Home » Upcoming Cadillac Flagship Could Be An EV Launching In 2021

Upcoming Cadillac Flagship Could Be An EV Launching In 2021

Upcoming Cadillac Flagship Could Be An EV Launching In 2021

Cadillac is on a mission: over the past three years, the automotive luxury brand has undergone a significant directional shift that involves reviewing and overhauling nearly every aspect of its business. Consumers have yet to see the fruits of this initiative, but they will fairly soon – as the brand with the Crest is embarking on its biggest and most aggressive product offensive in history.

Starting with the imminent launch of the 2019 XT4, Cadillac will bring to market one new model every six months for a total of five vehicle lines over the course of two years. That much the brand’s leadership has communicated quite vocally over the past few years. What comes after those five models, however, might be even more intriguing.

Research performed by Cadillac Society suggests that Cadillac will launch a large passenger car in the 2021 calendar year that will serve as the brand’s flagship. And it could very well be electric.

Leading us to our conclusions are three specific data points released by Cadillac and its parent, General Motors Company.

1. Bank of America / Merrill Lynch Auto Summit – March 2018

During its presentation at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Auto Summit held in March 2018 in New York, GM CEO Mary Barra showed a slide that gives us a glimpse into telescopic overview of future Cadillac product plans.

Cadillac Future Product Roadmap – Bank of America Merrill Lynch Auto Summit – March 2018

Pay no attention to the dotted oval around the Lux SUV-2 box. Instead, Have a gander at the red box, which focuses on the segment entitled Lux Car-5, which is Cadillac’s way of referring to the F-Segment that’s defined by the segment-dominating Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series. Clearly, a model in the Lux Car-5 segment would slot above the current Cadillac CT6, and that little blacked-out model means that Cadillac is planning to enter the segment in the future.

Taking into account development times and the prioritization of crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) over sedan, it is highly likely that this F-segment model will be one of the last two vehicles to be released as part of the future Cadillac product offensive, roughly in the vicinity of the 2021 calendar year.

Let this serve as our first data point – that Cadillac has planned (and is likely working on) an F-Segment vehicle that would slot above the CT6.

2. Barclays Global Automotive Conference – November 2017

During the Barclays Global Automotive Conference held in New York City, General Motors CEO Mary Barra discussed the automaker’s plans to develop a new, highly-modular Electric Vehicles (EV) platform.

GM Future Electric Vehicle Platform Roadmap – Barclays Global Auto Conference – November 2017

That platform will be ready in time for the 2021 calendar year, and will be capable of supporting a wide variety of vehicles that spans body styles and segments.

Let this serve as our second data point – that Cadillac parent, GM, is working on an all-new electric vehicle platform.

3. Cadillac’s First Electric Car

The third data point comes by way of one of Johan de Nysschen’s last interviews as Cadillac President, during which he told Motor Trend that the luxury car brand will deliver its first pure electric car for the 2021 calendar year.

The same piece also revealed that Cadillac’s electric vehicle roll-out will start from segments with bigger, more expensive vehicles, and expand from there.

Recurring Themes

All three data points have one common theme: the year 2021.

This leads us to conclude that, not only is Cadillac working on a true flagship model, but also that this model will launch in the 2021 calendar year, or roughly three years from today.

Strategy

An F-segment car would represent an unprecedented vehicle for the “modern” Cadillac.

Positioned above the CT6, the vehicle would finally give Cadillac a true rival to Germany’s Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series, which have dominated the segment for decades. Other, less dominant segment contenders include the Audi A8 and Lexus LS. The space is one of the most difficult to compete in. Luckily, Cadillac won’t be going in empty-handed.

In addition to what will likely be the next generation Super Cruise along with a sexy new design aesthetic, all signs point to Cadillac’s range-topper being a completely electric vehicle that debuts the new EV architecture of its parent.

Design

One of the more tantalizing questions is what shape the flagship Cadillac will take.

We can already rule out the traditional sedan body style, since former President de Nysschen stated on several occasions that he sees the flagship as not having a traditional three-box form factor.

“I do not think that the world needs yet another large, three-box conventional sedan”, the the former Cadillac chief was quoted as saying. All this suggests that Cadillac is exploring other body styles outside of the traditional three-box sedan. And this brings us back to the slide from the Barclays conference.

The slide shows 11 vehicles that GM plans to develop on the platform, with most having a rather utilitarian form factor such as CUV, SUV, SAV, and LCV. But there’s one section that’s notably different. It fits under the “Expressive” heading and reads “Lux Low Roof”.

During an event to discuss GM’s electrified strategy, some members of the press were shown a life-sized clay model. Automotive News described this clay model as a “Cadillac wagon designed for the next-generation EV architecture”. That description would certainly fit with the aforementioned comments from de Nysschen, while also fitting in with the slide’s description of being “Expressive”.

We can think of at least one recent Cadillac concept that fit those descriptions almost exactly: the Escala Concept.

Naming

It’s currently unclear what name the hypothetical Cadillac flagship car will take, and whether it will stick with Cadillac’s CT#/XT# nomenclature or adopt the Escala name, as some reports have previously suggested. As such, we are currently not in a position to make an informed conclusion on the model’s name.

Powertrain

While we aren’t fully certain, all of the aforementioned signs point to the upcoming Cadillac flagship as having a fully-electric powertrain.

Further supporting that notion are comments by several GM executives stating that Cadillac will become the automaker’s technology leader, which in turn implies that the luxury brand will play a leading role in introducing innovations in advanced alternative energy powertrains, along with autonomous vehicle technology.

That said, it is also possible that the forthcoming flagship model will also be available with traditional internal combustion engines, such as Cadillac’s new 4.2L Twin-Turbo V8 or the 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6. At the present time, we do not know whether this will be the case. 

Cadillac XT5 on the roads of Moscow, Russia

Markets

Another rather important question is in which markets the range-topping model would be sold.

North America and China seem to be shoo-ins, but characteristics of such a disruptive product and the timeframe for its launch could mean that it will also be made available in various new markets that Cadillac would like to enter, potentially including as Europe and Australia. The luxury automotive brand has been strategizing a full-scale entrance into the European market, and Australia has also been on the map.

We must also wonder about the Middle East, as selling a gasoline-free vehicle in a gasoline-producing environment might prove rather tactless.

Production line at the Jinqiao Cadillac plant in Shanghai, China

Production

We must also wonder about where the assumed flagship model will be produced. Current market trends would lead us to believe that the range-topper would be produced in both North America and in China, much like the CT6 is today. If that turns out to be the case, then we would expect the following plants to be involved:

  • Detroit-Hamtramck in Detroit, Michigan, USA
  • Jinqiao Cadillac in Jinqiao, Shanghai, China (unofficially known as the Cadillac China plant)

But all of this could change over the next three years. Stay tuned!

Reporting by Deivis Centeno in collaboration with Alex Luft.

Written by
Engineer with a passion for cars and strategic automotive planning.

14 Comments

  1. An EV Escala makes perfect sense. I have been saying this ever since the concept came out. Cadillac in my onion cannot beat BMW/Mercedes in the Large Luxury Size Sedan market, but they must beat Tesla in the Tech Wars. I truly believe that is what will make Cadillac prominent in the marketplace once again. Telsa has amazing Technology but I believe Cadillac with the new Escala themed designs can beat Tesla in exterior and interior looks. While finaly allowing GM/Cadillac to be at the forefront of Technology again.

    Reply
    • I agree.

      While all German flagships will have electrical variants in the future, Cadillac would stand out with an exclusively EV model and together with Tesla would establish a standard in the segment.

      A good way to celebrate the American culture.

      Reply
  2. I hope whatever they’re planning for Cadillac can also be fitted with ICEs.

    A chauffeur- or owner-driven, Phantom-sized car would be a good flagship. Like the V-16, but smaller. Escala doesn’t have the rear seat room or entry ease required and the styling will be old hat by then.

    I think Tesla will be bust by 2021 and the US EV sedan market near saturation, barring a major war in the Mid East. Venezuela should be bouncing back (no where to go but up) and desperate for market share. Is anyone building the power plants needed for huge numbers of EVs? Americans won’t put up with brown-outs, don’t know about Chinese.

    I’m sorry to see they seem to be abandoning Voltec and eAssist (which should have been applied to CUVs from the get-go), since there are many more people who want the efficiency but who don’t want range limits.

    Reply
  3. In the fine print, the Lux SUV-3 (XT5 size) is market “lead entry.” 2021 would be too soon for a totally new XT5.

    Nothing in Luxury-Sport in March 2018, then they patent a large coupe in July. WTF? Do they patent concepts?

    Reply
  4. Regardless of whatever is planned, a new Cadillac every 6 months starting next month (XT4) is going to be exciting. Let’s hope these are all disruptors, that make an impact. That means wonderful (I’d prefer “gorgeous”) styling, globally benchmarked then elevated interiors and technology, fuel efficiency and strong, competitive pricing (value). Each vehicle represents and investment and an opportunity. The CT6 doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its build technology, starting at 3700lbs vs 4553 for the S, 4600 for the 7 Series and 4464 for the A8. I hope these new vehicles are all on their A games as Cadillac has a lot of ground to making up while the competition is not sitting still.

    Reply
  5. XT3/XT5/XT6/XT4(Next Gen,) (VSS-R chassis RWD/AWD, All electric drivetrain), CT7 coupe, CT8/Escala Liftback (VSS-R chassis RWD/AWD, All electric drivetrain), XT8 and XT7 Crossovers (VSS-R chassis RWD/AWD, ALL electric drivetrain). First Gen XT5/XT4/XT6(Mild hybrid system and PHEV system’s), CT4/CT5/CT6(PHEV systems), New Escalade SUV (PHEV system).

    Reply
  6. This is purely speculation and a lot of guess work. We just have to wait and see in the next several months and couple of years. There will be a lot of dime dropping on the flagship with better understanding.

    As my understanding, the EV modular platform have a high change being RWD and FWD with each getting AWD.

    Reply
    • Did you even read the article? If you did, you would not be calling this pure speculation or guesswork. It’s speculation based on a lot of coinciding factors… so far from pure speculation.

      The tea leaves are there for you to read… you just need to know how to read them. Maybe you just don’t know how to read the tea leaves.

      Anyway, this is the right move to pull ahead of Mercedes and BMW. Cadillac could beat the Germans at their own game, but that would take a while. A full-size F-segment electric Cadillac could very well be what’s needed to pull ahead of the competition, and finally turn the tide in Cadillac’s favor.

      Nice work Cadillac Society! Have been a reader for a few months now and this is now one of my favorite sites.

      Reply
      • Thanks for valuing our work, Ricky.

        At Cadillac Society we also appreciate your preference and participation!

        Reply
      • I still call it like it is and yes, I read the article. No one knows for sure that this will be pure EV for sure. If so, I’m all for it. But Cadillac should not limit this flagship just EV.

        You are free to think and speculate at will but I’m still not buying the fact that this car is 100% EV. And I highly doubt the flagship will be a wagon but a large five-dour hatchback is more appropriate.

        Before you get too excite of what you are reading, just wait several months to a year before you know for sure to keep from major disappointment just like a lot of people being highly disappointed with the XT4 and have not seen the vehicle in the flesh yet, let alone test driven it.

        Reply
      • What I was referring to was what type of vehicle it could be what I was referring to for as being a potential wagon or low riding luxury vehicle. Also referring being an EV only which it could not. I was not referring to potential technology and luxury the flagship will have to get an upper hand on the European competition.

        Reply
        • I totally understand you “Johnls_39”. I’m the world’s biggest Cadillac fan and after being continually let down by them and seeing Chevrolet get product they should have as “The Standard of The World”, I don’t believe anything printed or spoken about the brand as far as future projections are concerned. Especially after seeing the XT4 and the spied XT6 and it’s cheap looking FWD based proportions. I don’t even believe the next Escalade will be on Range Rover level and will just continue as a Tahoe spin off…..and of course, for the life of me, I do NOT get why a high performance mid-rear engined vehicle is going to Chevy and not Caddy first. Cadillac is taking all this time to bring us a full lineup when in essence they could and are putting out product based on GM corporate platforms. Cadillac should have also beat the Model 3 to market. I could go on and on. You’d think they have their act together with vehicles like Urus, Bentayga, and Cullinan popping up.

          Reply
  7. Model’s are already in development, now. On these move.

    Reply
  8. The first electric Cadillac was the ELR If you never used the range extender engine). Some ELR owners actually drive all electric (search the “gm-volt.com” forums). So Cadillac should return to the ELR design as a new elctric Cadillac coupe.

    Reply

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