Cadillac is launching in Australia as an electric-only brand, but it says it will watch the market – leaving open the possibility of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

    “So for us right now, it is just electric vehicles (EVs) not plug-in hybrids in our plans, right now,” General Motors Australia and New Zealand managing director Jess Bala told Australian media.

    “We will have to watch and see, and you know, we don’t have a crystal ball for 10 years from now,” added Lauren Indiveri-Clarke, director of communications for GM’s Strategic Markets, Alliances and Distributors division.

    “Right now, the plan is full EV, but we will continue to watch and see what the market is doing.”

    These comments follow recent remarks from global Cadillac boss John Roth, who appeared to soften the brand’s previously firm commitment to a global EV-only lineup from 2030.

    The company still plans to offer a wide portfolio of EVs by the end of the decade.

    Corporate parent General Motors (GM) has also confirmed it plans to roll out new PHEVs, after having previously indicated it wanted to skip over these and conventional hybrids in favour of a wide range of electric vehicles (EVs).

    “We are going to have EVs available, and we’re following customers at this point,” global Cadillac chief marketing officer Melissa Grady Dias told Australian media, echoing Mr Roth’s remarks on offering buyers choice.

    “If you look at the trajectory of the EV market, we’re going to be following and we’re going to give customers the choice.

    “Someone in a meeting today said the past 90 days have been a little insane. And if I look at 90 days and try to predict what’s going to be happening in six years, I absolutely cannot.

    “What I can tell you is that when the market is ready, whether that’s in two years, or whether that’s in six years for EV, we have what I believe are absolutely the best and very competitive EV and electric vehicles to meet those needs.

    “We’re following customers, and as any good brand does we listen to our customers and follow it.”

    While GM no longer offers plug-in hybrids in North America – having previously offered the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid and ELR among others – it has continued to offer them in China.

    It recently revealed a plug-in hybrid version of the new Chevrolet Equinox, joining the China-only Menlo wagon.

    GM CEO Mary Barra announced on an investors call earlier this year the company would roll out new PHEVs in North America, without specifying whether these would sit under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet or GMC brands offered there.

    She said “select” models will be rolled out with a PHEV option in North America in the coming year.

    “Let me be clear, GM remains committed to eliminating tailpipe emissions from our light-duty vehicles by 2035, but, in the interim, deploying plug-in technology in strategic segments will deliver some of the environment or environmental benefits of EVs as the nation continues to build this charging infrastructure,” said Ms Barra during the investor call.

    “We are timing the launches to help us comply with the more stringent fuel economy and tailpipe emission standards that are being proposed.

    “And we plan to deliver the program in a capital- and cost-efficient way because the technology is already in production in other markets.”

    Cadillac is returning to Australia later this year with the electric Lyriq SUV, and Ms Bala says there are “more [models] in the pipeline” with announcements coming in the “not too distant future”.

    The brand has already revealed an entire range of electric SUVs, with the BMW iX-rivalling Lyriq to be bookended by the smaller Optiq and larger, three-row Vistiq. The Escalade iQ sits atop the electric SUV range.

    Cadillac has thus far revealed only one electric passenger car, the ultra-luxury Celestiq liftback.

    MORE: Everything Cadillac

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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