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Cadillac opens Aussie ledger with Lyriq EV

Electric power only for Cadillac in Australia, Lyriq large SUV due here end of 2024

16 Nov 2023

GENERAL MOTORS is taking another swing at the Aussie market, this time, initially with the fully imported, fully electric Cadillac Lyriq large SUV unveiled in factory right-hand drive for the first time right here in Australia as part of an all-electric global expansion by the automaker.


An iconic luxury US brand that has, until now, never had a factory presence in Australia, Cadillac is in pursuit of the “premium” market with its RHD Lyriq due to arrive towards the end of 2024 in unconfirmed specification.


GM (Holden) pulled out of Australia in 2017 ostensibly because it could not make a viable case for building right-hand drive cars here. But that hurdle seems to have been overcome by manufacturing them in the US.


The General is next year putting what could aptly be described as a “toe back in the water” Down Under initially through only two Experience Centres (stores), one in Melbourne and one in Sydney (and Auckland), complemented by an online portal called the “Direct to Customer Experience”.


When questioned about possible pricing, GM and Cadillac executives at a brand media launch in Melbourne were coy, however given its US pricing which is between $US50,000-$US62,000, and competitors here, the Lyriq may be priced circa $A150,000.


“Our competitors are the European trio,” said vice president of Global Cadillac, John Roth in Melbourne alluding to Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi which have respectively the EQE, iX and Q8 e-tron as Lyriq competitors.


Looking further into the future, (and no doubt subject to Cadillac’s market acceptance here) the brand plans to have a range of vehicles available all built on GM’s dedicated Ultium BEV architecture with various 2WD and AWD configurations.


The imposing black display vehicle in Melbourne was a Lyriq 600e 4 AWD high spec’ dual motor variant with the 600 relating to its available torque. The “selection” of additional BEV models mentioned but not confirmed for local consumption at the media launch includes sedans, coupes, SUVs and pick-ups.


“The model line-up in Australia will depend on production as we have embarked on a global EV expansion program with a focus on right hand drive models out of the US,” said Mr Roth.


“Australia is among the four new markets we have expanded into in the past six weeks, and we have plans to further expand into other right hand drive markets.


“Our plan is to get brand awareness up through a managed roll-out starting with our Cadillac website which provides information on our technology, range, capability and even allows potential customers to register expressions of interest.


“We have been planning our Australian re-entry for the past 18 months and used Cadillac’s new, all electric operations in Switzerland and Sweden as a guide. The introduction of a right-hand-drive Lyriq will enable new opportunities in important markets where EV adoption is strong.”


Former Holden employee and now managing director of GM Australia and New Zealand, Jess Bala, said Cadillac was focused on delivering “the best sales, aftersales and ownership experience for Cadillac customers”.


“We plan to be price competitive in the premium market targeting tech’ savvy early adopters looking for something a little different from the Europeans offering customers a highly personalized, luxury buying, driving, and ownership experience,” she said.


Ms Bala said she was confident the Australian market was past the anti-GM feeling in the aftermath of its local withdrawal and that the Cadillac brand was part of a re-boot here.


It is the first time the brand has been available ex-factory (not privately imported) in Australia, but Ms Bala said she was “confident there was strong local brand recognition due to Cadillac’s rich 120-year history and the fact that it is the centrepiece of pop culture… showing up in many places.”


She emphasised the Cadillac brand and the Lyriq are personal passions as in her most recent role, before repatriating to Australia, she was director of Cadillac planning and product marketing.


“I have been on a journey with Lyric since early in the program, and returning home with it, factory built in right-hand-drive for Australia and New Zealand, is an absolute dream,” she said.


“Today signals the arrival of an automotive masterpiece in Australia and New Zealand and I have every confidence people will share my enthusiasm for Lyriq – the first model in what promises to be a portfolio of right-hand-drive Cadillac EVs for these markets.”


The Lyriq was launched in the US last year and is Cadillac’s first BEV based on the Ultium platform with the automaker spruiking the model as setting the standard for the future of Cadillac, elevating it through artfully integrated technology, premium craftsmanship and dedication to delivering spirited performance.


It was built from a clean sheet design from the ground up and was engineered for right-hand-drive and left-hand drive markets globally from the outset, with luxury and style front of mind.


Providing more insight into Cadillacs move into RHD markets with factory-built product, Mr Roth said that GM’s investment in the flexible, modular Ultium battery platform enabled more efficient development of right-hand-drive variants, opening new markets to deliver further scale.


With its new global EV focus, Cadillac now operates in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East through Asia to Korea, Mexico, Canada, and China.


The Cadillac and GM execs present at the Melbourne launch were at pains to point out the extent of GM representation currently in Australia (and New Zealand) through business units like GM Specialty Vehicles, Cadillac, Chevrolet Racing, AC Delco, GM Trade Parts, Holden Certified Service and Holden Heritage.


They said the establishment of these brands has created a foundation to provide a future direction for development of the GM business in Australia.


Time will tell.

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