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Euro luxury brands in Cadillac’s sights here

Cadillac claims plenty customer interest in Australasia ahead of October Lyriq launch

13 May 2024

GM-OWNED Cadillac is undeterred by the competitive battery electric vehicle (BEV) landscape Down Under as it prepares to launch here with the sleek Lyriq large SUV in October that will compete against the Audi Q8 E-Tron, BMW iX, Genesis GV70 Electrified, Lexus RZ and Mercedes-Benz EQE.


During a recent media roundtable, GM Australia and New Zealand managing director Jess Bala said Cadillac’s all-electric local push had European luxury brands firmly in its target.


“We’re targeting those tier-one European luxury brands,” she said, with a presentation slide including Land Rover, Porsche and Volvo alongside the big three Germans and Lexus.


While not yet willing to confirm which other models might join the Australasian Cadillac line-up, Ms Bala did promise an announcement was on its way – but the gigantic Escalade IQ flagship SUV sounds like a distinct possibility.


“GM as a company is evolving the Ultium platform, allowing us the flexibility to do vehicles built right hand drive in the factory,” she said. 


“We know we’ve only announced Lyriq so far but I can promise you there are more in the pipeline and we will make more announcements in the not-too-distant future around other models that are coming.”


Cadillac global chief marketing officer Melissa Grady Dias hinted at the Escalade IQ, pointing to the nameplate’s success in other markets.


“Wherever we sell Escalades, they are usually our best-selling vehicles,” she said. 


“I think that wherever we were to introduce the Escalade, it would be well received.”


Other electric Cadillac models included in the presentation but not yet confirmed for Australia were the Optiq medium SUV that sits below the Lyriq, and the Vistiq upper large SUV, which the brand says is positioned between the Lyriq and Escalade IQ.


The Celestiq fastback electric limousine appeared in a presentation slide outlining Cadillac’s global model line-up.


More immediately, GM is buoyed by local interest in the Lyriq following its announcement and preview event late last year, which will be followed up in the coming weeks with an opportunity for expression-of-interest holders to view the vehicle in the metal and learn more about it.


“I won’t give you an exact number but I can tell you that we’re very happy with the number of hand-raises we’ve had,” Ms Bala said, describing the number of enquiries as “well into the thousands and thousands”. 


Ms Bala added that Cadillac is confident that the Lyriq will impress potential buyers. 


"I think that once we get our customers in and around vehicles like the Lyriq, and those that saw it back in November will hopefully agree that it's just a stunning car," she said.


As for launch timing, October this year is when Australians are likely to see the Cadillac badge popping up but actual customer delivery timing is yet to be confirmed. 


While pricing is also unknown, if US pricing of between $US50,000 and $US62,000 is anything to go by, the Lyriq is likely to land somewhere around the $A150,000 mark.


Cadillac made it clear, however, that it does not intend to undercut its European rivals in Australia despite doing so to the tune of around 20 per cent in its native North American market.


Instead, it is likely to sit alongside rivals like the BMW IX, Audi Q8 E-Tron and Mercedes-Benz EQE that occupy the $130,000-$155,000 price range, potentially with a compelling value offering in terms of standard equipment and aftersales care.


"We are targeting the European luxury brands and our price will be right in the realm of where their entries, or equivalent entries are," Ms Bala said.


“This is a luxury play for a whole realm of reasons, one being we want to be something that’s sought-after, and to be sought-after there needs to not be a tonne of them driving around.”


Much like the direct-to-consumer approach taken by Genesis, Polestar and Tesla, customers will only be able to purchase the models online or at an ‘experience centre’. 


Such showrooms are so far pencilled in for Sydney and Melbourne only. 


Cadilac will operate independently of GMSV which sells many of its parent brand’s other models Down Under.

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