General Motors luxury brand Cadillac's entire lineup could be electric by 2030. That means production of its internal combustion cars and SUVs could move from the plants where GM currently builds them.
All of this will happen in a slow transition with some overlap as internal combustion engines (ICE) are phased out and electric vehicles (EVs) are introduced, said Steve Carlisle, president of the Cadillac division.
"None of us knows how long this transition will take. We will be there with internal combustion engines as well as electric" for a period, said Carlisle at a media event last week. "But the majority, if not all, Cadillacs will be electric by 2030."
Carlisle dubbed it the "end of the ICE age for Cadillac."
Cadillac's popular models, such as the Escalade, will likely continue, but the full-size SUV will be propelled by an electric engine.
"We have no intention of exiting that segment," Carlisle said of the Escalade.
But several of Cadillac's electric vehicles will get new names. Gone will be numbers like the current monikers, replaced by words.
He said that there is still upside sales potential for internal-combustion engine vehicles. Through the third quarter, Cadillac's total global sales are up 8.8%; in China total sales are up 10.9%.
In the U.S., sales sputtered because of the 40-day nationwide UAW strike, which disrupted production. U.S. year-to-date total sales are up just 2.4%, but the brand should finish the year with sales gains for the first time in five years.
Overall, "we feel like we're headed to a second sales record this year globally," Carlisle said.
The Escalade will finish the year leading the full-size SUV segment, said Carlisle. Cadillac also has sold 4,351 of the new XT6 SUVs, which launched in August. Carlisle expects to sell 10,000 by year-end.
But Cadillac is at its best when it is leading GM's brands in technology and innovation, Carlisle said. Most luxury customers are open to electric cars. That's why GM said in January that Cadillac would be its electric vehicle brand, he said.
In January, Cadillac debuted the concept of an all-electric crossover that will be brought to market in 2022. It's unclear where GM will build it, but it could likely be at Detroit-Hamtramck where GM said it would invest $3 billion to build a new all-electric pickup that will go on sale in the fall of 2021. That pickup has not yet been assigned a brand or name, Carlisle said.
"Our production footprint will migrate" as GM changes from internal combustion cars to electric, Carlisle said. The company also needs to have discussions with the UAW on how factory work will change and which vehicle production might change plants.
It is most likely, he said, that over the next decade some plants that build ICE vehicles will be retooled to build electric cars.
"We're going to enter the decade as an internal combustion brand," said Carlisle. "But we'll exit the decade as a battery-electric brand."