A New Cadillac Electric Halo Car Could Potentially Be In The Works


New Cadillac President Steve Carlisle notes that electric vehicles have “really good performance”. New “halo car” would be more interesting with a “different propulsion system”.

Former Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen never fully committed to hybrids, plug-in hybrids or electrics during his tenure. Cadillac also missed out on industry trends moving away from sedans and towards crossovers. These and other missteps undoubtedly hurt the appeal of the American luxury brand in it’s home market compared to competitors.

While Cadillac was stumbling in the U.S., it and other General Motors brands were seeing a resurgence in Canada under then GM Canada president Steve Carlisle. No doubt this played a large role in Carlisle being placed into the role of President at Cadillac in April.

However, before Johan de Nysschen left, he set into place plans for more crossovers in the lineup. In addition, he said that Cadillac will be getting a “disproportionate share” of the electric vehicle lineup and technological innovations at GM.

Carlisle will ultimately be the one seeing these changes through. With Tesla making a splash with record breaking Model 3 sales and German competitors finally entering the market with long range electric vehicles, the brand cannot be left behind. So like other luxury automakers, Cadillac is tapping the brakes on future Diesel development and turning towards “electrification”.

Current Cadillac CT6

Is a new electric halo car perhaps on the way for Cadillac?

Currently, Cadillac’s only plug-in offering is the CT6 PHEV. The vehicle sells modestly in China but is a complete non-player in North American markets. The Voltec-based ELR was a gorgeous ‘halo car’ built in small numbers that never achieved success. It was vastly overpriced for what it offered in comparison to the Volt or Tesla Model S. Carlisle states that more differentiation is needed to complete globally:

We have an arsenal of products and technologies that will create even more differentiation for Cadillac and establish a very unique and attractive position for us in the global marketplaces

With the importance of the brand in China, more electric offerings will be needed to comply with government regulations. But in the U.S., the brand is just in desperate need of an identity. A lineup of electric performance vehicles could do just that.

At a recent event for the XT4, Carlisle was asked if there was a new high performance “halo car” based on the Corvette on the way for the brand. Although he would not directly answer the question, he did note that electric vehicles bring “very good performance” and that if such a “halo car” was on the way “if it were somehow a different propulsion system that might be more interesting.” 

Hopefully this willingness to change the status quo will push them to embracing electrics. 

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Cadillac

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65 Comments on "A New Cadillac Electric Halo Car Could Potentially Be In The Works"

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“President Johan de Nysschen never fully committed to hybrids, plug-in hybrids or electrics during his tenure” – he outright advocated against them. He was often quoted saying “clean diesel is the way to go”.

I’m glad that GM came to its senses and fired that guy.

Tesla has something like 400K reservations for Model 3 and who wants a Cadillac??? GM should have cleared out all the Johan de Nysschen types over 10 years ago.

Cadillac needs to be GM’s cutting edge technology halo brand, and not a car brand treasured only by 80-year-olds. Cadillac should be working on their 3rd generation EVs right now, targeting 400 miles of range. (Yes, 400 miles! It’s a Cadillac!!! Have some attitude!)

By the way, agree with the comment about ELR: great looking car. It just needed a better power train than the Volt (longer all EV range & faster 0-60 times).

Aren’t most premium brands catering to a “conservative” buyership? After all, young people can rarely afford this sort of car…

Say that to Teslas

Rich old dogs can buy anything they like. They like what makes them feel cooler and less OLD. They’ll buy as many really good and cool cars as Cadillac is willing to make. If they’re not too expensive, younger buyers will buy a good and cool car if they can afford it. Cadillacs error is thinking the less affluent older crowd will be attracted to them. Hint, I’d rather have a used Leaf than a new barge from Cadillac.

I would second your point on the ELR being a cool looking car. I test drove one and while it was nice, it basically drove just like my Volt. The other problem was that they got rid of anything practical, like the hatchback and ANY room for a passenger in the back seat. In the end it was twice the price for a car with half the functionality.

Indeed. If you want a car that looks great sitting in your driveway, you can’t beat the ELR. It really is a beautiful, hot-looking car that seems to be going 150 MPH while sitting still!

But in practical terms, as well as value for the price… it was a miserable failure.

Using autotrader/cars alerts, you can occassionally find MY14 ELRs for under $20K…Smoking deal…

I’ve been a lifelong GM customer. RIP Pontiac.
No reason for GM to be serious with BEVs, not with SUVs and Trucks generating the bulk of the profits (same for Ford). They could take a little CUV, cram it with batteries (ala Bolt) but it won’t appeal to the Tahoe/Suburban Yukon crowd.
Cadillac is somewhat hobbled by its design style. It’s been modernized but still doesn’t appeal to most folks. ELR 1.0 was a joke. Please don’t take the Bolt and make it a silk purse ELR 2.0.
It’s a tough spot/time for GM. Spend a lot to do it right and play catch up to Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Tesla? Or follow the Bolt recipe? A simple, compliant car that is a money loser and have their dealers hide it in the back lot? Probably better for GM to see how the European BEVs fare in the face of American independent dealers. A good product could still be ruined by dealers bent on selling ICE + service + scam.

GM is to blame. They could have told him to use the voltec and Bolt Powertrain with design they could built for them

That was a stupid hire to start with. Hiring someone who called your “halo” product coming out of bankruptcy (the Volt) as a car for idiots should automatically disqualify him for the job as he doesn’t believe in the vision.

Plus, that guy never really did anything at Infiniti (except delaying more luxury EV coming out that) and he got lucky at Audi for riding the tide at the right time.

An electric XT4 might be interesting. The size competes directly with the (also non-existent) Model Y.

Heck, while you’re at it, make an XT5 BEV to compete with the Model X, iPace, E-Tron, etc.

And then again, a Cadillac PHEV pickup would have zero competition. The CT6 PHEV drivetrain is strong enough.

Still waiting for my Buick BEV cross-over.

Well, the Model Y will certainly be existent much sooner than anything Cadillac starts working on only now…

Who says they can’t get on a platform GM has been working on and hasn’t told you about yet?
Model 3 reservations started on March 31st, 2016 and didn’t deliver in earnest until Dec 2017.
Model Y reservations are not open yet. No hatched chickens to count yet.

They can and they likely will. (In fact GM *did* talk about a next-gen platform; though nothing specific…)

Still, even on a platform that’s been in development for a while, an entirely new model will take a few years to get to market.

(Model Y supposedly also will be based on the existing Model 3 platform; and it’s been in the works for a while — so it still should come sooner…)

Yeah, I think the major holdup on Model Y production is that currently Tesla doesn’t have a second auto assembly plant at which to produce it. I suspect the TMY will be ready to enter production as soon as that new assembly facility is ready.

The Model 3 was at the same point the Model Y is now – early planning, pre-prototype reveal or reservation – in July 2014, and the first production units were delivered in July 2017; a 36-month turnaround. The CT6 was announced and revealed in April 2015, and the first CT6 PHEV sales were in December 2016; a 20-month turnaround. So I imagine that a new Cadillac PHEV can easily come to market before the Model Y.

Yup! And the Bolt EV sales came before the Model 3 made it to market, too!

In volume sales, Model 3 is already passing, or imminently about to, pass total Bolt EV Sales!

Cadillac needs a “Tesla Roadster” Moment, where people line up, and pay full price up front and then wait to get their new Cadillac EV! Or, a Model S moment, where some 12,000 people reserved it before deliveries began, with some paying $40,000 to be first!

However, Jay Cole says that it typically takes 4-5 years for an auto maker to put a genuinely new model into production, starting from a clean sheet design. If Cadillac isn’t already working on their own EV prototypes, then the best they’ll be able to do is another adaptation of an existing EV… which is what the ELR was, and that’s very far from the path to success!

If it’s true that it takes 4-5 years for a new model to make it to the showroom, then we knew absolutely nothing about the Bolt or the CT6 for the first 3 years of their development. By that standard, GM could already be 2+ years into the development of a new Caddy PHEV.

Sure, they *could* already have a serious electric car in development… The article however makes it sound like they are only now considering it, after the management change. That’s why I said in my original comment, “if they start working on it only now”.

The Model 3 was just an idea in July 2014. According to the people involved, design work didn’t start before early 2015. The fact that Tesla went from early design to early production in 2 1/2 years, and to more meaningful deliveries in about 3 years, is totally crazy, when the process normally takes 4-5 years…

But that’s a bit tangential. The important point is that we *know* the Model Y has been in development for quite some time (since 2017 at least) — while it doesn’t sound like Cadillac has anything in the pipeline yet…

(As for public announcements, that’s totally meaningless in terms of timeline. Some cars are announced only shortly before going on sale; while others are presented as concepts even before serious design work on the production versions starts…)

“Electric Halo Car” = Obsolete EV think from GM Bob Lutz era.

New day now…

EV has gone mainstream.

Then why exactly is Tesla working on the new Roadster to put a ‘hardcore smackdown to gas-powered cars’?

Well…you’re both right. Electrics should be the mainstream of the luxury segment. But the Tesla roadster is a “Halo car” with insane acceleration & whatever crazy things they add on like those cold gas thrusters.

@Speculawyer said: “Electrics should be the mainstream of the luxury segment…”

Tesla Model S is best selling large luxury sedan.

Tesla Model 3 is best selling car by total sales revenue.

Tesla in Noth America is selling as many cars as BMW.

I’d say that’s way past “halo” and more towards mainstream.

EVs would likely quickly become mainstream beyond the Tesla brand if each of the traditional car makers today had in volume production compelling EV ( full electric) offerings that *included* access to a robust reliable and convenient fast charge network for those occasional long distance trips… but they don’t because most traditional car makers continue to apply “halo” mentality towards their EV programs.

Indeed….at least for the luxury market. Everyone still needs to keep innovating to push costs down for the broader market.

Well, when is climbing the 13 steps, they tend to linger on each one.

I’m not sure you understand the term “halo car”…

With the exception perhaps of the short-lived (and somewhat unimpressive) electric Audi RS8, to the best of my knowledge none of the legacy makers has ever brought to market an actual electric halo car. I’d say it’s about time they start applying some “halo mentality”, rather than treating EVs as an unwanted stepchild.

The ELR could have been Cadillac’s halo EV… if it had been designed better and hadn’t been so overpriced. It certainly was attractive enough to be a halo car!

Pricing doesn’t affect the status of a halo car. Design certainly does — but I don’t know enough about the ELR to judge that…

@antrik said: “I’m not sure you understand the term “halo car”…”

A “halo” car is generally a *limited production* symbolic car intended to make a positive public statement about the car maker’s core value… be it an engineering/performance statement or environmental statement.

A halo car is generally never intended to be a high volume production vehicle. The Chevy Volt was from day one intended to be a limited production halo car as was Chevy Bolt… as is Nissan Leaf. GM is ok marketing and selling the Bolt in limited volume for halo image benefits and needed compliance credits but that is where their interests in Bolt stops. GM has no desire for Bolt to displace a significant number of their regular ICE sales.

The only way a traditional car maker will be able to compete against Tesla is to go into production with an EV intended to be a core production volume vehicle… which they will resist doing as long as they can because EVs currently represent lower unit margins and cuts into the lucrative service shop business of franchise dealers.

“The Chevy Volt was from day one intended to be a limited production halo car…”


That question was asked literally hundreds of times during the gen-1 offering of Volt. Each time GM did something that to give the impression of mainstream promotion, enthusiasts would defend Volt’s position as a Prius fighter with the claim of mainstream sales coming for gen-2 Volt. The targeting intent was obvious.

Admitting Volt was really only a halo didn’t come until near the end of gen-1 production. All the years prior to gen-1 rollout and while it struggled with sales the first few years of availability, we were very much under the illusion GM had high-volume plans.

There was no doubt that GM goals set the expectation of Volt becoming a profitable vehicle. In fact, that technology was part of the bankruptcy recovery strategy. Nothing became of it though. We have yet to see Voltec rolled out in a vehicle GM customers actually want… a SUV.

For that matter, quite the opposite happened. GM promoted traditional vehicles heavily, rolling out Cruze & Equinox diesel choices instead.

First of all, the Leaf was very much intended to be a mainstream product. It just didn’t sell nearly as well as Nissan had hoped.

Apart from that, I get the feeling you are (mis-)using “halo car” as a synonym for “compliance car” — which makes no sense. A halo car is something that raises the profile of the entire brand. A half-hearted compliance car doesn’t do that.

I would generally consider a car (with groundbreaking, class-leading technology) that wins more awards than any other car in the history of your 100+-year-old company to be a “halo car.”

Per “Tesla Model 3 is best selling car by total sales revenue.”, and Model 3 is still “Struggling” to “Get Up To Speed”, as to their own announced Production Goals, that Cadillac “Should Be” aware of!

Or, in other words: Cadillac, you have been warned!

Mainstream sales are not government subsidized.

Until we see purchases without tax-credit dependency, we are still in the early-adopter phase.

Patience, it will happen… but hasn’t yet.

The carbon is subsidized. Why not?

“Mainstream sales are not government subsidized.”

Gasmobiles are very heavily subsidized, indirectly, by the U.S.’s enormous support for cheap at-the-pump gas prices. If Big Oil companies had to pay for their own protection of petroleum supply lines from overseas, as well as having to pay to provide mercenary and military hardware support for oil-rich Arab nations, then the price of gas would be so high that we all would have started driving EVs decades ago.

Since electric/charging infrastructure is also subsidized, that comparison falls flat.

Watch what happens as phaseout progresses.

That line of reasoning falls apart when taking hybrids into account either. Those sales are quite strong with respect to any “halo” offering. For example RAV4 hybrid, an offering clearly greener than traditional choices, saw 5,058 sales last month. There’s the growing availability of plug-in hybrids too.

How come those choices are conveniently overlooked, especially when GM doesn’t even offer a “halo” of any sort for their own customers, who overwhelmingly prefer SUV choices.

Mid-engine Corvette with electric drivetrain – you heard it right here first.
Easiest “clean” swap ever.

Corvette is a Chevy not a Cadillac, GM would have to rebadge the Corvette with a different model name.

They’ve done it before


The Cadillac XLR was based on the Chevrolet Corvette’s Y platform – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_XLR – So yes, as Phil correctly points out, it has been done before.

It only sounds easy. As Elon explained on the infamous podcast with Joe Rogan, when they tried to do exactly that with the Lotus Elise -> Tesla Roadster, it turned out that the weight of the battery, along with other changes needed for the electric power train, in the end forced them to redesign pretty much everything.

It’s only easy with a tiny battery and other compromises, not worthy of a “halo car”.

That’s because Tesla was taking a completed Lotus Elise minus ICE stuff and retrofitting EV components. That’s a big difference than taking a design a modifying it to EV use.

That makes no sense. They started with the Elise, and then redesigned it into something entirely different. How would redesigning the Corvette into something different be any easier?

I’ve been saying this for a while…I can’t see how anyone can make a non-electric “luxury” car at this point. EVs are completely silent, have no engine vibration, no toxic emissions spewing out, more reliability, no lurching transmission, the best acceleration, and can be fueled at home so you don’t need to deal with the proletariat.

How can an ICE vehicle even claim to be “luxury” when it’s noisy, vibrating, spewing toxic emissions, lurching as you accelerate, etc.??

Dealing with the proletariat is always problematic😁

We joke but I’m certain that being able to fuel up at home has driven many sports stars & celebrities to EVs. You don’t have to deal with people asking for selfies & autographs.

Most luxury cars are quiter than EV’s.

….when they sit in the garage with the engine off.
Most….because the latest BMW SUV models seem to make a fire crackling noise lately even when parked.

Apparently you’ve never ridden in or driven a real EV.

Yeah, but you’re preaching to the choir here, Speculawyer. Most people reading your comment are already converts to the cause. It’s the mainstream “heathens”, the 99% of the populace driving gasmobiles, that need to be converted! 🙂

I would love an all-electric or PHEV ATS or CTS. The CTS is a very nice looking car.

They ought to have an all-electric XT4.

“Cadillac will be getting a “disproportionate share” of the electric vehicle lineup and technological innovations at GM.”

That aligns with other comments that they will focus EV development in China (where Cadillac and Buick do better than NA), paid for with profits from trucks and SUVs in North America.

Good point.

Most likely to,little too late, as usual.

Make it look like the ELR under $50,000.

I have had a few discussions of upcoming Cadillac products with a “high level regional distributor” for the brand who has seen very early production introductions. He has clearly asserted that “Cadillac has a full electric coming for sometime in 2019.”

That’s nice George. It will finally give the ‘big experts’ here something to talk about rather than all the myths they spew toward the old ELR.

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