUV pictured, the electric Cadillac should’ve been unveiling for production this week but they got weak and went gasoline instead. So this is supposed to make them feel better. Now Cadillac is saying this will be the first and next electrified Cadillac for 2022. No name for it yet.
  • I believe they’re going to save electrification for Escalade last. If so, maybe up to the magic year deadline for gas vehicles: 2026. She’s due for a refresh and that’s the “update” I think sources are referring to.
  • For now, China is the official GM BEV maker of and for the world.
  • Why one of these GM Chinese electrics is not being made a Cadillac is baffling.
  • Cadillac, Ford does this too, likes to make big lofty, realistic if they apply themselves, but for them unattainable goals that always seem to fall short.
  • Is it too lofty to expect a Cadillac BEV ASAP or that is asking for too much?
  • If Cadillac were a BEV startup around the same time as Faraday Tesla Lucid Rivian etc, I bet they’d have a platform ready for production.
  • If Cadillac were that serious about itself it would have taken one of those now THREE, that’s 3 BEV platforms for Chinese electrics or the next available BEV on the assembly line and make it a Cadillac.
  • In the meantime XT6 is a big “3 rower” CUV that fills the void between midsize “2 rower” XT5 and the wholly mammoth herself some prefer not to indulge, Cadillac Escalade.
  • It’s for those who need a larger size of a high riding vehicle, but rather more of a car driving dynamic with no all terrain gear setup and with just FWD or AWD as opposed to a truck like Escalade.
  • Cadillac also unveiled images of its upcoming BEV, a new flagship sedan coming in, why is the wait that long? 2023.

Honesty = Brand Reliability

Do you know what’s the biggest thing Cadillac can do for itself to earn the reputation as being a reliable brand without paying a dime in marketing and not opening the hood of a single Cadillac to fix it? They can start by being honest with us, honest with themselves, say what they mean, mean what they say, and follow up and through with how they’re doing that. It wouldn’t hurt if they were a little bit more motivated and a bit more ambitious, and frankly a little bit more mature more on the dealer end than the home office, because it’s so obvious they aren’t. They don’t do any of this. They don’t realize how much trouble they’re headed toward.

So nobody takes Cadillac seriously, “the discount luxury brand” that doesn’t have to price-cut a dime on its all-gas model range, fooling itself to actually have the faux balls to believe that they are “an all electric car company” to become “the lead brand” to take on Tesla. Wow, I didn’t know you folks knew anything about leadersip, I’m quite floored and surprised! Well, good luck with that, anyway! You’ve got plenty of gas cars to block out the coal rollers and ICER-ers when the Telsaratis come supercharging at the networks! Thanks a lot!

The “discount” of their “discount brand” starts on its cheap meaningless words that it doesn’t have, of concept cars, vague promises, postponed or just missed or overlooked timelines or dates, which doesn’t make them a reliable brand. At least Tesla gets to the finish line months and tens of thousands of cars behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, but they’re there. THEY’RE THERE. AND THEY’RE STILL HERE. This is why people love Tesla. What’s there already to love about Cadillac? GM for that matter? You know historically, GM and Cadillac have probably given us more for all of us to be upset about them than anything rewarding and positive that Tesla has ever done, and they’ve only been around for almost two decades. GM manages to piss us all off how many times in 100 years? If Tesla eventually gets to the finish line, Cadillac isn’t even in the race as they say they are. Cadillac is a non-starter, a has been, a yesterday’s “discount luxury brand,” just like the reputation of their cars when they break down.

Start by Getting a Customer Base: Always Be Honest With Them

This is their serious problem at Cadillac, and why their executives with that gasoline car exec mentality don’t get it. Unlike Mercedes, and BMW, and Land Rover, and Volvo, and especially Tesla, Cadillac’s newly self-minted alter ego (GM should consider itself to be so lucky to have such an alter ego as Tesla), Cadillac doesn’t have an avid enthused loyal following of customers tuned into their car brand, mostly besides the fact it’s about CUVs now. They have to make something exciting like a halo to generate that kind of interest. A new Cadillac customer gets introduced to their car from shopping around area dealers, or from getting a good price or special on the Internet, that’s it. Nobody flocks back to Cadillac usually after a lease is over. “Sign and drive” is the mantra over at BMW, rinse. Repeat. Just shut up and don’t pay attention to the bottle and go sign another lease again.

Between being whored out for airport limo transfers, airport rental duty, not having many sexy popular models about pleasure cruising as opposed to work or chauffeuring, and not having anything more powerful than a V6 unless it was one of the rarer more expensive V variants, Caddy doesn’t have the same amount nor in intensity the kindred spirit that makes for a BMW or Mercedes owner. Yeah, they’re expensive to buy, keep, fix, gas, and maintain, and trust me, as lovable as they can be they do have their moments when they can try your patience, but for what those two brands give to their customers’ cars, they’ll find something to love about them. Also consider there was a time that Cadillacs were float boats which made them a lot different than they are now. There wasn’t the driving dynamic element to them as there is now. They were once floating living rooms that made them different cars back in the day. Unless the Cadillac platform is something like an old school A Body frame for a fan base about antique vintage models, I’ve yet to come across avid fans of modern Cadillacs past 1996, or even an Internet club of the “Design Language” Cadillac of today.

Another part of the problem is brand battering. These things are all modular platform now, supposedly so easily interchangeable with different parts to make something that doesn’t look like it last did. So you figure they can improve as they refresh to get out bugs add bigger power plants, etc. but no. GM just loves to tear into the Cadillac portfolio just about every year lately, and cancel cars left and right.

And the problem is brand identity and recognition. There’s cost that comes when you cancel a car and replace it with a similar looking vehicle but obviously different, but you give it a new name. Something gets lost when that happens, and you start to lose touch with the brand since it’s not stable and so transient.

In the end with the loss of identity, you also loose feeling and connection to be turned off. There’s nothing to love really, as the next Cadillac car gets quickly cancelled before you have a chance to find something to love about the one they just killed! Cadillac needs to refrain from doing that. I really do hope it killed whatever it needed moving forward, to allow the electrics to come in and fill the voids.

They Need to Add Value to Their Brand

Reliability, Honesty, and Loyalty all certainly add value to a brand, but protecting that value is as equally important. It doesn’t help the brand when they have their models in the premium and luxury selections all filled up in airport rental parking lots! A Cadillac is a car you turn in at the end of your rental, lease, or subscription. It shouldn’t always be that way. They need to find ways to counter that to add value, but as Lincoln learned, flooding a rental parking lot with your cars may make your brand a lot of money, but that’s how they and Caddy became “discount luxury brands,” as flooding with cars really does cheapen the brand. To add value to the brand other by reliability and loyalty, Cadillac needs to keep those customers loyal while they find other ways for their brand to have a more permanent commitment with newer customers.

So never mind the electric crap, Cadillac needs to find and shore up a base of supporters so they can sell anything to start. Being honest and sincere with those customers from the get-go helps. This is Tesla competition you’re supposed to be, offering all those things they have, but something different that they don’t. I’m honestly searching to see what that might possibly be, because I can’t find it and neither can anyone else.

Honesty = Reliability = Loyalty = Value = Reputation

This is the core problem with Cadillac. No one thinks they’re reliable, and they don’t realize that lends itself to brand recognition, brand reliability, brand loyalty, brand value, and brand reputation when it comes to not just their cars, but more importantly their service, their ethos, their culture, and their values. THEIR WORD. This is why I hear readers all the time bellowing about the “GM crap brand” in the comments section.

All said and done, GM is no better or worse in quality than FCA and Ford. All of them are not spectacular. I say long term reliability you still have to go to the Japanese. But the Americans make pretty good cars, the problem is what difference does it make now, because half of them are now built in China! They’ve all had misses to not always be the best, but the legacies make decent cars. But how can I defend them, GM especially?

What I find is most embarrassing for them, other than the timing of this announcement(s) I lost track of how many because there were too many, that I wonder if they feel embarrassed for themselves to even care, and that’s for how Buick seems to find a way to always beat Cadillac in the customer feedback surveys in some category by survey specialists like JD Powers. GM’s premium brand Buick is better quality and has better customer satisfaction survey ratings than GM’s luxury brand, Cadillac!! That’s not good!

I bet you no one has been held accountable! This goes on for years! And I wonder, if anyone from Cadillac is going over to Buick to see what it is they’re doing that Caddy isn’t! If GM got sick of status quo to get rid of Johan de Nysschen from Cadillac last spring, I wonder if anyone has been fired at Cadillac over the years for the feedback survey debacle. How could they even let that go on?

That’s what I mean. You have to believe in yourself, AND the product and services you sell. Part of this is actually believing in electric cars, and if you don’t like most of the bad side of car industry culture, especially that historic hostility toward electric cars, then good chance that part might grow legs to go away for good.

Honesty = Believing What You Do = Believing in Yourself

To be believable you have to be reliable, so you have to do what you say, and say what you mean, or just don’t say it at all or say it another time, not now. But most importantly you have to believe in what you’re saying and doing what you believe in, and do it with honesty, sincerity, with principled conviction. You must be honest, sincere, and instill honor and integrity. People will be able to see right through you to get you know you, especially if you post everyday to know if you’re a wishy washy fraud or not. Having convictions and principles are important. That’s how people are going to trust you and the brand. Cadillac isn’t doing any of that with the brand and in that, it’s not being honest with its customers and with itself. It’s trying to be something it is not. That’s dangerous, in fact it’s scary. The opposite of convictions and principles is being spineless. Whether inadvertently, unintendedly, or consequential, they need to stop that and reverse or change course.

What’s needed here is a senior company leader, media rep, and/or brand ambassador to take over as the front person and speak for the brand to become the public connected point person. This person must be in appearance and personality to be personable likable approachable and influential. Good pet and kid karma definitely helps.

Luxury Brands Don’t Compromise and Don’t Cut Corners

Cadillac, the wanna be electric car company, has for years now tried to keep an occasional PHEV or mild hybrid in its portfolio so that it can pass for something electric, but you know we all moved on from that! With the latest advancements in battery ionization, mega charging, concentration of the cells so the charge gets better infused to last longer for larger ranges, and the very recent improvements and expansion of the supercharging networks nationwide, hybridization is now seen as obsolete antiquated incompatible technology no longer necessary, and now more expensive to produce. There’s really no more excuse now, not to go battery electric full on, and it’s now cheaper and faster to manufacture BEV cars now too.

Making hybrids for car makers now, is about them still using gas car supply chains where the equipment for hybridization is cheaper, for
them trying to save money to be cheap and cut corners. This is something luxury electric car owners, specially Tesla customers and that means future Cadillac customers too, will not stand for having their products lessened in quality because the brand wants to save money! That’s not luxury!

There’s a difference between trying to keep production costs low and cutting corners. Bentley is shamefully putting a PHEV of all things, with the now obsolete outdated hybrid system into one of its cars starting this year. This is a waste of time, money, and Bentley’s brand. The system isn’t even about performance enhancement either that I’d be amenable to, to grant an exception, it’s about improving the fuel economy of a 13 mpg pig Bentley to a still paltry pig Bentley at 17 mpg. Customers probably don’t realize this for me to wonder if some of them even care, but what Bentley is essentially doing is converting a $300,000 hand built bespoke car into a commuter car with a 50+ mile electric range, which thereafter it reverts back to gasoline at 15 mpg. Why bother?

If Bentley just went ahead and fully electrified the car you’d probably see an even better improvement. This is why and where I cannot understand why you industry car guys do these things, when it’s just counterproductive for nobody else but yourselves. Why do you do these things like this? All of a sudden you guys look at hybrids like they’re sliced bread and nobody really wants them in a new car anymore; they cost the same as a full electric, but you guys seem to insist on wanting them anyway! God bless and good luck to the Ford guy who actually makes that career ending decision to put a hybrid into a Ford F-150 in a new world of Rivians, Bollingers, and soon Tesla Us! Are these dealers putting you up to doing these things? I ask,because that seems to be the impetus as to why and how for what is supposed to be an all electric car company, that Cadillac now out of nowhere has not one, but three gasoline CUVs brand new off the most recent assembly lines, in Cadillac stores. I am just floored!

Going back to Bentley, Bentley silly hybridization is cheapening their brand doing this, because if they really wanted to hybridize that I doubt they even they wanted to do that let alone do electrification, they would have installed this setup decades ago when it was new and cutting edge. That’s what Cadillac has been doing with their mild and PHEV hybrids that hopefully they’re finally over the hybrid thing. Hybrids are not all electric. That’s nothing but a part time gas car. Get over this guys and let’s move on. We’re here because of Tesla. It’s all about Tesla. There a specific reason why Tesla does not make hybrids: mild wild shaken not stirred and PHEVs too.

So with a line-up that aspires to be all electric but in reality can do nothing but kill you with carbon monoxide poisoning, Cadillac has to keep adding lofty goals and more concept cars you know it’ll never build. I can’t understand why they keep doing that also. KEEP IT SIMPLE. LESS IS MORE.

What GM doesn’t see is that by them doing this de Nysschen-type tactic with the announcements, it really does cheapen the Cadillac brand to make it less credible and least likely to ever be taken seriously as a high end luxury performance brand. Besides, the irony here is that Neuss didn’t really have to say this, he was better off if he didn’t, this was all something we already probably knew was the elephant in the room. With someone like Neuss saying this, you compromise your brand by now adding pressure and stakes, and you sanctify your competitor, which is what happened. If the ultimate plan after electric saturation against the Tesla model range was to move upmarket to compete against Maybach, Bentley, etc. he now made that a little harder to do with Tesla officially in the way that it always was. And in doing so, he made it easier for Tesla to do the same and move upmarket against Rolls Royce with a $300,000 bespoke Tesla car. Less is more.

The Civic Community is now Part of the Electric Car Industry

Keep in mind with the additional dynamic of electric, there is something else at stake for Cadillac that I know no GM division has ever experienced in history and they better do their research on on it like VW Group has, especially after the Diesel scandal, so that their employees are in check when dealing with customers or the public.

Making a car makes you a part of an industry. Making an electric car now makes GM part of a community, and there are duties and responsibilities everyone has in that community whether we make them, sell them, own them or just drive them. This is a dynamic the legacies have never seen or experienced before, and this is the kind of dynamic that inevitably it’s just going to lay down a road of someone getting upset about someone or something in the community.

There is a greater sense of purpose as to how and why the electric car industry was born the way it was reintroduced into the 21st century. Because of the legacy car culture being around for two centuries, it is used to seeing itself strictly as an industry and nothing else. Leadership teams in the company need to implement training to change that culture to a new industrial model as the industry being still what it is, but because of that greater purpose we are now apart of a greater community and they’re responsibilities that go along within that community. And it is important that representatives of that company like ours recognize this community and train their employees to what those responsibilities are.

As we re-define transportation and the technology that enables us to drive cars and themselves autonomously, the redefinition is a reset to a greater understanding of the roles people, groups, organizations, institutions, and businesses have in our community. It’s not about one particular person or anyone brand. It’s supposed to be about energy resources, energy conservation, valuation, and usage, cleaning up the environment, and most importantly, paving the way for our kids’ futures. We forget why we’re now making electric cars. This happened long before it became a corporate boardroom decision. We matter as well go back to gas, that would’ve suited GM fine up to months ago, but it switched over. It’s now like the rest of us, past the point of no return. We are now about electric cars because we are concerned for the environment. We are about electric cars because we want change. It’s not all about Tesla and it’s not all about Cadillac.

If Cadillac insists on making electric cars it needs to take that civic ideal as a serious responsibility, and that’s what it is, it’s not just about profit, seriously. GM will make plenty money off electric cars. It better damn be sure from its public service announcements to managerial and executive development training via corporate culture, that GM never adopts a corporate atmosphere that enables unethical values that either harm the community or the earth. Im talking about the dirtiness cut corners ways VW did with their diesels. Don’t do that to the environment. There is a civic obligation to the global community about electric cars, and if Tesla customers hold Tesla to that mantra, you damn be sure Cadillac customers, the rest of the world too, will do the same to Cadillac. It’s not just about making a GM luxury car branded Cadillac anymore that they did for over a century, that way of making cars and their purpose is now over.

There’s a new meaning now when you electrify a car and so happen to brand it a Cadillac, carefully worded and in that order, and Cadillac needs to be careful with this at the risk of pissing people like their customers off big time, for example by an employee being caught doing something foolish that can harm people in some way. You can blatantly tell from both lack of preparation and the mind set of their behavior even with things so not related, that people who are Cadillac aren’t prepared for this kind of customer/community level participation that ironically VW Group gives out homework to employees to ensure its changing its culture to never allow Dieselgate from ever happening again. And you can tell from the materials they give employees they take that responsibility very very seriously. VW Group gets it and super big time. And from this, this is another way I know the GM and Caddy don’t get it and they’re not ready if ever.

ATTENTION GM TECH CENTER: Get out of gasoline car thinking mode and get ready to have a Eureka moment sometime this century, because your survival as an all electric car entity may depend on it: WORDED CAREFULLY: until as such time as the world is saturated with electric cars, if you are seriously contemplating on competing with Tesla that means you are appointing yourselves as shepherds in the Electric Car Revolution as Tesla already is. You can still earn a profit and make a lot of money. But in exchange you have a steeper stake in the role inside the community as a shepherd in the proliferation of electric cars.

This means you must be true to your words and deliver us to the Promised Land. That means you too have a stake. This also means things like you won’t pollute the skies the waters and the lands like you and your multinational mega corporation peers once did in history, that you’ll now most especially will be held accountable while making these cars. No cheating, no stealing, and no shortcuts either; it’s now easier, cheaper, and faster in the manufacture process to make these cars, so there’s no more excuse to cut corners and not clean up after yourself. Of another VW type scandal ever occurs, a series of serious multinational industrial watershed crimes against the earth will not be tolerated not ever again. Ever. That’s means you too GM. As a sheppard you’re also a leader, you’re supposed to be setting an example for all of us.

Selecting Concept Cars: Keep it Simple. Less is More. Pick One. Tell a Story. Let Them See it Grow. Follow up.

Has anyone at the halls of GM ever heard the dictum, “less is more”?
I think I’m not the only one who’s yawning and clicking my phone to the next story when a GM electric or driverless concept pops up, it’s more of the same, and I’ll believe it when I see it for myself. GM really cheapens Cadillac when it keeps giving us more concepts than VW does about Bus. Grow a pair for a change. Pick one. A good one. Make it count. Follow up to tell us what’s special about it, why you picked it, and what you’re doing as you go along to make it happen.

Cadillac is a very historic brand of blue blooded cars, I say take advantage of it. I trash the brand here because I love it, I revere it, and respect it. Cadillac really is an institution and it needs to be recognized and respected as it needs to be sanctified by a worthy caregiver. GM is not doing a good job at that. I know GM can do better, it’s just that they’re stuck in that car culture that reminds me so much of that goddamn police culture that can often get the cops into trouble. Both are so resistant to change and anything new or not done before or different is often eschewed. Our kind can truly be our own worse enemy whether it’s about cars or policing people.

Aside from the industry culture, one of the great things about Cadillac is that it is now one of the oldest car companies in the US, and it has a lot of fun, neat fascinating history and stories, and just about every one of its heritage collection of vintage models has a unique story to tell. You can often start the introduction of a concept, or even talk about a car already in production in the portfolio, by finding a model in the past that shares a commonality of history between the two. Cadillacs made in the late 1940’s to late 1960’s often have some unique technology in them as Cadillacs were used as market experiments to see what technology worked and what didn’t.

As early as the early 1950’s Cadillac was putting into their cars mostly standard: full power assist and accessories, tilt, cruise, a/c, auto tranny, all the things we have even in our economy cars today. Rolls Royce back then was not, in fact they were still stuck on no a/c V6 and manual transmission, and more money, but had to scramble when Caddy upped the stakes! These were the things that made Cadillac more popular than Rolls and the better bargain, and with better build quality. Cadillac needs to get back to that and make their cars above all else RELIABLE. They do that then 75% of the battle is won. Then they have to make them the better bargain against Rolls and Bentley.

But these historic tidbits and tech pieces installed in these cars make great conversation.

Capturing an Audience for a Customer Base and ways to Keep Them Connected

By picking one concept to see it go into production and not going all over the place with all different kinds of concepts, you capture and focus a regular tangible solid base of an audience. Like you, they already are investing, because instead of you being all over the place with different concept models, you focus on one that you are personally seeing to it, with the implied promise it’ll make it to production. Your audience will hold you accountable, see how dependable and reliable you are to keep to your word and see this through.

One of the things I learned about my social media pages and why they’re doing so successfully, is because people are looking for something and someone with a cause to believe in. If you are honest and sincere with them, if you are respectful, if you are civic minded, if you show them your cause and if you lead them they’ll follow you. But you gotta be honest you gotta be focused, and you gotta give them reason for your cause. Do that, and they’ll believe in you. And when you make a mistake they’ll forgive you.

By doing this, the audience is going to connect with Cadillac, connect with the car as if it is a living thing that is in school learning how to be a car so it can graduate out onto the road. They’ll want to see it production, they’ll want that car to succeed, and in that, they’ll want Cadillac to succeed. You generate sincere interest in the brand starting by genuinely showing it within yourself, besides, you are the brand ambassador, and it shows the world you are investing in yourself instead of cancelling everything about you.

If Cadillac did these things with concept cars instead of another for each direction, the brand would become an Internet rock star, especially if such a car had an insane amount of horsepower and torque! That should be standard on all Cadillacs BTW, now that they’re all electric. I no longer drive up to and don’t need to drive at or past 100 mph, but when I buy a Cadillac I expect at any moment I punch that pedal that car will launch on command!

So if Cadillac would just stick with one product and followed through to tell us how’s its developing from concept to production, I think Cadillac would not only generate even more excitement over something because it’s really real and concrete like Elon does with his cars; the tractor, pickup, and sports car are three good examples, but the mere fact Cadillac and/or its brand ambassador(s) are keeping to their word to follow through, I believe doing all this would help Cadillac’s corporate reputation for reliability to burnish way before any Mr. Goodwrench at a Cadillac service center opened any Cadillac hood. People will forgive you more quickly for missing a target or goal knowing the product is barreling down the line coming together. They’ll still believe in you. They’ll still root for you anyway. They won’t waver. They’ ll actually love you. They’ll love your car, support the reason why you chose that concept, and yes they’ll love the brand too! They’ll believe in your brand. Why? Because you give them reason to believe you’re being honest, being reliable, telling the truth, reason to believe in yourself, your team, and your brand.

They won’t as much be forgiving as when you tell them something you’re doing that it never materializes to become a promise unkept. Sounds like a politician. Be wise Cadillac.

Instead it reinforces the already confirmed notion that Cadillac isn’t serious about becoming a serious luxury brand and it isn’t serious about making an all electric car in an all electric luxury car company. This is the same company that’s about gasoline cars that didn’t want to make electric cars and now are starting to make them only because they have to. That’s not good place to start for the gatekeepers of a prestigious historic, iconic luxury brand. Look where Tesla is in comparison.

Tesla is all about thinking outside the box by doing all the things Cadillac wouldn’t do and other things to get a product assembled. They’re about doing whatever they have to do to make sure electric cars come to market. It is the direct opposite of the legacies of trying new, different, debunking tradition, counter-culture, never been tried before, let’s try it anyway. That is what Cadillac is going to be competing against, and they’re already at a 11 year competitive disadvantage with Tesla and them selling almost an entire full model range of BEV cars. All that, with these competitive tactics that Tesla employs to try to get an edge. Caddy has a big mountain to climb. They had problems competing with Mercedes and BMW. Where do any of you believe Tesla is in that scale?

But I know Cadillac still doesn’t get it. So let me try it this way:

If You Want to Compete With Tesla You Have to Believe in the Same Ideals and Values as Tesla

Despite all the dysfunctional problems Tesla has: Elon’s petulant tantrums and firings of executives and workers on the factory floor and his off work site public behavior and the issues with its board of directors as a result, the high turnover rate including cyclical mass exodus sometimes starting at top and all at once, the silly mistakes in production that cost billions and billions to bring them to their knees in debt, the product quality control issues, AutoPilot controversies, Model 3 waitlist issues, “production hell” issues, the OSHA industrial workplace safety issues, the employee racial/ethnic problems, the financial issues and missed target dates, and yes, “the shorts” and all of their baggage, there’s one thing you cannot deny about anyone who works at Tesla past and present: they want to be there, they want to build an all electric car, they want to be an all electric car company, and they want their products to make a difference in and change the world. And when they leave the factory to see all these Teslas running around in the wild, I bet that gives all their employees right up the line a sense of pride and accomplishment.

That’s their brand! It is now a prestigious luxury brand. That’s the beginnings, the foundations, of a luxury brand, and luxury brands are leadership brands. Leadership brands are the trend setters, the innovators, the new never been seen or tried, and the Trail Blazers. Leadership brands know of no boundaries of exploration, it is about being respectful to humanity and the planet but to recognize the infinite resources from both to find and or make, or do something unique that isn’t done much places elsewhere. Tesla employees, all of them, not just Tesla senior leadership and Elon, I mean ALL Tesla workers are leaders, and part of being a good leader is knowing when and how to follow. Because they worked together as a team to make something special happen that has never happened before, that some say they were just lucky whatever about good that’s happened to Tesla, that some say still it’s a matter of time before they fail, that Tesla people ignore the static and keep proving them WRONG, to make a difference. Not just one person can take credit for something like that. Only a group can.

If anyone at Cadillac scowled, joked, rebuffed, scoffed, and laughed at that tent in Fremont last spring, then they have no business making electric Cadillacs competing against Tesla, and expect they’re going to succeed. It may not have been the most safest, convenient, or practical way as a production solution, in as much as it might have been the most unusual, awkward, and unorthodox solution, but that tent is Tesla’s competitive edge why there are now millions of BEVs all over the planet and Cadillac has none. That is how Tesla’s corporate culture that allows its people to think outside the box and a factory wall to expand into a tent for trying something new and different and unorthodox to get the mission done.

It’s about growing a pair then using them, something Detroit forgot how to do, that’s why Cadillac is in the situation it’s in now, the wealthiest company on Earth, more money than God probably has, enough money to buy heaven, and they couldn’t do their flailing luxury division a solid, by having the next car off the line after Bolt be an all electric Cadillac. A shame. I know if I was in charge at GM to have the power to do that, it would be done, I wouldn’t give a Shinola about budget, this is about a brand’s survival, besides the fact this about people who work on my team, I take care of them first. If Cadillac is not careful with its mission and values and corporate culture competing with the likes of Tesla, Cadillac is going to have the same exact problems Cadillac did with quality control and crap engineering when they tried to compete against Mercedes and BMW and always came up short.

If Cadillac is to take the lead to compete against Tesla, they have to believe in these very same things too. And they need to show it in the products they sell. It doesn’t equate.

Can anyone at Cadillac honestly look at me and you and themselves and say they really care what they make? How can they take themselves seriously as an all electric car company when they just introduced their third CUV in their model range in the last two years? The timing of Reuss’ announcement on top of this would almost seem like this was all a joke. Aren’t they a little embarrassed? Would it have been worth the effort, because as I wrote, money is no object at GM they’ve proven that at the least of 10 years since bankruptcy, to make at least one, just one of these three new CUVs all electric? Could anyone at GM or Cadillac see the optics of this, of THREE, that’s 3 brand new gas cars from the all electric brand, and the face-saving grace if they even went the mile to correct it, because I believe customers and me too, could be very forgiving of Cadillac if they went out of their way to make one of those three cars electric.

And they expect us to take them seriously as a luxury brand. You gotta be kidding me.

Because if Cadillac really wanted to be the premiere all electric luxury car brand it’s corporate culture would have such a compelling desire to reset itself as “the American standard for the world” and go out now with whatever resources it had in-house, and there’s plenty, to make the best quality best performing and best luxurious electric Cadillac the world has ever seen. It would be a beautiful car, it would be a fast car, it would be a great handling car, it would be a quiet car, it would be so reliable and it would be so green that it wouldn’t hurt a fly on the planet. You’re not getting that vibe.

Why bother?

Oldsmobile: It Would’ve Been Nice to Have Help

Too bad the Oldsmobile brand is no longer around; where’s Ransom when I need him? What was once America’s oldest and one of the most prestigious and historic luxury car brands in the country, the step up to Cadillac, Oldsmobile was once Cadillac’s luxury partner little sister, that even during certain years Olds held its own that you didn’t need to go Cadillac as depending on the Olds model you were presently driving, all you had to do was stay put. Toward the last three decades before extinction, Caddy and Olds were sharing engines before the badge engineering got so bad they also were eventually sharing most if not all platforms.

Oldsmobile would have been the perfect tester brand to go all electric in the luxury segment to give Tesla a distraction. Saturn with help from Chevrolet could have taken care of the global masses to go head on with the VW brand, Ford or Chrysler if either got its electric acts together that their situations are worse than anything bad at GM, the Japanese and Koreans, and anything else the Chinese manage to bring ashore. But now, this is neither here nor there. Buick can’t do this, it’s all about China now that it even makes most of the Buick’s there as well. We just get the surpluses for North American sales. So as we can see, this is really all hands on deck for Cadillac.

Help is on the Way. Really. And it’s Electric. All of it. We promise. Okay! We Swear!

The car you see above in the illustrations is what Cadillac is telling us what will be the next and first all battery electrified Cadillac in its history, and it’ll be a CUV, coming in 2022. The renderings clearly show scale to know right off the bat this is another big CUV and it’ll probably sit between its newly installed sister, the taller and bigger XT6, that’s the other controversial gas Cadillac released while Cadillac was pretending it was all electric again, and the Mother Flagship of all SUVs, Escalade.

Sizing up the illustrations above, you would put this vehicle between those two utilities because it is larger than XT4 and 5. It sits between XT6 because it probably has approximately the same volume of cargo but doesn’t sit as high as XT6, and then Escalade, because it’s well, Escalade. If the XT6 is about Traverse done up Escala style, this vehicle is about the new Blazer done up even sleeker with Escala pepper shakered instead of grinded in. You can tell this Wally Wagon slices through the wind. The front crest looks like it was once a good ornament now inverted to hang over the front. It looks illuminated. Neat.

This is the car Cadillac should be making NOW as all electric it is in these renderings, and if Cadillac had put their mind into it I bet you this car would have been production ready if not in production by now. Yet another missed opportunity. SHAME. This is also the car that Cadillac released knowing they were going to get flak for putting in a third new gas CUV into the portfolio when they’re supposed to be an all electric car company. I hope they took good advantage of those old supply chains with whatever materials they had left to make these cars . Because making these gas cars is really no
longer an option anymore. It’s not going to even be a possibility of doing as a fall back. The weaklings among us who did this won’t be able to do it again, and the only option you’ll have is to make nothing but electric cars. We’ll see who are the mice and men. The only ones still left set up to that kind of work is Bentley and Lamborghini, maybe Audi. That’s okay Cadillac, we really know you’re not all electric. We’ll stop pretending if you do . . .

Now if you remember me reporting earlier last year, Jaguar is coming out this year with an all new flagship XJ saloon and the entire range will be all electric. The design language will be reset and rebooted like it was some 12 years ago for the entire Jaguar range, starting with the new at the time XF executive car. Apparently this time around Jaguar is starting a redesign right on the flagship itself.

But here’s the thing: the car is also getting a station wagon variant that’s also all electric that Jaguar won’t be branding, and instead it’s going to be the flagship model of a new line of Land Rovers in a new brand called Road Rovers. This RR wagon is styled to look a little like a JLR Range Rover but in a station wagon shooing brake kind of way. This is going to be Rover’s top of the line wagon, and a very high end one. It’s going to be full sized like an old Buick Estate, it’ll be very slightly tall riding for bumpy roads but not necessarily heavy duty all terrain like big girl Range Rover, and not high riding. It’ll be very expensive, around $175,000 last checked.

Why I mention this: when I saw these pictures of this vehicle, the Jag wag was the first thing that came to mind. This Cadillac pictured above is the perfect size and the perfect CUV variant to take on this Rover vehicle. And it also seems the perfect size to even go upmarket against the Road Rover if necessary. It seems to be more of a wagon than a traditional CUV and it’s styled more with the new Escala concept styling cues than the now older Cadillac “design language of arts and science” from the turn of this century.The iconic vertical headlights first seen on Cadillacs in the mid-1960s are being phased out again, back to horizontal. No word other than 2022 for production or stats or prices.

If Anything Tesla was Anointed a Luxury Car Maker

I congratulate Tesla Corporation for finally becoming the official global luxury battery electric car company of the world! Brought to you by the fusion of procrastinated design and technology of the makers of Cadillac! Tesla is now the official Cadillac competitor, not the other way around as the Model 3 is now stealing more car sales from Cadillac, but I don’t think it has to worry about matching its model range to Cadillac’s at the moment! Cadillacs endorsement was well earned, nonetheless! Now if only Bentley or Rolls Royce could do the same for Cadillac!

What’s sad and troubling is that GM has made China the BEV central for global production and with now three platforms, they now have three platforms ready to go for all electric but not one car in a showroom, GM is not giving Cadillac a BEV platform to use NOW so it can make a genuine electric car to validate what it’s been telling the world lately about being all electric. And having a top GM exec stating the obvious now makes things like electrifying, revamping the model range, going global and upmarket, etc., and finally competing against brands like Maybach and Bentley just a little bit harder, when they now officially have Tesla in the way that ironically, it always was.

Photos courtesy of GM Media Department, and all under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, and news reporting.

I am so grateful that my publisher allows me the generous privilege within reason to express my opinions about matters related to the auto industry. I try to be judicious and respectful about the content. I ask you do the same in the comments section. And please keep in mind that the opinions expressed here are solely mine, and not those of Hareyan Publishing or its employees, including my staff colleagues.

Al Castro is a security expert and a retired LEO who is a staff and opinion piece writer on electric and autonomous vehicles for Torque News.

What do you think of Cadillac’s “all-electric car company” conversion? Please let us know below!


kent beuchert (not verified)    January 21, 2019 - 1:50PM

The EV1, a $70,000 vehicle which had centuries old lead acid batteries and which has a driving range of less than 50 miles and a battery recharge time measured in hours, not minutes, CAstro idiotically proclaims to have been a leader of the EV movement. Upon which planet does Castro live? As for the insane notion that because Cadillac has not yet released its first BEV somehow annoints Tesla as as the premium EV leader, perhaps Castro might read the paper ocasionaly - if he did he would seee that Tesla has discontinued their two highest selling premium models, the Model S 75D and Model X 75D. Now why did they do that? Well, "premium EV leader Tesla" just got knocked out of the ring in Holland, By Jaguar I Pace, which outsold the Model S by 2 to 1 and theModel X by 4 to 1. And then its sales forced a reduction of Tesla sales in Norway by 40%. And Tesla's position as the claimed "premier EV" is further invalidated by news that the Model S competitor, the Porsche Taycan, has scheduled its first year's production run to exceed that of the Model S (and now vastly exceeds it) and, killing Tesla sales even more completely, has sold out the entire first year's production. Tesla is getting hammered from the bottom to the top by dozens of EVs' almost all of which have equal or superior EV technology. Tesla is a fading automaker. Cadillac is concentrating on their version of the BEV1 , GM's large vehicle electric platform. GM has tons of EV technology talent and their Chevy Bolt exceeded the capabilities of Tesla's twice as expensive vehicles in several ways. It lacked a fast level 3 recharge capability, something that will not be an issue going forward. I fact, GM is on track to have the fastest recharge capability in the world. And when it comes to performance, no engineering expertise is required : just order large electric motors. The performance version of the I Pace will out-acceeraate every Tesla every made,including their upcoming sports car, which Musk foolishly claimed would be the fastest production car. OOps!! Another Musk lie.