Cadillac to Shatter Global Sales Record in 2021

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Cadillac’s global sales are up 18% in 2021 over same-period 2020 and are on pace to hit a sales record in the brand’s 119-year history, reported Rory Harvey, the General Motors vice president in charge of the brand globally.

But U.S. sales of the Cadillac are down. In the U.S., the best sales year for Cadillac was 1984, with 320,017 U.S. deliveries, alone, according to Wards Intelligence data.

Since that banner year, Cadillac’s U.S. sales have fallen to a low of 109,092 units in 2009. U.S. sales have crept upward since. Through September, Cadillac sales in the U.S. reached 95,925 units. 

It is skyrocketing sales in China—with nearly 181,000 deliveries through September—that have helped the company hit this record.

Cadillac will hit record sales despite the parts shortages that cut production of various models starting in February, Harvey said. The company kept its popular Escalade full-size SUV in production, but Cadillac asked customers to forego some options to deliver finished vehicles, Harvey said. 

Cadillac is also prepping for all-electric future. The brand plans to sell only electric vehicles by 2030 or earlier if possible. The Cadillac Celestiq, which Harvey described as an ultra-luxury vehicle, will follow the Lyriq into showrooms.  

The brand has asked dealers to put the infrastructure in place to service and recharge EVs. Cadillac showrooms also will get a new look as part of the program, Harvey noted. 

Over 100 Cadillac dealers—mostly smaller ones—have dropped the Cadillac franchise rather than invest in new EV infrastructure. Harvey stressed that the remaining dealers  account for roughly 90% of Cadillac’s sales volume.

Further, he said Cadillac has opened four new dealerships in affluent areas, including Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Atlanta and Manhattan. 

As part of the BEV push, GM plans to expand access to charging. Cadillac customers across the U.S. currently can access to 70,000 charging stations across the U.S. as part of GM agreements with seven charging providers.  

During a virtual briefing with reporters, Harvey declined to say how many reservations or firm orders the company has for Cadillac’s first battery-electric vehicle, the Lyriq. He said the first CUV built on the Ultium platform for BEVs sold out in 10 minutes. Cadillac has caped production of the Lyriq to ensure it can deliver the vehicles. 

Harvey reported the company will build the Lyriq at its Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant beginning in March. Besides the customers who have already placed reservations or orders, GM has collected information from 216,000 “hand raisers” who have expressed an interest in Lyriq. He reported Cadillac hopes to convert nearly 20% of hand raisers to buyers. 

Cadillac also plans to reveal more details about its new Ultra Cruise hands-free driving system at CES in January, said Harvey.

As Cadillac prepares a full portfolio of BEVs, the brand will maintain its line of cars and utility vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines (ICE), Harvey said. He noted ICE vehicles will continue to get mid-cycle updates.

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