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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
GM electric vehicle strategy last chance for Cadillac's success: executive

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co’s (GM.N) strategy to make its luxury Cadillac marque its lead electric vehicle brand is the automaker’s final opportunity to turn the unit around and make it a success, a top executive said on Monday.

“We don’t have any chances left with taking Cadillac to a really new place,” newly appointed GM President Mark Reuss told Reuters on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show. “This is pretty much it.”

Photo courtesy of Autoblog

More at Reuters. I recall saying something about this yesterday. Cadillac sales are abysmal (Chevy Cruze has been outselling the entire Cadillac line) and this division needs a reset. I'm not sure EVs are that reset, but Mark says:

Reuss said “one of the first” fully electric Cadillac models using the new platform would be on the market around 2022.

He said it was too early to tell how long it would take for Cadillac’s entire lineup to become electric, but he anticipated a combination of electrified and combustion engine models “for quite a few years” to come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
An earlier Reuters in-depth article from a year ago:

GM races to build a formula for profitable electric cars

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra has made a bold promise to investors that the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021.

What Barra has not explained in detail is how GM intends to do what, so far, no major automaker has done.

The answer is a big bet on combining proprietary battery technology, a low-cost, flexible vehicle design and high-volume production mainly in China, according to six current and former GM and supplier executives and six industry experts interviewed by Reuters.

If GM can meet Barra’s ambitious profitability target, then it will house two different businesses by the mid-2020s: A traditional focus in North America on trucks, sport utility vehicles and cars fueled with petroleum, and a global electric car company centered in China, branching into pay-per-use services such as robotaxis.
Further in Reuters says:

To be sure, electric vehicles account for only a small fraction of global auto sales. Like other manufacturers, GM is banking not only on reducing its own costs and improving vehicle performance, but also on increased demand driven by higher government-mandated electric vehicle quotas in China that are intended to help reduce pollution and the country’s dependence on petroleum.
What's going to help reduce pollution and the country’s dependence on coal? The widespread use of coal is what's doing the most damage to the air quality there. I don't see ramping up electricity use there as easing that.
 

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An earlier Reuters in-depth article from a year ago:

GM races to build a formula for profitable electric cars



Further in Reuters says:



What's going to help reduce pollution and the country’s dependence on coal? The widespread use of coal is what's doing the most damage to the air quality there. I don't see ramping up electricity use there as easing that.
China's coal plants aren't in the cities. The problem in their cities is vehicle exhaust.
 

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www.waqi.info

Whatever generates particulate matter < 2.5 microns, that's what China's problem is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
www.waqi.info

Whatever generates particulate matter < 2.5 microns, that's what China's problem is.
Related:

When it comes to particle emissions, electric cars aren’t much cleaner

When I said widespread use of coal, I wasn't singling out power plants (more like adding in). Coal is commonly used all over China for a number of things from cooking to heating, etcetera.

I recall a story where the author saw something in the distance he thought was the great wall. It turned out to be stacks of coal bricks.

Anyway, the new GM strategy for EVs (perhaps Cadillac) seems to be Chinese-centric, and not for us here.
 

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China's coal plants aren't in the cities. The problem in their cities is vehicle exhaust.
I have been over to China and they have Coal Power plants all over the place including the parking lot of IKEA in Dalian. Coal and massive amount of vehicles/people make for an LA smog nightmare.
 

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Not to get off-topic, but that's an interesting article. Although almost 3 years old now, I would like to dig in a little bit. It seems strange to cite "weight" and "brakes" (even regen?) as the cause, kicking up particulate matter from the road. It seems the real goal should be to reduce the sources of the particulate matter on the road in the first place, as this would be kicked up by any vehicle on the road--not just EVs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not to get off-topic, but that's an interesting article. Although almost 3 years old now, I would like to dig in a little bit. It seems strange to cite "weight" and "brakes" (even regen?) as the cause, kicking up particulate matter from the road. It seems the real goal should be to reduce the sources of the particulate matter on the road in the first place, as this would be kicked up by any vehicle on the road--not just EVs.
It wasn't really fair to pick on EVs. All cars do it. We put out a lot less brake dust, but in the area of non-exhaust particulate matter I think things might be equal since we carry heavy batteries around.

I think the point that's trying to be made overall is that EVs aren't as environmentally friendly as some wish to believe. We've seen articles about the environmental cost of battery production too. I think it is right to have the whole picture.

I don't own this car to save the planet anyway, so any counter-argument such as this is lost on me. I'm okay with the idea that my car may be just as bad as an ICE. Maybe it isn't, but I don't play that angle in either case.

And I sure as hell don't buy Barra's hype. Flooding China with EVs when they make so much power with coal doesn't strike me as necessarily tree-hugging.

You might find this article of interest:

Chinese companies to build 700 coal plants in and outside China

There are quite a few articles about this from late 2017. China isn't only adding coal power in their country, they're exporting it to other countries that don't have the kind of environmental regulations we have. If Barra were hugging trees she might refuse to sell EVs outside of the U.S.. We're the ones with the toughest regulations.

To be fair though, the real advantage for the EV in crowded Chinese cities is in the gridlocked 18-lane highways. The EV doesn't sit there cranking out exhaust for nothing. So there's that.
 

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To be fair though, the real advantage for the EV in crowded Chinese cities is in the gridlocked 18-lane highways. The EV doesn't sit there cranking out exhaust for nothing. So there's that.
China's traffic jams are massive, especially around holidays (as in any country but more so there).

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9578774/Gridlock-as-China-begins-its-Golden-Week-holidays.html

Coal fired plants are easy as they have coal, not so much oil which they have to import which is another reason they want to go EV. When you have the expanding economy they do, some times you do what you have to do to meet the necessities. That being said nuclear plants are a big part of their going green and they lead the way in low radio active waste. The was a girl that had developed a low waste system and it was to be put in the test phase with actual plant (not sure if it was thorium or something newer).

I read they have 50% and 77% of battery components tied up which I assume to mean 50% of the world's Lithium (more common) and 77% of cobalt (most in Congo). As with solar panels they know where the future is and go for the long haul, something the western world needs to take note of.
 

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I am surprised they see Cadillac is such dire straights. They filled the gap in their CUV offering with the XT4. So the Volt is gone and we are left waiting to see if the Bolt gets updates going forward or if GM simply leaves Chevrolet where its at and goes for the money in luxury EVs only. Is this an admission they aren't making money on the Bolt? Even if they were not how much could they possibly lose with the sales numbers it has.
 

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I am surprised they see Cadillac is such dire straights. They filled the gap in their CUV offering with the XT4. So the Volt is gone and we are left waiting to see if the Bolt gets updates going forward or if GM simply leaves Chevrolet where its at and goes for the money in luxury EVs only. Is this an admission they aren't making money on the Bolt? Even if they were not how much could they possibly lose with the sales numbers it has.
The local GMC/Buick/Cadillac dealership recently changed owners and its now the GMC/Buick dealer. Says something to me, if caddys don't sell here where would they sell?
IMO, EVs belong in the luxury category. Compliance cars excepted. Will stay that way as long as lithium batteries are used. If GM makes money on the Bolt it's because LG is the accommodating loser.
 

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Sorry, but under no circumstances would I buy a Cadillac, for a variety of reasons... So, if that is GM's strategy, they can write me off permanently as a customer.
 

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The answer is a big bet on combining proprietary battery technology, a low-cost, flexible vehicle design and high-volume production mainly in China, according to six current and former GM and supplier executives and six industry experts interviewed by Reuters.

If GM can meet Barra’s ambitious profitability target, then it will house two different businesses by the mid-2020s: A traditional focus in North America on trucks, sport utility vehicles and cars fueled with petroleum, and a global electric car company centered in China, branching into pay-per-use services such as robotaxis.
Does this really surprise anyone? China wants to be the leading EV manufacturing center and is doing everything it can to make that happen, including adopting rules based on California's, making buying incentives available, pushing manufacturers with carrots and sticks toward selling more EV's. Meanwhile, what's the US policy? Relax gasoline efficiency standards, threaten CA CAFE standards, be hostile toward EV incentives, keep gas prices low.

If you are an international manufacturer you give the US what it seems to want, gassers. And you give China what it wants, EV's. Once you have a high volume, low cost manufacturing plant setup, why would you build a manufacturing capacity in a country that seems no to embrace EV's from the government down to the buyer?

On the other hand, VW seems to see an opportunity and obviously Tesla is building in the US. But once you accept that most high end consumer gadgets are made overseas, and that cars are increasing being viewed as high tech consumer gadgets, it's hard not to accept the inevitability of high quality EV's being imported. Sure, tariffs are a stick, but where is the carrot for US manufacturers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Meanwhile, what's the US policy? Relax gasoline efficiency standards, threaten CA CAFE standards, be hostile toward EV incentives, keep gas prices low.
I don't think U.S. policy is hostile toward EVs. I read the complaints about state EV registration taxes and I think it's a lot of whining. It's a road tax.

Gasoline efficiency standards haven't been relaxed, just frozen where they are. And let's remember who one of the major proponents of that was - Mary Barra.

Gas prices are driven by the commodities market. The main effect government can have on that is to tax it more, harming the poorer folks who most need it to get to work.

What is needed from government is some action to level the playing field. They have to decide if they're still going to incentivize EVs or not, and make a better system for it if they are.

I really don't care which way they go. As a matter of policy I don't like government skewing any market, but if they're going to do it they need to get it right.
 

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Easier to build a luxury than a low end EV (bigger cushion for profit) so GM taking path of least resistance while keeping their toe in with Bolt (for now).

1.9 million EV's were sold last year doubling the year before, about half those were built and sold in China. Next year numbers could double again.

There are currently 100 car companies making/in the process of making EV.s in China (not all a expected to survive as separate entities). If that seems high, compare that to over 1850 manufacturers in British motor industry or over 3,000 manufacturers in US Motor industry over the course of ICE industry.

China holds contracts on 50% of lithium (more common) and 77% of Cobalt (mostly in Congo) in the world (known reserves).

Finland (the land of ice and snow) has 36% of their cars as EVs with 60% of this years sales being EVs (no doubt as incentives to be phased out people rushing in to take advantage). In 2026 Diesels will no longer be sold.

Various countries, cities, provinces will no longer allow diesels/gas vehicles to be sold and/or used from 2026, 2030, 2040 and 2050 time frames.

The battle is on the lower priced EVs front, the people's EV. Looks like VW is going to go head on with the Japanese, Koreans (China after they meet their domestic goals).

The US will lag behind because there isn't much financial or political imperative given the US price of gas vs. the price of electricity and more dependent on cost of ownership, save the world complex, desire to drive a quiet drive and other EV desirabilities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I am surprised they see Cadillac is such dire straights. They filled the gap in their CUV offering with the XT4.
I find the XT4 to be very desirable as-is. They're promoting the heck out of it on TV - far more than they promoted the CT6, which also got a lot or air time.

My ideal next car would be a Voltec-type XT4. I know it's not in the plan as of now, but I'll keep saying it with hope.

I honestly don't see the XT6 being a good EV target. The XT6 gasser comes out this year. 2022 is the target for the EV version. I honestly expect that it'll be as hard to get as a CT6 PHEV was before they stopped shipping them from China.

If either one (XT4 or XT6) is offered here in any electrified version it had better not have "assembled in China" on the window sticker.
 
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