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Cox Automotive Commentary: Cadillac Lyriq Reveal

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Cadillac will reveals its new Lyriq midsize crossover in a virtual launch event this evening. Part of a multi-billion-dollar electrification plan, the all-new Lyriq is the first in an upcoming portfolio of battery-electric vehicles from the Detroit-based luxury vehicle maker. Cadillac is spearheading General Motors’ shift to an all-electric future. The new EV will be built on GM’s next-generation battery electric architecture, including the advanced new Ultium battery system. 

As the newest Cadillac readies for launch, the question on everyone’s mind, “How does it compare with the latest from market leader Tesla?” We asked our team of experts and analysts.

Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader

While the Cadillac Lyric looks attractive and is certainly interesting, it likely won’t be an actual car that customers can buy for quite some time. For now, Cadillac looks to be interested in generating headlines rather than sales. That’s curious since Cadillac had an electric car – the plug-in hybrid ELR – that was quite good just a short time ago. I think there’s a lot to be said for staying committed if you believe in something. Jeep and Toyota are good examples – vehicles like the Wrangler and Prius haven’t always been No. 1 in sales, but by staying with those products each respective brand seems to be saying, “This is who we are.” And other brands are left to play catch-up, no matter how good the latest effort. Early Prius models weren’t anything special, but the company stuck it out and now has every right to proclaim itself a “green” leader. Another example, the Nissan Leaf.

Eric Ibara, executive analyst, Kelley Blue Book

Cadillac has been in a pause mode lately as it executed a new strategy and a revised product lineup. Still, the luxury maker has done a pretty good job during this transition as its first-half sales results were only slightly trailing the industry average. This is a pivotal year for Cadillac. Its flagship model, the Escalade, enters the starting gate to debut its latest redesign later this year.

The Lyriq provides Cadillac – and GM – with another bet on the table should EVs prove to be the path to the future that Elon Musk hopes. It’s easy to discount Cadillac’s attempts, given its history with the ELR. But Cadillac has something Tesla does not: The advantage of huge profit margins built into each Escalade it sells.

Still, the EV market is decidedly different today, and the SUV EV segment is becoming increasingly competitive. The Lyriq will go up against not only the Model X from Tesla but also Jaguar’s I-Pace and the e-tron from Audi, two models that have already been selling in the North American market. Other models to watch for this year will be the Polestar 2 (from Volvo), a fastback body style, not quite an SUV. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E may not be luxury, but it could prove to be a strong alternative. In the coming months, new models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and new start-up brands will likely provide ample for when the new Lyriq arrives. While range is important for any EV, so is technology, including autonomous driving features, and here it will be hard to beat Tesla. Still, Cadillac’s Super Cruise has been getting high praise. Given all of the resources and development that have gone into GM’s EV design, the new Lyriq – along with all the other EVs on the horizon – will likely begin to chip away at Tesla’s formidable lead.

Akshay Anand, executive analyst, Kelley Blue Book

GM has been pushing alternative fuel vehicles in a big way over the last few years, and now its premium Cadillac brand will dip its toe into the waters. Its prior foray in the alt-fuel world, the plug-in ELR, did not do as well as expected. However, the Lyriq is all-electric, and sits in a much more competitive segment. 

Pricing will be key for Cadillac as it attempts a push to electric, as its brand image sits in an entirely different place than the likes of Tesla, Lexus and the German makes. In order to be successful, Cadillac’s Lyriq will need to offer something unique and differentiated from the slew of EVs coming online, and Cadillac will need to polish its image as a whole if they truly intend to be seen again as the ‘Standard of the World’ in the new EV world.


Be sure to check back for more content on the Cadillac Lyriq. If you would like to speak with one of the expert analysts from Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book or any member of the Cox Automotive Industry Insights team, please contact us.

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