Electric vehicle manufacturers—startups and legacy alike—like to boast about their new models "selling out" well ahead the start of deliveries.
While in many cases that's technically true, it's the low initial production run that allows automakers to get away with saying this. It's clear that carmakers these days are abusing the term "sold out," no doubt about it.
Speaking of low production runs, Cadillac chief engineer Tony Roma revealed in a recent interview on Autoline After Hours (via GM Authority) that the 2024 Celestiq flagship EV will be handcrafted at a rate of only two vehicles per day starting in December 2023.
"The rate we're going to build these things is around two a day; they are essentially hand-assembled by artisans that we've picked and have certain skills," Roma said, declining to provide a production target. "We haven't committed to any exact number, we do have some flexibility when we say in the range of two a day and really it's all just about exclusivity," he added.
This means Cadillac will only make about 500 Celestiq ultra-luxury EVs every calendar year, assuming the craftspeople assembling it at the GM Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan will work five days a week.
Gallery: 2024 Cadillac Celestiq reveal
While the low production run should not surprise anyone given that the Celestiq is assembled by hand and allows extreme amounts of personalization, Tony Roma said that initial demand for the flagship EV vastly exceeds production capacity despite the steep starting price of over $300,000.
"We have quite a few hand-raisers. Many, many more than we're going to be able to build in the first year, 18 months," he said. This means that Cadillac Celestiq orders are theoretically filled for a year and a half assuming the interest from all of the hand-raisers converts into actual sales.
Now, Cadillac did not reveal the number of hand-raisers for the Celestiq, but given Roma's comments about the daily production rate, there should be at least 500 of them. If that estimate is even remotely accurate, it's an impressive feat given the steep pricing—again, assuming the hand-raisers turn into firm order holders. To his credit, Roma did not use the term "sold out."
Interestingly, since demand exceeds supply, Roma said Cadillac will be picking people who are right for the brand among hand-raisers, indirectly implying that some may be refused. As you would expect, many of the people who expressed interest in getting a Celestiq are famous. "I think you're gonna know a lot of the people that end up getting this cars, their names will be known," he added.
Singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz appears to be one of the first Celestiq customers, as suggested by the video below posted by Cadillac on its YouTube account right after the Celestiq reveal. Make sure you also check out the podcast at the top of the page for more insight from the Cadillac Celestiq chief engineer.