Cadillac’s chief marketing officer, Deborah Wahl, spoke about the brand’s future as it moves to become General Motors’ lead electric-car division, but she said the brand will need to “play in both worlds” at the moment.
She made her remarks at the J.D. Power Automotive Summit, Wards Auto reported Saturday, and said GM’s new electric-car architecture will be the “canvas” for a profitable and exciting EV program. Profitable is a key word as GM hasn’t profited on the Volt or Bolt EV models in the past. GM CEO Mary Barra has promised the automaker will sell profitable electric cars when its flexible electric-car architecture debuts.
At least one of the platforms is called BEV3, we learned this month. Its flexibility means it can grow and shrink to accommodate various vehicle segments and send power to the front wheels, rear wheels or provide all-wheel drive. The platform will also offer at least 300 miles of range.
It’s unclear what the platform will underpin first, but Cadillac teased an electric SUV model that will ride on the BEV3 platform. The SUV will likely arrive in 2021 and be Cadillac’s first electric car.
Wahl added the transition from the internal-combustion engine to electric powertrains will likely take many years after an attendee noted Cadillac’s shift to EVs comes as the brand launches the new 4.2-liter twin-turbo Blackwing V8 engine. She said “torque doesn’t care what the source is,” and it’s still important to develop engines that cater to buyers not ready to jump into the electric segment.
She said Cadillac can’t have one without the other as traditional auto sales continue to finance electric-car programs and self-driving technology.
The rest of her time on stage was spent touting Cadillac’s fuller lineup with crossovers and Wahl expects double-digit sales growth in 2019. In 2018, Cadillac sales contracted by 1.1 percent, though the brand’s sales were up 8 percent globally, largely thanks to China.