Thursday, April 25, 2024
NewsCadillac Seeking To Regain Its World Standard Status

Cadillac Seeking To Regain Its World Standard Status

Every automaker and every brand has had good days and bad days as it tries to adapt to changing trends and consumer purchasing habits. One of those brands is Cadillac, which is currently celebrating its 120th anniversary.

Cadillac’s highs include record sales in the late ‘70s, although its product lineup at the time, composed mostly of fuel-swilling land yachts, might suggest otherwise. From a design perspective, the ‘50s and ‘60s could be considered a high point for the brand. As for craftsmanship and innovation, we’d arguably look back at the company’s early stages when the complete interchangeability of parts between its cars was made possible by precision manufacturing, and when full electrical systems were introduced alongside world-class V8 and V16 engines, electric starters and all-steel roofs. Cadillac auto-proclaimed itself the Standard of the World, which no one likely debated at the time.

2024 Cadillac Celestiq
2024 Cadillac Celestiq

Over a century later, Cadillac is still around, but many automotive brands have surpassed it in prestige, craftsmanship and desirability. As the GM luxury brand is transitioning to an all-electric vehicle lineup, which it aims to complete by 2030, Cadillac is once again aiming to become a prestigious and desirable marque. And it seeks to do so with a mix of performance, luxury, customization and design throughout its lineup, spearheaded by the all-new, 2024 Cadillac Celestiq.

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

The Celestiq is a fully electric liftback sedan that is hand-crafted in extremely limited numbers, offering an infinite number of paint colors, interior materials and textures, in the same vein as what Rolls-Royce and Bentley customers can experience. The Celestiq is equipped with two electric motors for a total estimated output of 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque, an all-wheel drivetrain, an 111 kW battery pack and a projected driving range of 300 miles or 483 kilometres on a full charge. The Celestiq will be built in a dedicated facility in Detroit and will start at about USD$340,000. Cadillac certain doesn’t lack ambition with the Celestiq.

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

Part of the flagship sedan’s success banks on exterior and interior design, of course, but that’s the case for other models as well. And just how does Cadillac think it can stand out from its luxury-brand rivals? We asked Laetitia Lopez, CMF (Colors, Materials and Finishes) Design Manager at Cadillac, during her appearance at the Montreal Auto Show in January.

2024 Cadillac Lyriq

“I think it’s the blend of technology, comfort, space, materials, finishes and craftsmanship we are offering. All those together are truly defining the brand. We are really trying to make sure the client is at the center of the organization. We are studying what they need, and we have conversations with them as well.”

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ

Regarding the transition to electric vehicles, is there a change in the way that designers work? “Yes, in the sense that it’s not the same architecture,” said Ms. Lopez. “Exterior-wise, you don’t need to have a grille with openings for ventilation anymore. It’s like a large platform to reinvent the Cadillac grille. So it was an opportunity for the design team to work on the graphics, the lighting choreography. Are you going to light up, light down? Is there any type of animation? All of that was a really fun part of the work.”

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ

As for the vehicles’ interior, she added: “you have much more space because underneath it’s flat, so you don’t need to have a closed console. This gave us some opportunities for the front console. For example, to have what we call a pass-through with an opening, so we now have storage. Again, [EVs] are really good to reinvent the interior and make sure we have more space. Bringing back our customers, do they need more space for their bags, to have easy access to storage? All those elements have been definitely helping to reinvent what is the new language for Cadillac and what we can do because it’s an EV.”

2024 Cadillac XT4
2024 Cadillac XT4

Both EVs and ICE vehicles are featuring more and bigger screens in a bid to offer a more sophisticated owner experience. The Celestiq and the upcoming 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ will both be equipped with a coast-to-coast display panel, with 55 inches of total screen real estate. Will there ever come a point in time when there’s too much screen in a vehicle cockpit? “I guess it would be customer-dependent,” said Ms. Lopez. “If at some point we feel like this is where our customers are going, we may revise that strategy. But for now, with the data we have, the communication we have had [with our customers], this seems to be the right call.”

2024 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

Getting back to the Celestiq, Cadillac has publicly shown a few units on North American soil boasting various paint colors. Those include Habanero (orange), Venom (bright green), Boysenberry (purple), Vixen (pink-ish red), Nimbus Metallic (blue-ish grey), Infrared Tintcoat (dark red), Santorini Blue, Aspen Metallic (dark green) and Siku Tricoat (silver). However, the Celestiq customer can ultimate choose any color they want. “Of course, there are things that we developed if a client wants to move fast, we have things already done,” said Ms. Lopez. “But we are not limiting them to that. For example, if you ask me to match your jacket, we will definitely have something for you. Even material-wise, it’s literally what you want. And we’ll wrap [the interior] with this material, as long as it doesn’t impact our safety.”

2025 Cadillac CT5

Cadillac’s current lineup consists of the Cadillac CT4 and Cadillac CT5 sedans along with their performance (CT4-V and CT5-V) and high-performance (CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing) variants, the Cadillac XT4, Cadillac XT5, Cadillac XT6 and fully electric Cadillac Lyriq crossovers, the full-size Cadillac Escalade in regular and extended-wheelbase Escalade ESV variants and their high-performance Escalade-V variants, and the flagship Cadillac Celestiq. This summer, production of the all-new, fully electric 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ will start, with a stretched Escalade IQL scheduled to debut soon after. Other electric models are on the way, such as the compact-sized 2025 Cadillac Optiq and the midsize three-row 2026 Cadillac Vistiq. The brand is also expanding its EV portfolio to international markets such as Europe, China, the Middle East and Australia, starting with the Lyriq.

2025 Cadillac Optiq

More affordable than the Celestiq, but still very pricey with a projected starting MSRP of USD$130,000, the Escalade IQ will seek to amaze potential customers with a lavish cabin, polarizing design, and a muscular two-motor powertrain producing up to 750 horsepower and 785 pound-feet of torque. The SUV’s driving range is said to reach 450 miles or 724 km on a full charge.

2026 Cadillac Vistiq

With this upcoming lineup of electric luxury vehicles, in addition to the continuation of an ICE vehicle portfolio up until 2030, exciting times are coming at Cadillac. While the brand may no longer be at the forefront of innovation like it did 100 years ago, it’s nonetheless seeking to be able to once again call itself the Standard of the World through design, luxury, performance and craftsmanship.


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