General Motors is not afraid of an overhaul. In its recent commercials, passengers exclaim things like, “That’s not a Buick!” to emphasize the dramatic redesign. However, some say GM’s new electric vehicle, the Cadillac Lyriq, isn’t different enough. Early consumer reviews are positive, but one industry expert has some advice to keep it from landing on the list of least desirable EVs. Ford CEO, Jim Farley, says Cadillac didn’t take Lyriq’s innovation far enough and warns that Lyriq might not have what it takes to compete, particularly in the U.S. markets, and should look to China for the future.
What Cadillac Lyriq needs to compete in the EV market
Electric vehicles have been on the market for a decade, but between January and March of 2022, EV registrations increased by 60% despite the automotive market being down 18%, according to Automotive News. This jump in sales is due in part to automakers addressing consumers’ concerns regarding price, battery range, and practicality with their latest designs. Changing the type of outlet needed, extending the battery life, and optimizing the cost have made EVs more desirable for the average consumer, not just car enthusiasts.
Fuel prices, manufacturing delays, and the environment played pivotal roles. The Cadillac Lyriq offers a refined exterior and comfortable ride, but the price is higher than Ford’s contributions to the market, like the Ford F-150 Lightning. Lyriq’s features and design are two additional factors Ford’s CEO predicts will prevent it from riding the EV momentum as smoothly as other vehicles.
What Ford’s CEO thinks the Cadillac Lyriq lacks
Farley asserts that excitement is crucial to converting EV interest into sales. He says the Cadillac Lyriq looks too much like Cadillac’s internal combustion vehicles, telling Newsweek, “We wouldn’t do the product that Cadillac is showing [Lyriq]. We wouldn’t do it. Nothing against them, it just doesn’t fit our brand. It’s not far enough. It has a traditional hood, looks a lot like an ICE product… We want people to feel that electric excitement.” He goes on to say that Lyriq also lacks the comfort features future customers will demand, namely, better software.
Farley uses China’s market as an example. In China, many people don’t own cars, and those who use them for purposes beyond driving. According to Jalopnik, Farley says the type of data screens display, the level of automation, and other technical specs will outweigh things like plush seats in future buyer preferences. He envisions Americans spending more non-driving time in their cars: taking conference calls, holding Zoom meetings, and using vehicles as a transitional space between work and home, which requires more software capabilities. Cadillac lacks some of this ingenuity, in his opinion. He sees China as a market to mirror and tap into for Cadillac’s future.
Why you shouldn’t count the Lyriq EV out
Insight from an automotive CEO like Farley is valuable in the emerging EV market. Still, many consumers are impressed by the Cadillac Lyriq, which begs the question, are Cadillac fanatics more interested in the company’s renowned luxury than the vehicle’s technical features? One of the chief complaints against Cadillac was the sheer size and gas-guzzling nature of the early models. Cadillac was slower than other brands to switch into crossover mode. However, the new Lyriq offers a 100-kWh lithium-ion battery with a 6.5-hour charge time. Still, its Escalade-like size provides ample space Cadillac is known for.
With an EV, fuel economy is irrelevant, and luxury still matters to many. Just ask the market Farley recommends for Cadillac’s future focus. Between 2016 and 2017, Cadillac’s sales in China increased by 50%, marking its highest global sales in its 115-year history. As one of the original luxury brands, if Cadillac navigates the electric car landscape correctly, global EV sales could be its ticket back to the top.