Will Cadillac’s New Electric Crossover Be Its Make or Break Vehicle?

The EV was announced during the Detroit Auto Show

January 24, 2019 9:00 am

At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac made two big intentional announcements and one huge unintentional one.

The first two were vehicles. The one we’re focusing on is Cadillac’s first fully electric vehicle, an EV crossover which “will be the first model derived from GM’s future EV platform,” according to a press release. In other words, Cadillac will be GM’s vanguard in the upcoming (current?) electric car wars. But no name, release date or specs were released, unlike the second announced vehicle, the 2020 three-row crossover XT6 which actually made a physical appearance. (All we got for the EV are these two images.)

That brings us to the unintentional announcement, which has been making the rounds. During the show, Automotive News spoke with GM President Mark Reuss who said, “We’ve got one chance. This is it. We will leave nothing on the table, but we’ve got to get there … We’re going to get there.” (Did he take that speech from Remember the Titans?)

Reuss is talking about Cadillac as a brand. In the same piece by Automotive News they cite the marque’s declining U.S. sales and leadership shake-ups, among other things, and the public view of GM as a whole isn’t doing them any favors. In essence, Cadillac is in trouble and they need more than just another Escalade to get back above water, they need another decade like the ‘60s.

Meaning, the brand-new, super sexy XT6 alone isn’t going to turn their fortunes. Even the bulk of the company’s “aggressive product acceleration” — a plan that involves the introduction of one new model every six months through 2021 (including last fall’s promising XT4, and an upcoming Escalade redesign, a performance sedan and now this EV) — might not be enough. But if Cadillac comes out batteries blazing (not literally, mind you) with this electric crossover, that might turn the tide.

We say that because, as the press release notes, the EV platform being developed will be “flexible,” and Cadillac’s “portfolio will eventually benefit from a variety of body styles that can be spun off this architecture.” Sounds fantastic. Problem is, every automaker and their automoms are working on  “ground-breaking” new EVs.

But as we’ve seen with Tesla, it’s hard enough to be profitable when you get to the finish line first. Cadillac has been playing catch-up in a lot of areas, but here’s hoping they get this right. If they wait until the end of their acceleration plan in 2021, it may be too late.

Images courtesy of Cadillac

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