On Monday, General Motors took the first step toward its promise to dominate U.S. electric vehicle sales by the middle of the decade, when the first 2023 Cadillac Lyriq electric SUVs went into production.
The Lyriq is the first electric car from GM’s luxury brand Cadillac.
It is intended to boost sales for the brand and kick-start Cadillac’s transition to an all-electric lineup by 2030. GM plans to sell all-electric cars across all of its brands by 2035.
GM makes the Lyriq at its Spring Hill Assembly plant in Tennessee, and by mid-morning, production of the Lyriqs was rolling off the assembly line as the first shift workers gathered with company executives to celebrate.
Two UAW members drove one of the newly built Lyriqs onto the stage as a symbol that GM is bringing its workforce along with its transformation to all EVs.
“You’re not just making a new vehicle, you’re building the transformation of Cadillac and you’re building the transformation of General Motors,” Rory Harvey, Cadillac’s vice president, told factory workers.
High demand, long wait
Customers wanting to order a Lyriq, which starts at $59,990, will have to wait.
Cadillac will open its order banks on May 19, but it will likely be sometime next year before many get one due to high demand, Harvey said.
Cadillac has 240,000 hand-raisers for the vehicle, up from 233,000 a few weeks ago, he said. A hands-raiser is a person who shows interest in the car but does not put money on it.
The Lyriq is GM’s second EV to come off GM’s Ultium platform, which will support and propel all of GM’s future EVs. The first was the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup, made at Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck, which began production late last year. GM has said it will bring at least 30 new EVs to market by 2025.
In addition to the Lyriq, GM builds the Cadillac XT5 and XT6 SUVs and the GMC Acadia SUV in Spring Hill. It also makes a variety of engines used across GM’s lineup.
The plant will ramp up Lyriq production over the next nine months and has the capacity to build 200,000 Lyriqs annually, said GM President Mark Reuss, who was on site for the occasion.
Reuss reiterated GM’s promise to be the EV leader in America by building and selling 1 million EVs by mid-decade, adding, “The Lyriq will help the company get there.”
Local UAW 1853 store president Danny Taylor told staff that electric cars are the future for the auto industry and that union workers are critical to making the transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric cars a seamless one.
“We are at the forefront of GM’s all-electric future,” Taylor said. “When you see how many people love and want this product, it wouldn’t be possible without the support base of the UAW Local 1853. You have shown that you are a ‘can do’ workforce. Now we are building for today and for generations to come.”
‘Spring Hill Town’
The launch of the Lyriq is crucial for GM’s Cadillac luxury brand.
GM has stated that Cadillac will lead the way in technology across the company, which the company says will attract new customers for all GM brands.
The launch of the Lyriq “is a moment where we made Cadillac special in terms of material and design,” Reuss said. “If it’s new… whatever we’re talking about, you’ll see it first in Cadillac. This brings Cadillac back to leadership and luxury at the highest level and makes an American luxury brand highly desirable.”
In October 2020, GM said it will invest $2 billion in Spring Hill to build the Lyriq and other electric vehicles. Spring Hill’s paint and body shops were expanded and the general assembly was upgraded with new machinery, conveyors, controls and tools.
GM is moving production of the next-generation GMC Acadia to Lansing Delta Township Assembly, where it has invested more than $100 million converting it to build it. That will enable Spring Hill to build more EVs.
“We’ll have a battery assembly plant as well as the Ultium cell plant — it’s kind of Spring Hill City,” Reuss said. “It’s highly integrated. We have more (EV) models planned. We haven’t talked about that yet. We have more EV-based models in this factory.”
Nearby Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between GM and battery maker LG Energy Solution, is building a $2.2 billion plant to make battery cells.
Currently, GM assembles the battery packs in Spring Hill.
But the cells for those battery packs will come from LG’s plant in Ochang, South Korea, and then from the Ultium Cells plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which will begin operations this summer, Reuss said. When the Ultium Cells plant in Spring Hills is up and running next year, it will ship the cells to Spring Hill for electric vehicle production.
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Contact Jamie L. LaReau: 313-222-2149 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. Read more on General engines and sign up for our car newsletter. Become a subscriber.