Cadillac is back, but the iconic American brand’s line-up will be nothing like the cars it sold the last time it graced these shores.
The brand, which was last officially sold in Australia in 1969, will spearhead its return with the Lyriq electric car, a luxury SUV likely to cost well into six figures in top-spec form when it arrives some time next year.
It will be imported by General Motors, which is slowly rebuilding its presence in Australia after axing Holden more than three years ago.
The Lyriq will be built in right-hand-drive at the company’s Spring Hill, Tennessee factory and will be sold alongside the Chevrolet Corvette, which also belongs to the GM stable.
The cars will be imported and sold by General Motors Special Vehicles (GMSV), the brand that grew out of the Holden ashes.
GMSV currently imports the giant Silverado pick-up truck from America and converts it into right-hand drive in Melbourne. It also plans to bring the giant GMC Yukon SUV to Australia shortly.
Cadillac is repositioning itself as a leading electric car brand and plans to be electric-only by 2030.
Managing director of GM in Australia Jess Bala said now was the right time to launch the brand in Australia, as EV sales were on the increase and the demand was there.
EV sales have plateaued in the US this year, but Bala doesn’t expect a similar decline here.
“I don’t see EV sales tapering off or hitting a speed bump here. I think we’re seeing growth and that’s exactly why we think now was the time to bring Cadillac in.”
Vice president of Cadillac global John Roth was bullish about the Lyriq, despite what is likely to be a hefty price tag.
“There are some foundational elements that are in a Lyriq that some of the competitors haven’t stepped into [such as] range, performance and styling,” says Roth.
Initially Cadillac isn’t chasing huge volume and the Lyriq will be pitched against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQE and coming Polestar 3, which would put it in the circa-$140,000 price range.
Bala said Cadillac planned to expand its line-up beyond the Lyriq but wouldn’t confirm timings.
“We are not just one and done with Lyriq, we will have more coming,” said Bala.
Initially, Cadillac will have two boutique showrooms in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as an online sales room.
It’s a similar sales model to that adopted by Tesla, BYD and Hyundai’s luxury offshoot, Genesis.
Instead of traditional dealerships, outlets could be shopfronts in high-traffic retail spaces.
Bala said the brand would deliver vehicles to other capital cities if they were bought online.
All stock will be owned by the brand, in a similar model to Honda and Mercedes-Benz in Australia.
Roth said Australia was a logical step in building its brand overseas.
“It’s really an opportunity to add scale and growth and you can’t really be a tier-one luxury provider without offering a right-hand drive vehicle.”
The Lyriq is a mid-sized SUV similar in size to BMW’s X3 and Audi’s Q5. It has a long bonnet, muscular haunches and daring detail work on the headlamps, grill and tail lamps.
The door handles fold flush with the door panels – much like Tesla’s Model Y – and the cabin is dominated by a huge curved digital screen that houses a driver display and centre touchscreen.
The Lyriq is powered by two electric motors that deliver 373kW and 610Nm to all four wheels. A giant 102kWh battery provides a driving range of up to 530km.
Originally published as Cadillac Lyriq to spearhead a local revival for the brand