Luxury EV Makes French Debut: GM Re-enters France with Cadillac Lyriq

Imagine cruising the streets of Paris in a vehicle that whispers luxury at every turn yet speaks volumes about your environmental consciousness. That’s the allure of GM’s new venture in Europe, its return to the continent with a fully electric Cadillac Lyriq that marks a revolution in how vehicles are sold.

On Monday, the American automaker introduced its newest iteration of the electric SUV in France, marking an expansion of its presence in the European market since its return last year. This move serves as a test to determine whether the exclusive use of online sales will appeal to affluent car buyers. GM is disrupting conventional automotive sales models with the Lyriq, providing customers in Switzerland and France with the option to customize and buy their electric vehicles through online channels.

It’s a bold move that shows a firm commitment to Europe, where affluent drivers are among the fastest-growing consumers of EVs, and it also puts Cadillac squarely in the luxury EV segment, which is experiencing rapid growth and heightened competition. A successful launch of the Lyriq in Europe would signal that GM’s new strategy to focus on EVs for all of its brands has legs, and it could serve as a blueprint for other automakers looking to tap this growing market.

GM’s European chief, Jaclyn McQuaid, said on Monday that the new LYRIQ — manufactured in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Shanghai — is a “significant first step” toward building an all-electric Cadillac lineup. She added that the company will build additional models based on the same architecture, including a full-size SUV. But the Lyriq faces an uphill battle, as Tesla’s Model Y is Europe’s best-selling EV and starts at $51,000 in Switzerland.

Pricing for the LYRIQ has yet to be announced. Still, it’s expected to start below the $61,000 starting price of the Model Y. With a claimed battery capacity of 100-kilowatt hours; the Lyriq should be able to travel more than 300 miles between charges. The battery is integrated into the vehicle’s chassis, which allows for a lower center of gravity and enhances stiffness and crash performance, Marty Hogan, the car’s executive chief engineer, told Wards.

One of the features that might help the LYRIQ stand out is its 19-speaker AKG studio reference sound system, which GM says can be used to play music in the vehicle or remotely control it while it’s parked. Another feature is supervised remote parking, which lets owners park their EVs by themselves from inside or outside the vehicle, even if the car is in motion.

GM hasn’t specified which other models it plans to bring to Europe, but sources have told Wards that the company might offer its Chevrolet Equinox EV and Blazer EV, as well as the Bolt EV and the Chevy Silverado and GMC Hummer EV pickup trucks. However, the full-size trucks would be limited to a niche market as they’re classed as heavy goods vehicles in Europe. A Cadillac Celestiq ultra-luxury sedan is another possibility, although it’s not scheduled for sale in the United States until 2023.

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