Cadillac is coming back to Australia.
General Motors’ luxury brand is relaunching in Australia and New Zealand by the end of 2024 with the electric Lyriq crossover, ahead of its switch to an electric-only line-up by 2030.
Designed from the outset for both left- and right-hand drive, the Lyriq will be built in factory right-hand drive like the Chevrolet Corvette.
Like the Corvette, it’ll also roll off a factory line in the US – in this case, GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee plant. It didn’t rule out future Chinese sourcing, however.
GM used Melbourne as the location to announce its plans to build electric vehicles (EVs) in right-hand drive.
The Lyriq will be available through a “reimagined luxury direct-to-consumer experience” – so no GM Specialty Vehicles dealerships then, as exclusively reported by CarExpert.
The brand will launch with three retail stores, or ‘Cadillac Experience Centres’: Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, and Auckland in New Zealand.
But more will come, and indeed more products will come, though executives wouldn’t confirm which vehicles will follow the Lyriq. However, we do know GM has trademarked the Optiq, Escalade iQ and Vistiq names in Australia.
Executives made multiple mentions of Cadillacs selling in “exclusive volumes”, though newly appointed GM Australia and New Zealand managing director Jess Bala was enthusiastic about its chances.
“It’s going to do incredibly well here,” said Ms Bala, saying Cadillac will appeal to luxury car buyers who want to stand out and who consider themselves trendsetters.
Despite all the talk of “exclusive volumes”, Ms Bala said pricing wouldn’t be lofty.
“It’ll be priced competitively inside that mid-sized SUV [segment],” said Ms Bala, confirming the Lyriq will battle similarly sized electric SUVs from European luxury brands like the BMW iX.
The company wouldn’t confirm pricing, but the Lyriq starts at the equivalent of around A$90,000 in the US.
In addition to selling vehicles through separate retail spaces, GM indicated there should be a different after-sales experience for Cadillac vehicles vis-à-vis those sold in GMSV showrooms.
“We’re all about providing an elevated luxurious experience to that customer from the minute they may enter their details in a website or visit one of our Cadillac Experience Centres, all the way through to purchase and beyond that,” said Ms Bala.
“Because we know that your purchase doesn’t end the minute that we hand you the keys to your vehicle, it’s an ongoing relationship that we want to maintain and provide something that is very consistent.
“A very high-end customer experience, sort of like that ‘white glove’ that you would expect as a luxury customer to get.”
The Lyriq won’t receive a local ride and handling tune, but GM will bring vehicles here to test them with a particular eye to charging requirements.
“Obviously we do want to drive the vehicle here, have it exposed here, determine exactly what our range requirements are, our charging requirements, charging times, all those sorts of things,” said Ms Bala.
“But the vehicle was developed globally, so when the engineering team started on the vehicle years ago, it was with the idea and the aspiration and the intent that it would be a global vehicle and therefore. would suit all markets.”
GM wouldn’t confirm whether we’ll get Super Cruise, a Level 2 autonomous driving feature that supports hands-free driving on certain roads in the US and Canada.
The Lyriq will come standard with dual-motor all-wheel drive across all launch models, though single-motor rear-wheel drive is available in other markets.
Hooked up to a 102kWh lithium-ion battery, the electric motors pump out a combined 388kW of power and 610Nm of torque.
Cadillac hasn’t confirmed a range figure for our market, but in Europe it says the Lyriq has 530km of range on the WLTP cycle.
The Lyriq measures 5005mm long, 2207mm wide (including the mirrors) and 1623mm tall on a 3094mm wheelbase, making it similar in size to a BMW iX. Base kerb weight is 2774kg.
While Cadillac hasn’t released full specifications for Australian-market Lyriqs, it did provide the following list of equipment:
- Heated, ventilated and massaging front seats
- Heated rear seats
- Panoramic fixed-glass roof with power sunshade
- Nappa leather upholstery
- Adaptive LED headlights
- 33-inch LED display with 9K resolution
- Apple CarPlay
- Android Auto
- AKG Studio 19-speaker sound system
Cadillac hasn’t officially sold vehicles here since the 1960s, but did come tantalisingly close to returning to Australia in the 2000s, only to have a global financial crisis and its parent company’s bankruptcy pull the rug out.
It announced a return to Australia in 2007, obtaining local certification for the sale of the CTS. This would have been sold alongside Saab and Hummer products in a new GM Premium dealership network.
GM even imported several dozen CTS sedans, before the brand’s launch was cancelled in January 2009 just weeks before they were due to go on sale.
Newly appointed GM Australia and New Zealand managing director Jess Bala is an Australian who worked for Cadillac.
She most recently served as director of global product planning and product strategy for Cadillac, which saw her play a central role in the luxury brand’s transition to being electric-only by 2030.