With most of the major auto shows wiped out due to the pandemic during the past year, it looks like General Motors plans to get back into the circuit with CEO Mary Barra delivering the keynote at for the now-virtual Consumer Electronics Show next month.
Barra, who will be joined by GM President Mark Reuss during the address, will talk about the company’s electrification efforts and how those – in concert with other automakers’ plans – can benefit the greater good, according to Bloomberg News. CES 201 begins Jan. 12 at noon EST.
After delivering the keynote, Barra will present a short video highlighting some of those moves and products, including the first real look at a “plug-in Chevrolet pickup” as well as other Cadillac EVs that will join the already-revealed Lyriq in the luxury brand’s line-up. Electrified vehicles for other brands will also be shown, sources told Bloomberg.
The look at the battery-electric pickup will hopefully offer up some insight into whether the company’s first all-electric pickup will be a Silverado variant or will a separate purpose-built pickup. If so, will it be simply the Chevy version of the GMC Hummer truck coming in 2021 with scaled down power and other options.
While the early peek at the Chevy electric truck is interesting, the more compelling part of the presentation could end up being the Cadillac portion. The brand introduced the Lyriq, which is being produced at the Spring Hill, Tennessee plant where the defunct Saturn brand sprang to life, earlier this fall.
Spring Hills, which is getting a $2 billion makeover to handle the Lyriqu, will be the third location building some form of an EV, joining the former Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant now known as Factory Zero and the Orion Township, Michigan plant, which currently builds the Chevrolet Bolt. Factory Zero will manufacture the GMC Hummer, which debuts tonight, and the Cruise Origin shuttle-style vehicle.
Plans call for the Lyriq to hit showrooms in 2022. However, GM officials have basically suggested the company’s luxury brand could end up being an all-electric portfolio of vehicles. During the August webinar for the new EV, GM’s North American President Steve Carlisle described it as “a very big moment for Cadillac and General Motors,” and “a cornerstone upon which we’re going to build the future.”
That future rippled down to the dealers, who have been asked by GM to invest as much as $200,000 each to handle Cadillac’s future electric vehicles. The money is designed to revamp parts of the dealer’s service area and provide training for the techs occupying it.
However, some dealers have balked at the investment, prompting GM to offer buyouts as much as $500,000 so they can exit the business. Rory Harvey, Cadillac’s top executive, told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month GM did offer buyouts to dealers; however, he did not elaborate on how much the auto company was offering or how many dealers accepted them.
“The future dealer requirements are a logical and necessary next step on our path towards electrification,” Harvey told the WSJ, noting the company was offering what he believed was fair compensation.
There are only 880 Cadillac dealers across the United States, and with the luxury brand expected to be heavily weighted toward EVs as part of GM’s master plan, having enough “qualified” dealers available in less populous areas becomes critical.