Mahmoud Samara, Vice President of Cadillac North America, thinks that the increasing availability of electric vehicles should lead to an improvement in customer experience.
Samara was one of 19 auto executives asked by Automotive News to provide a wish list for 2021. “In preparation for our all-EV future, we would like to see customer experience reimagined to empower customers to do business on their own terms,” he responded. “In order to do this, Cadillac will be pioneering solutions that are personal, predictive, efficient, innovative, simple and transparent in both our dealerships and contact centers.”
This is a subject close to Samara’s heart. Prior to taking up his current position in August 2020, he served as GM’s Global Director, Customer Experience before moving on to become Managing Director, Cadillac Canada.
“To make it easier for buyers to buy, we have to make it easier for the sellers to sell,” he added. “How do we take complexity out of the business? How do we take complexity out of the process for the customer, and how do we take complexity out of the process with our dealers?”
The process of improving customer experience has already begun, even before the first Cadillac EV makes its debut. Cadillac recently launched the Cadillac Live virtual showroom, which was designed to generate leads for dealers and provide information to customers. This proved particularly useful when dealerships in some states were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A similar thought process is at work in General Motors as a whole. At the start of the pandemic, GM enhanced its Shop. Click. Drive. retail tool to include pricing transparency with third-party websites, an option for customers to test drive vehicles on their own terms and a real-time credit application. Leads from Shop. Click. Drive. have increased threefold since the update, according to Samara.
Although Cadillac does not sell any EVs at present, they are expected to make up half of the luxury brand’s line-up as soon as 2025. The first will be the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq midsize crossover, which was revealed as a near production-ready show car at the same time that Samara took up his new role.
The Lyriq is due to go on sale in the U.S. nine months ahead of the original schedule in the first quarter of 2022. It will be followed by two more crossovers called Optiq and Symobliq, the Celestiq flagship sedan, an EV version of the fifth-generation Escalade full-size SUV and a vehicle known only as the “low-roof” EV, which GM Authority understands will be something of a cross between a sedan and a four-door crossover coupe.